April 2010

He Says / She Says: Do You Kiss and Tell?

Author: Keith Kelson & Jean Wharton | Photographer: Photography By Anne


I overheard a young man at a gas station recently bragging loudly to his buddies about his latest romantic conquest. He was going into great detail and was about to cross the line into late night Cinemax territory when I said, “Dude, TMI.” I’m at a loss as to why so many young men feel the need to broadcast such intimate details of their lives to the world at large.

Back in the good old days, the rule of thumb was that a gentleman would never, ever kiss and tell. I don’t and never will, but it looks like I’m part of a shrinking demographic. People pay lip service to that old rule, but they don’t really expect these modern day men not to kiss and tell. People aren’t even shocked when some guy goes around blabbing the details of his romantic conquests. In the past, you wouldn’t have to tell some cat to keep the locker room talk and braggadocio inside the locker room. “The times,” as Bob Dylan pointed out, “they are a changin’.”

Today, bad boys and outlaws seem to be in the majority, while gentlemen seem to be a dying breed. The media is partly responsible, as they label anyone with a pulse and the willingness to make a spectacle of himself as a cultural icon. Throw in social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, and you have a recipe for the 21st-century cad. The marginally talented musician, John Mayer is the perfect example.

Mayer has dated Jennifer Aniston and Jessica Simpson, among others, and apparently one of the reasons he and Aniston broke up was because of his “tweeting.” He also “dished” on various aspects of his relationship with Jessica Simpson in an interview. In other words, he doesn’t know how to keep his big mouth shut. He’s like the kid in grade school who needs to be the center of attention.

Mayer is also an example of what happens when good men stand idly by and do nothing. First, with his marginal talent, he shouldn’t be anywhere near any musical instruments or anywhere live music is performed. Second, any woman foolish enough to give John Mayer the time of day should have her head examined, and if she still insists on seeing him, she should be made fun of on Oprah.

It’s not rocket science, fellas: Don’t kiss and tell. It’s uncouth and is evidence of boorish behavior. Sure, you may attract women who don’t care if you kiss and tell, but are they quality women? In my experience, women who don’t appreciate or value discretion are bad news. The kind of women who will eventually lay waste to your hopes and dreams. The kind of women who will stand in front of the television set during the NFL playoffs or erase your VHS copies of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling.

In the eyes of today’s anarchy-loving yahoos, anyone who refuses to hop aboard the bad boy bandwagon runs the risk of being labeled soft and effeminate. Me? I refuse to join the ranks of the bad boys and the cads, mainly because I like being a gentleman. I’m also way too lazy to change after all these years. I’m also not willing to give up the myriad tactical advantages that the gentleman has over the bad boy.

Ah, I see that got your attention. I also see that a few of the bad boys are visibly shaken. Don’t worry guys, I’m not going to demolish that house of cards you’ve built with your tattoos, leather jackets and motorcycles. I’m simply going to point out some of the more obvious advantages that a gentleman has over men of your ilk, without giving away too much info. Loose lips will sink ships, you know. I’m also laughing at you bad boys and your lemming-like need to follow the crowd.

While popular culture may not make movies about us, we’re very content to fly under the radar. We know that a gentleman will always be the first man chosen by a woman of quality—even in a room filled with bad boys. Unlike our self-promoting counterparts, a gentleman will work hard to keep the details of his personal life off of the public airwaves and Internet pages. A gentleman creates an aura of mystery that some women find appealing and irresistible.

Now, you can be a loud, obnoxious blowhard, going around town bragging about your love life (alienating all the quality women as you do so); I’m not here to change any bad boy. In fact, I’m a firm believer in encouraging the bad boys not to change. In a sea of cads, the true gentleman will stand out, making it easy for women of quality to find him. Meanwhile, the bad boy and his antics will attract the aforementioned bad-news woman, thereby making the life of a gentleman much easier. They do deserve each other, after all. The bad boys promote chaos and anarchy and the bad-news women are attracted to that vibe as well: birds of a feather flocking together.

Meanwhile, during the playoffs, a gentleman’s sweetie won’t stand in front of the television. She’s not some loco fruitcake who’s going to throw out his Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling tapes. She knows she’s got a good man and she’s not about to ruin a good thing—all because of his willingness to respect and protect her privacy by keeping the details of his love life private. Besides, when you kiss and tell, you look like some needy kid trying to impress his peer group. Man up already.



During my middle school years, a time when it was considered hot to wear your soccer uniform to school and passing notes in the hallway was the fastest form of communication during the school day, my mom gave me the simple reminder: “Nice girls don’t get phone calls after 10 o’clock.”

If only it were that easy to be considered a “nice girl” today. Nice girls have a lot to compete with out there on the dating market, and accepting a phone call after 10 p.m. is the least of our worries. Living in the South, there still remains a veiled attempt for women to hang on to their “nice girl” image much longer than in the rest of the country.

How do I know these things? Because girls talk. They kiss and tell. An entire HBO television show and subsequent movies were dedicated to the art of women kissing and telling. The “Women’s Interest” section of periodicals at Barnes and Noble gives future evidence. Cosmo, Glamour, even Oprah frequently flash tips and tidbits to their female readers about the male psyche and libido. Somebody talked.

Carrie Bradshaw and her gal pals in New York City are on one end of the spectrum. First and foremost, not a single one of them heeded her mother’s well-meant advice. For comedic effect and the art of storytelling, I’m glad they didn’t. The characters on Sex and the City allowed “real” women to vicariously live another women’s love lives. Isn’t that just what locker room talk amounts to anyway?

Young girls “kiss and tell” because they are still figuring it all out—putting together the mysteries of attraction. They tell each other the details of first kisses and love notes because they are looking for acceptance, acknowledgment and understanding that first loves are universal.

We like to hear other people’s sexy, funny, interesting and sweet stories of love, lust and loss. We LOVE to hear of stories of humiliation—not because women are cruel and evil creatures who wish their friends mortification (although those chicks are out there) but because it provides a sense of comradeship among friends to know that other women have embarrassing stories, too. On the other hand, hearing a single friend’s successful tale of romance gets women excited for the possibility of a similar interlude.

Women (at least the nice ones) don’t kiss and tell in a braggadocios way. Often, for men, locker room talk is an effort to one-up their mates and exploit a romantic conquest. So much of what men do (especially single men) is motivated by their egos. Chatting it up with buddies after a date and sharing the seedy details is just a way for men to boost their self-esteem. Women don’t feel the same need to share in a raunchy way.

Men hem-and-haw over what to do with, for and about the women they may be interested in just as much as the ladies do about the men. It is a misconception that women are the only ones who talk about relationships with their friends. Men do the exact same thing. Often they are talking to their female friends; they, too, are searching for the same support and acceptance as women. Kissing and telling, especially to a platonic friend of the opposite sex, helps us figure things out. No woman wants to be locker room banter or have her privacy jeopardized, but we learn from each other when we talk it out with friends. I’d be glad to know that a guy I was interested in talked with a friend about me, as long as it was in an effort to make things work out successfully.

Men kiss and tell. Women kiss and tell. This is simple fact. Maybe nice girls shouldn’t be accepting calls after a certain hour (especially in the seventh grade), but nice girls should and do kiss and tell. Sorry mom.

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