A Question for the Brits!

Which gender in Britain has the best choice of clothes in retail outlets? #SexyClothes


How many friends does a man need?

Celebrity footballer David Beckham says he has just three close friends. Do men need any more than that?

David Beckham is one of the most famous men on the planet, admired and respected throughout the footballing world and beyond.

Yet David Beckham only has three close friends. Becks admitted recently that a group of 20 close pals had gradually dwindled over the years to just three.

But before you shed tears on Becks’ behalf, old golden balls also said that he’s more than content with that figure. Speaking to US Men’s Health magazine, Beckham said:

“I’ve got my wife. I’ve got my four kids. I’ve got parents, grandparents still, and three really good friends. It’s all you need. I’d rather have three really good friends than 20 good friends.”

So is it true? Does a bloke need just three close friends? MSN Him investigates.

Men are hardwired to have fewer friends than women

If your girlfriend makes new friends at the drop of a hat and you still go out with two blokes you’ve known since school, don’t be too hard on yourself because you might not be a social leper after all. There’s some evidence that men are hardwired to have fewer friends than women.

Scientists have found that men and women react differently to stressful or dangerous situations. Men release adrenalin, the ‘fight or flight’ hormone that prepares us to either run away or tough it out. Women release adrenalin, too, but according to a study by scientists at the University of California, women also release a touchy-feely hormone called oxytocin.

What that means is that women can fight or run away if they want, but they can also employ a different strategy: they can ‘tend and befriend’. Put simply, in hard times men tough it out while women gather new friends and allies around them, which means women tend to have more friends overall.

And as far as health is concerned, it could be a case of the more friends the merrier. According to Terri Apter, a social psychologist at Cambridge University and co-author of Best Friends, “social connectivity – whether that’s with friends, family or neighbours – increases health and longevity. The difference is that women have more friends to turn to more often, so they get more benefit.”

So how many friends does science say men need?

So how many friends should a bloke have? Well, according to Oxford University anthropologist Professor Robin Dunbar, author of How Many Friends Does One Person Need? the answer might be 150.

Professor Dunbar believes that the maximum amount of friends anyone can have is about 150, a size set by our brains. We simply can’t keep on top of friendships with any more people than that.

But if 150 sounds like 147 more than you have, don’t worry. There are nuances to Professor Dunbar’s theory. The 150 figure includes family members, close colleagues and acquaintances. Dunbar actually identifies an inner core of intimates numbering just five.

Suddenly, Becks’ figure of three close friends starts looking a bit more realistic.

Can one friend be enough?

Even more surprising findings come from a study by researchers at Cornell University in the US. They asked 2,000 adults how many friends they would discuss “important matters” with. The average came out at just two.

What’s more, nearly half the respondents listed just one close confidante (and a sad 4% listed none at all). The average figure of two is down from three when the last study of its kind was carried out 25 years ago.

Are we losing friends? Chief researcher Martin Brashears thinks not, and suggests that – like Becks – we’re just getting better at honing our social circles.

“Rather than our networks getting smaller overall, what I think may be happening is we’re simply classifying a smaller proportion of our networks as suitable for important discussions,” he argues.

People with hundreds of Facebook friends might be confused by this result, but Brashears says that, “in the internet age, you can be friends on Facebook, but you’re not really friends unless you interact.”

Less is more

Mark Vernon, author of The Philosophy of Friendship, agrees that – while some of us seem to have lots of friends (on Facebook and elsewhere) – the number of close friends anyone can have is likely to be between six and 12. He thinks friendship is about quality not quantity.

Experts also agree that we have different friends for different reasons. Men may have a mate they always go to the football with, a friend they’ve known since childhood and who remains their closest confidante, and a bloke with whom they shared the agonies and ecstasies of early adulthood – through university and into the world of work.

And then, of course, there are female friends. According to Kate Taylor, relationship expert for dating site match.com, any man could benefit from having one close female friend.

“Men might find it easier to open up to a female friend about emotional problems than they would to another man,” she says.

The important thing is to have a range of friends offering different qualities, says relationship counsellor Elly Prior. “Some friends can be great for practical support, but they might not do tears. Others are lousy at emotional support, but are great for an evening out. Some friends will always come with some really good advice and then there are the stars who can offer it all.”

If men have a bunch of friends like these, who they can turn to in both good times and bad, the size of their social circle probably doesn’t matter all that much.

