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Storybook Romance

by Stephen Lautens


January 18, 2002

The way women's magazines approach sex has me scratching my head.

There are always a couple of these glossy publications around the house. As an inquisitive male, I'm curious to know what is being said about us behind our backs. Especially when the covers promise to "unlock the secrets to fiery passion" and "open the door to his (and your) wildest fantasy."

I suppose I should have known that there would be little reality inside these magazines. What else do you expect to find when their cover girl is 14-year old Balkan supermodel so thin you can see light through her?

But before you find the promised story about tempting your man with illicit passion you have to fight your way through a couple dozen perfume sample pages so strong they will make your eyes water. If you're foolish enough to tear any of them open, your living room will instantly begin to smell like the funeral of a particularly well-liked mobster.

The magazine stories about "romance" only seem to have two speeds. The first ones are so vague you can't tell for the life of you what they're talking about. The second bunch are so brutally clinical that you feel like you've walked in on someone's annual physical.

For the most part, the articles in women's magazines about spicing up your love life seem to revolve around lighting candles and taking baths. It makes you wonder if their readers spend most of their time sitting around in the dark and need a good scrubbing behind the ears.

Frankly I'm amazed that women find any need to resort to candles, lingerie or beds full of rose petals to get some romance into their relationships with men. The truth is, most men don't need that much encouragement.

Don't get me wrong ­ it's not as if we men don't like coming home to find someone standing in the doorway with a rose in her teeth. I'm just saying that getting our attention usually doesn't require that much preparation or effort.

A simple "let's go" usually does the trick.

And while silk teddies, lace undies and pages two through twelve inclusive of the Victoria's Secrets catalogue certainly gets our motors running, between you and me, you ladies have about the same chance of scoring some major league romance if you come to the door in baggy sweat pants and a two-day old case of the flu.

I'd love to say it's because we men are not hung up on looks and can see beyond such meaningless external trappings. Unfortunately the opposite is true. Beauty may only be skin deep, but men's shallowness goes right through to the bone.

Blame biology, but most men were born ready, and it's only our ability to be easily distracted by hockey, engine repair and action movies that allows you women to have any peace at all. If it wasn't for our short attention span, the world's population would easily be double what it is.

So no matter what the women's magazines say, there are only two ways to get a man fired up and ready for romance. Either withhold your affection until it drives us crazy, or lavish us with affection and be rewarded with dog-like devotion.

Especially that last one.

© Stephen Lautens 2001

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