• Tue, Jan 4 2011

Bad in Bed With Cosmo

Welcome to Bad in Bed, where we discuss sex and relationship advice that we don’t want, and the people we don’t want it from. Today’s subject is Cosmopolitan magazine.

Women’s magazines are notorious for attempting to choke us to death with bad relationship advice. Be coy, don’t be coy. Speak your mind, but only in the ways laid out in August’s issue, not July’s. Be a bitch, but be nice. Really, it’s enough to make one’s mind start to spin.

Well, the latest advice, courtesy of Cosmo, is to try to get comfortable with the idea of your partner checking other people out in front of you:

“…you have to understand that your guy isn’t blind either. If you see that he notices some chick, as long as he’s not outright drooling over her, don’t make a big deal out of it. You can even score points with him by joining in and saying something like, ‘Oh, she’s cute,’ advises professional counselor Roger Rhoades of Carolina Counseling in Greenville, South Carolina. ‘Acknowledging that another woman is attractive makes you seem confident, which only adds to your own appeal.’”

Ummm….yeah. You’ll look “confident.” You won’t look like the seething, resentful beast that you are.

Honestly? There’s nothing worse than a woman who tries this hard to be cool. Also, I think that probably your guy, or your girl, would welcome a little jealousy. It’s normal. It’s human. It shows that you have a pulse and a desire to mate with your partner. It shows that you aren’t a 17-year-old who’s too afraid of her own feelings to voice them.

But Cosmo’s advice doesn’t end there. They’d also like you to know that some people, who are way more cool and relaxed about things than you are, already do this:

“Or do what Stella,* 29, does with her guy. ‘My boyfriend and I like to play this game we call Hot or Not, where we people-watch and rate all the passersby,’ she says. ‘It’s a fun way for both of us to ogle hotties without pissing the other person off. Plus, it gives us interesting insight into each other’s taste.’”

Isn’t that nice for Stella, 29? I’m so happy for her! And I’m sure that she exists, too. (Also, I believe scientific evidence would hold that men generally check out women at a much greater rate then women check out men, so if you’re in a hetero relationship this game is unlikely to be fair and balanced.)

Anyway, the point is this. I don’t doubt that there are some people who really are cool with their partners checking out other people in front of them. But my guess is that those people account for about 5% of the general population, and the rest of the people who say that they’re fine with that kind of thing are just posturing.

Sure, we all know intellectually that our partners will look at other people. We’re all smart, well-educated, open-minded and liberal. All of us. Every single one. But unfortunately, all that learnin’ doens’t ever seem to teach our emotions how to not care.

From Our Partners

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  • Somnilee

    I agree with what you’re saying, but it does go too far the other way too. Me and my boyfriend always had a joke of “If this celebrity turned up at your door begging for sex, I would let you” (his was Keira Knightley, I think mine was Hugh Jackman) – however when we mentioned it to our friend who was also in a relationship, she flew right off the handle saying how could we do that, it was treacherous, she’d NEVER let her boyfriend do anything like that (despite the fact it’s a statistically impossibility!) etc. So, I guess what I’m saying is that there is a fine line between actually lusting after someone and a bit of light fantasy.

  • Monica

    THANK YOU! Cosmo is really losing it!

  • porkchop

    Maybe they should have written about how some men look at other girls, and among those, some have girlfriends who are cooler with it than others–and while those women feel varying degrees of insecurity, no specific relationship exists between their level of security and their likelihood to demonstrate tolerance toward the ogling of other girls, nor does their value as people depend on either of these factors. Yeah…

    • teenie

      here here!

  • L

    I don’t think it would bother me too much, just irritate me and cause an eyeroll. But I don’t understand why people do it. Are you always thinking about dating someone else and keeping your options open if something goes awry? I try to never look at anyone, just because I don’t want them to come over and talk to me.

  • Goldie

    I agree with everything you said about Cosmo, and I can relate to your feelings about girls who put up with blatant douche-baggery in an attempt to be cooler than the rest of us, but…

    I’m sorry, but people DO notice hot people, men and women both. You’ve failed to distinguish between a guy noticing another girl and ogling her without regard to who sees him doing it. I think the former is natural and unavoidable and the latter is really rude (both to the girl and his girlfriend).

    My boyfriend notices hot women, sure. You know how I know he does? Not because he’s ogling them, but because I notice them, too. If a woman walks by with cleavage stacked up to her neck, we’re both going to look. It’s human. Some girls will notice someone’s cleavage and then immediately look at their boyfriend to see if he noticed too. If he did, they’ll make him feel bad for it. These are the girls with insecurity/control issues.

    It’s not that I don’t have insecurities– I’m sure it’s partly because we’ve been together for awhile (3 years) and are pretty secure in our feelings for each other. In the beginning I probably did look to see if he noticed other women. And when he did it probably hurt a little, but I didn’t try to punish him for it. You’re right that people can’t always control their feelings. They also can’t control the feelings of others, and shouldn’t try.

    “Stella” might not exist, but neither do your statistics and “scientific evidence.” If you want to be better than Cosmo, stop using them as your only source of research. (I would start by reading some Dan Savage.)

  • crystal

    I’m making my skeptical face right now, because I check out everyone, men and women, way more than my husband does. I often point out to him beautiful women he hasn’t noticed.

    Jealousy is normal and natural and still worth trying to get over, if you want to have a really close and trusting relationship. I know that the way I live doesn’t work for everyone else… wish the author knew that too :)