On Loving Women

I was at a wedding a couple weeks ago and a girl said to me “You’re way too comfortable around women”.

Now, I don’t think that’s actually true. I still get very nervous around girls and I’m not nearly as suave and confident as everyone thinks I am.

But I think she was onto something. I do prefer the company of women. Always have.

I think a lot of straight guys see women as kind of a necessary evil. They want them in their lives for obvious reasons, but they don’t really understand them or like them all that much.

Not me. I love women. I love everything about them.

I love the fact that they smell better than my male friends, and they don’t call me “bro” or try to yak my ear off about sports or other stupid shit.

I love the way women intuitively understand that all human relationships are high drama. It’s no wonder the world’s first novel, Tale of the Genji, was written by a woman.

I love how mysterious and complicated women are. I love how some women will have sex with you and then treat you like an acquaintance a week later, while some women you’ve never even kissed will look at you like they’ve loved you for 1000 years.

I love how honest women are about their insecurities, how they don’t try to cover them up with macho bravado the way insecure straight men do.

I love how hard women work at being beautiful, because they know how much we care about superficial stuff like that and they want to make us happy. I love all the colors they wear that most men are too afraid to. I love the freedom they have to wear things that have absolutely no functional purpose other than to look good.

I love the way they smile constantly. I even love the excessive smiley faces they decorate their texts and instant messages with because it reminds me of their real-life smiles and it makes me smile to know that they’re happy to talk to me.

I love their immense capacity to love. I know that they know better than to get involved with me or any other man, for that matter. Let’s face it, we’re pathetic and useless and we’re almost guaranteed to hurt and disappoint them. But they never give up hope. When a woman loves you she sees you in a way you haven’t seen yourself since you were two years old and you thought you were a superhero. A great woman will bring out the best in you, make you want to be that superhero just so you can live up to her expectations and justify that look in her eye.

And that might be the best thing about women – that in addition to making the world a better place, they also make us better people.

Top 5 Reasons to Keep Your Damn Mouth Shut About Your Sex Life

The urge to brag about a successful sexual exploit is very understandable. We’re guys, so a lot of what we do is for the purpose of proving our status to other guys. But in reality, bragging about your private life can quickly backfire. Here are the Top 5 reasons why a Sexy Geek doesn’t kiss and tell:

5. You could hurt her reputation. This is the most obvious one. It’s unfortunate, but we still live in a world where women are seen as sullied by sex, where their worth is inversely proportional to the number of sexual partners they’ve had. Do her a favor and let her decide whether or not she wants your affair made public.

4. You could hurt your reputation. Wait, isn’t there a double standard, where men are praised for how many women they have sex with? Not so fast. Do you really want to be known as a womanizer? Or worse, a womanizer who can’t keep his mouth shut? On the other hand, if everyone knows you as someone who’s tight-lipped about his sex life, women will feel comfortable getting intimate with you, because they know you’re not going to brag about it. If you think about it, the phrase “A gentlemen doesn’t kiss and tell” isn’t just a bromide, it’s an implicit confidentiality agreement – “I’m a gentleman, so you can trust me not to blab about whatever we do tonight”.

Would James Bond brag to the guys at the office about this? Of course not. He’s a gentleman. And he doesn’t need their approval.

3. You could hurt someone’s feelings. Say you brag to one of your friends about how you had sex with a girl you both know. You do it because you want to impress him. But what if he really liked her? Now you’ve hurt his feelings and caused him to think of you as a threat. You may have just lost a friend. At a minimum, he’s going to think twice before he introduces you to any of his other female friends. But what if word gets around that you had sex with that girl, and another girl who really likes you finds out? Now she sees you as a player, and if she agrees to date you at all, she’s going to be extra guarded, because she doesn’t want to be just another one of your “conquests”.

2. Your friends don’t want to hear about it. Your attached friends don’t want to be reminded of all the variety they’re missing out on, and your single friends don’t want to hear about how you’re getting lucky more often than they are. No one likes a braggart.

