Male Call: The Ladies Lay Down Rules


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 By James Roberts

We recently had occasion to hear some surprisingly firm guidelines for you guys from a group of online-dating ladies about “first meetings,” aka, the “meet ‘n greet.”

First off, exactly what is a meet ‘n greet (henceforth MNG) and how does it differ from a “date?” The panel (and we use that term loosely) of ladies (not loosely) was definitely in agreement with the guys.

An MNG is an arranged get together for romantic purposes between two people who have had some electronic or social media interaction but no face-to-face, in-person contact. They may have texted, phoned, IM’d or DM’d through Match, OKC, POF, Bumble, Tinder, Farmers Only or Haters (yes, it’s a real thing where people are matched according to what they hate). In some cases, they may have a great deal of information, in other cases, just a photo.

Now, we’ve talked before about how prospects of both persuasions manage to show misleading or downright dishonest pictures, lie about their height, weight and age. Two things all the ladies have in common: “they love to laugh” and “no hookups.” As for the guys, apparently, they all want hookups and don’t want to spend more than five minutes grooming for the meeting.

Personality? Well, that’s sort of the point of the MNG. That, and figuring out if the person has lied about their height, weight, age and love of laughter.

OK, so a “date” is when two people with romantic intentions who’ve previously met arrange to meet somewhere for some kind activity such as dinner, drinks, a concert, a hike or whatever.

Once upon a time, a date involved the guy picking the gal up at her residence and driving to their assignation. But nowadays it seems hardly anyone is brave enough for that.

But now, the MNG rules envelope, please:

  1. Guy always pays
  2. Second date must be arranged before the first meeting ends
  3. Minimum amount of time a woman feels she owes you: one hour
  4. No Groupons and definitely no coupons may be used.

Regarding Rule 1, we were informed that if the woman so much as offers to pay, even the tip, that’s the tip-off that she’s not interested. Exception: if the guy has to travel more than two hours to get to the meeting place.

There seems to be some wiggle room on Rule 2. Guy Rules suggest that a fella should wait at least one day before asking for the second date. This elicits snorts of scorn from the distaff side.

However, there is a definite exception to Rule 3: when the guy has obviously lied about his marital status…or height, then she can leave after a few minutes.

For Rule 4, interestingly, a separate panel (loosely speaking) of women declared that coupons/Groupons are “no problemo.” One lady said, “If you go out with a woman who is so money-obsessed that she disdains a Groupon, you need to find a different date.

Oh, and Rule 5. Guys: never say “ladies” unless you’re directing them to the restroom.

Need a guy’s perspective? Jot a note to Male Call at or check out the Male Call archives at

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Male Call: Time Waits For No One


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 By James Roberts

The Male Call Advisory Board™ would like to call attention to some avoidable romance-killing waits perpetrated by certain bands, movie moguls and restaurants.

  1. Endless dance band codas. OK, so technically a coda is “a concluding musical section that is formally distinct from the main structure,” but many bar bands extend an otherwise lively dance tune into seemingly endless drum riffs and lead guitar flourishes. See the problem is, we dancers only have a certain number of moves and after about five minutes, we’ve pretty much used them up. But there’s no graceful way to exit the floor, mid-riff. We know, the band is working itself up to fever pitch for a series of grand finales, but give us dancers a break. We’d either like a new beat or a chance to canoodle.
  2. “Date movies” over 100 minutes. Unless your name is Lawrence of Arabia or Spartacus you really ought to have a heart for new couples on their second date (you’d never take a prospective romantic partner to a movie on the first date, would you? Please say “no.”). We’ve got nothing against a good epic if the bridge over the River Kwai needs to be blown up or Ben is about to be Hur’d. But couples in their EDP (early dating period) like to spend their get-acquainted time having fascinating conversations and exchanging smoldering glances, not squirming in a movie seat. So, movie date-planners, check the running time before you run out of time.
  3. We’ve saved the worst for last: Valentine’s Day dining out. There’s hardly a deal-killer more devastating than chilling for 75 minutes in a restaurant lobby. So, V-Day date-planners, figure on home-cooking or maybe even try a picnic.

A timeless relationship may be waiting for you…but not too long.

