Category Archives: Relationships

Dear Women, We Are Not Them

Dear Women,

I’m writing this letter to all of you on behalf of the large majority of men in the world. Is it arrogant to presume that I should speak for so many? Of course it is. I’m a man, would you expect anything less? Normally when I do something like this I run it by the other guys at the Man Meeting, but the meeting isn’t until next week and I didn’t want to wait another minute to say this.

Regardless of my unjustified hubris, I will attempt to say something meaningful to you during a terrible and wonderful time in our history. Over the past several years and in particular the last several months, we’ve learned that several men in positions of power or fame have used their status to commit crimes of sexual aggression against many.

What I am saying to you on behalf of 99% of the men on this planet is this: We are not them. 

Us, all the other men, are as horrified by the behavior of these men as you are. We applaud the courage of the women and men who have come forward to put an end to the heinous behavior of these despicable predators. As I said, it is a terrible and wonderful time. It is terrible to learn that there are still men who behave as these hateful criminals have. It is also wonderful that so many women and men are shining a light on the dirty little corners in which these vermin have hidden for so long. We are not them.

As a man, I am embarrassed and mortified that there are some of my gender who believe there is nothing wrong with that sort of behavior. As a man, I am also concerned that women will generalize their fears and feelings about these reprehensible human beings to others of the same gender. We are not them. 

Today, November 11th, Veteran’s Day is a day set aside to honor United States veterans and victims of war. Over the course of history, most military veterans are of the male persuasion. Women of Earth, in spite of the recent revealing of the hateful crimes of a few, please think of the millions of men of the armed forces, of law enforcement,  of firefighters and other emergency services, and of medical providers who have sacrificed so much to protect so many.  As men, that is how we want you to think of us. Not that you need us to protect you, but because we want to. We are not them. 

Sincerely, Men

Sorry to deviate from my usual humorous Saturday post. I find it just sickening every time I hear another one of these stories in the news. Hopefully this piece conveys the beliefs of most men and reassures women that we’re all not evil scum. As long as I’ve got your attention, I’m still trying to finish in the top 3 of the AllAuthor.com cover contest. If you have a minute, would you mind clicking THIS LINK and give me a vote to get me to the next round if you haven’t done so yet? Thanks!

Have a great Saturday and thank you to any and all veterans out there, including my brother and father, who may read this. ~Phil

 

Do Drugs, Not Hugs

Are you a Huggy Bear? Do you even get the Huggy Bear reference? Do you get the title to this post? If you don’t get either, I’m not sure we can be friends. And I’m definitely not going to hug you. The idea for this post comes from a friend of mine who hates the hugging culture that the world has become.

It seems that some people are huggers and others are not. It is commonplace to greet both friends and new acquaintances with a hug. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

On the one hand, if the person you’re meeting is attractive, who doesn’t want a hug, right? But what if they’re not? What if they have bad hygiene?

And at what point in a relationship do you go from greeting with a handshake to a hug? My friend, who hates hugging, will greet me with a hug and says that it’s acceptable because she knows me well, but at the same time, knowing her distaste for hugs, I can’t help but wonder if she’s just going along with the social expectation, while at the same time shuddering inside and decontaminating herself with gallons of Purell the minute she gets away from me.  How well, or how long, or what kind of relationship does it have to be for you to hug?

Someone you know personally and see frequently socially seems like an obvious hug situation. But what kind of hug? There are many different kinds of hugs.

There’s the touch shoulders, pat on the back hug: This one is good with friendly acquaintances, spouses of friends, and co-workers.

Also there’s the full body contact, rub the back hug: This should only be used at funerals and with immediate family members. Or right before sex, but hopefully not sex at funerals or with immediate family members.

And don’t forget the hug with the kiss on the cheek: This one should absolutely be limited to two situations. Greeting a dignitary from France, or if you’re someone’s grandmother and you just pulled a Kleenex and butterscotch candy out of your bra.

