Monday, June 30, 2008

Dudefile #25 - The Depressed Dude Friend (part two)

[ DW note: For the first part of the story see Dudefile #25 - The Depressed Dude Friend ]

hey Ddubs!

i wanted to say thanks for the advice! it took a little time, but after a long weekend in seattle of just friends, mopeds, and booze, he came home and had a nice long talk with his lady. ultimate decision? he's moving out and moving up in the world! i'm pretty sure he's still bummed, and will be for a while, but we all think its the right choice and he'll be better in the end. so i just wanted to say thanks!


-hopeful friend

Nice work, hf!

Just goes to show you should never underestimate the healing power of Seattle combined with just friends, mopeds, and booze. Or, you know, the genius advice of The Dude Whisperer.

May your friend continue to get better and may you have good luck with the dudes.

the DW

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Dudefile #26 - The Goatee


My friends and I love your site!!

My q is regarding dude's goatee. He's a new dude I just recently started dating. He's half-Asian which is code for *very little facial hair* and yet, he insists on growing a goatee. It just kind of ends up looking crusty and unkempt, and well, let's face it, I think it's unattractive. But he sees it as an integral part of his facial structure. Is there any way to sway my dude, to shed the light, er, that is to say to shed the goatee? Do any precious words exist that could make him shave it off or is it a lost cause? It's not that it's a deal breaker, but, what can I say, I prefer them clean-shaven.What magic words can I whisper to my dude??

- Smoothie

Hi Smoothie,

Ah, the p^ssy goat. The prison pus&y. The pudding ring. The chin strap. I’ve got good news and bad news for you on this front, Smoothie. First, the bad.

As a phenomenon the goatee is going nowhere. It’s like how the DW’s grandfather wore a hat well into the 1990’s and the old hippies over in the Haight still wear tie-dyes and headbands. Time and fashion keep moving, but all of us, to one degree or another, end up standing pat at some point with the things that were cool to us at a certain age. There will be a spate of Gen-X mouthringers for the next fifty years, just as many hipsters of today will overestimate the shelf life of their Burt Reynolds/ Earl Hickey lipstripes and cling to that initially half-ironic statement with surprising earnestness until one day their teenaged daughters tell them they look, like, so 2008. Really, the only way to completely stomp out a facial hair fashion move is to have a Hitler come along. So, unless Stone Cold Steve Austin organizes some kind of roid-inspired genocide, get used to more of the goatee.

Now, the good news. You might be able to get Mr. Crusty to shave this thing. Look, for one thing, dudes may be less in tune with fashion than you are, but none of us wants to be a clown. Also, dudes are best at expressing that they care about you through actions instead of some tedious talking stuff we can’t and don’t want to keep up with. Put those two things together and you should just tell him what you honestly think. You don’t need too much of a segue. Just be mildly diplomatic or clever. Here’s how the DW’s wifey broached a similar subject about a month or two into their courtship.

Scene- In bed, late at night. Mood- Happy and goofy.

Wifey: What thing about me do you least like?
DW: Uh, nothing, shnookums. You’re perfect. Super perfect, actually.
Wifey: (Waits for DW to understand he’s supposed to ask her the same question. This takes a while.)
DW: Oh, uh. What do you least like about me?
Wifey: Your mock turtlenecks.

And that was that. Topic on the table. Since the DW is the kind of dude who really doesn’t care much about fashion and shops for clothes less than once a Jupiter year, simply raising the issue was enough to get him to purge a couple Steve Jobs specials from the closet. Your dude might be just as easy, but if it takes a little more persuading here are a couple things to keep in mind when crafting your argument.

One- Make sure you keep the argument that goatees are ridiculous To People In General, not just as a matter of your personal preference. If the dude feels like it’s just a matter of your opinion, he’ll resist because he’ll hear the crackle of the p$ssywhip in your voice. After all, why does your opinion matter more than his? But it’s harder to argue against conventional wisdom about what is cool. Maybe even couch it that you’re trying to do him a favor and spare him public scorn or spare him from looking old or something. Remember- Say It’s Not Just You.

Two- Stay focused on the fact that shaving is subtracting rather than adding. It’s stuff like “But you’d look so cute in this two hundred dollar Euro disco shirt,” that makes dudes feel like pets and instinctively resist and cling desperately to everything you hate just to retain some dignity. Dudes do not like to feel like you are dressing them up. But if you were to say, for instance, that the goatee is just “one less thing for you to think about” or that he “doesn’t need it” or something like that it appears less like you’re trying to talk him into something than trying to do him a favor.