But the number one reason not to talk about your sexual exploits is very simple:

1. It’s just not that big of a deal.  So you got laid. Big deal. It’s not like you cured cancer. For a lesser man, getting lucky might be a major accomplishment, but not for you. You’re a sexy geek. You’re good-looking, stylish, confident, charming, the whole package. Of course women want to have sex with you. It’s not something to brag about. It’s just a part of your life. You’re a grown man who’s good with women, not an immature little boy who needs to brag to his friends about how he got lucky last night. Keep your damn mouth shut and just be secure in the knowledge that you’re living the life you want to live.

There is, however, one person you can brag to the day after sex: the person you had sex with. Call her up and say “I had an amazing time last night”. Make her feel as special about it as you do, and you’re much more likely to get a second chance.

Stay sexy, my friends.

P.S. Fellow geek-blogger Wesley Zhao points out that guys often hypocritically use the phrase “A gentleman doesn’t kiss and tell” to imply that they actually did kiss the girl. Don’t be that guy. Just keep your mouth shut. You don’t have to lie, but you can omit the details that are nobody else’s business, e.g. “We went out a couple of times but we’re just friends now”.

And you can have fun with it too. The other night, my friends were telling me “Joe, that girl likes you.” Now, I knew very well that that girl liked me. I’m not going to tell you how I knew, but trust me, I knew. But with my friends I just played it off and said “Really? I think she’s just being friendly.” And then she and I laughed about it later.

The Real Reason You’re In The Friend Zone

A lot of guys like to complain about something called The Friend Zone, which is basically when a girl they like in a romantic/sexual way only sees them as a friend. The phrase implies that this is some sort of temporary purgatory that you can end up in by accident, and that it’s difficult to get out of.

The reality is that maybe you never had a chance with that girl at all. Maybe she’s out of your league. Maybe you’re not in her Friend Zone, but in her “Guys I wouldn’t Fuck in a Million Years” Zone. Maybe it hurts to realize this, but surely it’s less painful in the long run than holding out false hope that if you keep being her friend and being nice to her, she’ll change her mind.

The other reality is that while you may not be able to change her mind about you, you don’t have to remain in the painful friend zone. You can cut her out of your life and start spending your time on someone you actually have a chance with. Trust me, it’s the best thing for everyone involved.

Have you ever been on the other side of this? Have you ever had a female or worse, a male friend, with a serious crush on you? I have. After a while, you go from feeling nothing for that person to actively disliking them as they continually creep you out with their stares, their questions, their unasked-for favors, and the way they laugh at all your jokes and constantly try to touch you.

So, do yourself and everyone else a favor and resolve to never be in the Friend Zone. If attraction’s going to happen, it’s going to happen right away. If it hasn’t happened, and you can’t neutralize your feelings for that hot friend of yours, get the hell out of her life. Give her a chance to miss you while you improve yourself. And spend your energy on someone who actually wants to date you. Trust me, she’s out there.

Stay sexy, my friends.

Why Facebook Is Making You Stupid

When I was growing up, there was endless debate about how watching TV made you stupid. The basic argument was that the mindless consumption of non-information made you lazy, and the constant channel surfing destroyed your ability to focus on one thing at a time.

The way most people surf the web today, however, makes channel-surfing seem like a deep intellectual activity. When we scroll through our Facebook news feed, we’re switching from one thought to the next in a matter of seconds. If you don’t already have ADD, this constant over-stimulation and task switching is a great way to develop it.

The saddest part is that almost none of the thoughts we’re switching between are worth reading. When you think about it, all of the interesting things that human beings are creating are being created in other media. People are writing, composing, producing great movies and TV shows, building new software, creating art and architecture, and none of it is on Facebook. The only reason people go on Facebook is to toss off some throw-away thought or pithy quip. Facebook collects all this mental garbage and displays it to you, with ads. It’s the sewer of human thought. It’s appropriate that it’s called a news “feed”, since when you sit down to read it, you’re just like a pig shoving its face into the trough to feed on whatever garbage the farmer doesn’t want.

