Sep
16
2014
1


WhyDid Wisdom: I Know What Boys Like

man filling out pollI have always tried to emphasize to my readers- because I know most of them are female and some of them are quite young- that taking pride in one’s appearance is certainly an extension of self worth, however, banking only on good looks is a serious gamble (hence, why I created Smart Is the New Pretty).  In tandem with primping and priming our exteriors we should also be grooming our interiors.  A shiny car is great until you slip inside only to find it full of garbage and leftover McDonald’s wrappers that even a Febreeze ad couldn’t cover up.  Sure, we’re careful about what we’re feeding our bodies (as we should be), but also being conscious of what we’re feeding our minds is what makes us complete packages.

I live in a city full of 400,000 more beautiful women than there are men.  Most people see only see Maybelline and Victoria’s Secret commercials on their television screens.  I’ve seen them in the flesh on more than one occasion, especially around February and September.  And even if you don’t live in a real time perfume ad, women all over the globe are constantly being bombarded by sexy sirens on TV, in magazines, and now even our Instagram feeds.  (Uh, belfies anyone?)  Here’s the thing: the women who stand out are the ones who can stand on their own.

Most of us still subscribe to women’s magazines or at the very least, “like” them on Facebook so as to have stories about losing those pesky extra five pounds, tips to make your man hot, and how to be basically perfect streaming into our lives on a regular basis.  Taking cues from Cosmo and other women who don’t know what men want any more than the rest of us seems like a case of the blind leading the blind.  I could tell you multiple tales of what not to do, but I decided to go straight to the source.  I asked actual men what they thought about certain things we wear and the qualities they find most desirable in women and the answers were pleasantly surprising.  Though they wouldn’t shock Susan Patton.

male modelsWhile this “study” couldn’t even come close to being considered “scientific” (although one of the classes I easily aced in college was chemistry), it does give a little insight into the male brain, which while complex is much more straightforward than our own female version.  To be perfectly transparent, my sampling really wasn’t that random.  It was a slightly homogenous mix made mostly of the men my friends and single ladies I know would like to date and probably pine over between sips of pinot on lonely Thursday nights.  They are the guys who would delight your parents should you show up to Thanksgiving dinner with one of them rather than that terrible ex of yours from college who only wore fleece vests and pleated chinos.  You know, the one who gave your younger brother an unsolicited course in the birds and bees after insulting your mother’s candied yams.  My pool of respondents are educated, successful, and worldly- not to mention handsome.  I suppose I also could have asked guys who frequent nightclubs because I know those guys too, but I don’t have their email addresses.  I can’t even be sure they have email or know what email is.  In any case, I compiled a questionnaire consisting of ten questions that can only begin to scratch the surface of what makes men tick.

When asked about their favorite outfit on a woman…

As I’ve often said, “Keep it simple, stupid,” or K.I.S.S.  This holds true for business and personal matters as well as your wardrobe.  Though answers to this question garnered some pretty scattered results including fitted jumpsuits, lace, sneakers with skirts, maxi dresses, and rompers (which were, ironically, listed as something we should stop wearing- but we’ll get to that), the answer that kept popping up included a variation of white tank/tee and jeans/jean shorts (here is an example of keeping it simple).  So, basically, your drop crotch Hammer pants and ruffled crop top are best left to be worn on a night out with the girls because your beau either did not notice, does not care, and as one of my respondents replied, is turned off by your wearing of labels.  Two other honorable mentions were the cult favorite, yoga pants, and his old t-shirt with a pair of boyshorts.

blue jeans white shirtAnd what we should stop wearing…

Animal print may be a continuing trend for fall, but don’t expect a man to fall for you when draped in pelts.  Sadly, many of the answers to this question happen to be some of our, as women, favorite trends.  As a matter of fact, many of the answers dealt with men’s distaste for women following fashion trends too closely.  The “arm parties” (can we stop calling them that yet?) that we so love are driving men crazy and not in a good way.  All of the clanking is not only creating an imbalance in arm strength for you, but also distracting and annoying him.  Wearing things that don’t fit your body (I have rephrased the answer much more eloquently than its initial iteration) and showing too much skin, namely cleavage are surefire ways to end a date early.  And that bit of underwear showing?  They hate that too but, don’t think that high waisted anything is going to be the cure all.  Last but not least, they may love you in jeans, but definitely not boyfriend jeans.

leopard-coatSo, who do they consider to be style icons?