This all said, you might well meet with resistance. The DW’s favorite 'around the house shirt' is literally 20 years old and has a hole in the left armpit the size of a salad plate. It’s tattered and stretched out, the DW’s wife hates it, and it probably does look dumb, but you’ll have to pry it out of his cold dead hands. It’s his favorite shirt and that’s that. If your dude is similarly attached for no real logical reason to the nosebeaver you may just have to live with it because no argument will work to get rid of it.

Whatever way it plays out, though, bringing up the topic isn’t going to be a huge problem to your dude. If he wants to shave, he’ll feel good about doing something for you. If he doesn’t, he’ll feel good about sticking to his guns and being manly and resisting being whipped. If you’re prepared to accept either outcome (and it's good this isn't a deal breaker for you because you really do need to be prepared to accept either outcome) there’s little risk in bringing any of this up.

Best of luck bringing your man’s face into the new millennium,

the DW

Friday, June 20, 2008

Dudefile #25 - The Depressed Dude Friend

hello dw!

man, this isn't really my place to do so, but i had to ask. i have i good guy buddy who i've known for a few years now who is pretty obviously and unmistakably miserable. i mean, everyone knows it. really! ask any one of his close friends!

and everyone knows why too. he's been with his lady for the better part of a decade, and, well, they're not in love. they've had a rent controlled apartment together for years, she paid off his school loans, they have some similar friends, etc etc, but really, is that enough? he never talks about her and she never comes to hang out. most of us (myself included) joked about how she must be imaginary until she happened to be at the same bar one night a couple of months ago!

he told me they stopped having sex years ago, but that he would feel far too guilty to look else where. whenever i've tried to talk to him about it, he gets really uncomfortable and tries to skirt around the issue by making jokes or changing the subject.

it's important to note though that he has never explicitly said that he is unhappy.who knows DW!? maybe i'm wrong. maybe we're all wrong!

i'd like you're input on the situation. i know you said a dude wont change, and maybe a life of convenience over passion/sex/love is what he really wants, but i'd like to hold out some hope.

-hopeful friend

ps - i forgot to say, one of our mutual dude friends tried to console him one day with this advice: "maybe one day you can grow a pair, fuck a bitch, and when your girlfriend finds out, she'll dump you so you can finally be free and happy"see why help is needed!????

Hi hopeful,

Apropos of nothing, the DW would just like to share that it is currently Hot As Balls in San Francisco. Hot. As. Balls. Asphalt is melting. Ice cream is melting. Dogs are melting. The DW is clutching a glass of water against his forehead and typing in his underpants. Hot. Real hot. And now on to the answer…

Look, you’re not wrong about your friend. Even couples that loathe each other find a way to bone every now and again. Straight dudes in prison turn to boning each other rather than face a life of celibacy. This dude is depressed and trapped and miserable and the DW feels for him. Reduced to the essentials, people who are happy act happy. People in love act like people in love. This dude is acting like he’s going home every night to a stern waterboarding.

So what to do? Well, something has to shake this dude out of his routine. He’s dug so far into a rut he can’t see anything else anymore. He feels like if he breaks up with his girlfriend or moves out or quits his job his whole world will come unglued and he’ll lose control and the universe will reverse Big Bang and kill us all. What he needs to be reminded of is that the consequences of his actions aren’t as far reaching or as important as he thinks. He needs to be brought back into the world where people break up and move out and very few people notice or care. And the DW means ‘few people notice or care’ in the positive sense- as in, there’s no pressure on you, nobody writes a newspaper article about your breakup, the world keeps turning, big whoop.

How to get this guy to see the world anew is the harder question. Your non-depressed dude friend with the 40 Year Old Virgin style advice probably wants to take this dude to Vegas and pump him full of beers and lap dances, but that’s not gonna work. To a depressed person, sh^t like ladies with fake boobs twirling on a pole to “Pour Some Sugar On Me” is just proof that the whole world has gone utterly and irreversably insane.

That said, the impulse of getting him out of town without Harvey the Invisible Girlfriend is a good one. Take the dude away camping or to some Musicapalooza thing or to a baseball game or to the Grand Canyon. Anywhere really. Without his ladyfriend. The DW bets he hasn’t been out of town in a while. Remind him how great the whole big wide world is. Don’t force him to meet new gals or anything, just let him see things he hasn’t seen in a while. Ride down the road and crank some music, eat at a truckstop, buy a kitschy keychain. Laugh.

