Men can change. At least in the world of publishing. Slate's Greg Beato recently observed a new trend of men's service-oriented websites modeled after tried-and-true women's magazines. Arm curls and Megan Fox photos are giving way to advice on landing a job and communicating in your relationship. But Beato's not sure if that's a good thing:
"In feeling the pain of today's beleaguered males, these new men's mags also co-opt the dog-whistle decree that has informed women's magazines for years: You're not good enough. Try harder. With these 13 steps you can be a better person. "
It's an interesting point--men subjecting themselves to a media culture that has riddled women with insecurities for decades. If only that was the biggest problem. The more pressing issue is that many men's lifestyle sites are disseminating some pretty bad advice. Here guys are trying to improve their work and love lives, and their own comrades are leading them astray
But before we bash the men's self-help movement altogether, there are few excellent male-oriented publications launching in the web-universe that will no doubt appeal to both genders and any sexual orientation. But not all men's site are created equal...
The Good Men Project tackles everything from gender reassignment to happy endings through first person accounts and in-dept features. They're the kind of topics originally covered in women's magazines for shock value, but reading men's candid approach to their culture's compulsions is always more illuminating. The site doesn't offer straight-forward tips but instead examines certain double standards in masculinity. "Why do we demonize men who express their sexual needs?" investigates one story, another explores overcoming homophobia. Meanwhile Made Possible veers away from sex and focuses on success, style and money. The tic-tac-toe layout of the site's content is awkward to navigate, but delivery is fresh. Interviews with men who've landed dream jobs and advice on rethinking investments are the building blocks. In a time when more men are struggling for work, and floundering in the confidence department, this site is designed to reinvigorate their self-esteem without too much feel-good crap.
Man of the House might be the bearer of the best worst advice on the planet. Not sure who the target audience is, but an untapped "on parole" demo may explain the tips solicited. Overall, it's got some great pointers if you're a sociopath whose frontal lobe has been smashed by a tail-pipe limiting your ability to feel empathy or pleasure outside of strangulation. Here are some of their suggestions for wooing a woman:
- Minnie Mouse is a girl version of Mickey Mouse so Minnie Mouse is stuff girls like: "If her and her mother tell you how much she loves Minnie Mouse, then plan a surprise trip to Disneyland or Walt Disney World. Minnie Mouse stuff that you order online will make her happy as well."
- Take her to the theater, or any place with theater-like seats that flip up and down...remember you are a robot: "Take your lady to the staging of some dramatic work. I'm not talking about Broadway, but if you live near New York City, that would certainly be a great idea. In nearly every city, there is an arts community of some sort. Some of these productions have a big budget and make for a spectacular show. This will be an enjoyable evening for both of you."
- Do human type things that express totally normal levels of enjoyment from children: "Play with the kids, push them on the swing, catch them when they come down the slide. This will do the kids a lot of good and show her how good you are with children. That is worth a lot to many women."
- Bring up how much you want sex immediately: "Go ahead and get this subject out in the open early on. The sooner you talk about sex, the faster you'll learn if you're on the same page."
- If you don't know how to turn a woman on, the best thing to do is read about it in a book: "Some guys don't really know how to kiss a woman's lips or her breasts, how to stimulate her clitoris. If you're not sure how to do these things and do them well, get a book and educate yourself. You want her to look forward to having sex with you."
TSB Magazine, whose tagline reads "What your dad left out", has some misguided insight for guys on style. According to them the reason you're still single is simple: Not enough jewelry.
- Girls love Johnny Depp because he wears bracelets. Wear bracelets: "Celebrities like Johnny Depp, Justin Timberlake, David Beckham, and various other musicians, actors, and sport stars have turned the "leather bracelet" into something that conjures up the image of sexy. Peacocking with something as simple as a wrist full of leather bracelets will drastically improve the chance that a woman sees you in a more sexual way. The trick with the leather bracelet is to not just wear one or two. You need to have about five or six bracelets on at least one of your wrists."
- What else does your mom have in her jewelry box? Yeah put that on: "Can you show your personality without wearing accessories? It's hard. The right accessory can make a very bold statement to a woman and the best part about it… it happens in an instant. Some of the things you may want to try out are:
- a casual ring (or even more if you feel up to it), a men's necklace with a Celtic cross (that will make women wonder what's the significance), a pair of Ray-Ban Aviator or Wayfarer sunglasses...and many, many more."
- No necklace? Hit the gym and accessorize your neck with bulging, 'roid-raging neck veins: "Keep your mood and energy up. Listen to music that gets you amped, and make sure to include some big lifts in your work out (squats, bench press, pull-ups, deadlifts, etc). This keeps your energy and testosterone high, which will make you feel much more confident. It's very hard to approach women in any situation if you are feeling tired or lacking desire.
Man of the House and TBS may be a little, well, off the mark, but at least they're trying. Just a Guy Thing doesn't even bother trying to appeal to the opposite sex. We're more of a naggy pain to them, what with our jobs and our accidental pregnancies. Here's an advice article on what women really mean when they say things. Warning: author thinks he's funny and if you don't agree, he'll assume you just don't get it.
- "She says: My boss is being so mean to me today. She ACTUALLY means: It's hard to sleep your way to the top when no one wants to bang you.
- She says: I'm keeping the baby. She ACTUALLY means: I'm going to have an abortion but tell you your drinking caused a miscarriage.
- She says: I heard a noise! She ACTUALLY means: "Hopefully whoever just broke in will rape you first. I've always wanted to see that."