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I have to admit that a few months ago I accidentally hugged someone I had no business hugging and I’m still upset about it.  I only know this person in a professional context. I was seeing her in a professional context in this situation, but it was in a city I was totally surprised to see her in. I think it was the surprise of seeing someone familiar in a place where I didn’t know anyone that resulted in an impulsive, brief touch the shoulders pat on the back hug. At that moment I thought, “WTF? Why did I just hug her?” And simultaneously she thought, “WTF? Why did Phil just hug me. That’s fecking weird.” She probably didn’t think the word “fecking” because she’s not Irish. Then again, she might be. I don’t know. I don’t know her well enough to know her ancestry and I sure as hell didn’t know her well enough to hug her! Now, if I ever see her again I will calmly walk the other way and pretend I have no idea who she is. She could be laying in the road, thrown through the windshield of her car in an accident and on the brink of death and I still would have to pretend I don’t know her. If I didn’t know her well enough to hug her, I sure as hell don’t know her well enough to give mouth to mouth resuscitation!

My friend, who inspired this post, maintains that as a society we have become a hugging culture and it’s not good. Not good at all as far as she’s concerned. What do you think? Are you a Huggy Bear, or would you rather do drugs than hugs? Why don’t you hug this post by leaving a comment and…Take the poll!

Have a great weekend! Virtual hugs to you all! ~Phil

Throwback Thursday! My Momentary Friends

I don’t think I know anyone who was at the Ariana Grande concert on Monday, but then again, I don’t know about my momentary friends, including my British blogging friends. May you all be safe and may you all be there today. When you see your momentary friends take that moment to give them a smile, a hello, or a thank you, because you just never know.

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(10/28/09) Despite how you perceive me here, I actually do have friends in the real world. Don’t laugh, I do. We all have many different kinds of friends though. We have friends from school, friends from work, friends in our neighborhoods or apartment buildings, and of course our blog friends. We also have what I like to think of as “momentary friends.” These are people who may enter our lives for only a moment every day or once a week, but in many ways are as important to us as are the friends for whom we profess love and longing.

It could be the cashier at the supermarket you always go to because she has a nice smile and makes small talk about the weather. The security guard outside your office who holds open the door as you leave each day. The girl at Supercuts who cuts your hair and asks about your plans for the weekend. The guy who says hello as he passes you on his nightly walk down your street. Or perhaps the blogger who updates almost daily with a heartwarming story or amusing anecdote. We all have about a hundred of these people in our lives and for me I enjoy their momentary friendship immensely. I think we all do. As much as family or friends whom we know by name, these people also provide us with a sense of security. Often, more than “real” family or friends our “momentary friends” are dependable. They’re always there for us with that smile and hello, or perhaps only a knowing nod. Day in and day out, sometimes for years these nameless people are part of our lives and I miss them and worry about what happened to them when they don’t show up in my daily routine.

The fun for me is providing them with names and stories. I like to imagine who they are outside of that moment in time when our paths cross. How and why did they come to be part of my life every day? The best part though is naming them.

Some of the names we give these people are flattering and some are not. No matter where any of you live, I think you’ve all met my friend, “Man with bad toupee.” Then of course in every neighborhood we all know “Woman with enormous ass who’s always bending over doing yard work.” “Girl walking dog” always seems so nice. You have no idea where she lives, but she appears around the corner every evening at the same time.

One person I hate, but would somehow miss if he/she were gone is “Yellow Saturn A-hole.” This jerk parks his/her yellow Saturn in my street every day, completely blocking off traffic on that side of the street. As infuriating as this is to me, if they moved away I’d miss the little adrenaline rush I get as I curse them while I sit behind their parked car waiting for traffic to pass so I can get by. It’s only perhaps a 10 second inconvenience about 5 times a week, but that adds up to 50 seconds per week, 3 minutes and 20 seconds per month, or 40 minutes per year. That may not seem like much, but since I plan to live in my current house for the rest of my life, over the next 36 years Yellow Saturn A-hole will have wasted the equivalent of a full day of my life.