Sorry, Miley Cyrus, men seem to be immune to your raunchy high cut leotards (not to mention antics) and Katy Perry’s cupcake cleavage seems to be lost on the male species.  As a matter of fact, one of the only young A-listers to be mentioned was Taylor Swift.  It would appear that most men who answered tend to favor classic (and covered up) beauties like Sophia Loren and Grace Kelly.  Other responses included Jackie Kennedy O’Nassis, Audrey Hepburn, Charlize Theron, Olivia Palermo, and the great Kate Moss.

audrey hepburn sophia loren grace kellyAnd regarding makeup: Done up or au naturale?

Save yourself some time and trouble when getting ready by paring back on the effort spent spackling your face in the bathroom mirror.  Though a few of the respondents preferred completely natural, most preferred makeup that looked natural, emphasizing your God given beauty, but not masking it with thick foundation and crazy eye colors.

Do they notice and/or care about our manicures and pedicures?  What about that leg stubble?

Sadly, and I can speak from experience, men do pay attention to details when it comes to our fingers, toes, and the limbs in between.  One respondent summed it quite well with, “It is the overall impression of being ‘together’ not any one particular aspect.”  Others said they notice, but would never comment on chipped nails or an unsavory shade choice.  As for unshaven legs, they were a bit more vocal.  Having a bit of blonde fuzz on or around your knees wasn’t a big deal so long as it didn’t imply that other regions may be overgrown as well.

whydid manicureWhat makes a woman attractive?

The beauty industry is $400 billion dollar industry globally.  We spend hundreds of dollars a month on creams that will rid of us wrinkles, painful procedures to banish unwanted hair, and makeup that guarantees to cover up any minor imperfection.  But what is it that really makes a woman attractive? Turns out, it’s not solely long lashes, flawless skin, or toned thighs.  What do men find most attractive in a woman?  Sorry beauty industry, but it’s brains.  From having a job and her own interests to a strong yoga practice and spirituality, it seems men are more interested in women who have their heads on straight.  Men find women who are interesting attractive.

On what makes a woman interesting…

Much like what makes a woman attractive, the most succinct answer was, “Her brain,” and that response was echoed and elaborated on time and time again.  Having a positive attitude, a sly smile, the ability to hold a decent conversation with well thought out opinions, and confidence were just a few.  A woman who has traveled on her own, can navigate a city solo, possesses her own style, and has something to add to a conversation or is able to teach others also makes her swoon worthy.  Having a little bit of “fire” doesn’t hurt either.

And what makes for a total dealbreaker…

We all have our dealbreakers when it comes to dating and mating.  These are the quirks that can’t casually be overlooked and just deemed cute.  While mine include things like lacking self awareness and wearing sports jerseys, men had some very specific responses to this one.  Interestingly, as one respondent pointed out, “Each [sic] woman is unique.  Something that is awesome about girl A could be a huge turn off for girl B.”  So, while one man’s dealbreaker may be another man’s aphrodisiac, here are some of the more interesting answers and it’s probably best to just bullet point these:

  • Drugs
  • Flirting extraneously
  • Wearing labels
  • Saying “like” too much
  • Seeing her read a celebrity mag
  • If she’s a bad kisser
  • Inability to manage money
  • Not having command of they’re/ their/ there and you’re/ your
  • Lack of common sense
  • Being outspoken with a low quotient for relevant and interesting content
  • No awareness of current events
  • Using “hahahaha” and “lol” in texts

