Women who demand respect often get exactly that. And why shouldn’t they? We not only deserve it, we should expect it. But there’s a tipping point when a woman’s demands jump the shark from self-respecting to totally high maintenance, or, as I like to call it, highmay. There are the obvious one-name offenders: Madonna and her overnight full body saran wrapping, Cher and her multiple costume changes. And then there are women who demand maintenance in ways that are less obvious, but just as lethal. She is “the worst kind,” as Harry so clearly explained to Sally. “You’re high maintenance but you think you’re low.” So girls and guys, I’m going to be like your cool older sister who bought your sorry 15-year-old ass beer from the Quickmart and offer you a few tips on how to preemptively spot a high-maintenance girlfriend. Because those dudes I described yesterday have company.
Gals, you can write your seemingly benign behaviors off as girly or cute, or you can see them for what they are—blinking red lights indicating you’re about to take the onramp to the highmay highway.
Guys, ignore the warning signs at your peril—unless, of course, you’re a glutton for punishment; then ending up with a woman who’s just like your highmay mother is probably inevitable.
That night at Madison Square Garden, as my date changed into sneakers by standing on his work shoes rather than the floor because “he didn’t want to soil his socks,” my first thought was, Isn’t everything about a Phish show dirty? My second thought was that while the red cashmere socks certainly qualified him as metrosexual, his unselfconscious aversion to dirt was a more finicky proclamation. And then it hit me like a box of steel-toed wing-tips. What I had just witnessed was the emergence of the metrosexual’s kissing cousin: the high maintenance man. While both metros and highmay (high maintenance) men are fastidious, the former are strictly fussy about how they dress and the latter are persnickety in myriad ways that may have nothing to do with their appearance. It’s just as high maintenance Sally — of “When Harry Met…” — so clearly explained: “I just want it the way I want it.” With the overwhelming acceptance of (or resignation to) metrosexuality, men who once feared being ridiculed for their highmay ways are stepping out of their walk-in closets onto the well-manicured path blazed by their sartorially-inclined cousins. While dating a man first in line at a Barney’s sample sale may seem like a bonus, a boyfriend should only be highmay about two things: sports and keeping his woman happy. All other forms of maintenance are flashing red lights on the highmay highway alerting women to slow down and reconsider. Thus I offer up the following list of traits for women to heed, as they’ll undoubtedly need some practical dating advice in the age of the high-maintenance man.