Liz Phair on how to keep a woman satisfied
Be a player. I knew my husband was The One because he made me wait. People told me that he liked me, they said he would ask me out to dinner, they told me he was single, available, and interested. And it dragged on and on. I was like, “What’s up with this?” Well, it was three weeks, but it seemed like forever. He just waited. I think I liked that about him — he wasn’t diving right into it. I’m kind of a diver, but he played me really well.
Give good gift. Most men, even if they’re good men, don’t get presents or occasions right. They tend to forget, they don’t plan, and they never get the right thing. But my husband nailed it once. It was for one of our anniversaries. He bought me this beautiful dress that fit perfectly, a little book of erotic watercolors, flowers, and he took me out to dinner. And then he made beautiful love to me. I was just floored. I’ll remember it forever… because he’s never done it since.
If you dump me, leave. a boyfriend who dropped me for his previous girlfriend came slithering back once. I ran into him at a bar, and he was drunk and throwing out reasons why I should take him back, like “You’re gonna die old and tired and alone” — really persuasive stuff like that. Anyway, he begged to come home with me, and — my friends are appalled to this day — I said fine. We didn’t sleep together; I just let him stay there, and he ended up barfing all over my bathroom. I cleaned it all up — something I’d never done for anyone before — and I think it was kind of humiliating for him: first rejection, then projectile.
So that’s why I always say that if you feel yourself about to grovel, the best thing to do is get out of town. Fast. And if there’s anything heroic you ever wanted to do in your life — photojournalism in Africa, learning to skydive — now is the time. That way it gets back to your ex that you’ve got a life, somewhere else, and there’s no way you’ll end up puking in her bathroom.
Always treat her like the woman you fell for. The nicest thing that my husband ever did for me was to make me feel desirable all throughout my pregnancy. He would get aroused and chase after me even when I was like “Oh, God, I’m a huge whale.” And he kept me from realizing how tremendously large I was. I felt beautiful the whole way through.
Don’t pick me up. I’ve never been picked up. No kidding. I’m the picker, not the pickee. When I was single, I spent a lot of time working out issues of access. I would carefully orchestrate how to be in the right position in the right social setting at the right time. I don’t think men put that much thought into it. Stalkers, maybe. And guys after teenagers. After all, how else would a forty-year-old bald guy get Liv Tyler? I’m sure they spend an incredible amount of time plotting and scheming and talking to like-minded perverts. Which means I’m the equivalent of a forty-year-old bald man. Oh dear.
If you want to sign to one team, be a free agent. When you’re trying to get one particular woman interested in you, date other people. You’ve got to have other things going on or she’ll be able to smell your desperation. That’s why women love a man with a baby. It’s not about the baby — it’s that the baby means another woman has marked him as desirable. It’s like certain kinds of birds: I’m gonna take that nest and all the eggs and have the male, because here’s a guy that’s obviously capable of mating and having a family. If there really was no woman, the single daddy wouldn’t be so attractive. Women would think, What’s wrong with him? Why did she leave? And why do I have to raise her kid?
Don’t take us too seriously. You know how women go through lots of emotional turnarounds and you’re always wondering whether they’re in the mood or not? Seduce us anyway, because we’ll eventually warm up and appreciate it. We want to be dramatic and have you come in and make everything normal, and not take our flightiness too seriously. Because as soon as you sit down and say “Okay, let’s talk about this,” it takes things too far. We don’t want to be captain of the good ship Hysteria, so just wait it out and we’ll come around.
Don’t believe the hype. That myth that says women don’t want sex as much as men and don’t think about having affairs? That’s a hot one. We’re just afraid that the consequences for us would be much too devastating, so the fear mutes the desire. But to say that men are the only sexual animals who crave sex is pathetic. Actually, it’s paleolithic: Women are supposed to go for the dude alpha male, to fight our sisters off tooth and nail so we can have the best stud sperm. That’s what we’re thinking about all the time, every time someone walks in the room. We think exactly like men.
I know I do. I’m so in touch with inner man, I could date myself.
Liz Phair’s upcoming album, Whitechocolatespaceegg, is due out this spring.
Details, February 1998