My wife, who is a medical doctor, is from Colombia, where professional women of Spanish heritage are expected to straighten their hair. I prefer her natural waves, but she can’t understand why and insists on getting them straightened. Does the Advisor have an opinion on whether curls on a woman are unprofessional? —J.K., New York, New York
The business world can be an aesthetically conservative place, even in the U.S., and hairstyles are not exempt from its rules. Outside of creative fields such as entertainment, advertising and media, you don’t see many professionals, male or female, flaunting their style. Anything considered sexy or flashy can be distracting and can get in the way of business. That said, we love that you love her curls, but styling wavy locks can be time-consuming. If tamed tresses work for her, you should support that.
Why is the penis considered so unsanitary that a man is expected to wash his hands after urinating but not too unsanitary to insert into a vagina or a mouth? —C.E., Madison, Virginia
It should go without saying that one should err on the side of caution and wear a condom outside of a monogamous relationship between adults. Unless they participate in a lifestyle in which sexually transmitted diseases are a concern, it’s in the bathroom, not the bedroom, that healthy couples should worry about spreading bacteria. While it’s true that harmful bacteria may be present on the penis and small amounts of bacteria can be found in urine, the real germ threat comes from other surfaces in a bathroom—ones that can be contaminated by other people’s bad hygiene. Even when people think they’ve done a good job washing their hands, very often they haven’t washed long enough (a good 20 count of vigorous rubbing with soap under hot running water guarantees that all the germs will end up in the drain—your aim is not to kill the germs but to flush them away). Also—and this is pretty nasty—every time you flush an open toilet in which feces are present, a small amount of the contaminated water is aerosolized, spreading microscopic drops of water in every direction. Usually this is not a problem, but if a sturdy germ such as a norovirus is present, you’ll be spreading nastiness to surfaces all over the bathroom. So, yeah, it’s better to wash your hands well after using the bathroom, regardless of your actions beforehand, and open the door with your foot.
What is the word, if one exists, that describes a digital clock displaying all the same numbers, such as 1:11, 2:22, 5:55 and so forth? —C.K., Syosset, New York
The closest we could find is “monodigit number,” which is a number that consists of a single repeating digit—for example 11, 44 and 555. The colon complicates things a bit, but from a purely numerical standpoint we think the term applies. Related and also interesting are palindromic numbers. A palindrome is a word or phrase that reads the same backward as it does forward (radar, race car, pop, madam I’m Adam). Examples of palindromic numbers include 121, 343, 99922999.
My husband and I and a group of our friends have been getting together to play cards for many years. During a recent game, the conversation got around to bucket lists and things we hope to accomplish in life. We were very surprised when our best friend confided that she has never seen a porn movie and that it’s the one thing she would like to do before she departs. Of course we want to grant our friend’s wish! In years past we could get adult films at our local video store, which has since closed. Can you tell me where we can get a porn movie without being added to some kind of list? We don’t want to be bombarded with letters and e-mails asking us to order pornography. Or is it the case, as we fear, that once you order, you are doomed? —B.L., Lansing, Michigan
There are several ways to view adult films without subjecting yourself to an onslaught of junk mail, adult pop-up ads and spam e-mails. On the digital front, look in your internet browser’s preferences menu under “privacy” and turn on the private-browsing mode before searching for video clips to show your friend. This clears your history and will leave no trace of any porn you might view. The desire for privacy is so great in the market that every browser has its own version of this function: Google’s Chrome browser calls it “incognito mode,” while Internet Explorer’s version is called InPrivate Browsing. It’s important that you not actually download files from the internet; instead, stream clips through a video player from any of the bigger free streaming porn sites such as RedTube and YouPorn. To protect yourself from an onslaught of spam, never log in to or share your e-mail with a website. But all this feels a bit run-of-the-mill if your friend desires a bucket-list experience. We suggest you screen her a classic. You could do worse than The Opening of Misty Beethoven, which is considered to be one of the most artfully filmed and scored porn films of all time. It was released in 1976, and considering the generation we’re guessing your friend is from, it might make her a bit nostalgic while educating her on the golden age of pornography. And in this wonderful era of digitally assisted gratification, you can order a remastered Blu-ray DVD through everybody’s favorite family retailer, Amazon.com.
