Both genders are complicated

I’m not a relationship counselor. I just play one on TV.

That’s become a frequent saying of mine over the last few years as more and more of my friends turn to me for relationship advice.

It’s rather funny, considering I can barely make sense of my own love life. Nevertheless, they consult me, the all-wise, all-knowing Stacy. Muhahahahahaha.

In all seriousness, I’ve become rather good at playing the role of relationship therapist. I don’t like doing it and, as I said in my first column, I don’t want this to be an advice column. So let’s get it out of our systems now. This will be it, boys and girls. This will be the column where I act like an advice columnist and answer those questions I’ve heard oh so often.

I suppose I’ll start with the most frequently asked question, which isn’t so much a question but a frustrated statement, the age-old “I don’t understand men.”

Neither do I. But my best response when I hear this frustrated expression is men are essentially much simpler than we make them out to be. You see, those of us attracted to men find ourselves pondering over the things guys say and the moves that they make. Is he trying to tell me he’s interested? Was that just an accidental brush of the hand or was it intentional?

Stop asking questions and you will start to have a better understanding of men. Just take their actions and statements for face value. For most men, if he believes he has a chance, he will make an obvious move. If not, he won’t. I’m not going so far as to repeat the old saying that men only think about food and sex —- sometimes simultaneously. That’s not true. But from experience, from observation, from talking with men, the consensus has been —- men are more overt with their intentions. Reading into them only makes for confusion and late night conversations with friends that revolve around the question of how soon is too soon to call a guy.

The other side of that coin is the question I hear just as frequently: “Women?”

Oh boy. As a woman I can honestly say, yes, we are a confusing gender. We are emotional. We are silly. And, when it comes to dropping hints we are interested, oh, are we ever subtle. And, guess what, no two women are alike. Some flirt. Some don’t.

Some flirt only for fun, not to show interest. Some become shy around a person of interest.

Many females consult their friends on everything. A good friend of mine went so far as to consult me on a how to make her boyfriend more sexually interested in her. Another friend of mine asked me how to break up with her girlfriend. Another friend consulted me on when was too soon to call the guy from the coffee shop at which they both study.

When it comes to women, I’d suggest being upfront. Get the issue out on the table. If you like her, and you think she might like you back, make your move. Get it over with.

Now, let’s take those understandings of the genders and move to the next question: “Why do men/women date the wrong men/women?”

This is one of my favorite questions because it’s very subjective. It usually comes from someone pining over a person already involved. Yes, I too have witnessed both my male and female friends date someone who makes my friend miserable or someone who’s deepest thought revolves around “American Idol” or someone who barely pays my friend any attention or someone who is so self-centered that they demand all of my friend’s attention. And those of us who witness it do it too.

We date these “wrong” people for many reasons. Most often, we can’t see the personality traits we normally hate because when we are attracted to someone we tend to block out the personality flaws and only see the good —- sometimes even when the flaws are more than flaws.

I’m particularly guilty of dating the guys I know would elicit nothing but disapproval from my mother as sort of a rebellion. I have a friend who only dates guys that fulfill some sexual fantasy. I have another friend who refuses to date anyone who can’t pose as a trophy on her arm.

From rebelling against our parents to issues of maturity to psychological need for a certain type of person —- there are many reasons behind why we date the people we do. Each person has his or her own reasons.

Okay, kids, I saved the best for last: “Does sex change everything?” Yes. Yes, it does. Enough said.

E-mail comments to Stacy at [email protected]