One thing men wished women knew about them…

This question held some of the most valuable information in my opinion.  One gentleman wanted us to know that men aren’t as tough as we think they are and they stress about work and their need to provide.  Another added that they don’t think nearly as much as we do… about anything.  One pointed out that threats, ultimatums, and games aren’t effective because social media and apps like Tinder have leveled the playing field (Ouch!).  To soften that last blow, one response was, “Real men prefer a woman who values herself enough to be ‘hard to get.'”  Follow that up with, “Women please, as long as you’re being insane in your body desires, please, please, please move towards Misty Copeland and away from models/women who look like prepubescent boys.”  My favorite response came in the form of a video (below) and much like my YouTube experiences of getting sucked into hours of puppies, I watched several more videos by the same man, Mark Gungor (this one was life changing).

And luckily, men do know the difference between leggings and pants…

  • Leggings are just a single piece of fabric. kinda like thick tights. pants have some kind of discernible feature (pockets, zippers, etc)
  • Leggings are incredible for any situation but if we are going out to eat or somewhere special throw a pair of pants on please. Preferably leather pants.
  • I’m probably wrong but:  I feel leggings are tighter and comprised of a stretchy material.  Pants can also be tight, and stretchy, but not as stretchy as leggings.  I also feel like pants have seams and leggings may or may not.

 

xx,

WhyDid

 

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Aug
12
2014
0


Setting the Mood: Any Man of Mine
Written by: admin | Setting the Mood

mens fall fashion editorialOn a “date” (and let’s use that term very loosely in this instance) that ended in a sex shop on Sixth Avenue last night, my suitor turned to me over bisteca per due at Morandi and asked, “What’s your type?”  My initial response would have been, “Not you,” but I figured that wouldn’t exactly be conducive to getting through the rest of our meal without utensil related injury.  My actual answer was that I don’t have a type and that’s not a farce.  When I look back on all of my relationships- long term and very short lived- I’m basically an equal opportunity dater.  From Wall Street bankers to musicians, athletes, writers, and tech nerds, I’ve basically run the gamut when it comes to careers and as far as appearances go they’ve been tall, short, dark, light, and everything in between.  Of course there has to be an initial attraction whether it be physical or mental, but the reason my heart melted for each one of them comes from an intangible place.  Even the worst of them (and that’s a tight race) had his wondrous moments and I hold a special place for each of them in my little black heart.  That’s why this week, we are dedicating WhyDid to the men in our lives and all that comes along with them. So, ladies, let’s hear it for the boys.

mens accessories vans jcrew loro piana marwoodLoro Piana Storm System Brushed Cashmere Baseball Hat, Illesteva Square Frame Matte Acetate Sunglasses, Marwood Striped Wool and Cotton Blend Tie, Vans for J. Crew Sk8-Hi Reissue Sneakers

xx,

WhyDid

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May
16
2014
2


WhyDid Wisdom: Role Playing

role playingA true fan of a good prop and almost all excuses for a theme party (except for 80’s and ugly Christmas sweaters- I will not participate, so just don’t ask), I began to think about role playing.  Not only why it is so fun to slip into someone else’s persona even if only for an evening, but where some people fit into our lives and why they ever bothered showing up– especially without RSVP’ing.

My human wrecking ball reared his ugly head again and this go round completely demolished me and basically left me for dead.  An abandoned building with no plans for reconstruction.  Needless to say, it was a very difficult breakup to shake.  One that even after an extended stay in California post Smitty surgery I couldn’t manage to completely cut off.  Either that or I truly am a masochist.

I’d boarded the plane in Monterey late January/pre-birthday after having no contact for nearly two months, until ol’ Wile E. Coyote realized he was blocked and started bombarding my iCloud email with “I miss you” messages and invitations to cover seedy stories with him in Las Vegas.  True romance.  How could I not be hooked?  I kindly declined and upon arrival back in New York, I felt strong and assured that I’d kicked that nasty habit once and for all.  Sixth time’s a charm, right?  But just as all men must be born with one, his radar went off and he was able to track me down and catch me during a moment, wherein I was lonely, cold, and a few too many glasses of wine in.  The instant the door shut behind him the next afternoon, I immediately regretted having given in so easily.  His half assed apologies and falsified justifications were hardly enough to have allowed him to even take me to a shitty bottomless brunch.  Yet I had suffered what would be considered a relapse which had adorably been renamed by my friend- the only way of making it sound less tragic than it actually was.