I have been a serious pro-football fan for 30 years, but in the past year I’ve found myself unable to defend the NFL. My son wants to know why cheating is bad if you get to keep the trophy and why other teams won’t do the same if there’s no real punishment. My daughter was horrified, as was I, by the Ray Rice scandal and how the NFL handled it. And after watching PBS’s League of Denial, about concussions, and doing some research, I was brokenhearted—and done with football. I understand that if we continue to watch, the NFL won’t change (I doubt it will change anyway), but the guys at work are going to eviscerate me. They’ll see it as a betrayal, and my fantasy football league will think I’m a pansy. How can I avoid taking crap from them? To these guys, football is more religion than sport, and honestly, I don’t think they care if it’s unfair, unsafe and hypocritical. —F.F., Rockford, Illinois
Sports the world over, from FIFA to the Olympics to boxing to pro cycling, are at one time or another rife with contradictions, cheaters, corrupt officials, questionable safety standards, doping scandals and everything else that plagues society off the field. They also are metaphors for humanity, give us a safe place to direct our aggression and, as you point out, are not unlike religions as a way of finding a common belief. If you’ve reached the end of your romance with the NFL, so be it, but don’t expect any other sport to be pure.
I’m a 30-year-old man who is still a virgin. When I was younger, I was too involved in my education, and the country I grew up in was very conservative with respect to sexual matters ( Playboy was banned!). Of course, after the social-media revolution, everything changed. But since I’m still a virgin I want the girl I have sex with the first time to be a virgin too. Is that a stupid or unreasonable request? —D.L., Beirut, Lebanon
That’s not an entirely unreasonable request, but we wouldn’t recommend holding out for that scenario if you want to get laid anytime soon. Nor would we recommend that you or anyone else walk into a nightclub or bar filled with 30-year-old women and expect to find a virgin. We say let the digital revolution work for you by making your desires clear on a reputable dating site. The data you get in return for your profile will give you an idea just how realistic your dream is.
I would like to know if those electronic muscle stimulators you can buy are really as effective as sit-ups for developing six-pack abs. I have asked my physical therapist, my chiropractor and my physician. No one has been able to give me a solid answer. The theory seems plausible, but there must be a catch. Thanks for any light you can shed on this subject. —J.F., Colonia, New Jersey
The Food and Drug Administration has a solid answer. After conducting numerous studies, the agency concluded that although such stimulators may be able to temporarily tone and strengthen muscles, they cannot claim to create rock-hard abs. Certain units are FDA approved, but they are designed to assist with physical therapy under the direction of a licensed medical professional. Although the units can electrically force contractions and can cause the muscle strain and micro-tears that build muscle, they can also cause burns. Good old-fashioned abdominal exercises (and not just sit-ups but planks and leg lifts as well) and diet are a safer, more reliable and more controllable way to achieve six-pack abs. (Actually, most reasonably fit people have a six-pack lurking under their fat that sufficient dieting will reveal.) Ask any bodybuilder: Other than steroids, there are no shortcuts to show-worthy muscles.
Is there anything I can do to make my dick bigger? Right now it’s seven inches long when erect, and I would like three more inches. Thanks for your help. —A.C., Henderson, Nevada
As much as we tire of answering the same “Is my dick big enough?/How do I make my dick bigger?/Is my dick too small?” set of questions, the truth is you’re doing better than most of the world in terms of length. No, there’s no way to add three inches except through radical surgery. Over the past several decades we have quoted just about every study that’s been conducted on this planet regarding penis size, and nobody seems to remember what the averages are or that you’ve gotta work with what you’ve got. Maybe this will help it stick. Here we quote from a letter we just received from a man with a truly, undeniably statistically small penis: “As for the man with his complaint of his six-inch penis, please be inspired. When erect, my penis is not quite three inches.” So if you can count beyond three when measuring your penis, then count yourself lucky.