“Having a good social network is really important for our mental well-being,” says Elly Prior. “But it really isn’t about the number – it’s much more about how accessible your friends are.”

Beckham may be right

So if Becks has three really close friends who he interacts with regularly, he could be right that “it’s all I need”.

Men may be hardwired to have fewer friends than women, and there may be certain health advantages in building a large social circle. But to realise those benefits, you have to interact regularly with each and every one. Three may be at the low end of the optimum range, but most experts agree that it’s much better to have five friends you see regularly than 20 you hardly see at all.

How to decode her flirting

Experts believe the way she flirts is a clue to her personality. But what is her flirting style telling you?

You might have just met her at a bar, or you may have known her for years. Whichever it is, you’re pretty certain you’ve noticed a flicker of sexual or romantic interest.

But what, exactly, has she done to give you that impression? It’s an important question because, according to research, her flirting style can give you a major clue about what to expect in the next few hours, days or weeks – and even what you can expect in a long term relationship (if it gets that far).

In fact, one recent study from the University of Kansas in the US identified five flirting styles and even suggested the types of relationships those styles might lead to. So here’s what her flirting might be telling you.

The physical flirt

She may ostentatiously look you up and down. She may punctuate her conversation with a playful hand on your arm or an obvious flick of her abundant blond locks. According to the psychologists at Kansas University, she’s a physical flirt, and her body language speaks volumes.

What it probably doesn’t say, however, is that you have bagged yourself a guaranteed one-night stand. You haven’t. Physical flirts might be happy to show their sexual interest, but that doesn’t mean they’re promiscuous.

She may well fall for your charms, though. According to the research, physical flirts fall head over heels quite easily, and quickly develop an emotional and – when the time comes – sexual connection.

And don’t be blinded by prejudice. Physical flirts can make for good relationships, even in the long term. Two of the key ingredients of a lasting relationship are sexual chemistry and a strong emotional bond, and physical flirts tend to develop both in abundance.

The traditional flirt

If you think you’ve seen a flicker of interest from a traditional flirt, it’s probably only a flicker. If you’re getting anywhere at all it might be because you’ve known her a long time and you’ve done all the pursuing.

In other words, the traditional flirt believes men should do the asking and women should wait to be asked. If you try other flirting techniques on her – particularly the physical kind – you’re likely to put her off. If she flirts at all it will probably be subconsciously and you’ll have to be aware of some very subtle clues, from a very brief glance in your direction to the shy, nervous fidgeting that can at least indicate interest.

How will a relationship play out? Well, you won’t have to worry about her flirting with other men. Aside from that, she’ll value the security you offer and may well be quite introverted, preferring a cosy night in with you to raucous parties or nightclubs.

The polite flirt

The polite flirt knows the rules. You’re more likely to have to approach her and you’re unlikely to feel the spark of sexual chemistry if you do. It might be there, but she’ll be careful not to let it show.

She probably won’t be cold or standoffish, mind, particularly if she likes you. She’ll engage in lively conversation. She’ll laugh at your jokes. She may swap numbers or email addresses at the end of the night.

But her flirting is likely to be non-sexual in the first instance, and she may seem a little reserved. Her manners will be impeccable but telling her that her eyes sparkle like the brightest stars in the firmament is unlikely to do you any favours. She doesn’t flirt ostentatiously and she’s not flattered by the ostentatious flirting of others.

The good news is that, according to the Kansas research, polite flirters “do tend to have meaningful relationships”. She might be hard work at the outset, but she may well be a loving and loyal partner.

The sincere flirt

There’s no game-playing with the sincere flirt, and no danger that her interest in you will only be sustained until you stop buying the drinks. If you’ve known her a while and she’s said yes to a date, it’s unlikely that she’s agreed on a whim or that she’s going into it half-heartedly. She’s checking you out as serious potential mate material.

So how do you identify a sincere flirt? Well, she might show a lot of interest in your life, work and interests. She will ask questions and be attentive to answers.

She wants to make an emotional connection and will let you know that she’s interested (if she is). So expect her to be open, honest and straight down the line. Her flirting style might not be playful or full of sexy hints and innuendo, but it will be genuine. She won’t do anything purely for effect.

Happily, she may carry that emotional honesty into any ensuing relationship. So if you don’t mess her around, she won’t mess you around, either.

