Two Rules For Any Man Who Wants An Outrageously Wonderful Relationship With A Woman

Luck And Desperation As Learning Tools

I first learned these rules as a result of my impossibly good luck in meeting Julie in college, falling madly, irredeemably, unflinchingly in love, and – one decade, five academic degrees, four career changes, and three spouses later (think “When Harry Met Sally” meets “Waiting For Godot”) – getting together for 20 outrageously happy years together before her 1999.

A few years after Julie died, I chanced to be in the vicinity when Val decided she was ready for a boyfriend. After passing my initial audition with her, I realized I had once again, by sheer good fortune, found a woman who met my primary criterion: she was too good for the likes of me, but she didn’t know it.

Consequently, I (this is where the desperation comes in) set about executing the strategy, originally developed over the years with Julie, of keeping Lawanda distracted with fancy footwork, champagne, and enthusiastic attentiveness so she didn’t figure out she could, indeed, do a lot better than me. And again these tactics were successful; Val and I were in the process of living happily ever after when she died June 2, 2008.

I have distilled and condensed the lessons I learned from being with these two – and I employ the next term without hyperbole – phenomenal women into two rules.

Rules For A Great Relationship With A Woman

Rule 2: Whatever she asks, never tell her “No”

I now realize that certain wise men independently discovered this rule and, in fact, have been attempting to teach it to the multitudes. It turns out that, while this idea is rarely bruited about in everyday discourse, its poetic presentation results in such widespread resonance that individuals will pay to hear these words and acknowledge the wisdom with applause. For example…


But you’ve got to be able to say that [“And if you want to work the street alone / I’ll disappear for you” from I’m Your Man] to someone you love. A man has to let another man bring gifts to his wife. That goes for us all. And the notion that a thing is fixed and doesn’t admit of any need for change or modification, that’s the sure formula for suffering. People have to decide between themselves whether they’re going to be true to one another, and what ‘being true’ means, they have to define for themselves. You may decide to share that thing exclusively with each other. But there’s a whole range of friendships that are available to people, and perhaps you suffer a great deal if you refuse them. Maybe I have a more radical view of the thing, which is private and even inarticulate to myself. But I know in myself there are times when that line is true. At times you have to disappear for your lover, and you have to let them cook by themselves and in whatever way they want. Otherwise you can’t hold it.1


Leonard Cohen


Leonard Cohen – I’m Your Man
Radio City Music Hall, New York: May 17, 2009


Chris Rock On Love And Relationships

And for the same notion presented with different cadences and an earthier vocabulary, consider this commentary by Chris Rock:


See, relationships are hard. But in order for any relationship to work, both people have to be on the same page. Both people have to have the same focus. And we all know what that page is, what that focus is. In order for the relationship to work, both people have to have the same focus, and the focus is all about her. It’s all about her. She’s already there, fellas, she’s waiting for you to come aboard. Fellas, when you wake up in the morning, you should look yourself in the mirror and say, “Fuck you. “Fuck your hopes, fuck your dreams, fuck your plans, “fuck everything you thought this life was gonna bring you. “Now let’s go out there and try and make this bitch happy.” Yes. It’s all about her, fellas. Say yes to everything. Everything. Everything you can afford, say yes to. Just say yes. Before she even gets it out of her fucking mouth. “Honey, can…” Yes. “Honey, I…” Yes. Just get a stamp. Yes. Another thing, fellas – don’t argue. You cannot win. You cannot beat a woman in an argument, it’s impossible. You will not win, cos men, we are handicapped when it comes to arguing cos we have a need to make sense. Women ain’t gonna let a little thing like sense fuck up they argument. Cos she not in it for sense, she’s in it for distance and irritation. “How long can I talk before this motherfucker snaps?” They want you to shake the shit out of them till you hear the cops coming. “Motherfucker, I’m serious! “Oh, shit, let me get the fuck outta here.” That’s right. And like I said, try your best to make her happy. Try your best.2


Chris Rock


The pertinent section begins at 1:08:05



Preamble To Rule #1
The astute reader, however, may recall that there are Two Rules, both of which are essential to the creation and maintenance of the aforementioned Outrageously Wonderful Relationship With A Woman.

After all, while Rule #2 is absolutely necessary, it’s not Rule #1, now is it?

And that is the reason it’s necessary, if one is to have a great relationship with a woman, to read as well as listen to Leonard Cohen And Chris Rock – because only provides Rule #1 as well as Rule #2.

Rule 1: Find a woman who always asks for the right thing

That’s it.



Julie Showalter

Julie Showalter was the fiercely intelligent, sexy, and loving woman with whom I had a outrageously wonderful marriage that ended with her death in late 1999 from cancer diagnosed the week of our wedding nearly 20 years earlier. She was also a brilliant scholar, the mother of our two sons, and a prize-winning author. Many posts on this blog are about her and still others consist of her writings. Julie’s Story is the account of our unlikely romance, Information can be found at Julie Showalter FAQ.

Note: Originally posted May 3, 2009 at, a predecessor of


  1. “As a New Generation Discovers Leonard Cohen’s Dark Humour Kris Kirk Ruffles the Great Man’s Back Pages” by Kris Kirk in Poetry Commotion, June 18, 1988. []
  2. Chris Rock: Never Scared (2004) []

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