Need a guy’s perspective? Jot a note to Male Call at or check out the Male Call archives at

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Male Call: The 12 Days Of Aggravation


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By James Roberts

All many of us really want for the holiday gifting season is less aggravation. Here are a few empirical guidelines for you singletons.

  1. No use of the word “gifting.”

Ok, but seriously…

  1. No matter how much holiday fun you’re having, don’t plan an extended vacation together until you’ve endured a road trip.

Oh, wait, you already made that mistake. Let’s start over:

  1. No matter what else you’ve done, you’re not a couple until you’ve taken a vexatious road trip together. (Over the river and through the woods to Granma’s does not count.)
  2. Men: In your dating profiles, stop writing what you think people want to hear and write about the true you. You know, like your alleged love of cuddling, chilling a Netflix night, and how laid-back and drama-free you are. The women see through this nettlesome subterfuge.
  3. Women: Stop fake-complimenting yourself: “My friends say I’m funny, adventurous, and look younger than my age.” In fact, leave all those tiresome adjectives out. If you’re funny…be If you’re adventurous, describe an adventure. In short, use the screenwriter’s maxim: Show Don’t Tell.
  4. Men: You need to know that women are aggravated by your crappy-looking shoes…and apparently they especially hate the socks-with-sandals thing unless you’re a sand volleyball player. (Also “flooders,” aka “high-water” pants).
  5. Women: Take it easy on the garish pink club-going outfits unless your name is Paris Hilton. Same with capris — the “soccer mom” of fashion — unless your name is Alessandra Ambrosio (However, the Male Call Advisory Board tells us there’s such a thing as a “cropped ankle pant” that isn’t too bad.)
  6. Everyone: You don’t get to tell everyone how fair or honest you are (“I guess I’m just too honest for my own good!”). Factitious.
  7. Men: Stop lying about your height. This is women’s number one peeve when they finally do meet you.
  8. Women: Stop posting pictures of your cat, dog or flowers as your Meetup profile pic. Exasperating.
  9. Oh, and stop no-showing at Meetup events: über-exasperating.
  10. And when you do have to cancel going to an event with your friends, you don’t need to add “You guys have fun!” Irksome.
  11. Don’t give someone driving directions to your meeting place by referencing all the landmarks you and your bothersome besties are familiar with: “Take Via Linda to the Sprouts then turn left at Home Depot and keep going past Trader Joe’s. It’s next to the new Starbucks.” In Arizona, this is known as “Scottsdale navigation.”
  12. Advertisers: Give us all a break and retire the galling phrase “Give the gift of…” as in “the gift of Amazon Prime/adventure/a calmer mind/Master Class/productivity” when you know it’s not a real gift category.


So there you are: Enough pointers for the 12 Days of Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day and Festivus (for the rest of us) to get you through to National Fruitcake Toss Day (Jan. 3).

Need a guy’s perspective? Jot a note to Male Call at

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Male Call: 15 Dating Terms That Officially Make You A Cliché


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By James Roberts

Sorry ladies, but if you’ve got any of these code words in your online dating profile, you’ve officially entered the Cliché Zone.


