Erik Parker wants to help us, ladies. He knows we're all just dying to know what it takes to keep men happy, so he's laying it out there as best he can, listing the "11 Things He Wants From You," a list of basics that he deems essential to the survival of any relationship. "Guys can be needy," Parker says, "So here's a compilation of the thoughts and acts that will require minimal sacrifice on your part while bringing us untold pleasure. Read it, learn it, try it. Thank you." Oh I read it, Erik Parker. It's the same stupid list we've been getting for the past 20 years: Men love their sports teams! Men want you to go down on them in a super enthusiastic way! Men need their bro-time, bro! Reading the list is a bit like reading a receipt from Stereotypes R'Us. A look at a few of Parker's requests, with some advice of our own attached, after the jump.
- Want He Wants: A guilt-free boys' night out. The cure for "girly-man" syndrome is contact with other high-fiving men. This may mean a trip to the bar or an Ultimate Fighting Championship-but it's definitely without you, and that's OK. "See me off with a smile," says Al-Teriq, 38. "That trust is critical." What We Say: Your girlfriend has friends. You probably also have friends. If you can't spend a night apart and enjoy time with your friends, without having to ask your girlfriend to trust you, you might just be a douchebag boyfriend with a reputation for being a bit of a skeeze. Either that, or your girlfriend has some serious self-esteem issues that she most likely needs to work out on her own. Oh, and Al-Teriq, telling your girlfriend to "see you off with a smile" is a surefire way to get her to scowl at you, as I am doing right now, because honestly? Kind of a dick thing to say. And can we stop with the "Girly-Man" syndrome, please? Getting drunk and high-fiving at a strip club while your friend Ryan cries in his beer about his sliding stocks does not necessarily make you any manlier.
- What He Wants The right to keep Secrets. Why should he have to tell you his friend is having an affair, or that his cousin lost his job and hasn't told his wife yet? If it's not integral to your relationship, don't feel threatened. His discretion shows he's a grown-up. What We Say: Ok, fine. Everyone is entitled to their secrets. But if the secret is something like, "I'm married," or "I have a family in Topeka," or "There are 15 bodies in the basement," you should probably give that information up. It's common courtesy, you know? And a true "grown-up" would probably be mature enough to discuss most things with his partner, anyway.
- What He Wants Some space when his team loses the big game. And you can save your "maybe next year" optimism; just give us time alone to weep. What We Say: Oh, like you're the only one who has a crappy team? How 'bout you back off when say, the Seattle Mariners suck more than the suckiest bunch of sucks who ever sucked? And also? Some women like to watch sports for the sports. So you can drop the whole "You just like so-and-so because you think he's hot" b.s. Hotness in a talented athlete is just a bonus, really.
- What He Wants Big guffaws and tiny giggles. We like to hear laughter-preferably following one of our silly jokes. We know, we know: Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld we are not, but anything you offer will be very much appreciated. What We Say: If you really want people to laugh at your jokes, dude, you should probably tell good ones. The time of laughing at a really lame-ass joke just to impress the boys ends somewhere between 7th and 8th grade. And who wants to be with someone who only pretends to find them funny?
- What He Wants The freedom to be himself. It's important for people in a relationship to retain a sense of self, and for guys that's achievable in some unexpected ways. "Leaving the toilet seat up or spending the weekend in boxers can be an act of rebellion," says Samuel, 27. "We need to do stuff we've always done, even though you might not like it." What We Say: Yeah? If it's so "important for people in a relationship to retain a sense of self," then maybe you should stop making lists of what we should do to make you happy, jackass. If you can't grow up enough to consider your partner's feelings, then maybe you're just not ready to have a partner at all.
- What He Wants: Patience when he says the wrong thing. Like when you ask, "How's my hair?" and we say, "Fine," instead of "Amazing!" Give us a break: We're trying. What We Say: Try harder, Erik Parker. Just try harder.