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Playboy Advisor: April 2015

Playboy Advisor: April 2015: Skip Sterling

Skip Sterling

It has long been a fantasy of mine to become a member of the mile-high club, and I finally have a willing girlfriend. But I’m worried I was born in the wrong era, what with overbooked flights, air marshals and hyper-vigilant flight attendants conspiring against aerial quickies. Any tips on how to join?G.M., Ames, Iowa
You could blow 30 grand on a couple of private first-class suites, complete with doors and lie-flat seats, on an Emirates flight and join the club that way. But that’s too easy. If you’re living the economy life, book a long-haul red-eye and time your visit to the bathroom during that lull when the lights are dim, other passengers are asleep and the flight attendants are on break. You’ll have only a few minutes in that cramped and stinky bathroom, so—as stealthily as possible—get your libidos up to speed beforehand underneath a blanket in your seats.

For our third date, I recently invited a woman to have drinks and dinner with me at a popular private social club. The day of our date, she texted me, “What should I wear?” I had difficulty answering this question for several reasons: One, a quick internet search of the venue showed photos from a variety of previous events; two, it didn’t seem very romantic for a man to respond with phrases such as “dressy casual” or “trendy cocktail”; three, I wanted to find out if this person was confident and experienced enough not to need to ask or, better yet, fashionable enough to pull off any outfit (at the very least I would expect her to have a network of friends she could consult). I responded that I was wearing a light navy suit and polka-dot socks, to indicate my attire wasn’t casual but was also not strictly business. I would have been happy to respond to this question if the date were a highly specialized activity such as rock climbing or if the person were new to the city, but in this case it just seemed like my date was being lazy. As I understand it, the reason I pay for dinner and drinks is that I’m privileged to spend the evening with a beautiful woman who has spent a lot of time and effort to prepare for the occasion and is therefore dressed the part. Is this not the proper way to think about it?D.B., New York, New York
While we can only guess what motivated her to ask (laziness, as you suspect; trying to be respectful by deferring to your opinion; trusting your understanding of the club rules better than her interpretation of internet images), it sounds as though you’ve already determined her actions are an indicator of indecision, lack of resourcefulness and lack of fashion savvy. We could try to convince you to give her the benefit of the doubt, but you seem to have a very definite sense of what is right and reasonable. As for why you pay for a date: If you continue to see it as a transaction, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. We can think of any number of noble reasons to treat a woman to dinner and drinks beyond getting her to behave a certain way: to show her you’re a traditionalist, to be generous, to experience the satisfaction of treating someone well, to set aside a stretch of time in a convivial setting to inspire intimate conversation and explore each other’s interests and personalities. And we can’t help but ask: What the hell happened on the first two dates?

Recently, while I was at my boyfriend’s house and he was cooking me dinner, I used his Facebook account to look at my page. When I went to type my name in the search field, his most recent searches appeared, and they were for three of his ex-girlfriends. I feel weird about this. Should I mention it or let it go? Of course I understand he’s free to look at anyone’s page, but if he’s really content and happy with me, why would he be checking out his exes’ updates?I.U., Sausalito, California
If looking at the Facebook profiles of ex-girlfriends or boyfriends were a surefire indicator of the impending end of a relationship, we would all be alone. There’s nothing weird about being curious about how an ex is doing. Maybe he was tracking their weight gain. Or maybe he was tallying up his conquests. (We hate to break it to you, but even the most committed guys keep count.) Whatever the case, we’d say don’t sweat it.

What are your thoughts on using hair conditioner as a shaving supplement? Can I substitute conditioner for an “official” shaving product on a regular basis, or is it something I should use only in a pinch?C.R., St. Augustine, Florida
As long as it doesn’t irritate your skin, go nuts. Some people with sensitive skin actually prefer to shave with hair conditioner instead of standard shaving products. However, you may need to alter your shaving technique, as conditioner typically has a thicker consistency than shaving gel or cream. Not only can it require a bit more effort to rinse off completely, it can also become gloppy and gum up a razor blade faster. One way to deal with this is to fill the sink with hot water and aggressively swish your razor through it every few passes to keep the blade clean and ready to shave.