And the other thing is this- the girlfriend will get along without him way better than he thinks. Like alarmingly better. Like he won’t believe it. He thinks he’s responsible for her, and the responsibility is crushing his soul, but she can take care of herself just fine. She just leans on him because he’s there and it’s their routine and it’s just easier than overcoming inertia for her, too. The DW bets any amount of money that after they finally break up, she, like him, loses ten pounds of depressed flab, finally buys a couple new pairs of jeans, gets a good hair cut, and becomes seventeen times more pleasant and desirable practically overnight. Honestly, he’s doing her a favor, too, by letting her go. Sounds like spin, but the longer they cling to each others misery, the longer they’re preventing themselves and each other from being able to find something good and right and wonderful.

You know how on airplanes they do their little In The Event Of a Horrifying Imminent Death routine with the belts and the oxygen? Well, the first time you hear someone tell you to put the mask on yourself before a child it seems really cruel, right? Takes a second to think through, but eventually you realize the logic is this- sometimes there are situations where you have to help yourself first to be any good for anyone else. Your depressed dude friend needs to apply the mask to his own face,think selfishly for once, and inhale as deeply as possible. He’s suffocating.

Get this dude in the car and ride!

the DW

Monday, June 16, 2008

Poll Results #10

As a brief preface to this one, the DW would like to note that he did 3 loads of laundry yesterday without any prompt from the wifey whatsoever even though he still had two clean pairs of underwear and several t-shirts that barely smelled. Which means he’s getting better. Or he’s a bigger p^ssy every day. He’s not sure.

Thanks, as always, for voting. The results…

How clean is your dude?

Shockingly. So clean you could eat off his exceedingly smooth ass. 37%
Acceptably. We’ve got just about the same idea about who vacuums and when. 27%
Moderately, maybe? I guess? 44%
Um, he’s not clean. 22%
Dude, he’s a freakin’ disgusting wild animal. Seriously. 0%

Well, after Dudefile #22 - Will My Dude Ever Be Clean it may not surprise you, fastidious readers, that the DW considers everything “Moderately” and above to mean “Dude, This is the Cleanest I’ve Been In My Freakin’ Life” on the Scale of Cleanliness for a Non-Metrosexual Dude Without OCD. Seriously, only 22% straight up "Not Clean" and 0% "Disgusting" is shockingly in favor of the DW’s argument that dudes give a better effort than is often recognized in this area. Remember what the Dude Brother said in his comment for Dudefile #22 because this is how dudes often see the situation. “the dude loses in 3 ways. 1. he now has to clean more often than he likes 2. he gets no enjoyment out of the cleanliness 3. even after all that, the girlfriend is bummed that he is still messier than her.” Yet we give it a shot, anyway. That’s love, baby dolls.

Now if you will excuse the DW, he has dishes to wash and a toilet to scrub.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Poll Results #9

A couple quick housekeeping notes first-

1. The feed should be fixed, but if you still have problems let the DW know and he will grunt and bang more rocks against his machine.

2. Also, drop everything this weekend because the DW will be at Borders at Union Square in SF this Sunday signing copies of his book “Showing You How Easy It Can Be To Understand A Dude” from 2-4 P.M. He wishes. Actually, he’ll be in Sacramento eating a cheeseburger at The Squeeze Inn. So, uh, maybe just keep the plans you have.

Now to poll # 9. As always, thanks to those who took the time to vote…

What's the most you've fudged a resume?

I don’t fudge. 37%
Just added little flourishes. 53%
Okay, so I might have just flat out made some big stuff up. 0%
Dude, my resume says I'm the president of Mexico. 9%

The DW wonders what these results would have been like if he substituted “resume” with “internet dating profile”. As was discussed in Dudefile #20 - The Lying Internet Profile, just plain making sh*t up won’t get you too far in the long run. Ultimately, in a job or in a relationship, you have to perform to keep the gig. You can’t bluff forever. You know, unless you’re super rich and connected or something. But, good for you all keeping it to acceptable levels of deception on the job front at least. Unless you're lying to the DW, too, in which case you should be ashamed of yourself.

Oh, and a special DW shout out to Felipe Calderon. Keep reading, jefe. And drop a note any time if you want the DW to explain in further detail how opposing contraception is completely insane.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Dudefile #24 - Insta-Commitment

Dear Dude Whisperer,

Okay so here’s what’s up. Drop me some dude knowledge on this situation. Okay so it’s not really a situation, it’s me. I’m obsessed with moving to fast. Listen if you put a homeless and mildly attractive man and an extremely sexy guy who clearly is never moving in with me until an appropriate amount of time and increasing levels of intimacy have passed, guess who I’m picking?

So my question to you, DW, is this - where do I find such a man? Listen I know I just said a minute ago that I would date a homeless guy but actually I was joking for the sake of example. Not that I haven’t dated a homeless man (they operate under the guise of traveling punks in some circuits - charming right?).

