This is the best outfit to wear on a Tinder date (according to science)

This is the best outfit to wear on a Tinder date (according to science)


date

As much as I hate to say it, first impressions really do count, and that’s not just me saying it, it’s science. You see the brain subconsciously creates first impressions of something or someone in as little as 1/10th of a second.

Which is why choosing what to wear to go from a Tinder online date to an IRL date can be quite crucial (though let’s be clear, if your date can’t look past appearances, otherwise they just ain’t worth it).

Now lyst has teamed up with style psychologist Kate Nightingale to determine which outfits are best for each personality type to nail that first impression. Here’s a breakdown.

What to wear to show you’re confident

‘Ultimate power can be expressed with tight fitting, black tuxedo trousers and a silk, straight line cut top. Add high heels and geometric clutch to complete this powerhouse look.’

What to wear to show you’re creative

‘If you want to make a bold creative statement, an unusual pair of shoes or a quirky handbag make for great conversation starters. And floaty garments like an expressive shirt dress or some eye-catching culottes are the perfect way to show off your creative side.’

What to wear to show you’re calm

‘Pick calmer and lighter colours such as green and turquoise – but definitely not red if you want to appear chilled out. Footwear is a big indicator of character; pointed toes say you’re an extrovert, rounded toes do the opposite. For laid-back charm, rounded toes or platforms beat out stilettos every time. They’ll make you feel stable and grounded.’

What to wear to show you’re funny

‘Accessories are the best communicator of personality. The patterns, colours, and textures you go for are all indicators. Jazzy brogues or a statement bag are perfect for an extra confidence boost.’

The post This is the best outfit to wear on a Tinder date (according to science) appeared first on Marie Claire.

Questionable birth control app Natural cycles just got FDA approval

Questionable birth control app Natural cycles just got FDA approval


But how reliable is it?

Words by Rebecca Fearn

The FDA (Food and Drugs Administration) in America has approved natural birth control app Natural Cycles.

In a surprising move, the notoriously strict FDA has given marketing approval to the app, which is currently under investigation in the U.K. and in Sweden after several claims of unwanted pregnancies were reported by users. This approval means the app is allowed to market itself as a contraceptive.

Terri Cornelison, assistant director for the health of women in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in a statement: “Consumers are increasingly using digital health technologies to inform their everyday health decisions, and this new app can provide an effective method of contraception if it’s used carefully and correctly”.

“But women should know that no form of contraception works perfectly, so an unplanned pregnancy could still result from correct usage of this device.”

The app, which has over 900,000 users and bills itself as ‘digital birth control’ takes your temperature daily with its accompanying thermometer and uses an algorithm to predict which days you’re most likely to be fertile based on body temperature and menstrual cycle information. The Swedish brand claims the app is typically 93% effective when used as birth control, but 99% effective if used following exact directions.

However, these types of apps have come under scrutiny recently after many users have experienced unwanted pregnancies while using Natural Cycles as contraception. The app has been under investigation in the U.K. by the Advertising Standards Authority after receiving complaints about its paid advertising on Facebook, while in Sweden, 37 cases of unwanted pregnancies from users of the app were reported. The Family Planning Association in the U.K. also expressed concern about the app being able to bill itself as contraceptive when speaking to The Guardian.

Would you trust a digital app as contraception?

The post Questionable birth control app Natural cycles just got FDA approval appeared first on Marie Claire.

MEET THE PUKKAS: In which Anna and Matt discuss the hairless wonder that is the male Love Island body

MEET THE PUKKAS: In which Anna and Matt discuss the hairless wonder that is the male Love Island body


Is Love Island a nadir for modern masculinity, or the beginning of a super-advanced next phase, wonder Matt Farquharson and Anna Whitehouse?

In this week’s #TrueRomance column, Anna Whitehouse and her husband Matt Farquharson are getting side-tracked with the life-sized Action Men peacocking their way across our screens on Love Island, to ask, what does it all mean for the mere mortal men?

He says…

By Matt Farquharson

I haven’t been to a gym since 2006, when I was last single. Fearing a lifetime of female rejection, and concerned about my addictions to Playstation, Quavers and continental lager, I went every lunchtime to run, grunt and sculpt my physique from ‘30-year-old professional snooker player’ to ‘25-year old professional golfer’. Three weeks after my relationship with Anna began, my visits dropped to nought. My physique has since settled at ‘41-year-old semi-professional lawn bowls enthusiast’.

But I have recently found myself quietly fascinated by the bald and shapely pecs of the men of Love Island, and wondered if I must make more effort. Their physiques are a marvel: like life-sized Action Man figurines but dipped in Ronseal and finished off with symmetrical facial hair applied with a marker pen and protractor. And the show’s greatest impact may be on the world of cosmetic dentistry. Each set of nashers looks like a vicar’s collar. Or like there’s a daily routine that involves brushing, flossing, and a fresh application of Tipp-Ex.

So I’ve come to wonder if these men are the future: if they are what all men will look like in 20 years, or if they’re simply outliers – so ego-beaten by billboards of well-toned men in their pants that their self-worth is dependent on the plumb-line-perfection of their ‘happy trail’ (the thin line of body hair running from belly to junk).

‘If I was suddenly single, would my doughy countenance and body fluff mark me as a ‘swipe-left’ for all time?’

I am at once admiring of the effort they’re putting in and also appalled at just how much effort they’re putting in. Is this how men should be now? If I found myself suddenly and surprisingly single, would my doughy countenance and free-form body fluff mark me as a ‘swipe-left’ for all time?

