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Video: Relationship myths

TODAY
updated 4/9/2007 9:37:03 AM ET 2007-04-09T13:37:03

Are men born to cheat? Do women prefer lavish dinners rather than just kicking back? Marnie Hanel of Tango magazine and Jordan Burchette of Maxim.com go head-to-head to debate myths about the opposite sex.

Men are more likely to cheat.
Tango says: We’re not about to play innocent when it comes to infidelity, but we’re also not going to stand in the way of science. All the research points in the same direction: men are marginally more likely to succumb to temptation than women are. Maybe this is because men seem to get away with cheating (see: Charlie Sheen, Jack Nicholson, Jude Law), and women seem to be publicly humiliated for it (see: Hester Prynne, Anna Nicole Smith.) Although we’re not any less likely to dream up fantasies involving the hot new cubicle-mate and an empty office, but we are less likely to indulge them. That said, when the going gets tough, women will spill their secrets, problems, and concerns to another man. It may not have the sizzle of a passionate affair, but emotional infidelity can also burn a relationship.

Maxim.com says: A double standard exists between physical and emotional cheating, of which women are more often guilty. But men do physically cheat more. (High five!) If a guy feels the need for emotional reassurance from a female friend, he's likely not looking for anything more than friendship. Meanwhile, your girlfriend most probably has an auxiliary Y chromosome at work — we'll call him “Chip” — who listens ... and understands ... and ... knows just how to ... [kissing noises].

Men and women want to know their mate’s “score.”
Tango says: Would you adopt a dog without knowing where it’s been? Of course not. (Well, not without some serious vaccines.) Which is exactly why — even though it may lead to disappointment, jealousy, or general malaise — women want to know how many people their partner has slept with. Men, on the other hand, fall into two camps. Either they’re dying to know your “score,” or they’d prefer to pretend they stole you from a nunnery. For both sexes, it’s a trick question. If the “score” is unusually low, we wonder if you know what you’re doing. If it’s unusually high, we wonder if you know who you’re doing. And if you don’t know the “score” at all, we want you to leave. Now. Seriously. Scram.

Maxim.com says: They only think they want to know their mate's score. Once revealed, any answer is going to be as personally satisfying as learning the contents of the blood sausage you just ate. After the inevitable argument that follows any answer, the ideal number's going to have a decimal place: two is inexperienced, three is professional.

Women want to be wined and dined.
Tango says: We’re certainly not going turn down a linen napkin, the crumber, or a dessert cart, but that doesn’t mean you have to consolidate your loans to woo us. Want to know what really turns us on? (Lean in close for the secret to life.) What women really want is: a plan. Whether that means “See you at six for Scrabble and a pitcher of PBR,” or “Look honey, front row tickets to the Justin Timberlake concert!” (a girl can dream), we’re just going to be happy that you made an effort. Taking women somewhere that’s outside your comfort zone has the opposite effect, since it’s hard to drum up romance with a man who’s sweating through his sports jacket. So if all those forks and glasses give you chest pain, please just treat us to a cheeseburger. And if you really want to seal the deal? Polish it off with a hot fudge sundae and ask for two spoons. Swoon.

Maxim.com says: They want both, and they want you to know which one they're in the mood for without having to be told, Nostradamus. You're never going to be able to take turns playfully crushing beer cans on each others' heads, but as long as you supplement your trips to the local swill hole with the occasional restaurant of sawdust-free floors, you should be able to keep the wine wolves at bay.

Men are threatened by powerful, successful women.
Tango says: For insecure men, powerful women are like porcupines in a balloon farm; they pop egos just walking by. For secure men, powerful women are welcome company. Luckily for both sexes, there’s room at the top for both genders. If you climb up to reach us, we promise not to push you off.

Maxim.com says: Power does not equal security, and men confident in themselves are not threatened by powerful women who, too, are confident in themselves. Any combination to the contrary is going to create struggle. Heck, the man only stands to gain from this situation, whether by being motivated to achieve more or by being demotivated to have a sugar momma. You go, boy!

Women cannot laugh at themselves.
Tango says: Oh sure we can. Just don’t tease us about our appearance, or our clothes, or our eating habits, or our mothers, or our careers. When it comes to teasing, men and women just speak different languages. (One woman’s insult is another man’s endearment.) Partly, this is because women want to be taken seriously, whereas men are automatically taken seriously. Women are also less conditioned to deflect locker-room banter, just as men are less conditioned to accept compliments on their outfits. But that doesn’t mean women don’t like to laugh and have fun. Just direct that snarky comment at someone else, like Paris Hilton. She can handle it.

Maxim.com says: Men bond over insults, while a woman can divine a personally offensive cheap shot in a list of cupcake ingredients. Guys view one another in the arena of competition in a way that women do not, so when the gloves come off they are expected to be able to defend themselves. Women can dish, but can rarely dine: they can be the coldest at playing the dozens at someone else's expense, but women don't take well to being the butt of any joke, regardless of its subject matter. Especially if that subject matter is their butt.

Men don’t gossip.
Tango says: Not so fast. You might not see a guy rushing to the phone to exchange celebrity tidbits with his poker club, but men often nonchalantly repeat their friends’ really juicy secrets. When confronted, men say that they didn’t realize it was private information. This can be true: Men’s gossip detectors are often completely out of whack. So, lady, when you give your guy some dirt, just remember to remind him not to tell a soul. While you’re at it, encourage him to trust you with other people’s scoops. You are the portrait of discretion.

Maxim.com says: Men don't care enough about other people's personal lives to gossip about them. If a guy wants to tell you something, he'll do it with a nudge, a high five, or a forearm bash. Women crave a measure of drama in their lives that men lack, which is why they co-opt the personal details of others for their own first-person soap operas. As far as relationship gossip, for men it pretty much goes something like this: “I got married.” “Why?”

To decode more myths about the opposite sex and sound off with your own opinion, go to tangomag.com and maxim.com.

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