  1. “Drama-free.” Along with “no drama” this is probably the #1 cliché dominating dating sites these days. You rarely hear, “Gosh I wish I had a little more drama in my life!”
  2. “No one-night stands” and “No hook-ups.” Ok, we get it, you’re inundated with cheesy solicitations, but as with all such notifications, it’s a terrible way of fending off the bad guys. Either the men don’t see themselves this way or are simply going to lie. Either way it’s like posting a sign at your picnic: “No ants allowed.”
  3. “Friends first.” As with #2, hardly any guy comes right out and says, “Oh, let’s be lovers first and then see if we can be friends!” Ladies, we know what you’re getting at, but disclaimers don’t weed out the players, or, as you like to call them, “serial daters.”
  4. “Love to laugh.” Please point out someone who doesn’t. And more to the point, when are you going to bring the funny?
  5. “Family and friends.” There ought to be a dating site shortcut key for this tired phrase — maybe CTRL-X.
  6. “Shy at first.” From what we hear, this actually used to be one of the telltale signs of a scammer on Craig’s List.
  7. “No baggage.” What a dull life you’ve had.
  8. “Comfortable in jeans and t-shirt or little black dress.” Soooooo early 2000s. By the way, if you Google those exact words you’ll get more than 6 million results. Now how special do you feel?
  9. “No scammers.” Why not just add “no pickpockets”? That’ll keep ‘em away!
  10. “Move on…” As in “If you [insert bad habit or desire for one-night-stand]…move on.” No need for shooing; you’re not the Dating Police. Just announce your pointless “no scammers/no baggage” policy and let ‘em shuffle off on their own.
  11. “Must have chemistry.” Gal Code for “attraction” — a term used to avoid sounding like you’re just interested in a person’s looks.
  12. “Partner in crime.” This was pretty clever 20 years ago…suggesting a sort of Hepburn-Finney Two for the Road love of adventure, sneaking snacks into a movie theatre, jaywalking — but it’s obvious you’re just copying phrases from other dating profiles.
  13. “Midwest values.” No one has any idea what this means…but you. It sounds sort of home-spunnie and “genuine,” maybe patriotic and prairie church-going. But does it mean the guy has to pay for everything…or just hold doors for you?
  14. “Looking for my last first date.” Time to start plagiarizing a better class of dating profile.
  15. “Honest to a fault” – half humble brag, half delusion. Anytime you have to add “to a fault,” you’ve left the Cliché Zone and entered the Totally Annoying Zone.

All this is not to say that guys don’t have their share of code words and clichés. But we’ve got to move on, shed our T-shirt for a tux and polish our Harley because we’re so laid back and good at giving massages.

Got a favorite male cliché? Send it along.

Need a guy’s perspective? Jot a note to Male Call at or check out the Male Call archives at

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Male Call: Unselfie Yourselfie


Click to read more about James Roberts.

By James Roberts

We went to a Meetup pool party/BBQ the other day and only recognized two people from their profile pix, both of whom we happened to know pretty well. The other 10 were completely unrecognizable.

Now, as we understand it, the whole point of a social media site like Meetup is to get together with people who may be, if not strangers, at least people you don’t see every single day…i.e., your posse. Otherwise you’d just send an email to your friends and say, “C’mon over, bring a cheap wine and deviled eggs.”

However, some people treat a Meetup, or a Facebook page or a dating profile as though there were Russian spies trying to keep track of their daily whereabouts and the people they associate with.

Of course, this may be perfectly true but if the Russians or [insert political nemesis of your choice] are really trolling you, we’re guessing it’s not through your Meetup, Facebook or dating site profile. Trust us, the Russians are too busy messing with elections around the world to bother with your moviegoing habits.

We’ve covered a few of these before but apparently some of you need to be reminded:

  1. Avoid having other people in the picture, especially if it’s the first pic in a series;
  2. If your name is gender-neutral (Taylor, Sam, R.J., Jesse, Cody, etc.), that’s OK, but maybe you could help us recognize you with a non-sunflower pic;
  3. And by the way, there shall be no pictures of sunflowers, sunsets or sundials in place of a clear, hopefully non-selfie, head shot of yourself;
  4. No motivational posters with inspiring slogans and tapestry backgrounds, invariably snagged from “Brainy Quotes” (a terrible source) and invariably wrongly attributed to Einstein, Yogi Berra, Mark Twain, Churchill, Shakespeare or Gandhi;
  5. No grouchy selfies. Selfies alone are bad enough but if you can’t even manage to coax a smile out of yourself, it’s time to call in a friend. . . you do have one, don’t you? And if you can’t even tell if you look grouchy, well, that’s a larger issue.
  6. If your photo shows the cell phone data in black bars at the top and bottom — hour of day it was taken, battery status, type of phone, other irrelevant icons — but not even the date, how about taking two minutes to figure out how to crop it.
  7. Ladies: No “duck lips” poses (like the “kissy face,” but much more obnoxious)
  8. Ladies: No “beach feet” — it’s just a cliché that tells us nothing except you like the beach. (FYI, one survey says that the chance of a “like” for women decreases by 47 percent for beach photos in general and a whopping 80 percent for men.)
  9. Guys: No flashing a gang sign with your cap backwards and hip-hop underwear rising out of your saggy jeans, or any combination of the above. And unless you’ve got a shirt allergy…keep it on.
  10. Bathroom selfies? Fuggetabout it. The same survey says that taking a picture of yourself in a bathroom mirror will reduce your chances of a “like” by as much as 90 percent! Yikes.