It’s been said that my mini-generation – born between the late 70s and mid 80s – may be the most useless yet. We are the first generation that doesn’t know how to fix anything mechanical, and the last generation that doesn’t know how to code anything at all. But we may also be the last to resist manscaping and pectoral implants and I, for one, support the cause.

love island men

She says…

By Anna Whitehouse

It was a rogue nasal hair that nearly stopped Matt and I sealing the deal. It was our third date and I felt very strongly that he was the answer to many matters of the heart. Then I snogged him and felt that wayward follicle brush my upper lip and went cold and wanted him to leave.

Fast-forward 12 years, two kids, a mortgage and a Nasal Strimmer 2000 and we are golden. I decided that I was, perhaps, being a little rash in that moment and it was nothing a little coiffing couldn’t fix. To be fair to the man, I drunkenly shaved my upper arm in 2001 and to this day it feels like an old kitchen broom when you brush against me. So we are, in many ways, folically quits.

But what’s a little hair among friends? A huge, stubbly issue if you look to Love Island for an insight into male pruning. How anyone breathes without fear of a bald ball sack escaping its Lyrca lodgings is a question at the forefront of my mind. The smiles alone are blinding and representative of significant dental investment.

‘Where are the guys who consider pork scratchings one of your five a day?’

Where are the guys who consider pork scratchings one of your five a day? I can’t remember any ‘blokes’ (a term that’s edging out of the courting dictionary) from my youth being concerned with ripped chassis or immaculately tweezered eyebrows. More than anything, I want the Love Island men to all swim in the pool, eat ice creams, play ping-pong and ease up on the preening and carefully posed reclining.

While I have all the time in the world for a programme centred predominantly on pristine bikini lines and even spray tans, it can’t come at the cost of, well, fun. As I found, a little erroneous hair can, in fact, go a long way.

Anna Whitehouse and Matt Farquharson are the authors of Sunday Times bestseller Parenting the Shit out of Life, published by Hodder & Stoughton

The post MEET THE PUKKAS: In which Anna and Matt discuss the hairless wonder that is the male Love Island body appeared first on Marie Claire.



MEET THE PUKKAS: In which Anna and Matt discuss the hairless wonder that is the male Love Island body

MEET THE PUKKAS: In which Anna and Matt discuss the hairless wonder that is the male Love Island body


Is Love Island a nadir for modern masculinity, or the beginning of a super-advanced next phase, wonder Matt Farquharson and Anna Whitehouse?

In this week’s #TrueRomance column, Anna Whitehouse and her husband Matt Farquharson are getting side-tracked with the life-sized Action Men peacocking their way across our screens on Love Island, to ask, what does it all mean for the mere mortal men?

He says…

By Matt Farquharson

I haven’t been to a gym since 2006, when I was last single. Fearing a lifetime of female rejection, and concerned about my addictions to Playstation, Quavers and continental lager, I went every lunchtime to run, grunt and sculpt my physique from ‘30-year-old professional snooker player’ to ‘25-year old professional golfer’. Three weeks after my relationship with Anna began, my visits dropped to nought. My physique has since settled at ‘41-year-old semi-professional lawn bowls enthusiast’.

But I have recently found myself quietly fascinated by the bald and shapely pecs of the men of Love Island, and wondered if I must make more effort. Their physiques are a marvel: like life-sized Action Man figurines but dipped in Ronseal and finished off with symmetrical facial hair applied with a marker pen and protractor. And the show’s greatest impact may be on the world of cosmetic dentistry. Each set of nashers looks like a vicar’s collar. Or like there’s a daily routine that involves brushing, flossing, and a fresh application of Tipp-Ex.

So I’ve come to wonder if these men are the future: if they are what all men will look like in 20 years, or if they’re simply outliers – so ego-beaten by billboards of well-toned men in their pants that their self-worth is dependent on the plumb-line-perfection of their ‘happy trail’ (the thin line of body hair running from belly to junk).

‘If I was suddenly single, would my doughy countenance and body fluff mark me as a ‘swipe-left’ for all time?’

I am at once admiring of the effort they’re putting in and also appalled at just how much effort they’re putting in. Is this how men should be now? If I found myself suddenly and surprisingly single, would my doughy countenance and free-form body fluff mark me as a ‘swipe-left’ for all time?

It’s been said that my mini-generation – born between the late 70s and mid 80s – may be the most useless yet. We are the first generation that doesn’t know how to fix anything mechanical, and the last generation that doesn’t know how to code anything at all. But we may also be the last to resist manscaping and pectoral implants and I, for one, support the cause.

love island men

She says…

By Anna Whitehouse

It was a rogue nasal hair that nearly stopped Matt and I sealing the deal. It was our third date and I felt very strongly that he was the answer to many matters of the heart. Then I snogged him and felt that wayward follicle brush my upper lip and went cold and wanted him to leave.

Fast-forward 12 years, two kids, a mortgage and a Nasal Strimmer 2000 and we are golden. I decided that I was, perhaps, being a little rash in that moment and it was nothing a little coiffing couldn’t fix. To be fair to the man, I drunkenly shaved my upper arm in 2001 and to this day it feels like an old kitchen broom when you brush against me. So we are, in many ways, folically quits.

But what’s a little hair among friends? A huge, stubbly issue if you look to Love Island for an insight into male pruning. How anyone breathes without fear of a bald ball sack escaping its Lyrca lodgings is a question at the forefront of my mind. The smiles alone are blinding and representative of significant dental investment.