I have a small wine collection (fewer than 200 bottles) that I keep stored at the proper temperature in a wine refrigerator. I’m curious to know the correct length of time to hold, or cellar, California red wines, particularly those from Napa and the Central Coast. I’ve been told by friends and various wine-store owners that, as a rule of thumb, big Napa cabernets from reputable wineries reach their prime eight to 10 years from their vintage. Some wine publications suggest holding them even longer. Furthermore, should wines from the Central Coast region, in particular Paso Robles, be held to the same storing guidelines as Napa wines? A Paso Robles winemaker told me that red blends from that region should be held less than five years from their vintage. I would like to enjoy my wines in their prime, but it’s often difficult to determine when that is. What is the Advisor’s position on this subject?J.S., Fresno, California
Our position is that life’s too short to worry about when to drink a wine, so we prefer to spend our money on wines meant to be drunk young. Indeed, the vast majority of wines produced in the United States, if not the world, are designed to be drunk within about a year of their purchase date. But we’re going to assume you buy expensive bottles from wineries known for producing cellar-worthy wines. If that’s the case, we would avoid applying any general rules, as that could be a costly mistake. Each wine, even those made in the same region from the same variety of grape, will age differently due to different house styles, winemaking styles, vineyard locations and other variables. To find out what other drinkers have experienced with specific wines and vintages, check out CellarTracker, a crowdsourced site and app that gathers users’ tasting notes. However, you’ll soon discover that opinions about what’s best at what age vary widely. Some drinkers prefer younger, brighter, fruitier wines, which would lead them to claim a particular wine’s “prime” is earlier than would someone who prefers older, earthier wines. Perhaps the best—and most often overlooked—method for finding out when a wine should be drunk is to simply e-mail the winery. They, more than anyone else, will know what their wine is supposed to taste like and when it’s at its prime. And, it should be noted, your opinion trumps all of the above.

My wife tolerates my mustache-goatee combo like a champ, but she shies away from kissing me for a few days after I’ve trimmed it, when my stache apparently experiences a “row of needles” phase. The face fuzz keeps me looking Tony Stark rather than Tiny Tim, so I don’t want to lose it. Any tips for achieving a perfectly kissable lip rug? I currently use electric beard clippers set at length four.S.D., Teddington, United Kingdom
You’ll never be able to fully soften a post-trim beard to perfectly kissable status in one session, but you can mitigate some of the chafing and jump-start the softening process. That row-of-needles phase is more like a row-of-razors phase: If you were to look at the ends of your hairs under a microscope right after a trim, you’d see flat clipped ends with sharp edges. Over time these wear down, and as your beard grows out, the hairs lengthen and become more inclined to bend rather than stab. What you want to do is wear the tips of those ends down a bit by massaging your beard vigorously. Applying post-shave oil will make the massage more comfortable and also help soften the shorter, more rigid hairs of your beard.

In addition to reading PLAYBOY for the articles (as well as for the girls), I sometimes read it for the ads. The back cover of your October 2014 issue features an advertisement for Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Male cologne. I really like the shirt on the guy in the photo and hope you can provide me with an internet address where I can order one. Any help in this matter is welcome.H.S., Breese, Germany
We haven’t been able to confirm the precise brand the sailor character in the ad you describe is wearing, but we can safely say it’s a Breton-style sailor’s shirt first worn by members of the French navy in the mid-1800s. The shirt, with its trademark horizontal blue stripes on a white background, has remained in style to varying degrees ever since the French designer Coco Chanel turned this military item into a fashion piece in the early 20th century. We found a shirt that’s very similar to the ad’s undersized short-sleeve version on River Island’s e-commerce site.