“But wait!” I hear you protest “I have this one friend who always has really funny status updates!” or “I have friends who always post really interesting articles!”. I’m sure you do, just like I’m sure there are vitamins in the pig trough, and that interesting things occasionally get flushed down the toilet and wind up in the sewer. That doesn’t mean you should spend all your time there.

At least on TV, some of the shows are good. Some are educational, or some are critically acclaimed works of art. How often do you actually learn anything from your Facebook news feed? How often do you see something that genuinely makes you laugh, not just click “Like” or if you’re feeling generous, type “LOL”?

Sure, it happens once in a while, and this is the key to the addiction: variable reinforcement. It’s why rats will push a button 100 times even though they only get a a food pellet once, and the same reason gamblers keep playing even though they’ve been losing for hours – the anticipation of a reward is just as powerful as the reward itself.

So how can you break the cycle? I’m not really sure. I don’t recommend quitting Facebook completely. It’s still a useful way to stay in touch with friends. But I have noticed that I feel happier, calmer, and more focused on the days I don’t scroll through my Facebook news feed and I just check messages on my smart phone. Usually, the insipid and irrelevant status update at the top of the news feed is enough to remind me that I don’t want to scroll through 4 more pages of the same. But somedays I get bored and I start wading through the sewer looking for a hit of mental stimulation. And I always feel a little gross afterward, like I just ate too much junk food.

Because when you have attention-deficit disorder, like I do, you realize that attention is your most precious resource, and you must be very careful about where you spend it.

Or put another way “There’s lots of good food for thought out there. Don’t fill up on bread.”

And stay the hell out of the sewer.

The Lazy Way To Be a Gentleman

Being a gentleman is about being considerate of other people, within reason. That’s it. There is nothing else to it. It’s not a bunch of fancy rules involving handkerchiefs, umbrellas, and calling cards. And it does not involve treating women like they’re helpless.

A lot of people think that being a gentleman involves grand gestures of kindness or generosity. Examples:

  • Offering a woman you don’t know your umbrella – Would you take an umbrella from a stranger? How would you get it back to them?
  • Holding a door open for anyone who’s more than five feet away from it. You’re insinuating that they’re too weak to open it themselves, and obligating them to run to spare you from having to hold it open for so long.
  • Taking “Ladies First” to absurd extremes – If you’re at the front of an elevator and a woman is at the back, you’re not doing her any favors by moving around so she can squeeze past you. Just get out of the damn elevator and make everyone’s life easier, please.
  • Anything that would make you uncomfortable if someone did it for you, especially if you suspected that they had ulterior (read: sexual) motives.

Basic politeness and common courtesy, on the other hand, are always welcome. Some easy ways to demonstrate it are:

  • Listening intently, showing an interest in other people and their interests
  • Hold the door for the person behind you, if they’re right behind you, regardless of their age or gender.
  • Saying “Please” and “Thank you”.
  • Call people you don’t know “Sir” or “Ma’am”.

Do these things every day with everyone, male or female. Then when you open a door for an attractive female, it won’t seem awkward or forced.

And don’t expect a thank-you or a woman’s phone number when you do any of these things. It’s called common courtesy for a reason.

How smart people unknowingly sabotage themselves by neglecting to develop one simple skill

It’s been said that luck = preparation + opportunity. Most geeks are great at the preparation part. We’re willing to spend hours and hours alone studying, practicing, and working hard at what we love. But we neglect the other half of the equation: opportunity.

The problem with this approach is that, despite the cliche, opportunity doesn’t knock on the door while you’re sitting at home alone preparing. You have to go out and find it. And more often than not, it happens serendipitously, through the people you know. You can’t just go up to random people, or to people who you think have the ability to help you, tell them what you do and say “Do you have any opportunities for me?”