‘Where are the guys who consider pork scratchings one of your five a day?’

Where are the guys who consider pork scratchings one of your five a day? I can’t remember any ‘blokes’ (a term that’s edging out of the courting dictionary) from my youth being concerned with ripped chassis or immaculately tweezered eyebrows. More than anything, I want the Love Island men to all swim in the pool, eat ice creams, play ping-pong and ease up on the preening and carefully posed reclining.

While I have all the time in the world for a programme centred predominantly on pristine bikini lines and even spray tans, it can’t come at the cost of, well, fun. As I found, a little erroneous hair can, in fact, go a long way.

Anna Whitehouse and Matt Farquharson are the authors of Sunday Times bestseller Parenting the Shit out of Life, published by Hodder & Stoughton

The post MEET THE PUKKAS: In which Anna and Matt discuss the hairless wonder that is the male Love Island body appeared first on Marie Claire.



Dear Dolly: “My overbearing mother-in-law is ruining our relationship”

Dear Dolly: “My overbearing mother-in-law is ruining our relationship”


What Would Dolly Pawton Do?

Dolly Pawton Marie Claire Columnist

1.30pm Sloane Square.

I’ve nearly got rid of all the glitter from Pride parade. Glitter is like sand it gets in all crevices and no matter how many times you shower there’s another piece that appears on the side of your face or stuck to your nipple three weeks later, like why!?

The rainbows may have faded commercially but I am here to keep the colours bright.

As I walked through a sea of love one week just under a week later I was walking in protest to stamp out negativity and hate. London is the most amazing place to display all kinds of thoughts and we are lucky enough to be granted freedom of speech. Everybody knows I have no problem with speaking freely and supporting all that I believe to be true.

I loved the Fashion Panel talk I was asked to be part of at J.Crew as part of their Love first campaign. Regents street was not ready for my Liberty print customised neck-tie, I think they should make a come back – stop tying them in your hair and get them around your necks. Name one air steward circa 1980 who didn’t like a neck chief. I’m bringing it back.!

The talk was entitled ‘Expressing yourself through fashion

It was a discussion and also a debate on what it was like to be an influencer, a campaigner & how fashion has hindered or helped you be you and it got me thinking on so many levels as my own questions started. Is there loyalty in London or has everyone got a price? Has originality gone out the window and is any opinion valid even if taken from someone else’s lips? What makes a view more or less valid and how can the true voices be heard over the white noise of commercialism?

Trend is one thing and something we all follow to a degree. But being you is not a trend; being you can be easy, hard, life changing or ending.

I think the biggest lesson over this glitter induced period is fighting for what you believe in will always be hard if not following the masses and could be even harder when it’s on trend. The louder the voices the more insignificant a message could be. Social media has a big part to play in this; some speak out for personal growth while some stay silent in fear of losing limelight (This frustrates my whole family); some for self gratification and glory and some for the real meaning of a cause. I guess the real question I was left with was “How do you continue to keep shining when so many want to steal your shine?” My answer, it’s nobody’s to take, it’s yours darling, keep the glow and grow!

 

What Would Dolly Pawton Do?

 

Dear Dolly,

I’ve been in a relationship with my fiancé for over 3 years.

He is a everything I’ve wanted in a man and never expected to fall so hard for someone after being in some pretty horrendous relationships.

The problem is I’m not just in a relationship with only him. I’m in relationship with his Mother.

She is a medlar. She constantly puts me down and is interfering in our life choices. Our future plans are not moving in the direction we have discussed together and even the wedding has been put on hold!

I didn’t want to see it but he is a Mummy’s boy and I can’t cope any longer with him allowing her to talk to me like I’m shit. Like he could do better. Like I’m holding him back. She always dictates to me what I should wear and has even compared me to his ex fiancé.

I’ve tried to have this conversation with him but he just ignores it and says, “It’s just who she is, don’t overthink it” and then accusing me of wanting to start arguments.

He even suggested we move back to his childhood home with his parents so we could save money quicker to buy the house we want in London. I couldn’t believe it.

Help Dolly. I am in need of your guidance and wisdom.

Anna – London ‘

 

Dear Anna,

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Comparing you to the ex fiancé? This woman could potentially be the nightmare of all Mother-in-laws.

Not quite the threesome you may have expected huh?

No but seriously, this is categorically unacceptable behaviour on your partner’s behalf.

He clearly wants to make his Mother happy and is therefore forfeiting your happiness.

I’m going to be brutal here. You need to speak the hell up and tell this Mother what she is doing is wrong and stop allowing her to treat you this way. Take back your power. I noticed you said “he” is allowing her to talk to you that way. No, you’re allowing it.

You just want him to defend you, which he should, but this isn’t the days where you don’t have a voice, you better lay your cards on the table and have a conversation with his Mother too.

I know you’ve tried speaking with him already but make this the time that counts.

In my experience Mummy’s boys don’t change and Mothers like that get worse if you don’t say how you feel. So if you really love your partner you need to be vocal. If that doesn’t work and he continues to brush aside your feelings and the Mother doesn’t stop controlling him and you then you’re going to have to reevaluate your relationship because you shouldn’t be second on his list. Your feelings are valid and important. You are his future bride ffs.

I’m going to be honest, if this was me, I’d be off quicker than Usain bolt in a 100 metre sprint. Girl, know your worth.