I’ve been making my own sangria for the past five years. I have given it to local liquor-store and bar owners, as well as family, friends and co-workers, and they all rave about it. Now I would like to start selling it. Where do I begin?N.P., Ledgewood, New Jersey
Start by asking yourself what you enjoy about your sangria. If it’s the process of making small batches and enjoying the adulation of professionals and friends, then keep doing what you’re doing and don’t try to make money off it. Attempting to turn a hobby into a legitimate business can suck the joy right out of it, particularly when it comes to alcohol. Strict local and federal laws, high start-up costs and red tape place small booze businesses in the high-failure category. But if you’re dead set on it, you should visit the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control page on the state of New Jersey’s website to read up on what permits and licenses are required. Then consult a lawyer who has worked with a business similar to the one you would like to start. Fortunately for you, New Jersey is experiencing a wine renaissance of sorts, with more start-up companies rebooting an industry that nearly died off during Prohibition.

A friend of mine is a “prepper”—he stockpiles all kinds of things in preparation for doomsday. When I got sick a few weeks ago he offered to help me out with some antibiotics. I asked if they were just leftovers someone in his house had been prescribed and hadn’t finished, but he assured me they were new drugs in sealed bottles. Since I wasn’t sure what was wrong with me, I declined his offer. He later brought over one of his stockpiled bottles, and they were fish antibiotics! He told me they’re 100 percent the same as the pharmacy antibiotics doctors prescribe and they’re easy to get from pet stores or online. Are these fish drugs really the same as the ones prescribed for humans?D.S., Austin, Texas
A loophole in federal law makes it easy for anyone to buy antibiotics intended for fish. Whether they’re exactly the same as those prescribed for humans is less distressing than the fact that your friend and other nondoctors are buying these drugs in bulk and giving them out or taking them with no real medical training or knowledge. Diagnosing an ailment and then prescribing the correct antibiotic for it is a complicated procedure that requires years of training, and no nonphysician should ever attempt it. Even with their medical training, doctors have over-prescribed antibiotics; this has led to the development of drug-resistant superbugs that kill thousands of people a year. By taking these antibiotics you may not only be improperly treating a real medical problem, you could also be helping to fuel a public health epidemic.

Back in the late 1990s my brother spent some time studying in Spain. Upon his return, he brought me a gift of a cologne called Indome. Not realizing it would be impossible to find later (even with the ready availability of information on the internet), I didn’t bother to take note of anything about the cologne or its manufacturer. Do you know how I might be able to find out if it still exists? I received numerous compliments when I used to wear it, so I’m eager to replace it. I believe it worked well with my body chemistry.C.M., Martinez, California
Do a Google search for “Indome Pour Homme Colonia” and you’ll find a number of websites based in Spain that still sell it. The Advisor’s Spanish is rusty, so hopefully your brother can help you with that too.

My husband loves my ass. I’m not into anal sex, which he totally respects, but we both love doggy style. Our two-year wedding anniversary is coming up in the fall and I would love to surprise him with an ass to compete with Kim Kardashian’s (well, maybe not that big). Is there such a thing as butt implants?L.D., Houston, Texas
As with breasts, silicone implants are an option with butts. An increasingly popular choice (it has seen a 16 percent increase over the past few years) is the Brazilian butt lift, whereby plastic surgeons perform liposuction on your belly and thighs and then transfer the excess fat into your butt to create a larger, rounder appearance.

Last flu season I got sick and was worried that I might pass the illness to my pets. Just to be on the safe side, I kept them out of my bed until I was fully recovered. Was I crazy to do this?P.J., Kansas City, Missouri
Species-to-species transmission of the flu virus is rare, but taking steps to avoid infecting your pets is not entirely unreasonable. Several years ago researchers at Oregon State and Iowa State found more than a dozen documented cases of confirmed human-to-cat and human-to-dog transmission of the H1N1 virus. In several cases the pets died from complications from the flu. If you exhibit flulike symptoms, you should avoid contact with your pets until you’re better. And if your cat or dog develops flu symptoms following your infection, you should take them to a vet for appropriate treatment.


For answers to reasonable questions relating to food and drink, fashion and taste, and sex and dating, write the Playboy Advisor, 9346 Civic Center Drive, Beverly Hills, California 90210, or email advisor@playboy.com. The most interesting and pertinent questions will be presented in these pages each month.


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