This post is dedicated to my favorite momentary friends: Hairdresser Nikki, Indian Girl at Dunkin’ Donuts, Walking Man, Rollerblading Girl with dog, and Security Guard. Without these people and their momentary friendship my day would be incomplete. I could probably do without Yellow Saturn A-hole though. This post is also dedicated to all of you whom I would miss tremendously if I didn’t see your little face or avatar in my likes or comments section regularly.

As always, if you like what you read please hit the Facebook or Twitter share button below and I would be humbled if you considered me as your momentary friend. Have a great Thursday! ~Phil

Pretty People Problems

WE, you and I, are obviously ‘Pretty People”, and it makes our life so much more difficult. According to an article in the New York Post this week, pretty people like us have the hardest time finding our soul mate. Mostly because other hot people like us don’t have a soul.

What? Pretty people don’t have a soul? Phil, please, say it ain’t so! Well, my little pretties, if you read the article I linked to above you’d understand, but DON’T go read it now because I’m going to sample from it liberally and take things out of context. The article is the story of poor, pretty, struggling Dan Rochkind, a “30-something executive in private equity” who “could have [anyone] I wanted,” says Rochkind, now 40 and an Upper East Sider with a muscular build and a full head of hair. “I met some nice people, but realistically I went for the hottest girl you could find.

According to fellow pretty person Dan, “Beautiful women who get a fair amount of attention get full of themselves,” he says. “Eventually, I was dreading getting dinner with them because they couldn’t carry a conversation.” So, he met his current fiance’ the way we all do; her mother checked him out at the gym,  gave him her business card and said, I’d like you to meet my daughter. Aaah, love at first sight! If I’m the new fiance’, I’d be a little worried about moms intentions towards Dan.

According to poor, Dan, his current fiance’ has more depth than all the vapid models he used to date. About his possible future wife, Dan said, “[She] is a softer beauty, someone you can take home and cuddle with, and she’s very elegant,”  Translation, she’s not like the hotties I used to date, but she’ll do for now.

But all does not end happily. The pretty people are fighting back to defend their vacuous stereotype. “When men see beautiful women, they are more concentrated on how she looks because they want to ‘have’ her, and so they don’t want to go deeper and get to know her,” says Isabell Giardini, a 22-year-old Italian beauty signed with Major Models. “And that’s why at the end of a date they wonder, ‘Oh that girl is so beautiful but so empty.’ That’s happened to me often.” Life advice from a 22 year old. So young, so pretty and so wise.

Pictured: Benedict Beckeld New York Post
Photo credit: JB Imaginative. He owns the rights to photos

But then, a guy who allowed himself to represent hot men said, “From my personal experience, people who are better looking are less likely to pursue advanced degrees, or play an instrument or learn other languages,” says Benedict Beckeld, a 37-year-old Brooklyn writer with a doctorate in philosophy and the body of an Adonis. But he’s quick to note that he’s not just a great set of abs — he also plays the violin and speaks seven languages.” A doctorate in philosophy? Seriously? Anyone know a professional philosopher? Yeah, he’s unemployed.

After a fair amount of abuse on Twitter and a LasVegasblog.buzz column that refers to Dan Rochkind as “Obnoxious A-hole” Dan’s equally vapid and tone deaf fiance’ came to his defense in another article in the Post, saying “Beauty comes from within — if a woman is confident, knows her worth, has nice skin and pretty hair and takes care of herself — that’s what’s important.”  

So nice skin and pretty hair are part of the beauty that comes from within? If so, my insides are covered in pretty hair! Yeah Dan, you’ve got yourself a deep thinker there! So, my fellow pretty people, do you agree that all the other pretty people who don’t read this blog are vapid jerks and should settle for someone with less looks and more substance? Also, after Dan’s inevitable divorce, who wants to date him?