Keep in touch.

 

London love

Dolly Pawton xx

Dolly Pawton

Don’t forget, you too can ask Dolly a question.

Nothing is off limits so consider me your Dollylama (spiritual guru) here for all the real talk. Write in at dollypawton@gmail.com

Don’t worry you can be anonymous!

 

The post Dear Dolly: “My overbearing mother-in-law is ruining our relationship” appeared first on Marie Claire.

MEET THE PUKKAS: Our new columnists on talking *feelings* with your other half

MEET THE PUKKAS: Our new columnists on talking *feelings* with your other half


Is discussing your feelings always the right thing to do? New columnists Anna Whitehouse and Matt Farquharson – also known as Instagram’s @Mother_Pukka and @Papa_Pukka – battle it out

In a new fortnightly column for marieclaire.co.uk, Anna Whitehouse and her husband Matt Farquharson, will be going head to head on the most pressing issues of the day – relationship curveballs, the gender politics of cheating, and what the hell would Love Island be without cosmetic dentistry? Welcome to #TrueRomance, where the couple known as Mother Pukka and Papa Pukka will be getting to the bottom of all those niggling questions we always wanted answering (but perhaps couldn’t be arsed to ask). This week: Is it always good to talk, or should we sometimes just shut up?

She says…

By Anna Whitehouse

When it comes to a quick jaunt to the corner shop, Matt and I have got our communication nailed. After years of yelling things at him (‘Don’t forget the bog roll and feta’), only for him to return with a sweaty mozzarella ball and some pork scratchings, we have established a system to stop relationship breakdown. I now text him The List, he purchases items on The List and marital harmony is maintained.

But transferring that watertight set-up to matters of the heart is a trickier task. The minute I edge into ‘do you have five minutes for a chat?’, Matt’s eyes glaze over, his lids descend and a little of his spirit disperses as he realises we aren’t about to watch another episode of Glow. No Netflix, only grilling.

‘No Netflix, only grilling – I need to know what’s going on in his mind’

Matt is a nice man, but he dislikes talking about his needs or feelings: why waste time blathering when you could be fondling? And he does have a stellar point but the issue is, to fondle, I need the blather. I need to exchange thoughts and catch insights into his day that go beyond life insurance angst and running out of bin bags. I get turned on by a laugh or a story about a pigeon wreaking havoc on the Tube – it doesn’t take much. In short, I need to know what is going on in his mind. While he assures me it’s just ‘sandwiches, mainly’, I read the subtext as: complex web of emotions that requires unravelling. I overheard him say once to a mate, ‘I just swallow emotions and shit them out.’

I don’t think this is something that only afflicts women – my friend Gemma has a ‘cuddle pillow’ for her husband Jude to hold when she hasn’t got the emotional headspace for his daily request for ‘a chat’. But I have learned how to navigate life with my emotion-wary partner. A few years ago, I was having a miserable time at work. One evening I cornered Matt and delivered a 45-minute monologue about my potentially psychopathic colleague at the time. Part of me wanted a place to unload frustration. Part of me just wanted to look at his face and say words so that we would feel more connected. It seemed to make sense to focus those efforts on something practical like work, even though I wasn’t really seeking an answer.

In Matt’s ideal world, I would deliver The Issue and he would respond with The List of Solutions. In my ideal world, I would present The Issue, we would discuss it, he would empathise, say something witty and then know exactly the right moment to cup my left buttock.

Perhaps if we’d spelt this out ten years ago, we might not have been stuck so often ricocheting between ‘you don’t understand’ and ‘what you need to do is this…’

feelings

He says…

By Matt Farquharson

In the early years of Facebook, when trolls were still just imaginary creatures with extravagant hair and a fondness for bridges, a picture of an old magazine cutting did the digital rounds. It was Housekeeping Monthly from 1955, and an article called ‘The Good Wife’s Guide’. The list of to-dos for wives on their husband’s return from work – arrange his cushion, have dinner ready, put a ribbon in your hair – stopped just short of demanding a quick blowie while simultaneously removing his shoes. It was a fake: too much even by the ‘traditional’ standards of 1955. But there is one line that stuck in my memory: ‘Don’t greet him with complaints and problems,’ because, very quietly, I agreed.

I don’t really want to talk about feelings, because I’m not sure I have many. I’m quite often hungry or horny, and occasionally both at once (which can make mealtimes confusing: cheese sandwiches not being a traditional object of lust). But hunger and horniness are physical symptoms, rather than emotional feels. If I have problems, I prefer to let them stew in the back of my head until I know how fix them, not parp them into the ear of someone else. When times are tough, I’d rather just swear more at technology. During one particularly stressful spell of work and life, I shouted ‘twatty little bastard’ at an Asda self-service till and felt much better for it. To the outsider it looked like a minor breakdown, to me it felt like therapy.

‘I prefer to suck up any problems, and then let them pass while reading sports apps on the toilet’

I’m of the view that a problem shared isn’t a problem solved, but instead one that you’ve now lumbered on to some other poor schmuck. I understand that this is an emotional failing on my part, but I’ve found that the best way for me to handle strains and unhappiness is to inhale them, sucking them deep into my core, and then let them pass while reading sports apps on the toilet. Within the sanctity of my meditation chamber, troubles ease away, and no one else has been bothered in the process.

I spent my formative years in an otherwise female household, and have been in healthy(ish) long-term relationships for most of my adult life. The idea that men are from Mars and have different needs to women has always struck me as the laziest of cliches, but in matters of emotional wellbeing, it seems Anna and I fall plumbly into gender stereotype.