block number

Numbers were re-blocked.  iMessage turned off.  Celibacy sworn.  Don’t worry, I was sure to repeat steps one through three two more times before finding out about his other concurrent victim girlfriend.  True to form, it had taken something terribly awful for me to finally throw in the towel.  This was ultimately the point of no return and surprisingly, it didn’t hurt as bad as I’d expected though it did disturb me a little for more than many reasons.

When a new (and wonderful) girlfriend asked that I please accompany her to meet up with some friends in the East Village one Sunday night early this spring, I was not expecting to walk into a startling and bewitching mix between Johnny Depp and John Lennon.  As someone who is normally all but immune to the male mystique, I was completely thrown off guard while being simultaneously drawn in.  I wouldn’t have been surprised if my mouth had actually dropped open onto the vintage wooden table where he and his bearded friends sat.  Covered in tattoos and stone cold sober, he wasn’t my standard breed.  He was actually nearing the polar opposite of the past, but after some bonding over Lionel Ritchie lyrics and exchanging of Instagram handles (the new phone number), I was sold.

johnny deppTurns out, the feeling was mutual.  At least for the next week and a half.  We made plans soon after and we spoke all day everyday following our outing.  We shared the same quick, sick, twisted humor and had similar ideologies as well as professions that complemented each other’s.  Though I thought he could potentially have had some staying power- there are very few people who can keep up with my undaunting and sometimes indecipherable wit- he all but fell off the face of the earth after having made lots of “future plans” with me and Smitty.  Oddly enough, this actually ended up upsetting me more than being dumped for someone who can’t legally buy a beer in the US.  After a few pow-wows with girlfriends and coming up with nothing but a lot of shoulder shrugging and ice cream sandwiches, we chocked it up to the “blackhole of dating” that is New York City.  The best way I was able to come to terms with the jilt was realizing that while he may not have been a forever in my life, he was an all but crucial bridge in the road to my recovery and healing.   And even though his behavior was only slightly north of total douchebag, I am so grateful to him for getting me over that little week long hump that could have just as easily sent me right back down the rabbit hole straight into another relapse.

It would have been just as easy to start wondering and obsessing about what was wrong with me and feeling angry at him, but instead I was reminded that I can not only be incredibly attracted to someone else, but there are other interesting fellows still out there.  Gentlemen who like you- if only for a moment in time.  Even if they do wear weird jeans and in retrospect probably wouldn’t have fit into your life longterm, it’s nice to be reminded how it feels to be pursued.  To be reminded that you are smart and funny and worth being treated with more respect than a dirty dishrag at a C grade sushi restaurant.

So, you see, not everyone is meant to be a lifelong soulmate, friend, or boyfriend.  Sometimes people are strategically placed into our lives at the exact moment we unknowingly need them to teach us lessons, save us from ourselves, and prepare us for what lies ahead.  And instead of feeling bitter and holding onto the anger about being abandoned, passed over, or neglected it’s best to look more intently into their ultimate purpose and thank them for coming to our party.  Even if they left without cleaning up, they technically did bring a hostess gift and it’s up to you to figure what that was and be grateful for it.

xx,

WhyDid

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Jul
11
2013
0


WhyDid Wisdom: When Your Fixer Upper Becomes a Human Wrecking Ball
Written by: WhyDid | WhyDid Wisdom

open cage doorHi. My name’s Kirsten and I love to save things. That’s right, I’m the girl who found just about any and all types of stray animals and wanted to keep them. Wild bunnies, frogs, lizards, birds, and even hermit crabs—you name it, it was coming home with me. I’m the girl who brought in her rescued baby squirrels to third grade show and tell. Yes, squirrels. Some might say I have a penchant for rescuing things, taking in the lost and forlorn. My parents were certain I’d become a veterinarian… or zookeeper. I probably would have had it not been for ninth grade biology and that whole dissection of a frog thing. Well, turns out the same little blonde who fed baby bunnies with an eyedropper when she was eight graduated to her own species as she got older.