The playful flirt

She’s great fun to be around and her playful, sexy flirting style can send a young man’s imagination into overdrive. You may be very glad – at first – to have chanced upon the most playful female flirt in the bar.

But be warned, the playful flirt is the diametric opposite of her sincere counterpart. She may very well flirt with you or say yes to a date on a whim. She may laugh at your jokes and compliment your style without even considering you as boyfriend material. Her flirting might suggest otherwise, but you’d be wrong to think there’s any future to your encounter beyond the next 10 minutes.

The fact is, playful flirts enjoy flirting. It’s not a means to an end (be that sex, a romance or a relationship), it’s an end in itself. They find it a fun way to spend an evening, partly because of the boost it gives to their own self-esteem. She’ll love your obvious sexual interest, but perhaps not in the way you’d hope.

And any ensuing relationship? Frankly, it’s highly unlikely there’ll be one. If there is, it will probably be fleeting and shallow. Which is fine, of course, as long as you’re not expecting a whole lot more.

If the scientists are right, you really can gauge her wants and desires from the way she flirts. Pick up on the clues early and you could save yourself a lot of heartache, or stop your own flirting style from driving a potential long-term lover away.

Source: http://him.uk.msn.com/sex-and-dating/how-to-decode-her-flirting

Can men and women ever be just good friends?

In the enlightened 21st century you probably have a female friend or two. But can men and women really get past the sex thing?

Many men still think Harry (from When Harry Met Sally) had it right. Men and women can’t ever be true friends, because sex always gets in the way.

That piece of throwaway celluloid wisdom has almost become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Men and women can’t be friends because their red-blooded desire is bound to get the better of them sometime. And even if it doesn’t, bona fide romantic partners will come to view the friend as a potential rival, leaving one relationship or the other floundering on the rocks.

Many men still think Harry (from When Harry Met Sally) had it right. Men and women can’t ever be true friends, because sex always gets in the way.

That piece of throwaway celluloid wisdom has almost become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Men and women can’t be friends because their red-blooded desire is bound to get the better of them sometime. And even if it doesn’t, bona fide romantic partners will come to view the friend as a potential rival, leaving one relationship or the other floundering on the rocks.

You have to admit that it’s a shame. A female friend can give you things that your male friends just can’t, and we’re not talking about sex. Female friends can be an unrivalled source of comfort and feminine wisdom.

So with that in mind, we ask: can men and women ever really be friends? Here are the pros and cons.

The pros

There are very few male/female friendships portrayed in films and on TV, and those that are invariably lead to romance. The friendship is just a stage the characters have to get through before realising how very much in love (and lust) they are.

Friendships devoid of lust are possible

But that’s not necessarily true off-screen. A study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships looked at different kinds of friendships and found that a friendship bond between a man and woman devoid of lust was possible, and that was as true for men as women. A man could find a female friend attractive, but not always want to sleep with her.

Some experts also believe that the idea that men and women can’t be platonic friends – which originates long before When Harry Met Sally – should be consigned to the past.

In an era when men went out to work and women stayed at home, both genders only tended to mix romantically. These days, we comfortably mix at work, at home and in our recreational activities, so male/female friendships are a natural and welcome consequence.

All of which is great, because a female friend can be a boon for men. In fact, in one study men rated their friendships with women as some of the best they had.

That’s because female friends give men the chance to share their feelings and get advice on personal matters, things they don’t often do with male mates.

“Men might find it easier to open up to a female friend about emotional problems than they would to another man,” says Kate Taylor, relationship expert for Match.com. “Women might be more supportive and encouraging than men, and less likely to tease.”

Research by Kathy Werking, author of We’re Just Good Friends, showed that the most positive thing both men and women get out of platonic friendships is the chance to talk one-to-one. She found that many male/female friendships are highly mutually supportive. Both parties get a lot out of them.

Cons:                                                                                                                                 One friend might start to want more

On the other hand, it’s certainly true that platonic friendships with women can be more testing than all male friendships, and that’s at least partly because of the possibility of unrequited sexual tension.

“It’s mainly that one of the friends will start to want more than the other,” says Taylor. “When this happens, things can get strained. There can be jealousy towards your friend’s dates, which is often displayed as moodiness, or unfair criticism towards the third party. If you feel that one of your platonic friends seems to dislike all your partners, it may be they secretly care about you romantically.”

Watching the friend you secretly fancy swan around with other men can be tough. In the study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 62% of the respondents admitted to sexual tension in their male/female friendships.