I sometimes (unintentionally) zone out her voice, and see the disappointment in her face when I return from the corner shop with the wrong kind of soggy foreign cheese. She likes to talk things through, I like to ignore them, or try to fix them. A few years ago, Anna once worked in a place where she was deeply unhappy, and every night she would detail her experiences of terrible atmospheres, blame-shifting and whispering cliques. I would tell her she should quit, we’d be fine, and did she fancy Thai or Indian take-out? This, it transpired, was not what was required. Sometimes, she wasn’t even hungry. It took many tears for me to realise my error.

But now, slowly, I am becoming a listener. I resist the urge to say, ‘This’ll fix it’, and against all my natural instincts, instead I ask, ‘how did you feel?’ I just hope she doesn’t ask me the same thing, so that I can keep swearing at inanimate objects.

Anna Whitehouse and Matt Farquharson are the authors of Sunday Times bestseller Parenting the Shit out of Life, published by Hodder & Stoughton.

The post MEET THE PUKKAS: Our new columnists on talking *feelings* with your other half appeared first on Marie Claire.



MEET THE PUKKAS: Our new columnists on talking *feelings* with your other half

MEET THE PUKKAS: Our new columnists on talking *feelings* with your other half


Is discussing your feelings always the right thing to do? New columnists Anna Whitehouse and Matt Farquharson – also known as Instagram’s @Mother_Pukka and @Papa_Pukka – battle it out

In a new fortnightly column for marieclaire.co.uk, Anna Whitehouse and her husband Matt Farquharson, will be going head to head on the most pressing issues of the day – relationship curveballs, the gender politics of cheating, and what the hell would Love Island be without cosmetic dentistry? Welcome to #TrueRomance, where the couple known as Mother Pukka and Papa Pukka will be getting to the bottom of all those niggling questions we always wanted answering (but perhaps couldn’t be arsed to ask). This week: Is it always good to talk, or should we sometimes just shut up?

She says…

By Anna Whitehouse

When it comes to a quick jaunt to the corner shop, Matt and I have got our communication nailed. After years of yelling things at him (‘Don’t forget the bog roll and feta’), only for him to return with a sweaty mozzarella ball and some pork scratchings, we have established a system to stop relationship breakdown. I now text him The List, he purchases items on The List and marital harmony is maintained.

But transferring that watertight set-up to matters of the heart is a trickier task. The minute I edge into ‘do you have five minutes for a chat?’, Matt’s eyes glaze over, his lids descend and a little of his spirit disperses as he realises we aren’t about to watch another episode of Glow. No Netflix, only grilling.

‘No Netflix, only grilling – I need to know what’s going on in his mind’

Matt is a nice man, but he dislikes talking about his needs or feelings: why waste time blathering when you could be fondling? And he does have a stellar point but the issue is, to fondle, I need the blather. I need to exchange thoughts and catch insights into his day that go beyond life insurance angst and running out of bin bags. I get turned on by a laugh or a story about a pigeon wreaking havoc on the Tube – it doesn’t take much. In short, I need to know what is going on in his mind. While he assures me it’s just ‘sandwiches, mainly’, I read the subtext as: complex web of emotions that requires unravelling. I overheard him say once to a mate, ‘I just swallow emotions and shit them out.’

I don’t think this is something that only afflicts women – my friend Gemma has a ‘cuddle pillow’ for her husband Jude to hold when she hasn’t got the emotional headspace for his daily request for ‘a chat’. But I have learned how to navigate life with my emotion-wary partner. A few years ago, I was having a miserable time at work. One evening I cornered Matt and delivered a 45-minute monologue about my potentially psychopathic colleague at the time. Part of me wanted a place to unload frustration. Part of me just wanted to look at his face and say words so that we would feel more connected. It seemed to make sense to focus those efforts on something practical like work, even though I wasn’t really seeking an answer.

In Matt’s ideal world, I would deliver The Issue and he would respond with The List of Solutions. In my ideal world, I would present The Issue, we would discuss it, he would empathise, say something witty and then know exactly the right moment to cup my left buttock.

Perhaps if we’d spelt this out ten years ago, we might not have been stuck so often ricocheting between ‘you don’t understand’ and ‘what you need to do is this…’

feelings

He says…

By Matt Farquharson

In the early years of Facebook, when trolls were still just imaginary creatures with extravagant hair and a fondness for bridges, a picture of an old magazine cutting did the digital rounds. It was Housekeeping Monthly from 1955, and an article called ‘The Good Wife’s Guide’. The list of to-dos for wives on their husband’s return from work – arrange his cushion, have dinner ready, put a ribbon in your hair – stopped just short of demanding a quick blowie while simultaneously removing his shoes. It was a fake: too much even by the ‘traditional’ standards of 1955. But there is one line that stuck in my memory: ‘Don’t greet him with complaints and problems,’ because, very quietly, I agreed.

I don’t really want to talk about feelings, because I’m not sure I have many. I’m quite often hungry or horny, and occasionally both at once (which can make mealtimes confusing: cheese sandwiches not being a traditional object of lust). But hunger and horniness are physical symptoms, rather than emotional feels. If I have problems, I prefer to let them stew in the back of my head until I know how fix them, not parp them into the ear of someone else. When times are tough, I’d rather just swear more at technology. During one particularly stressful spell of work and life, I shouted ‘twatty little bastard’ at an Asda self-service till and felt much better for it. To the outsider it looked like a minor breakdown, to me it felt like therapy.