See, the thing is, when you attend a Meetup or a prospective beau or beauzette for the first time, people would like to recognize you. That’s why it’s social media. And when they go home, they might like to connect your face with your name. If you want to be a secret agent, go turn on your cloaking device and set your smart phone for Incognito Mode. Or just go back to Myspace.

Need a guy’s perspective? Jot a note to Male Call at or check out the Male Call archives at

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Male Call: Hacked, Duped And Dumped


By James Roberts –

Having been pestered by a series of malware alerts on the Male Call computer, we were fascinated by a story recently related by a friend — we’ll call him “Mick” — who is still puzzling about what happened to him, especially the aftermath.

We got the story in dribs and drabs between sets of tennis so it took a while to re-assemble the details, particularly since said friend is not terribly computer-literate.

Here’s how it went down.

Mick gets up one morning and logs onto Facebook first thing as he usually does. He’s texting, via Facebook with his sweetie — they’ve been dating seriously for about a month and she has declared “love.”

Now, it’s not entirely clear if he was actually using Facebook’s texting/SMS function or simply Messenger but it seems he was using his laptop. As we said, the narrative was parceled out in 2-minute blurbs.

What happened was that his Facebook screen got “locked.” This was not just computer lag; he got a notification that his FB was locked. We don’t know if this was a standard FB “lock screen” notification or something more sinister.

In a panic, he starts hunting around on Google for Facebook support and heads down a rabbit hole of disaster and scammery.

He finds a site for Facebook Customer Service and calls the 844- number. A support person answers and Mick begins blubbering about the problem:

“Help, help, I’m locked out of Facebook!”

(OK, we may have made up the part about blubbering, but you can trust the next part since we verified it independently. In fact, at first, we didn’t quite believe it but check it out for yourself with this NPR story.)

So he gets the tech support person on the phone, describes the problem but is taken aback to find out that, yes, they can fix the problem but it will cost him $200.

As the NPR story notes: “To be clear, Facebook does not have a phone number for regular users to call.”

Now Mick isn’t quite sure what to do. He doesn’t want to fork over two bills and also can’t figure how Facebook can get away with charging him for customer support.

And then the real disaster strikes.

Suddenly his computer screen is taken over by an unseen hand, like when you give remote access to an online tech support person…but now the hand is typing horrible words to Mick’s sweetie that we can’t even bring ourselves to use initials for! Let’s just say it was three words and one of them was “you.”

Sweetie is appalled and disgusted and quickly breaks off communication.

The plot thickens. It seems that Mick has been in communication with other sweeties who have received similar messages supposedly from him. But it’s his main sweetie he wants to get right with.

Mick, you’ve got some splainin’ to do!

Cutting to the chase, Sweetie #1 is having no truck with any splainin’ . . . but ironically Sweetie #2 sees it for the hack job it was and forgives the apparent word assault.

A week passes and even after numerous desperate attempts at reconciliation and explanation, Sweetie #1 remains unmoved. It’s over, over, over.

So what do you think? Did Mick make up the whole megillah? Was Sweetie #1 being unreasonable in not accepting the story? Or, hmmm, was Sweetie #1 just looking for an excuse to break up? And how many sweeties was Mick online with at the time?

He’s rather vague about that last part but from what we hear, he’s back on the dating market.

Need a guy’s perspective? Jot a note to Male Call at or check out the Male Call archives at

Male Call: Bring Out Your Inner Shrek


By James Roberts –

Far be it from us to tell you to bring out your less attractive features on your dating profile, but a provocative TED talk suggests that maybe you should do just that.

Now, we’re not talking about how you still live with your mother, how you view every other driver on the road as your sworn enemy or how you erupt in a wild rage just hearing the words “Buffalo” or “cleaning woman.”

And we’re certainly not saying guys should go out clubbing wearing a torn, oily T-shirt or gals should wear pink capris. And we’re definitely not saying you should respond to a simple question like “Do you have any kids?” with “Um…er…no…well, it’s a legal thing y’know.”