Without fail, I seem to find those who are wounded, lost, or troubled for friendships as well as romantic relationships. I don’t seek out the wayward and wandering, but without fail, that’s who I find. It concerns me they say, “like attracts like” because if that’s the case, I must be completely insane. Whether it be an alcoholic, narcissist, schizophrenic or sociopath (I specialize in sociopaths), I’ve opened up my home and heart to all sorts of human personality defects. After many tears, broken hearts and promises, I started to realize my pattern. Admission is the first step in the road to recovery, you know. After my last breakup and a “pal” who couldn’t seem to pull it together, I made a mental note to be more wary of those telltale red flags.

So when my dear friend, ironically the same one who introduced me to my ex-fiancé– which should’ve been my first clue– brought me to a SuperBowl party hosted by another one of her friends, I wasn’t expecting to meet anyone of dateable interest. As our gracious host came over to introduce himself, I found myself attracted to his boyish charm mixed with nonchalance. My friend must have seen the glimmer in my eye because she immediately put her hand on my arm and warned me, “He’s not your future husband, but he’s definitely a good time.” What sealed the deal for me was his reaction to a gaggle of bitchy girls foreign to the East Village who pitched a full fledged fit over his inability to switch the sound from the evening’s playlist (bonus points for a shared love of gangster rap) to Beyonce’s halftime performance. Somehow phone numbers were exchanged and so began the dysfunction.

Heeding my friend’s warning, I hadn’t taken things very seriously. It all started off as some kind of joke. A form of entertainment for me and my girlfriends. I shrugged off the 3am dinner invitation. We laughed about the 13 missed calls ranging from 2 until 7am. The nonsensical text messages that poured in well past my self imposed curfew were topic of discussion over frittatas and mimosas. The strange promises that we’d some day be taking our children to Epcot seemed like silly ramblings, but somewhere along the way, I fell for this little lost bird. And I fell hard.

Sure, his clothes never quite matched, but in the most endearing manner. I never knew what he had been doing all night or where he’d spent the evening doing it. I couldn’t be certain where he’d be the next day or when I’d hear from him next. We could barely make it through brunch without a minor to moderate meltdown. But as I looked at him lying in my perfectly pristine white bed, long lashes, perfect teeth, floppy brown curls, and long limbs, I was hooked. The moment he walked out of my door with an inaudible adieu, my heart ached. I wanted more. And the cycle repeated. Over and over again.

After one particular raucous evening out, one might say that I could be labeled as “intoxicated.” Let’s not play Mary Magdalene, we’ve all been there. The problem was when we returned back to my apartment, my little lost bird said to me, “Maybe we should hang out some other time when you’re– less wasted.” The tables had turned. The caretaker had become the responsibility, the charge. I awoke the next day not only feeling hungover, but confused, hurt. How could someone who I’d been not only tolerant but nurturing of, turn his back on me in my time of need? That’s the pattern though. In a functional relationship, partners take turns with the ups and downs. As a zookeeper, you’re always going to be making sure the elephants have clean water and the tigers have fresh meat. They won’t bother worrying about if and when you take your lunch break or how you slept last night. To be a successful zookeeper, you need to make sure you’ve taken care of yourself before you take a step into the lion’s den, otherwise you’ll become their lunch.

And so, painful as it was, I had to let my little lost bird go, at least until I could reconfigure my own wellbeing. I can’t lie, however. If a hippopotamus with a sprained ankle and narcotics dependency showed up tomorrow, I’d make room in my queen size bed for him to recover. This time, I’ll just make sure my own deficiencies are handled first.

xx,

WhyDid

 

image via

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Jun
06
2013
1


WhyDid Wisdom: Judgey Wudgey Was a Bear…
Written by: WhyDid | WhyDid Wisdom

It’s very rare I bat even an eyelash at a guy when I’m out on the town.  Partially because I’m a bit shy, but mostly because I rarely come across anyone the slightest bit bat worthy.  But on one particular evening, I was feeling flirtatious, not to mention that I knew my marled grey sweater dress was hugging my curves in precisely the right places and my hair was on a whole new level of Pantene Pro-V commercial bounciness.  I might have also had two glasses of champagne, but that’s neither here nor there.