‘I prefer to suck up any problems, and then let them pass while reading sports apps on the toilet’

I’m of the view that a problem shared isn’t a problem solved, but instead one that you’ve now lumbered on to some other poor schmuck. I understand that this is an emotional failing on my part, but I’ve found that the best way for me to handle strains and unhappiness is to inhale them, sucking them deep into my core, and then let them pass while reading sports apps on the toilet. Within the sanctity of my meditation chamber, troubles ease away, and no one else has been bothered in the process.

I spent my formative years in an otherwise female household, and have been in healthy(ish) long-term relationships for most of my adult life. The idea that men are from Mars and have different needs to women has always struck me as the laziest of cliches, but in matters of emotional wellbeing, it seems Anna and I fall plumbly into gender stereotype.

I sometimes (unintentionally) zone out her voice, and see the disappointment in her face when I return from the corner shop with the wrong kind of soggy foreign cheese. She likes to talk things through, I like to ignore them, or try to fix them. A few years ago, Anna once worked in a place where she was deeply unhappy, and every night she would detail her experiences of terrible atmospheres, blame-shifting and whispering cliques. I would tell her she should quit, we’d be fine, and did she fancy Thai or Indian take-out? This, it transpired, was not what was required. Sometimes, she wasn’t even hungry. It took many tears for me to realise my error.

But now, slowly, I am becoming a listener. I resist the urge to say, ‘This’ll fix it’, and against all my natural instincts, instead I ask, ‘how did you feel?’ I just hope she doesn’t ask me the same thing, so that I can keep swearing at inanimate objects.

Anna Whitehouse and Matt Farquharson are the authors of Sunday Times bestseller Parenting the Shit out of Life, published by Hodder & Stoughton.

The post MEET THE PUKKAS: Our new columnists on talking *feelings* with your other half appeared first on Marie Claire.



In praise of fingering

In praise of fingering


Everyone assumes we grow out of it, but ‘manual play’ (to give fingering its grown-up name) prioritises female pleasure, reduces STI rates and doesn’t even require batteries. Daisy Buchanan revisits these teenage kicks.

fingering
No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No Book Cover Usage.
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock (1604644a)
Sex And The City , Kim Cattrall
Film and Television

Words by Daisy Buchanan

According to the glow in the dark hands of my Forever Friends alarm clock, it’s 4:35am. I can’t sleep. I’m thinking of the deadlines, replaying conversations that went badly and worrying about things that I cant even articulate. I rub my nipple through the tissue-soft cotton of my pyjama T-shirt like it’s a worry bead, using my body as a big stress ball. It begins to work. My heart starts beating more quickly. I lick my fingers and then move my hand from my breast, along my stomach and under the waistband of my pyjama bottoms, where I start to stroke the soft, warm space between my legs. My thumb finds my hardening clitoris, another finger slips inside myself, its wetness finding the growing wetness of me. I stroke and rub, and my heart beats faster and faster until I gasp in the dark, feeling a surge of total, head clearing bliss. Seconds later I fall into a deep, peaceful sleep.

When I was 14, I would have thrown myself into he path of an oncoming car before I admitted that I knew how to make myself come. ‘She fingers herself’ was the worst thing you could possibly say about a classmate. My friend Lara even mocked girls who used non-applicator tampons.

‘They’re for pathetic women who cant get a man to touch them there,’ she smirked.

But a couple of years later, when I started going out with my first boyfriend, he asked me to tell him – and show him – what I did. Cheeks aflame, I demonstrated my night-time masturbation routine, and discovered that eight minutes of embarrassment was a worthwhile investment in future orgasms. Shortly afterwards, my friends and I started having penetrative sex – and the orgasms dropped off again.

fingering

REX/Shutterstock

My friend Stacey complained, ‘Its like fingering is a GCSE that men don’t have to think about any more, now they’re focusing on serious A levels.’

(Incidentally, ‘A level’ is a slang term for anal sex, which is another story for another day.)

In my twenties, I dated men who believed themselves to be the Oprahs of oral sex. ‘I know what you ladies like!’ they’d twinkle, before swallowing a couple of times and then trying to wear my vulva like a hat. Directions and pleas for clemency fell, literally, on deaf ears, because their heads were so far between my legs. Anecdotally, bad oral sex seemed like some kind of epidemic befalling heterosexual millennial women. A few forays into Red Tube yielded the answer – cunnilingus was now appearing in porn. After years of threesomes and fisting and forcing things into people’s anal cavities, female-focused pleasure was no longer the last taboo. Yet porn still wasn’t necessarily an asset to our sex lives.

Sociologist and sex coach Dr Tasmin Pine explains; ‘Porn is, obviously, a visual medium, and there’s a huge difference between what looks good and what feels good. Nearly all of my male clients are really focused on their partner’s pleasure, but they do copy what they see on screen, and they don’t understand why it isn’t effective.’

fingering

Dr Pine doesn’t think we’ll see fingering appearing in porn any time soon, but she believes it’s due a comeback in the bedroom. ‘Manual play is overlooked, partly because we rarely see stroking and touching in porn, and partly because people think its something we grow out of. But all my female clients are overwhelmingly positive about it, and sometimes even nostalgic. It brings so many benefits; it really puts women in touch with their own bodies, it helps them bond with their partners because they can be specific about what feels good, and it’s a really effective route to orgasm.’