For example, when I first moved to Puerto Vallarta and wanted to start playing music, I went around to several bars and restaurants and asked them if they needed live music. Most said no, some said they’d look at my Web-site and give me a call, but none of them did. But then one day I was walking home and I passed a boring little bar with a few gringos inside and I told myself “I haven’t done any socializing today. I’m going to go in here and have a drink and see what happens.”  The guy next to me at the bar was the owner of a rock club in the tourist zone, and by chatting him up casually, I got my first gig. From there it all grew through word of mouth and from the people I met. I got my favorite gig, playing at a yoga retreat that’s only accessible by boat, through a guy I met at a party that I wasn’t sure I wanted to go to. But because I forced myself to get out of the house and meet people, I now get paid to get on a boat every Tuesday around sunset and go play music at a bar overlooking the beach to groups of mostly women, then I wake up the next morning and hang out on the beautiful deserted beach by myself.

And the beauty of expanding your social circle is that it can open up opportunities that you weren’t even expecting. I got asked to be a model for the Puerto Vallarta tourism board, which meant that I got paid to spend a day on a yacht with beautiful women, sunbathing and paddle-boarding, through a woman I struck up a conversation with at a salsa club.

But it’s not just about creating opportunities. Being social will make you happier and healthier.  A study found that even introverted people are happier when they act like extroverts.

On the flip side, loneliness is toxic. Studies have shown that lonely people have a greater tendency to abuse alcohol and drugs, get sick, and die young, than people with active social lives.

This is because we’re a social species, like apes, dolphins, and wolves. We’ve romanticized the idea of the “lone wolf”, but in reality, the lone wolf doesn’t get to mate.

So, if you don’t want to be an evolutionary failure as well, you’d better start cultivating your social skills. Too often, we nerds spend all our time avoiding people and then complain that we have a hard time talking to girls. News flash: women are people, too. If you get better at talking to people, you’ll get better at talking to girls. Haven’t you ever noticed that the guys who are good at talking to girls are also the guys who have a lot of friends and acquaintances, and tend to be at the center of their social circle?

This is because women intuitively understand that social success = success in life. Studies have shown that women are more likely to notice a man when he’s with other people, and that women find men more attractive if they see him with other women who are smiling or laughing.

How many female friends do you have? Most guys complain about being in the friend zone, but the friend zone is actually your key to success. Your female friends are your chick magnets. Treat them really well, but don’t hit on them and creep them out. Practice being your best self around them – fun, charming, and entertaining.

But don’t focus myopically on one gender or age group. Everyone you meet has the potential to open a door for you, introduce you to someone special, or teach you something new about the world. Every person is more fascinatingly complex than the most intricately plotted novel or video game. Whether you want to spend lots of time with them or not, be curious about what makes them tick.

Learn to love people, and the world will open up to you.

The Wisdom of Wife-Swappers: 3 Things Swingers Can Teach You About Sex

Swinging is a fascinating and misunderstood lifestyle. It’s definitely not for everyone (and not for me), but I was curious about it so I did some research and I discovered some interesting things. I even found some valuable lessons that can improve anyone’s sex life. Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Learn to let go of jealousy. Swingers know that while sex and love go great together, they’re not quite the same thing. Just because your partner is sexually attracted to someone else, it doesn’t mean that they love you any less. It just means they’re a normal human being with normal desires. Whether or not you and your partner decide to actually fool around with other people, the desire is always going to be there, whether you like it or not. So, instead of letting it freak you out, let it turn you on to know that your partner is a sexual being who other people find desirable.
  2. Don’t put pressure on people. No one is ever required to do anything they don’t want to do at a swingers party, and this is stated clearly up-front. Why? Because swingers know that enthusiastic participation is way sexier than begrudging consent. You can apply this to your own life. When you invite a girl back to your place, make it clear that you don’t expect her to have sex with you, either by saying so explicitly or by saying “You can only come over for a little while, and don’t try to get into my pants.” This is a great line because it’s playful, which brings me to my next point.
  3. Learn to play. Swingers don’t call what they do swinging, fucking, or wife-swapping, they call it playing. This term is vague enough to encompass any sexual activity from kissing to intercourse, because swingers know how to enjoy all of these activities without focusing single-mindedly on the traditional end-goal of sex. Stop racing to the finish line and learn to slow down and enjoy everything that happens along the way. In fact, stop expecting to get to the finish line at all. Your partner will be much more willing to fool around with you if you don’t expect fooling around to always lead to sex. Just play, and focus on having fun.