My employer just gave me a GPS-equipped tablet that tracks me everywhere I go. I travel a lot for work, and sometimes I like to stop off for a couple of quick ones or maybe sleep in for half the day. Do you have any suggestions for how I can disable the GPS or block the signal without my employer knowing? I don’t like having my every move monitored. —M.H., Atlantic City, New Jersey
You can try wrapping the tablet in several layers of aluminium foil, powering it off completely or putting it in airplane mode, but any of those actions could look shady depending on how vigilant they are where you work. Maybe if you stop drinking and napping on the job they won’t LoJack you in the future.
I suspected my girlfriend of infidelity with an ex-lover because she’d told me conflicting stories about their relationship and rambled on about him one night when she was drunk. I did a bad thing: I looked at her phone without her permission. It turns out everything is completely kosher with that guy and they’re strictly friends. But while looking at her phone, I saw flirtatious messages and nude photos she’d sent to a different ex-lover and that she’d invited him over at one A.M. one night. I confronted her. With her permission I used her phone to text the guy, pretending to be her, and asked him to refresh my memory about what happened that night. He replied that they’d watched a movie and nothing happened. She told me she sent the nudes because she has low self-esteem and liked that the guy always complimented her and made her feel good, but she has no desire to be with anybody but me. We decided to try to work things out, even though we both admit we betrayed the other’s trust. Can you offer any advice on how to repair the two-way damage, or is this relationship irreparable? —J.S., Waterville, Maine
We’re feeling pretty good about your prospects as long as both of you are as honest with each other as it sounds. As you acknowledge, the first step toward a healthy and resilient long-term relationship is trust. While some people find themselves needing to rebuild trust, it sounds as though you guys didn’t have any to begin with, hence your snooping and her looking for validation elsewhere. At the very least you each hold yourselves accountable and aren’t pointing fingers. That’s as good a place as any to start.
You recently advised a curious couple about the best restraints for experimenting with bondage after they’d been inspired by 50 Shades of Grey. As with all hobbies, there’s always a cheaper, better way. To make a safe, simple and affordable restraining device, get a strip of strong cloth about five feet long and three inches wide and fold it in half. Drape the closed end of the loop over a wrist and pass the loose ends through the loop. Pull tight. Tie the ends to a bedpost. Pulling against it increases the restraint. To decrease pressure, simply stop pulling. Reverse the procedure to remove. No knots or keys necessary. —B.R., Sharon, Pennsylvania
Thanks for the tip. Any suggestions on how to tie a bow tie?
My girlfriend is bothered by the copy of Playboy that I keep in our bathroom. I have been a subscriber for decades, and though I also get other men’s magazines, she always gives me a hard time about reading Playboy. Honestly, I don’t understand her attitude. She tells me she looks at the pictures because she wants to see what kind of woman I want to be with. I try to explain that it’s not like that at all. My view on Playboy is that it takes me away to another place, a kind of Disneyland for male adults, filled with exotic cars, stories, interviews, toys, knowledge and, yes, beautiful girls! Full disclosure: I have never masturbated to a Playboy Centerfold. I’m satisfied reading and glancing cover to cover. She wants me to cancel my subscription because she says it’s insulting to her, but that’s not going to happen. Maybe if you print this with a sensible argument as to why she shouldn’t be unsettled by Playboy we three can live happily ever after. She can read my Playboy and make it part of our conversations rather than our disputes. —P.L., Des Moines, Iowa
Thank you for your loyalty. We think you make a fine case on your own for our magazine’s unique appeal to the modern man and should let her read your eloquent letter. However, as much as we appreciate your reading the magazine on the toilet, you’re not doing much to help elevate our reputation.
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 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The most interesting and pertinent questions will be presented in these pages each month.