Mixed signals are always a danger

Sheepish couple in bed (© Image Source_Getty Images)

Women, in particular, disliked the fact that a supposedly platonic friend might misinterpret a supportive hug. Friends of different genders often have to walk a fine line between being playful, supporting and flirty, in the knowledge that physical contact, in particular, can be easily misconstrued.

They also have to put up with the nudge-nudge remarks of same-sex friends. If you’re friends with an attractive woman, expect a relentless examination of the relationship by mates in the pub. “You’re not really just friends are you?” won’t be the half of it.

Girlfriends and dates might get jealous

Finally, a close female friend will most probably attract the jealousy of dates and girlfriends.

“Partners can sometimes feel threatened by a close friendship you have with someone of the opposite sex,” says Taylor. “They might start questioning if it really is truly platonic.”

But she also suggests a solution. “If that happens, you can erase a lot of the doubt by introducing your partner to your friend. Let them see for themselves how distinctly unromantic you are together,” she adds.

The verdict:                                                                                                                     Male/female friendships are hard work, but worth it

So can men and women be friends? The answer is yes, of course, and as the genders mix more than ever, mixed gender friendships are becoming more common. But they take work, an acceptance of boundaries and the strength of mind to put up with the barracking of the boys in the pub. But they’re almost certainly worth it. As well as everything else, says Taylor, “female friends will give you great dating advice.”

Source : http://him.uk.msn.com/sex-and-dating/can-men-and-women-ever-be-just-good-friends

How to decipher her flirting signals

Even the savviest man can sometimes find it difficult to read whether a woman’s just being friendly or if she’s actually flirting with you. Signals of attraction aren’t always straightforward so here’s a rundown on 10 key signs to watch out for:

1. The eyes have it – When you spot her across a room you notice that she doesn’t just do a ‘double take’. She actually does a triple take, glancing at you three times to confirm her attraction to you. Keep an eye out for that third glance and you’ll know that she’s interested.

2. Wandering eyes – Things might’ve seemed to go well in the first few minutes of conversation but then you notice her eyes seemed to wander around the room. Whenever the door opens or closes she can’t help but glance in the direction. Unfortunately you’ve lost her interest.

3. Watch that fiddling – Yes, women often fiddle with their hair and that can signal flirtatious attraction but it can equally signal nerves. Take note if she starts to fiddle with her necklace while chatting to you. This is a key signal of attraction because she is subconsciously drawing your eye-line to her cleavage.

4. Not any old laugh – Not only does she laugh at your jokes but she throws her head back and seems lost in the moment. Wow, you’ve never felt so funny. When attracted to someone soon after meeting them it’s been found that a woman will magnify your sense of humour in her mind. So if she’s into you, she’s into your jokes too.

5. Time doesn’t matter – Anyone who knows what they’re doing on the dating scene will usually claim to have only a ‘little time’ as a man chats them up. This gives them a get-out clause if they decide they’re not attracted to you within a short time. So if suddenly she seems to have all the time in the world it’s an excellent sign.

6. Get closer – You notice that when she comes back from, eg, the ladies room that she pulls her chair closer to you. Not only has she touched up her make-up – so she’s feeling at her best – but she now wants to get up close and personal with you too.

7. In the pink – As you two chat she seems to flush/blush a bit – known as the “sex glow”. Unless she’s been drinking a lot – and this is the result of excess alcohol – it’s a physical sign that she’s feeling warm and cozy in your company.

8. Swaying is the way – Again, as long as she’s not been drinking excessively look out for her body swaying gently in time with your conversation. This will take the form of discreet little back and forth movements that show she’s mirroring your body language. Mirroring is a clear signal of attraction so relax – you might find you mirror her movements back.

9. It’s all about you – You notice her conversation doesn’t just to revolve around her life or general interest topics like hobbies but she asks direct questions about you. She seems keen to hear what you have to say, about what makes you tick, your likes and dislikes, etc. And that means she’s really taking an interest.

10. All important hesitation – As the evening draws to a close and you’re about to go your separate ways she seems to hesitate. There is a distinct ‘moment’ of pause where she doesn’t rush to get her coat or charge for the door. This is a clear signal she wants you to take her number or definitely give her a call if you already have it. If you’re interested in her then go for it.

Source: http://him.uk.msn.com/sex-and-dating/articles.aspx?cp-documentid=159645152