Nurse and safer-sex educator Alannah Hall says that when she’s leading sex-education classes, she always talks about manual play. ‘Increasingly, its becoming a really important part of the safer sex conversation. In the past we’ve spent so much time focusing on the dangers and risks that come with sex, so its really important t tell young people that you can pleasure your partner and be intimate in a way that limits the chance of pregnancy and infection. Obviously there are still rules to follow – hygiene is very important.’

My friend Nima, 29, reveals that she fell back in love with fingering by accident. ‘Before I’d have said my sex life was good. I have orgasms through penetrative sex, my partner likes oral – basically, and I’ve got no complaints. But a few weeks ago, we were out with some friends in a bar, and he had his hand on my bare knee – I was wearing boots, a midi skirt, no tights. He was absent-mindedly stroking my thigh with his thumb, and it triggered something primal. I gasped, he registered that something was happening and started stroking further up. I don’t remember the last time I felt so horny, and this was just because of the prospect of some fingering. He ordered an Uber with his other hand, and then made me come four times on the way home.’

fingering

For Nima, the teenage nostalgia factor is all part of the appeal. ‘We’ve lived together for three years, we have a joint account and probably have sex, in bed, three or four times a week. I’ve always had a vague idea that we should be investing in sex toys or doing something a bit wild – but going back to fingering, which is the most basic, adolescent sexual thing you can do, has turned me into some kind of nymphomaniac! Its made penetrative sex even better, and my boyfriend loves making me come – he says that its even hotter than oral because he can really see and hear me reacting to his touch.’

That’s not to say that all fingering is good fingering – sadly it doesn’t come naturally to everyone with hands. Sarah, 32, reveals: ‘I was seeing this guy, and the only way I can describe his technique is “Whoops! I seem to have dropped my keys behind the radiator, if I jam my arm up it and wave it about I might be able to dislodge them.” I’m sympathetic to a point, – he was trying really hard and he doesn’t have the same sort of body as me, so why should he know how it works? But also, I’m in my thirties! Surely by now I should be meeting men who know how to make me come without too much assistance?’

The feminist, female-pleasure focused aspect of fingering is my favourite part. But what’s in it for the boys – and if they’re not getting anything out of it, why should they bother?

fingering

Eye Candy/REX/Shutterstock

My friend Andrew, 30, says that he’s, erm, up for it. ‘Of course, men – well, straight men – want to make women come! I watch porn, but I’m pretty sure that my friends and I are grown up enough to tell the difference between sex in screen and flesh and blood women, and its much hotter to bring a hot woman to orgasm than to watch a porn star screaming her head off. If anything has put me off fingering, it’s the idea that it’s a bit old-fashioned and not very sophisticated. It’s hard to admit, but I feel a lot of pressure in the bedroom, especially as a single man. I worry about my oral technique, because my friends and I believe that’s what women want. I’ve never got over that scene in American Pie where one of the guys makes up with Tara Reid by giving her amazing oral. And I know that it’s relatively easy for a man to have an orgasm, but women’s bodies are more complicated in that respect. If fingering is what women really want, I’m going to start practising. And if the next woman I hook up with wanted to give me some tips, I’d be delighted.’

At 30, I still finger myself in order to fix a bout of insomnia. And I don’t think ‘she fingers herself’ is an insult – if you know how to give yourself an orgasm, it’s a sign you’re a smart woman and you’re in touch with your own body. I’m certainly smart enough to have married a man who wants his wife to come first and is happy to be hands on about it.

As Hall says, ‘Ultimately, we want to re-educate everyone and show them that “sex” doesn’t just mean the heterosexual, penetrative kind – pleasure and connection come from many different kinds of touch. Hopefully, the next generation won’t ever have to “rediscover” fingering – because safer, fulfilling, female-focused sex isn’t something that should ever get forgotten about.’

The post In praise of fingering appeared first on Marie Claire.



Dear Dolly: “Ten years with a marriage proposal on the line and a happy family’s existence. But is it enough?

Dear Dolly: “Ten years with a marriage proposal on the line and a happy family’s existence. But is it enough?


What would Dolly Pawton do?

Dolly Pawton Marie Claire Columnist

Old Compton Street. 5.47pm

Bursting with Pride!

It’s pride month! Whether you go, want to go, have never gone or don’t care to go – Pride month has definitely taken a huge dose of positive commercial power this year. Amen to that!

I have found it hard not to hear Pride off the lips off every person. Gay, straight or Queerly fabulous. Just as it should it be.

Now as you all know, not only will I be flying the rainbow flag with all its added inclusion colours from every home, car and float I can, but I will also be celebrating Pride attending multiple events throughout the month and will be kicking it off with the fully inclusive “Queer and now” at the Tate. I mean who doesn’t love the Tate?

If you’re in the mood for a little “Queer eye” head over to “sexuality late” at the Science museum. I was there last year and after hours means just that: Express yourself! We had a full on Madonna sing a long at closing. I knew my coned bra corset wasn’t over dressed, free the nipples! It’s one not to miss!

After all my gallery and museum Pride events I will be getting myself in full party mode for the parade itself. If you have never been, the only way to describe it is one huge marching, dancing wave of love. I can’t wait to strut my sequin ass and truly take pride in our London community.

So close to London Pride I couldn’t believe the LGBTQI+ questions and dilemmas I’ve had landing in my inbox.

I had to pick this one up from MD Moe….

