by The Concessionist
The Concessionist gives advice about the sordid choices of real life. Trouble? Write today.
My girlfriend is making kind of joking noises about how I’ve “given up.” But it’s not that I’ve given up. I guess that I never really even started. For example I’ve never been to a gym. Did I maybe give up even harder? Is this bad? Is she going to dump me? Is this how women warn you before they throw you out? We’ve been together over a year now and I love her.
Yo Ben and Jerry
Ha ha, yeah, it’s mid-February now, so what your girlfriend is saying is that you are actually six to eight weeks away from getting dumped. As soon as winter is over, and your lady sees some hottie’s ankles on the streets, it’s curtains for you. Say goodbye.
WE CAN SAVE THIS RELATIONSHIP THOUGH. Probably.
It’s just, it’s your fault. So.
Already, you are doing your part around the house, and like, being thoughtful, and doing surprising nice things, and being supportive, and asking questions and listening, and all that happy relationship garbage, right? That stuff is all super-attractive. Wash a dish, you’re on. GO OUT IN THE SNOW AND GET THAT MILK BUDDY.
But there’s also just… attractive.
Disclaimer: BEAUTY COMES IN ALL SHAPES AND SIZES. It’s a fact. You’re great as you are, and that is it, period, the end. Even better news? Men have it extra easy in this department, because many women that I know have told me they will trade off any ideas about a man’s body shape for other WAY more desirable qualities (such as, “cool, he doesn’t interrupt me every time I talk” and “he doesn’t openly degrade other women in front of me!”).
Also??? Many of us who date men (as I do) like an “untraditional” man! There’s something about a really big dude that’s so cozy. You’re probably a lil’ chunky right now, and it’s good for extra warmth in winter. In April, however…
When you say that you “never started,” I know exactly what you mean. I was like you! So here are the THREE THINGS EVERY MAN CAN DO to superficially improve his relationship which then results in non-superficially improving his relationship.
1. YOUR HAIR
Go to the barbershop. Immediately! It’s fine that it’s your usual hole in the wall that costs $16. That’s where I go, and I look amazing. You know how? While I wait, I leaf through GQ and Details. There’s a reason those magazines are sitting there. Last time I was there, I found an ad with a guy in it with a great haircut. He looked adult, mature and handsome. When it was my turn I marched up to my barber and sat down and he was like “Okay what are we doing?” and instead of being like “Um I dunno mumble mumble,” which is what I always say, I WHIPPED OUT THE MAGAZINE and was like “CAN YOU DO THIS HAIRCUT?” And he was like “Of course!” It was really embarrassing. And I lived through it.
And then when I went to work someone said “Wow that is literally your first age-appropriate haircut, you look good.” AND someone else told me, “Wow you look ten years younger.” How both those things are true I don’t really know but I’LL TAKE IT.
2. YOUR HANDS AND FEET
Yeah, listen, your gross feet and your gnarly hands, they’re fine when you’re like picking someone up and everyone can pretend you’re a mechanic or a satyr. But that’s not for relationships. If you do not get manicures and pedicures, you are too shy to go alone probably. I am also shy! I needed someone to take me.
But you can do it. Just get the VERY BASIC THING on your first trip. Like walk in and say “Yes, manicure and pedicure please” and they’ll have you sit in some chair-thing and just sit there and wait and then they’ll be like “BUT DO YOU WANT A SPECIAL MASSAGE PEDICURE” just be like “No thank you, just the regular” and that’ll happen like three times, then it’ll be fine. If something hurts REALLY bad say “ouch” and they’ll make it stop hurting. The only other thing you need to know is move your feet and your hands when they tell you to and TIP IN CASH. Tip $10 on a $40 mani-pedi. Tip $20 if your feet are gross though, hello. Then come back in one to two weeks. Then you’ll be brave enough to ask questions and try new things.
3. YOUR OUTFITS AND YOUR JUNK
It’s time to turn the mirror on you for a moment right now. It’s time to look close at what you are, instead of what you want to be. Do your clothes fit? Do you smell bad? Are you wearing the same thing all the time? Are you busting out of your jeans? Are your boxers sad and droopy? Has your lady ever told you about how she prefers your body hair? And have you ignored her? Do you have a beard or mustache or a frightshow of pubic hair that she hates? (She may not! Don’t ever make assumptions if you don’t know.)
Maybe literally take some photographs of yourself and then look at them. Are you like, OH NO THAT’S ME??? Then, let’s keep this simple:
A. Shave what should be shaved regularly.
B. Wash what should be washed every day.
C. Go to the Uniqlo or the Top Man or the Carhartt or the Levis store or the H&M; or the JC Penney, I don’t care, and buy a few cheap staples like t-shirts or casual pants or socks and underwear that 1. suit you 2. fit you 3. make you feel good that 4. are not made of polyester. (They should be, generally, made of cotton.) Do the magazine trick again! If you see something, then say something — to a salesperson.
WE WILL STOP RIGHT HERE. That is way more than enough. DON’T BE OVERWHELMED. Pick one thing here and get started. We can deal with the rest later.
Wait, though, one more thing tiny thing. Start carrying gum. It’s like, a 1000% improvement when you’re suddenly like “Oh your terrible breath is finally gone, wow, let’s just make out all the time.”
Okay now that is more than enough. You do NOT need to spend very much money to get yourself right. Just a little. BE YOU, too. Keep being you, buddy! Just be you with a little bit of like “Hey I’m gonna keep myself looking a little tasty right now.” I believe this is in one sense what they mean when they say “treat yourself.”
Look, maybe you are going to get dumped, maybe not. In the end, it’ll work out fine. But why not bring the spiffiest you that there is to the whole thing?
Once I weighed about 30 pounds more than I do now, which wasn’t really a big deal, but I went home with someone who had A LOT OF MIRRORS IN THE HOUSE. And I got some views of myself I did not regularly get! And I was like “Oh hmm so that’s what that looks like, WELL, now that you mentioned it, that was not who I planned to be” and then I joined a gym and it was horrible and I hate gyms. I expressly went for vanity though. I did not go for my health. I did not go for longevity. I only went because I wanted to look thinner when I was doing strangers who had too many mirrors. That is a valid if maybe slightly gross and shameful life decision. I don’t care though, it’s my life.
Just remember that men are basically bad in every way and that anything you can do to be less of a “man” is an improvement. There you go, sport! Best of luck!
The Concessionist is an adult human in New York City who is somewhat worn down and willing to make a good number of sacrifices for a peaceful life. Is it decision fatigue? Or just ennui? That’s probably a question for a psychiatrist. Anything else, ask me.