Have a pretty Saturday everyone! ~Phil

TBT! Interview with The Dating Doctor

Aah my lovelorn friends! The Phil Factor has help for you. With the day of romance nearly upon us, I thought that many of you could use some help from The Dating Doctor. Here’s is my epic interview from 2015.

(02/13/15) David Coleman is The Dating Doctor. Is he a doctor who is dating? Is he dating a doctor? I don’t know and it’s none of our business. What I do know is that David has spoken on relationships and leadership to audiences all over the world.  For those of you unprepared for the holiday coming up we’ll focus on the dating part.  Don’t worry my literary friends; David’s expertise won’t be limited to just the questions I ask here.  He’s got books. Books you need to read before you do further damage to your love life.

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TPF: David, thank you for taking the time to visit The Phil Factor. As you may have suspected, people read my blog. Often they’re people who spend more time relating to others online than in person. What advice about relationships do you have for people in our increasingly social media focused world?

David: To “hover” a few seconds before you hit the send button on a text, post, tweet or mail message.  Once you hit send, you have put your words, video or pictures in motion and that action cannot be reversed, and never erased, so you need to be comfortable with all the possible ramifications of the way your words or pictures are received.  Also remember, if you publicly play out your relationship on line, every day, its success or failure will be just as public as well.   

TPF: What is the biggest mistake people make early in a relationship that could doom their chances for success?

David:  They mistake infatuation for love and fall far too fast, far too soon.  Infatuation is INTENSE. It is short-lived, demanding and can turn normally rational people into “life is too short…let’s do it” optimists.  They say and do things normally reserved for couples who are a bit farther down the line in a relationship and then wonder why they, nor their partner can keep up the level of intensity they felt when they first met. 

There are three primary types of loves people experience:  Eros (Physical), Agape (Heartfelt) and Philia (Friendship).  When a couple allows infatuation to rule their actions, they often skip the development of these stages and then get very disappointed in the end when things “just didn’t work out.”

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TPF: What’s the most impactful way someone can grab the attention of someone they are interested in but don’t know in a crowded/busy social setting?

David:  Eye contact…smile…say hello.  The look you share, the words you use, the way you express yourself and the interest you show will separate you from those who didn’t have the guts to at least say hello.  Holding a gaze just for one extra moment and accompanying it with a coy smile lets that person know that among people in a crowded setting, you noticed THEM.  Then, before leaving, you need to walk up to them and say, “I just wanted you to know that I noticed you.  This is my card (or my name or my email address or my number…).  If you ever want to even have coffee, say hello and meet, it would be my honor.”  Then graciously walk away.  Take the high road. The view is always better from there!

TPF: Craziest question you’ve ever been asked? And what was your answer?

David:  A woman came up to me after a show and said, “I’ll bet you have never heard this one…My husband is having an affair…with my mother!”  This lady and her husband had a weekly sporting event they took part in, but they were on different teams.  She found out that he would skip his games and return home to be with her mother who was supposedly watching their children while they were out competing.  My advice to her was, to return home early from her game the following week and walk back into the house with several close friends as witnesses along with her so that it would not be her word against theirs and so that they would be caught red-handed in the act.  I also suggested that she get a top-notch therapist and good legal advice if she indeed intended to head in the direction of ending her marriage.  I heard from her a year later.  She was doing well, had met someone new and felt as if she was at a healthy point in her life.  Her husband had been distant and abusive for years so this unfortunate situation gave her the courage and strength to move on.  Her and her mother, “we’re still working things out.”

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TPF: Your traditional education, Bachelor’s and Master’s aren’t in Psychology or counseling. How did you come to a career in writing books and speaking on dating and relationships?

David: As an undergraduate and graduate student both of my degrees had a high degree of social work, psychology and communications in their curriculum so I received a heavy dose of human nature and communication training.  From a young age, I had the innate ability to read people, know where they were in their life and give them the advice that the needed to hear, not necessarily what they wanted to hear.  I didn’t care if people liked me, only if they learned from me and my service or advice exceeded their needs and expectations.   I also seemed to have the ability to introduce people to each other whom I felt “might hit it off.”  My outgoing personality served as a bit of an ice-breaker and allowed others to meet with me as a conduit.  Then, they could return and ask me questions and my advice seemed to really help them. Thus, a career was born.