How does this insta commitment come to fruition? I have consulted 2 non whispering friends on the subject and they each have given me an option. 1. Single dads. I mean technically yes, they would totally move to fast. But for all the wrong reasons. I really need more gusto, more of a beers in the shower kind of guy, not someone who’s down to take me to soccer practice. 2. Faking a tragedy early on in the relationship which has rendered you with no place to live. This has worked for my friend in every relationship, but I just don’t think I’d be very good at this kind of lying. However if you feel this is most appropriate, please provide examples of believable lies which will get the goods.

Tell me what to do.

Thanks DW!!

Mostly just interested in getting it on

Hi there Mjiigio,

Look, lying is for the weak and the small minded. Shame on you and your fake-o nonwhisperer friend for even suggesting such a thing. But, um, if you do lie? The fake tragedy angle is so 2004, just like those silly poncho things everybody thought was the sh*t for six long dark months until someone finally said, “You know what? That thing is an a^s looking horse blanket with a hole in it.” Just say Sex and the City is worse than eating rhino poo and your favorite pastime is dealing out professional-grade oral magic while hanging upside down from your living room stripper pole during televised sporting events. That should do it.

Your other faux whisperer, though, is getting more to reality by suggesting Single Dads. The DW would also throw in Virgins and Those With Extreme Phobias. Perhaps also adding The Jockey Sized and Wide-Eyed Ex-Cons. Basically, any dude that’s wounded in some way. Not necessarily literally The Wounded (although that might work fine, too) but wounded in the sense of having what is traditionally considered a dating impediment. Poach from the dudes who are the most ignored and unnoticed. The Easily Angered. The Smelly. The Jack Johnson Enthusiasts. They’ll be the most grateful for your attention and grip like a baby monkey right off the bat the way you want.

But wait, you say. If Single Dads might move too fast for the wrong reasons, doesn’t that mean these other dudes will, too? You betcha. The wounded are gonna be a misguided mess of desperation and self-doubt. But that’s the choice you have to make. Insta-commitment or solid dude. They’re essentially mutually exclusive. You might ride a talking unicorn to Atlantis before a “beer in the shower dude” suggests you move in together after two dates.

And while we’re here, what’s up with wanting a beer in the shower dude, anyway? Aside from loving that you used the word gusto, the DW senses trouble when women describe these types of swashbuckling scenarios. Sure a beer in the shower sounds fun for Spring Break in Destin or whatever, but that’s what you want in your long term dude? Really? Think long and hard about what that Schlitz in the soap dish will look like in six months. A year. Ten years. It’s not going anywhere.

Maybe what the DW is suggesting is to prioritize your needs in a dude. Figure out what you must have and what you can live without. Unless you’re the DW’s wife, you can’t have everything in your dude. And holy moly, tap on the brakes a little. Relax. What you want might take a little time.

Best of luck sensibly going for the gusto,

the DW

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Dudefile #23 - The Dude on the Board

Dear Dude Whisperer,

The Basics:

I'm on a board. There is a new (dude) member who joined in the last few months, married, exactly my age, etc. He is extremely physical with me – hugs, lingering conversational touching/eye contact…when he's wanting to whisper something he finds a way to pull my whole head towards him (hand on neck, hair fondling, etc). He is friendly with everyone, extremely well-regarded in the community…and, in my opinion, kind of crossing a line. I can't deny being intrigued…but really *do *not want to *go *there (i.e. Married-Man-Land). Thankfully, he has not attempted to contact me in any way outside of meetings/fundraisers/gatherings…even when there's been ostensible board "business" to follow through upon. On the other hand, he's suddenly appeared on a committee I'm on, a committee which has *nothing to do with his expertise and everything to do with mine.

The Wrinkle/Extra Weirdness/Hilarity Ensues Personal Info (that might change your answer completely):
I met this very dude more than 20 years ago when we were both living far away. There has been almost no face-to-face contact in those 20 years. Let's say we were…camp counselors (we weren't, but that gives you an idea). This fellow board member is the first boy I ever kissed…all the way up to (and stopping just short of) actual boning. It is perfectly clear to me that if we were in this situation *before he was a husband and father…we would clearly have finished our unfinished business.

My question, disingenuous as it sounds, is can I assume my virtue and reputation will not be besmirched further by some one else's flirty horndog hubby? I don't want to be unfriendly (but I'm okay with standoffish) and since he'd likely deny it, I don't think confronting him is the way to play it cool. I'm fine with harmless flirting, but if it escalates….I honestly don't know what I'll do. I'm hoping the lack-of-follow-through is my sign that I'm safe.

Activate the dude-whispering powers for me, please, SuperDudeWhisperer.


