How To Get Out Of Girly Stuff

Guys: Can’t stand another shopping trip or chick flick? Try these compromising tactics.

By Diane Mapes

n the white-hot heat of a new relationship (and even in relationships that have been around for a while), girlfriends will sometimes try to do everything with their guy: craft shows, shoe shopping, and yes, even baby showers.

But is there any way to gracefully get out of girly
I really feel there’s no magic pill to get out of those things.
stuff without, well, losing your girl?

Humor her
“I really feel there’s no magic pill to get out of those things,” says Charlie, a 53-year-old recently laid-off executive from Long Island, NY. “It’s part of being in a partnership.”

But that doesn’t mean that Charlie (and other guys) don’t try their best to avoid sappy movies, smarmy musicals and nights out at the ballet.

Peter, a 47-year-old marketing consultant from San Francisco, CA, says he asked a woman out to dinner and a movie — then gritted his teeth when she chose P.S. I Love You. “It was definitely a tearjerker,” he says. “And it got sad pretty quickly, like in the opening credits.”

Undaunted, Peter decided to have fun with the situation. As tears began to flow around him, he joined in, sniffling, sobbing and blowing his nose. “I started acting,” he says. “I’m like, ‘Oh my god, she’ll never love again!’”

His companion was embarrassed — but not enough to end the date or the courtship. And, according to Peter, she never took him to another over-the-top corny chick flick again.

“It wasn’t a date buster; it was funny, but she definitely put that in her [mental] Rolodex,” says Peter.

Try a little tit for tat
While blubbering your way out of a bad movie may work in some cases (especially if your date has a good sense of humor), there may be better ways to go, says Lizzie Post of The Emily Post Institute and author of How Do You Work This Life Thing?: Advice for the Newly Independent on Roommates, Jobs, Sex and Everything That Counts.

“My boyfriend and I try to trade off,” says Post. “I’ll watch Trailer Park Boys with him if he’ll watch Pride and Prejudice with me. It’s like a barter.”

Charlie, of Long Island, NY, says there are plenty of activities he and his girlfriend enjoy doing together, but they also try to accommodate their individual tastes.

“This coming weekend we’re celebrating 10 years together,” says Charlie. “On Saturday, we’re going to the Cloisters and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and on Sunday, we’re going to the Mets game. And she’s a Yankees fan. She gives in to me and I give in to her. Minor compromises aren’t a big deal.”

Not that there aren’t times when Charlie puts his foot down. “We went to see Phantom of the Opera a while ago and she hinted about wanting to see it again,” Charlie says. “And I absolutely refused. I made the face, the one that looks like I just ate a bad piece of meat. I get out of some stuff when I make that face. But I only get that leeway because I give in most of the time.”

Point her towards her posse
Clark, a 34-year-old architect from Brooklyn, NY, says his girlfriend isn’t really into a lot of frou-frou stuff, but she does try to take him shopping with her.
That’s when the gentle art of negotiation comes into play.

“When that happens, I try to emphasize how important it is for her to spend quality time with her friends,” he says. “I push that angle. I tell her I don’t want to monopolize her.”

Clark says he does believe it’s important for people to maintain outside interests and relationships, but also admits the “girls’ night out” suggestion can be a useful dodge.

“It’s a handy tool to use when I’m trying to get out of something,” says Clark. “It’s sort of win-win.”

According to Post, it’s perfectly fine for a man to decline an invitation with a polite “no thanks, I’m busy” if it’s within the first month of a relationship, but after that, refusing to do certain activities may indicate he’s not that interested in the woman or the things she feels are important.

That’s when the gentle art of negotiation comes into play.

“Testing the waters is totally okay,” says Post. “You can ask, ‘Don’t you think that’s something you’d rather do with one of your girlfriends?’ That lets her know in a soft way that maybe it’s not the best thing to do together. If she says ‘I want to do this with you,’ though, then it’s not about the opera or the ballet. It’s about you being there. If you can tell she would be hurt if you said no, you need to go.”

Grin and bear it
Brian, a 26-year-old high school art teacher and married father of two daughters from Long Beach, CA, says he basically “lives girly stuff,” but that doesn’t keep him from having a good time.

“When I take my wife to the movies, my first choice isn’t 27 Dresses, but you have to have fun with it,” he says. “You may feel like a dork, but it’s for the person you love.” And, he says, it’s not like your efforts won’t be appreciated.

“The scales will always level themselves out,” says Brian. “She’s going to go to the baseball game or the concert with you. And you might get lucky.”

Diane Mapes is a freelance writer based in Seattle and the author of How to Date in a Post-Dating World. She can be reached via her Web site,
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