TPF: Our mutual friend, magician James David, referred to you as “A real life Dating Doctor like Will Smith played in the movie, “HITCH!”” Would you say that’s accurate?

David: First, James is an amazing talent and magician.  I am proud to call him my friend and yes, he is accurate. What Will Smith’s character portrayed in the movie Hitch is what I do every single day professionally. Like he helped Kevin James’s character connect to the love of his life, I help 10 or more just like him in real life on a weekly basis.  I basically try to help people get out of their way as many are self-sabotaging their chances of being happy and meeting someone with whom they would be ideally compatible.  I have dozens of success stories under my belt over the past 20 years and enjoy working with people who are seeking healthy relationships and unbridled happiness.  Talk is cheap.  I am not.  I have found that people who pay a price work twice as hard as those who “want something for free.”

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TPF: In your experience, are men more clueless about what women want in a relationship, or is it the other way around?

David:  They are both mystified at times because the game keeps changing.  The speed of the internet and social media, the explosion of dating apps on our smart phones, the increase in the number of people using dating sites and the lack of real human interaction due to texting and tweeting, etc.  has made both sexes wonder just how dialed in they are to the opposite sex.  You also have an increase in the number of people identifying themselves as bi-sexual, a-sexual, pansexual, transgender…and this keeps both men and women wondering, learning, experimenting and searching for people like me to help them navigate the often treacherous waters of dating, relationships, romance, sex, marriage, divorce and dating after divorce.   This is why I try to stay dialed in to the current trends and am not afraid to have candid dialogue with my clients and audiences.  You never get a wasted day back, so spending time heading in the wrong direction or paralyzed by fear is simply unacceptable.

TPF: David, thank you again for taking time out of what must certainly be a very busy week for you. For those that want to learn more about David, including his book on leadership as well as his books on relationships you can visit his website,   www.DatingDoctor.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.  Seriously, check out his website. He has some pretty impressive accolades. If you’d like some of David’s coaching you can call or e-mail him too!  Direct Coaching:  1-866-Date-Smart (1-866-328-3762) or email: TheDatingDoctor@mac.com

As always, if you want to share the love you get from #ThePhilFactor please hit the Facebook, Twitter, or re-blog buttons below. Is there any better gift for your Valentine than The Phil Factor? Umm…nevermind. Don’t answer that.

Consensual Sex? There’s an App For That!

Leave it to the mom of teenagers to take the fun out of sex. Two weeks ago an app, created by a mom of three, called Yes to Sex was newly available for  IOS and Android. “Yes to Sex” sounds like a great app doesn’t it? I thought “Yes to Sex” was the slogan for Tinder. Not that I would know of course.

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Those of you that lived in the United States in the 1980’s, as I did, will remember First Lady Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign that urged people to just say no to drugs. If some candidate had “Yes to Sex” as their campaign slogan this year, I’m guessing they’d be very popular. The Yes to Sex app doesn’t tell you to say yes or no, but it does allow both partners to log their consent and agreement on a safe word and using condoms. Woo! Sounds fun right?

According to the USA Today article by Marco della Cava “…partners can whip out a smartphone, fire up the app, and flash through a series of one touch agreements that culminate in a request to record a short audio confirmation that the parties agree to intercourse. A safe word is generated. Both parties agree to stop having sex if one partner says the word.” Wow, that’s hot right? I’m sorry to have sullied my family friendly blog with such smut, but it’s all in the name of public health.

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Code Butterscotch?!!? Yeah that’s a really safe word. If my partner ever says Code Butterscotch in the middle of things I’m pretty sure that would kill the mood. I’m pretty sure that would kill the mood before we even got started.