So, when I saw a guy at the table next to ours who did not resemble a Wall Street douchebag just let loose from his trading desk (unmistakable by their unbuttoned  custom tailored shirts, pressed grey trousers, and shiny black Ferragamos), I gave him the ol’ eye.  Even more so, I gave him the eye, eyebrow and half smile—my signature move.  Message delivered.  This tall, handsome, man of a man took his time, but made his way over to me to say, “hello.”   Names were exchanged, leading to the standard, “Where are you from?” question.  Him: New Jersey, Me: West Virginia.  We took digs at each other’s respective hometowns and a bond was forged.

Bonus points for his ability to not only dish it, but take it.  Double bonus points for texting me the moment he woke up the next morning (which was awfully early for the record) and having saved his number with both first and last name in my phone.  I never go out with someone sans knowing his surname anymore—but that story is for a different day.

After snoozing for another hour or so, I did what every twenty-first century woman in her right mind does… I first searched for him on Facebook to see if we had any overlapping friends, but found no relevant matches.  Up next, Google.  Due to his fairly common name, I had to think of another identifier that would make him more Googleable.  Oh, right, he told me he reverse commuted for work, so I typed in his name along with the city where he worked and, “BAM!” there he was.

Oh no.  How could this delicious dreamboat be a … carpet cleaner?  I’ve never even met a carpet cleaner.  There had to be some mistake.  Except there wasn’t because the same number listed on his website was the number so sweetly saved in my cell phone.  After discounting him for his less than desirable job title, I texted with him casually and one Monday night while having cocktails with a friend, Mr. Dreamboat suggested we come join him at Hudson Bar & Books (the irony is not lost on me) since we were down the street and we were essentially neighbors.

Having exhausted the people watching at our current watering hole, we obliged and found him sitting at the bar enjoying a Manhattan and a stogie.  He was warm and gracious towards my friend, a gay gentleman with a biting sense of snark.  We toyed with him by telling him my friend was the host of  an after hours radio show about sex to which he asked thoughtful questions.  My friend asked Dreamboat what he did and his answer surprised us both.  He ran a janitorial business.  My carpet cleaner was now a janitor?  When I asked what might be considered blatantly rude questions to his face, he didn’t flinch or get defensive, but instead answered them in earnest.

Wow, he’s a genuinely nice human.  Wow, I’m a bitch.

As he walked me home, he told me about how he’d started collecting art and couldn’t figure out where to hang a vintage mirror in his new apartment.  He told me he’d just seen a great movie and I was half expecting him to tell me something embarrassing and low brow like Iron Man, but instead he named a movie I had never heard of playing in a theater I didn’t even know existed.  Perhaps I’d judged Dreamboat a little too quickly.

This earned him a kiss goodnight.  One that must have been impressive because my doorman gave me a high five on my way through the lobby.

Things continued on casually.  Texts here and there, a date planned and then canceled and a run in with him during brunch at The Standard followed by a boozy Saturday afternoon with my friends mixing with his—one of which I had dated five years prior and another who may or may not have been a high end hooker.  Not much transpired past that day, not due to my lack of trying though.  As we’d been judging Dreamboat for being less than desirable on paper, he’d written me off for his own reasons.  Probably for being a sarcastic snob.

During one of my marathon phone calls with my dad, he was quick to remind me that sanitation is recession proof and while I’m sitting here writing this in my robe, he’s on vacation in the Dominican Republic.  Dick Smith, always thinking of things I didn’t.

Point being: careful when making judgments and remember that you, too, are being judged… even by your janitor.

xx,

WhyDid

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