No, the TED presenter, British mathematician Hannah Fry in “The Mathematics of Love,” makes the very good point that hiding features that are going to get you busted on the first meeting are not helping your dating life.

I don’t know how many woman friends have complained that they went on an internet date with a guy who said he was 5’11” but turned out to be 5’7”. Like he didn’t think they were going to notice? (Actually, it seems that what bugs the ladies is not so much the height as the fact that you bold-face lied about something eminently observable. We mean, who even does that?)

Fry points out that most people try to minimize the features they think are less attractive in their online pix (bald men wear hats, for example). But the research suggests that it’s better to play up what makes you different, even if you think some people will find it unattractive.

Here’s what’s happening. If you see someone in a bar who is uber-attractive, you might not think it’s worth your while to approach them. So too with a dating profile: if they look like too much of a hottie patottie (the actual technical academic term) you might pass them by figuring they are going to be deluged with offers.

Now, we could catalog the vast array of photo mistakes people make – grouchy faces, duck lips, posing with all your besties (ladies), posing with your Camaro (guys), posing with your family (everyone), sunglasses, bathroom selfies (really…you can’t find anyone willing to take your picture?), excessive skin – that clearly aren’t playing up anything but your poor judgment in photos.

But, if you’re a bald guy, wouldn’t you like to attract someone who fancies bald guys? If you’re a “curvy” woman, wouldn’t you want someone who really digs that?

This is not “settling.” This is maximizing the number of suitable beaus and minimizing the beau-zos. So get out there and let your inner Shrek shine through.

Need a guy’s perspective? Jot a note to Male Call at or check out the Male Call archives at

Photo credit: bramdewilde via / CC BY-NC-SA

Male Call: Shave It Or Save It?


By James Roberts –

A couple months ago we discussed the personal hygiene issue of men’s hair removal (Oct. 2016 Male Call). This month, just in time for V Day (and we’ll let you decide if that stands for Valentine’s, Victory or Vanquished), we consider the opposite side – hair non-removal, that is, beards v. stubble. What’ll it be, guys, for your February ventures?

While browsing, as we are wont to do, through a recent issue of the Journal of Evolutionary Biology (see what we do for you folks?) we learned that university researchers in Australia found that women will form a personal opinion about men based on how much hair he has on his face. What? The Male Call Advisory Board™ is shocked, shocked we say!

Now, Dixson, et al. didn’t just mosey into a bar and ask a few gals what they like. No, they surveyed 8,520 women, asking them to rate the attractiveness of men based on computerized images showing various stages of facial hair – clean-shaven, light stubble, heavy stubble and full beards. Pretty dang scientific as you’ll see from this following quote:

“In many species, male secondary sexual traits have evolved via female choice as they confer indirect (i.e., genetic) benefits or direct benefits such as enhanced fertility or survival. In humans, the role of men’s characteristically masculine androgen-dependent facial traits…” [insert snoring sound.]

OK, wake up and we’ll cut to the chase.

The researchers concluded that “masculine faces” are judged more attractive for short-term relationships over less masculine faces, whereas beards are judged as more attractive than clean-shaven faces for long-term relationships.

Yep, stubble was judged as most attractive overall and received the highest marks for a…um…short-term relationship. A full beard was more attractive in terms of a committed partner.

So as not to be accused of being a liberal-media-data-cherry-picker, we should point out that the team considered other factors such as brow ridge, cheekbones and jawline in their definition of “masculine” along with some academic gobbledygook about “dimorphic androgen-dependent facial traits.” You can read the article for yourself if you want the juicy details.

It so happens that your humble column host has recently adopted a trim goatee look. We’re not sure if that means short-term action or long-term commitment. It’s not exactly stubble and not really a beard, per se. Sort of in the middle. We’ll just say that the jury of women we’ve polled all voted in favor of it.

Of course it was only a sample of a half-dozen. We’ve got 8,508 to go.

Need a guy’s perspective? Jot a note to Male Call at or check out the Male Call archives at

Photo credit: wang-lu via / CC BY-NC-SA

Male Call: Tats All Folks!


By James Roberts –

We have a modest proposal for a holiday gift exchange with your snuggle partner. But first, let’s consider the unsnuggling process.