Girl: Ok honey, if we’re going to do this I think we should have a safe word. If either of us say “Code Butterscotch” we’ll stop.

Guy: Code Butterscotch? What are you, my grandmother? Who says butterscotch? Is that even a thing anymore? Forget it. I’m going to a bar.

And ladies, don’t tell me that you wouldn’t have the same reaction if a guy suggested Code Butterscotch as a safe word. If the app really wanted to generate safe words that would surely dampen the mood, why not try words like poopy diapers, crying babies, episiotomy, vasectomy or parenthood.

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There was actually an app that came out previously for sexual consent called Good2Go. Genius name right? Geez, if you’re busy getting hot and heavy, who has their phone on them? Ha! Who are we kidding? Of course we all do! And we stop to check notifications right in the middle don’t we?

I imagine the Good2Go app might be a great marital aid for married couples who are way past needing or wanting a lot of romancing to decide if they want to get jiggy with it on a Saturday night. (Of course I know nothing about that. Yes, I’m ‘get jiggy with it’ years old. Shut up. I’m bring jiggy back) You in one room, your spouse in another. You just send your spouse a notification, “Hey honey, you Good2Go?” Wow. Sexting just got a whole lot more boring didn’t it?

If you enjoy what you read at #ThePhilFactor, I have logged my consent for you to share this post on Facebook, Twitter, or by re-blogging unless you hear me say Code Butterscotch. Have a great weekend! ~ Phil

TBT! The Everyday Oscars!

The Oscars are this Sunday. I’m still keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll hear my name called. If not, I’ll award myself an Everyday Oscar as I first did when I wrote this post in February of 2011.

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Well, it’s happened again. I was passed over. Not a single Oscar nomination. The whole process is completely biased against people like me. Ok, I know that there aren’t really other people like me, but that does not excuse the Hollywood establishments prejudice against me. The Oscars have been handed out longer than I’ve been alive, but not once have I been awarded a gold, phallic statuette. Just because I’m not some kiss-ass Hollywood insider who’s made a movie in the past year, they completely overlook my accomplishments!

It is because of this snub that I refuse to attend the awards ceremony. I do have Oscar-worthy acting talent. So do many of you. Just because our skills don’t appear on the big screen doesn’t mean our talents should go unappreciated! To recognize the acting achievements of everyone like me, I hereby introduce The First Annual Everyday Oscar Awards! I imagine the awards ceremony will go something like this:

MC Phil: “The Everyday Oscar for Best Performance in The Workplace goes to… (fumbling with envelope)… Mark Bingham for his role in “The Overdue Report!” (video clip begins to roll on the monitor).

Mark: “Yes Mr. Whalen, I knew that report was due this morning. I was about to forward it to you when I got the call that my grandmother, the woman who raised me after my parents died, was in a car accident.”

Mr. Whalen: “Is that a Hooters napkin sticking out of your pocket?”

Mark: “Yes it is, sir. The hospital needed two quarts of my blood for the transfusion. They said I should drink lots fluids for the rest of the day. I got a little woozy driving back to the office and I had to pull over.”

MC Phil: “That always brings a tear to my eye. Next up, the Everyday Oscar for Best Relationship Saving Performance goes to… Susan Reynolds for her fantastic performance in “Whose Boxers Are These?” (video clip begins to roll).

Boyfriend: “Heather, I just found these boxer shorts under your side of the bed! They’re not mine! Whose are they?”

Susan: “Awww! You ruined the surprise! I bought them for you, but I got so turned on at the thought of you in them, that I put them on myself and wore them around for a day. Would you like to see me in them?”

Boyfriend: “Are these your skid marks?”

Susan: “Umm…yeah?”

Come back Saturday for my wildly popular 3rd annual Snap Judgement Oscar Awards. As always, if you get a little laugh out of #ThePhilFactor please share by Facebook, Twitter or reblogging. Have a great Thursday! ~Phil