Stay playful, my friends.

How eating more fat can help you lose weight

What's the most unhealthy thing on this plate? Hint: it's not the bacon or the eggs.

For decades, it was the received wisdom that fat made you fat. Yet despite the proliferation of low-fat foods, obesity has only continued to rise. I don’t need to quote statistics to convince you of how fat Americans have become. You can see them all around you. Maybe you see one in the mirror.

If you are what you eat, then why doesn’t cutting the fat out of your diet cut fat from your waistline? Allow me to illustrate with an example from my own life:

I recently was out with a friend and I suggested getting gelato and she said “I prefer frozen yogurt because it’s low fat”. So we go to the frozen yogurt place and she orders a large. FAIL! She reduced her fat intake, but doubled her sugar intake. Of course, this is fairly typical behavior at a frozen yogurt place, many of which now price their yogurt by the pound, and have a whole selection of toppings so you can add in the flavor that was lost when they took out the fat. Gelato places never have toppings, and they always price their product by the scoop, because you don’t need more than a scoop or two to feel satisfied because it’s so rich in flavor and texture.

Maybe if the yogurt had more flavor, you wouldn't need to pile all that other junk food on top of it

Now, some of you may be thinking that none of this matters, that since fat has more calories per gram than sugar, you end up eating the same number of calories anyway. But not all calories are created equal. The human body is not as simple as the calories in/calories out model of weight management would have us believe. In reality, the sugar is digested much more quickly by the body, causing your blood sugar to rise. Your body can’t tolerate this condition, so it pumps out insulin to get the glucose out of your blood and into your muscles, liver, and fat cells. If you’re a sedentary, well-fed American, your liver and muscles are already storing everything they can, so your body puts the surplus glucose the only place it can: your fat cells.

This is why frozen yogurt is worse for you than gelato, despite the fact BECAUSE it’s low-fat. There’s no fat to slow down the absorption of the sugar, so all of it goes straight to your fat cells.

But that’s not even the worst part. You see, now that the insulin has done its job, you have low blood-sugar again. You start to feel hungry and cranky, and your willpower gets weaker. And eventually you give in and eat another low-fat, sugary snack, and the cycle repeats itself.

This is how we’ve become a nation of big fat dieters. Everyday, somebody eats low-fat cereal with skim milk for breakfast and then feels hungry two hours later, so they eat a muffin or a donut. Every day, somebody orders a salad with low-fat dressing, then has to hit the vending machine around 3pm because they’re hungry and cranky.

But if you add fat to every meal, you’ll feel full and satisfied longer. It’s not a silver bullet. You can’t eat gelato every day and expect to be thin. You can’t put butter on all your pastries and hope to mitigate the damage caused by the carbs. Fat is not, as one author suggests, “a condom for your carbs”. But adding healthy fats to healthy meals will decrease your appetite for junk food and help you get through the day without running to the vending machine to eat whatever some corporation thinks you should eat.

Here are four easy ways to add more healthy fats to your diet:

  1. Eat raw or dry-roasted nuts. Avoid salted nuts, since the salt will trick you into eating more than you need to. I like to keep a jar of natural unsalted peanut-butter in the fridge for nibbling.
  2. Eat more avocados. Some people think it’s hard to find good avocados, but the trick is to buy them when they’re still rock-hard and let them ripen on your counter. Placing them next to bananas will speed up the ripening process.
  3. Keep Greek yogurt in the fridge for a dessert. It’s deliciously creamy and very high in protein. And yogurt doesn’t have as much lactose (sugar) as milk does.
  4. Pour olive oil and vinegar on your salad instead of a sickly-sweet low-fat creamy dressing. Cream doesn’t belong on salad.

What you add to your diet is just as important as what you take away. Add more fat to your diet and start leading a richer, healthier, more delicious life.

Stay sexy, my friends.