Despite everyone’s belief (and by “everyone” we mean “many people we know”) that about half of marriages end in divorce, it seems that the divorce rate has actually been going down for quite a while. According to a New York Times article that we’re just getting around to, divorce rates increased in the 1970s and ‘80s, but in the last 20 years they have actually dropped.

The reasons include: more cohabiting before breaking up, waiting longer to marry and break up, more birth control, greater acceptance of single-parent households and overall fewer people getting married.

However, the downward trend is mostly for college-educated people; turns out working-class couples are still more likely to split— at near-peak levels. Why would that be? One pretty good theory is that college-educated women are more likely to have their own financial security and don’t believe that’s the main benefit of marriage.

(Perhaps not coincidentally, it seems that most divorces nowadays—about two/thirds—are initiated by women, though women and men are just as likely to end non-marital relationships.)

And now . . .our (pick your holiday) proposal: Mutual tattoos!

Given that every marriage ceremony we’ve ever been to included fervent avowals of everlasting love and faithfulness, the Male Call Advisory Board proposes that couples who wish to sustain their marriage should get a tattoo of the other’s name in a prominent place (albeit one that can be covered by clothes perhaps—we see enough face and neck tattoos on the college kids).

Alternatively, instead of that lavish, costly wedding in the first place, why not have a tattoo ceremony where you each get your ring finger tatted with a lovely ring-icon?

Consider that the average wedding cost in the United States is $26,645. On the other end, the average cost of a contested divorce ranges from $15,000 to $30,000 (the average cost for uncontested is more like $300.)

Tattoo costs, on the other hand, range from $45 to $150, depending on size.

A tattoo can’t be slipped off in a hotel bar on a business trip. It can’t be accidentally “misplaced” or lost.

Thing is, it’s remarkably easy to swear eternal love. But let’s see how many people are willing to put their money where their mouths are when they have to commit to a tattoo.

Oh, and when you do get a divorce, just get a “cross-out” tat for that ring finger . . . eliminates the guesswork on a date.

Need a guy’s perspective? Jot a note to Male Call at or check out the Male Call archives at

Photo credit: nicandres via / CC BY-NC

Male Call: Hirsute, Hersuit


By James Roberts –

I had a chance to talk to a female dating advice writer the other day and guess what? You guys “of a certain age” need to do a couple things if you don’t want to spend the rest of your days in solitary confinement watching golf and fishing on cable TV.

Three words: cut your hair.

Now, we don’t mean get a haircut. And we don’t mean shave your knuckles.

We mean…hmm…how to put this delicately…take care of your person facial hirsuteness.

Do we need to come out and say it? Apparently we do.

Clip those nose and ear hairs, boys. And while you’re at it, would it kill you to trim those Andy Rooney eyebrows?

And while you’re still at it, ixnay those ridiculous white socks that come up to your calves.

We were also advised you should stop obsessively tucking in your shirts, but we believe opinions are divided on that one. Let’s not get crazy with these new-fangled styles. Next thing you know you’ll be wearing your ball cap sideways with a flattened brim and the hologram sticker left on!

The other thing that seems to bug Ms. Dating Mr Maybe is shots of you on your dating profile holding a fish.

Well, we couldn’t exactly leave those charges unanswered but, frankly, women generally do a pretty good job of shaving their stuff, managing their hair and presumably changing their underwear regularly.

So we had to pull out our trump card (insert hyuuge joke here): ladies’ outfits.

First, capris. Ladies, men don’t find these anywhere near as attractive as you seem to think. And if you look hot in capris, you’d probably look hot in an abaya.

Next, skorts. I’m not sure women still wear these, but if you do, cut it out.

Next, pink. We’re not talking about the Victoria’s Secret brand Pink which seems to have cajoled women everywhere into becoming walking billboards. We’re talking about excessively pink outfits. We get it, you’re a girl. We actually took a survey in Kazimierz, presumably a pretty hip wine bar, with a doubting Thomasina. She went around and asked the guys if they like to see a woman wearing a pink outfit and this highly scientific survey returned a unanimous “no.”

We could probably think up a few more but we understand the Fishing Network is featuring Trophy Bass Action and we don’t want to miss it.

Need a guy’s perspective? Jot a note to Male Call at or check out the Male Call archives at

Photo credit: Daniel Condurachi via /CC BY-NC
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