What Would Dolly Pawton Do?

“Dear Dolly,

I have been with the same man for 10 years. I met him when I was 19 and he was 25. We are both masculine men, I am white, he is black, I’m a free spirit, and he is governed by a set of rules and plan B’s. We really are yin and yang. We compliment and balance each other well. That’s not to say we don’t have issues, but we do work through them and have grown together. At the end of the year I turn the big 3-0. He is in his mid 30s.

We both want to have a child and be a family and live the American Dream, happily ever after. But one problem – he is still in the closet with his family (and largely with everyone, like he is okay with being gay but feels like nobody needs to know about his personal life) I am known as the friend/roommate to them. His sister guessed we were a couple from the way we interact with each other, and he denied me to her. Which completely hurt. I on the other hand am “out.” My family knows and it’s not a big deal. I don’t make it a point to tell everyone but if it comes up, I am open about it.

His family lives 12 hours away, as mine live in the same town – so we are closer with my family, and they all know who he is and really like him. I’d like to ask him to spend our lives together forever. But I don’t know how one can have a wedding when one of the grooms is in the closet. I don’t want to force him to come out. I want it to be on his terms, and in his time, but we have always discussed this and he always said he will tell his family.

I’m starting to feel like I will always be the bridesmaid and never the bride! (Showing my age a little haha!) But after ten years, a marriage proposal on the line, and a happy family’s existence lays in the balance & it doesn’t seem to be enough to make him take the step. What should I do? Marriage is not the be all and end all in the situation. Progressing our relationship into owning a home together, having children together, etc – is what I want. But the same principles apply. Please help with some of your amazing guiding wisdom from across the pond!!

With love,

MD Moe”

 

As you can see this is one I simply couldn’t ignore…..

 

Hi MD Moe,

Firstly thank you for bringing this to me. You have explained your situation perfectly and I can do nothing but feel for you. It’s great to be out, feel confident with who you are and also having the acceptance of your family and friends. I guess the real question is what is your partner of ten years family and friends like? Are they open and liberal? Being truly yourself through coming out, isn’t always the answer for everyone.

If he feels or knows his family will not accept him this could be a very trying time he doesn’t wish to face now or possibly ever. That will be a challenge for you both either way.

Coming out is a very personal individual choice, whether you are in a relationship or not. You do not seem pushy or demanding for this to happen and I can see a hundred percent from your perspective in how can you move into the next phase or your relationship with only half the couples family knowing!?

Hearing the denial of who you are to him must hurt so much, but if he is in love with you and you explain this he must have good reason for doing so? Or why would he do it? You could get married and no one needs to know but the two of you if you wished. But having a family and bringing children into the world where there would proudly be two Daddies and one set of grand parents unknowing there is two Daddies, would be disrespectful to you, your relationship and completely confusing for your future children.

I guess the root cause for him staying in the closet should be your main focus. You are owed that conversation after a decade of love. Once you have that answer you can move into working through how you best support your partner living his most open and honest life with you. If he can’t do this with no real explanation maybe your future life plans are simply not on the same page.

Keep in touch.

London love

Dolly Pawton xx

Dolly Pawton

Don’t forget, you too can ask Dolly a question.

Nothing is off limits so consider me your Dollylama (spiritual guru) here for all the real talk. Write in at dollypawton@gmail.com

Don’t worry you can be anonymous!

The post Dear Dolly: “Ten years with a marriage proposal on the line and a happy family’s existence. But is it enough? appeared first on Marie Claire.

Have you ever been ‘orbited’ by an ex? (Spoiler: you definitely have.)

Have you ever been ‘orbited’ by an ex? (Spoiler: you definitely have.)


‘Orbiting is the perfect word for this experience because right now I’m so annoyed I wish I could launch him into space.’

orbiting
Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock

You know when your ex continues following you avidly on social media, likes all your posts, watches all your Insta-stories immediately and yet never says anything about it? Well, yeah. That has a word now and it’s perfect – it’s called ‘orbiting’.

The phrase was coined by Anna Iovine over at Man Repeller who used her own experience to describe what it was and it’s one I relate to on an almost painful level. She met a guy called Tyler on a dating app a few months ago and after things seemed to be going well, they added each other on social media. Then he promptly ghosted her. But still, he remained her biggest social media fan.

FRUSTRATING. And yet, something that I know has happened not just to me but many of my pals. (You know who you are.)

orbiting

Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock

Anna’s friend Vanessa, who had also been put our feelings into words when she wrote, ‘Orbiting is the perfect word for this experience because right now I’m so annoyed I wish I could launch him into space.’

But why do people do it? Well, Anna’s pal Philip had some insight into the situation.

He said, ‘Guys seem to do it when they want to keep their options open, which is a common theme with online dating.’

Boy, bye. We get dating around and that a couple of dates isn’t tantamount to exclusivity, but get outta our social media if you’re not going to act on anything. Social media is stressful enough without having old flames hovering over you all the time.

Orbiting is one of the latest gross dating trends to hit the sphere (or at least, the latest to finally be named and shamed). While we’ve all heard of somebody who’s been ghosted before, there’s new things we’re struggling to keep up with like zombieing, submarining, cushioning and stashing. And surprise: they’re all crap.

To be honest, we’re not sure what’s worse. To be out and out ghosted, or to be ghosted then orbited.

What do you guys think?

The post Have you ever been ‘orbited’ by an ex? (Spoiler: you definitely have.) appeared first on Marie Claire.