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At last! A definitive guide on how to keep your man (according to women’s mags)

I’m so confused. I’ve been with my boyfriend for a year and it’s great. But some magazines say that if I want to keep him interested I should dress like a vamp, and others say I should dress like Samantha Cameron. What to do?

Women’s magazine reader, everywhere

What to do indeed? Hey, we’re all grown-ups here and we know that the spark of lust that flames up at the beginning of a relationship generally simmers down to a gentle glow as time goes on. But what, ladies, can we do to keep our men interested? Because we know what men are like: they’re all dogs. Dogs straining at the leash of our love, desperate to smell the butt of someone – anyone – new who walks by, and I do mean that literally. Oh, it’s just a nightmare for the poor little woman, stuck at home in her Cath Kidston apron, weeping gently over the home-cooked meal she made for him, wondering how on earth she can possibly trick her man into still finding her interesting after more than three months of sleeping with her when she’s so blindly, unquestioningly and utterly devoted to him (even though he is, as already discussed, a dog).

Truly, this is a grave universal problem, which is why – in all my years of extensive reading of women’s magazines – I have yet to go a day without encountering a feature about how a woman can Keep Her Man. And yet, funnily enough, despite similar experience in reading men’s magazines (good to know what the enemy’s thinking, amirite ladies?), I have yet to see a similar article reassuring men that, truly, there are ways to keep a woman interested in their hairy, smelly bodies. Because that would be ridiculous, right? I mean, of course women are always interested – they’re grateful to have found a man and trapped him, and now all they want is to trick him into impregnating them so they can force him into a life of suburban domesticity. Whereas men, of course, as we already discussed, are dogs, trying desperately to escape being trapped so they can hump anyone and everyone they meet. Look, that’s not a generalisation or sexism or whatever fancy word young people are bandying about – it’s basic science. You can’t argue with centuries of human evolution, y’know.

So in the interests of saving everyone a lot of time and a lot of broken hearts, I’m going to condense my years of reading these crappy articles written by people with absolutely no actual qualifications into a handy cut-out-and-keep guide for all you ladies out there. So here it is, gals: the official Ask Hadley guide on how to keep your man.

Firstly, remember that while men – all men, because all men, of course, think exactly the same way – might notice a short skirt and heels, what they really want is the security of a gentle, conservative woman in a Boden tea dress and cardigan. But you also need to look like an absolute sex bomb 24/7 or else they’ll sleep with the secretary – remember when Eva Mendes said sweatpants on women were the number one cause of divorce and therefore should always be avoided, even immediately after giving birth? Eva later apologised but she was also absolutely right, so never wear sweatpants and get out that push-up bra instead. What about heels, you ask? Well, you mustn’t emasculate your man by wearing heels that make you taller than him – there is nothing more emasculating (other than a woman who makes her partner do any housework, take any paternity leave or help out with childcare – and don’t even get me started on women who insist on working in jobs where they earn more than their partner). So, if necessary, take your man shopping with you so you can always ensure you are at least three inches shorter than him, even in your Louboutins. But of course, there is nothing – nothing! – men find sexier than a woman in super-high heels, even if she can’t walk in those heels and sprains her ankle every time she leaves the house. Heck, men love an injured woman – it makes them feel manly! So get out those seven-inch heels and, remember, when flying towards the ground, smile – no man likes a girl with Bitchy Resting Face.

Next, makeup. Now, the thing about men and makeup is – they hate it! Ask any man and he’ll say he prefers the natural look. So throw out all your makeup at once, girls, and your moisturisers, cleansers, soap, hairbrushes, hairspray, hairdryers, toothpaste and deodorant, too. No man wants a high-maintenance woman! On the other hand, men love a woman who takes care of herself – it turns them on! So trowel on more makeup than Joan Collins as you can’t possibly let him see you barefaced. That’s worse than sweatpants!

Now, we don’t, sadly, have the space to deal with how you should always stand up to your man (men love a woman who fights her corner!), but also always give him whatever he wants (no man wants a bossy shrew!). But hopefully you can all now see that, really, it is terribly easy for a woman to keep her man interested. Always glad to help!

Post your questions to Hadley Freeman, Ask Hadley, The Guardian, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Email ask. hadley@theguardian.com.

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