Well, well, Flusterfluff,

Ain’t this a pickle.

You know, every dude has a woman or two in his past he wishes he could meet again for some, er, unfinished camp counseling. Sometimes it’s a woman he never even got to smooch, sometimes it’s the only woman who did stuff to his wiener that would make Nina Hartley blush. Whatever the case, the myth of that unfinished business woman grows and grows in his head until she becomes weirdly idealized and fetishized like in some old Reagan speech where he gives himself a boner talking about a return to some perfect America Nirvana that never was.

Thing is, most of us never get the chance to see The Sweet Sweet Lovin’ That Got Away, or, if we do, the current real and normal and slightly paunchier situations and appearances of both parties pop the bubble and the whole fantasy just kinda wanders off aimlessly like the last dude kicked out of a sad neighborhood bar.

Ah, but here you are, Flusterfluff, the unfinished sentence, still all hot and flusterfluffy and desirable after lo these many years. Whoops.

But here’s the thing. Even if you want to give this dude a little Sentimental Woody benefit of the doubt, he’s still getting too far into your space for the DW’s liking. The hand on the neck? Pulling you toward him? Inappropriate. No matter what the circumstance, the DW really has a visceral distaste for that kind of possessive horsecrap. And anyway, it’s not like you two of you are 15 and your parents forced you to break up 16 months ago. You’re adults who dropped trough and fondled 20 years ago. 1988 is a long time ago. Back then it was the Soviet Union fighting in Afghanistan. Back then Kathleen Turner was hot.

So what do you do? Well, the DW thinks you’re certainly right about not wanting to take the train to Married Man Land. That is not exactly a place where the bluebirds sing Zippity-Doo-Dah and the trees are made out of magical gumdrops.

Also, the DW agrees with the idea that it’s probably not worth confronting as an opening strategy. In most situations, as you may have noticed, the DW has a distinct preference for direct action, but in this case a couple things point to a shot at indirectness to begin with.

One is that, although this dude is being inappropriate, he doesn’t sound dangerous or creepy or something like that, and would probably, as you suggest, deny deny deny because that is often a dude’s reaction when he is flat-out busted on something like this. And on the off chance it somehow became a public moment of confrontation somehow or a rumor got around the wrong way about who was actually hitting on who, it would be really unfair if your name was the one that became somehow, as you say, besmirched.

The other is that even though, in general, The DW believes dudes are worse than terrible with hints, this situation should be a rare exception. It’s only the real cruisin' the club thinkin' they're god's gift to women type sh^theads that can’t get the hint of physical brush-offs. Especially if they’re married.

So, if you really are willing to be stand-offish, dust off those skills you’ve honed over the years from dealing with creeps in bars or offices and county fairs and buses and draw some firm lines. If he puts that hand back on your neck (did the DW express how much he hated that f*cking move?), remove it. Hand on knee? Same thing. Back out of hugs, don’t laugh at his jokes that are R or X rated. Etc. These don’t require a scene (again, unfairly, a scene would reflect on you to a lot of folks) and may actually carry more power if done quietly because the message to the dude is that your intent is not just for him to back off for the sake of decorum, but to back off, period.

Of course, if the above doesn’t work you may have to be public with a hand removal or you may just have to revert to what a previous reader called Parrot Mode and spell out NO for him slowly and directly. The DW bets it doesn’t come to that, though.

One last thing that might be most important of all if you really do have a serious level of temptation. When alcoholics are trying to get sober, they often think that the best way to proceed is to take the disease balls-out head-on. So, they make it a point to keep going to bars, hanging out with old drinking buddies, accepting invites to St. Patrick’s day keggers, that sort of thing. The idea is to challenge themselves. Fight. Overcome. Any substance counselor will tell you that, while noble and brave and well-intentioned, this is the single stupidest thing the alcoholic can do. Strengthening your will against temptation is one thing, but if temptation can be avoided altogether, doesn’t that make your chances of beating it a hell of a lot better?

In other words, the best way for you and for the dude not to succumb to sexy camp-style half-clothed desperate Soviet Era buttclutching monkeyhumping is to avoid situations where any such thing would be remotely possible. Don’t take calls from the dude, don’t meet him for dinner or coffee or church without inviting his wife and his kid(s), don’t let the committee meeting run late until it’s just you and him and a suddenly oddly inviting conference table on which you can clearly envision the imprint of your bare as%.

You get the idea. If you control the situations and keep the situations safe all that’s left is the winking and laughing too much and checking each other out that you can both leave at the Board, go on home, rub one out, and call it a day.

Here’s to camp-style lovin’ with a single dude in your near future,
the DW