One night, at my local watering hole, I was perseverating on a topic as random and inane as most topics that work their way through consciousness while imbibing at my local watering hole. On this particular night, it had to do with the title “Coach” and how, collectively, people who coach a sport automatically earn the title. It seemed unfair that someone who was the assistant coach of a JV golf team is calledCoach Whatshisnuts, while I’m stuck—as a teacher—with the rather mundane and boring Mr. Graziano.
Most titles—in academic fields, at least—are earned through advanced degrees or a promotion into a position of leadership, which is not unlike the military. For example, if you’ve earned a doctorate degree then you’ve earned the right to decide whether or not you’d like people to refer to you as “doctor.” Of course, if you have a doctorate in comparative literature and insist that others call you Dr. Fuckwad, you’re probably fairly high on the pretentious scale.
Reciprocally, if you are a principal of a school, an administrator of an institution, or hold a political office then it seems natural to me that people would refer to as Dean Wormer,President Obama or King-Douche Romney.
However, the title “Coach,” for me, trumps all others. Sadly, I’m not a coach, but I desperately want the title. Like the runt of a litter, I’ve waited futilely for my chance at the teat.
Enter J., a waitress at the local watering hole.
Overhearing my “coach” rant to my friend Mikey, J. said, “Nate, do you want to be my life coach?”
“I’d make a great life coach. I always make good decisions,” I said and ordered tequila shots for my friend Mikey and me.
“Okay. From now on,” J. said, “I’ll call you Coach.”
My heart swelled like my liver after the shot. “I’ll be the best fucking life coach you’ve ever had, J.”
“I’ve never had a life coach,” J. said.
Let me start with this: J. is a happily-married, level-headed new mother in her late-20s with a solid sense of self. So it makes complete sense to me that she would choose a debauched 37 year-old neurotic writer who can’t choose what he wants for breakfast without having to pop an Ativan to be her life coach. She’ll call me Coach and I’ll dole out advice— everyone is a winner here.
So far, as the life coach of a female, I’ve noticed that most problems for women stem from not understanding some basic things about the male species—our thoughts (or lack thereof), our desires, our thought processes, why we find lighting our farts funny, etc.
Now, I’d like to preface this with the fact that males who are complete douche bags are exempt from all of this. If you’re dating a guy who does push-ups before walking onto the beach, fake tans, or wears glasses that aren’t prescriptions, you’re probably dating and/or married to a douche, and you’re in great peril. Get out. Douche bags are incorrigible, and there’s very little you can do to change them.
However, for regular non-douchey dudes, here’s are five insights—from an un-certified life coach—into how males operate and/or advice for maintaining healthy relationships.
1. We’re generally very appreciative of the fact that you’ve chosen to have sex with us. Whether a guy is married, in a relationship, bird-dogging the bars, or waiting for miracle, whenever you allow us to have sex with you, we’re thankful. From adolescence on, we live our lives in the pursuit of convincing women it’s worth their time to sleep with us, and when a woman decides that she wants to have sex with us—even if it is for her own satisfaction—we’re thankful. Many times in my own life, I’ll be mid-thrust, thinking, Wow, what an incredible act of selflessness she’s performing. Women spend so much time worrying about how they look—whether they look fat or old or tired—but most dudes feel privileged to be able to touch your body, caress your curves, or maybe get a Freudian boob in our mouths. You look good to us. And if a guy is having sex with you, and he’s not thankful to be having sex with you, he’s probably a douche. Again, get out.
2. Say it plainly. When you tell us that you’re not going to be upset if we go out with our buddies and drink beers, then don’t get upset when we go out with our buddies and drink beers. You seem to think that we pick up on the subtext of conversations like women do, but we don’t. Even if we do, we’re going to plead ignorant when you’re pissed about it afterwards. “But you said you wouldn’t be mad…”—how many fights have started with that line? If there’s something that you want from us, say it plainly, and in no uncertain terms. You cover all your bases. If you say, “I wanted to spend time with you tonight,” we have no out. And if you say, “I wanted to spend time with you tonight and maybe give you a blowjob,” we’re definitely staying home.
3. Unless it’s trivia or sports statistics, we don’t remember shit. While I can tell you the starting line-up for the 1986 Red Sox, I don’t remember the time I said that X was cute, thus implicitly comparing X to my wife. I assume that any time my wife starts a sentence with “Do you remember when…” that the question is rhetorical. Dudes memorize stats and data, trivia and other shit that’s meaningless. We don’t remember the dress you wore to our cousin’s wedding or the color of your hair before you had it dyed a slightly different shade—after four hours and $150 at the hairdresser’s. When a dude forgets that October 7 is the day that he first kissed you, or June 12 is the day he first bought you a beer, hammered, while grooving to a Gin Blossoms cover band, he has legitimately forget. The brain only stores so much information, and that brain space is reserved for Dustin Pedroia’s OPS in 2009. Remember, we’re just thankful you’re having sex with us.
4. Allow us to hang with our buddies. This goes for men and women, alike. There’s nothing more unattractive than a jealous or possessive person. There’s a good reason that most sane people consciously try to avoid prison. We—in theUnited States, at least—enjoy our freedom. For men, if you try to place unreasonable limitations on what we can or cannot do; if you coop us up in the house and make us spend all of our time doting on you, one of two things will likely happen. First, if the man concedes to your demands, you have effectively neutered him. You’ve cut off his nuts, and he ceases to be a man from there forth. Or, if the guy refuses to hand over his Man Card to you, you’ll create a climate of deception and open defiance. In other words, the dude will start lying to you about where he’s been or he won’t come home at all, staying out at strip clubs with his single buddies, paying fifty bucks for a lap dance from a bleached blonde named Brittany with a shaved snatch that smells like cheap perfume. Either way, your relationship is fucked.
5. Never cut your hair. If you rock the short-hair pageboy-thing and it’s working for you, go with it. But, generally speaking, we like your hair long. Although we’ll complain about the fact that we have wait an extra half an hour before going out so that you can “do your hair,” quietly, we’re appreciative that you have long hair, and we’re appreciative that you’re having sex with us. Cutting your hair is almost a concession to the fact that we’re getting older, and for most men, we prefer to exist in perpetual boyhood, a suspended state of adolescence. Besides, there is nothing sexier than watching a woman flip her hair. Nothing.
Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester, New Hampshire. He is the author of three collections of poetry—Not So Profound (Green Bean Press, 2003), Teaching Metaphors(Sunnyoutside Press, 2007) and After the Honeymoon (Sunnyoutside Press, 2009)—a collection of short stories, Frostbite (GBP, 2002), and several chapbooks of fiction and poetry. He has an MFA in fiction writing from The University of New Hampshire and teaches high school. A chapbook of short prose pieces titled Hangover Breakfasts will be published by Bottle of Smoke Pressthis summer. For more information, visit his website at www.nathangraziano.com.