Girly Men: Abbie and A.J.

Girly Men: Abbie and A.J.

"I am married to a high-maintenance man who acts more like a woman than most women," says Abbie, who has been married to A.J. for three years. She says that 80 percent of the people in her town think A.J. is gay, but he insists that he's a metrosexual. "I like my feminine husband, but I don't get pampered because A.J. is s

o busy pampering himself."


"I am a prima donna. I'm selfish. I'm vain. I tend to put myself in a woman's shoes," A.J. admits. He and his wife often fight for time in front of the mirror. "It's like two women in the bathroom, trying to put on makeup, do our hair, and so we battle."


A.J.'s morning routine includes putting on powder foundation and concealer under his eyes. "After A.J. shaves his beard, he takes another 10 minutes just to define it with eyeliner. If he's out of eyeliner, he uses my mascara," Abbie shares. "He tells me every day that he's going bald, and he freaks out. He is saving to get hair implants, and he wants botox."


A.J. explains that he's a perfectionist. "I'm an artist. People say that's feminine. That's ridiculous. If we're just shaving our face, you forgot nose hair. You forgot ear hair," he says. "I shave my whole entire bod

y in the summer. In the winter, I'll just shave waist up. I pluck my shoulders, and I wax my arms. I think a woman likes a smooth body." A.J. also worries about his receding hairline, but has a solution. "With modern technology, there's no reason for anybody to be bald or have a wrinkle."


Abbie says A.J. is more concerned with his attire than she is with hers.  "I will go in my closet and throw something on, and he will go in there and ponder for 15, 20 minutes, and then he'll try on three outfits," Abbie says. "Then he's like, ‘Do I look fat? Do I look skinny? Tall? Do I look short?' That's stuff I should ask." Pointing to a pair of A.J.'s colorful shoes, she says, "He has two pairs of pimp shoes."

Holding up a red suit, A.J. says, "This suit represents confidence. I love this one in summer." He wears two-to-three-inch heels and accessorizes with rings, a necklace and a bracelet. "Most men, they'll push the car to the gas station. If I run out of gas, I'm not pushing the car. I've got some nice shoes on that I might scuff up."


A.J. is passing on his obsession with appearance to their 4-year-old daughter. "I read fashion magazines to my daughter. Once a

month, we'll go down to the salon, and we do highlights," he says. She had her first blond highlight when she was 3 years old. "I won't let her go out of the house without it flat ironed, hair sprayed and bumped under."


Abbie worries A.J. is sending their daughter the wrong message. "She's only 4. A.J. is going to turn our daughter into a pampered, high-maintenance princess," she says.


Another complaint of Abbie's is that she does the masculine chores around the house. "A.J. is doing the feminine chores," she says. "I have to change the tires."


A.J. is frustrated that Abbie doesn't give him a chance to take care of the manly duties. "If a tire needs to be changed, she'll hurry

up and go change it before I even have the opportunity to do the role. Or if something needs assembling, she'll get the screwdrivers and the hammers, and she's putting it all together," he says. "Abbie steps on a man's role. It does hurt my feelings."


Abbie wants to see her husband change. "A.J. is robbing me of my role as a woman," she proclaims. "I want my husband to get more manly. I'm the woman in the relationship. Man up."

"What do you mean there's no reason anybody has to be bald?" Dr. Phil

jokingly asks A.J. "Is that like some horrible thing?"

"It's devastating to me," A.J. laughs.

"I read a survey the other day that said something like 60 or 70 percent of men say they would rather amputate a body part than go bald," Dr. Phil says.

"That would be me," A.J. says, noting that he would cut off one of his feet.

"What about a great pair of shoes?" Dr. Phil asks, looking at A.J. shoes.

A.J. shows off his boots with a two-inch heel.


Turning to Abbie, Dr. Phil asks, "Is he driving you crazy?"

"He's driving me nuts," she says. "I would like to get into the bathroom sometimes. I would like to feel pretty. I feel like he's prettier than me, sometimes. I feel like I'm the man."

"He ain't prettier than you," Dr. Phil says with a smile. He asks A.J. if he's going over the top.

"Way over the top. I do agree," A.J. admits, explaining, "It's me. I'm in the fashion field, and I feel like if you present yourself a certain way, people receive that in a certain way. Image is everything to me."

When A.J. asked Abbie out for the first time, she asked him if he was gay. "You still wonder if he's gay," Dr. Phil says.

"On occasion I kind of think, yeah, he might be doing a little too much, looking too pretty," she says.

Dr. Phil lists A.J.'s feminine behaviors such as waxing, tweezing, carving designs in

his facial hair and coloring it in with makeup, wearing concealer, using scrubs and lotions and shaving his entire body. He also likes to have the crease in his pants a particular way. "What do you want me to do about it?" he asks Abbie. 

"I need him to man up a little bit. I want somebody to teach him a trick," she says. 


"Did it occur to you, ‘I'm marrying a guy who is so feminine that I thought he was gay'?" Dr. Phil asks.

"Yeah," Abbie says. "It really doesn't bother me too much. I mean, yeah, he's feminine, but I thought maybe he could loosen up a little bit when we got married. We're married now. There's no reason to look like that anymore."


"What do you want from him that you're not getting?" Dr. Phil asks Abbie.


"I want some time in the bathroom, and I want to be the one to come to him and say, ‘How do I look,' Instead of automatically being interrupted with, ‘Well, how do I look?'" Abbie says.

"That doesn't seem to me to have anything to do with what he's focused on. That has to do with whether or not [A.J. is] sensitive to [your] needs," Dr. Phil points out.

Turning to A.J., Dr. Phil asks, "Are you, like, so into yourself that you don't pay any attention to her?" 

"No, I compliment her all the time," he says. "She is my better half." He adds that Abbie is beautiful and sexy, but, "She gets in the way a lot of times," when he's trying to get ready. "In lighting differences, if I move two feet to the left, now I'm shadowed differently on my face, so it makes a difference," he explains.

"Am I in the Twilight Zone?" Dr. Phil asks in jest. "Do you ever think she needs time to make herself presentable, ‘so I need to get out of her way'?"

"I do, after I'm done. After or before," he says. "Don't come in the bathroom when I'm in there and move me out of the way. I don't do it to her. It's a respect thing."

Dr. Phil asks Abbie, "Are you enabling him?"

"No, I'm not," she says.

"You're letting him get away with it," Dr. Phil points out. "What if you just said, ‘Back off, Slick. I need the bathroom'?"

"I try, and I get bumped out of the bathroom," Abbie says.

Dr. Phil goes over the information Abbie had before she married A.J. She thought he was gay. Her parents asked her why she was dating a gay man. She knew he took a long time in the bathroom, liked to decorate, bought a lot of clothes, wasn't handy, and when they first met his favorite outfit was head-to-toe leopard Gucci. "But you want to change it now," he says. Abbie agrees. "What specifically do you want?"

"I want time in the bathroom. I want him to tell me that I'm beautiful. I want to be able to go and be pampered myself and not have to make another appointment for him. I would like to just be able to be the woman in the relationship," Abbie says.

"If you had that in position, then how would things be?" Dr. Phil asks.

"Horrible for him," Abbie says.

"Not necessarily, because I haven't heard one thing that you took away from him. You're just wanting to claim some things for yourself," Dr. Phil says.

"Exactly," she says.

"She's not wanting you to not be who you are," Dr. Phil tells A.J. He adds that Abbie also wants to be involved in making decisions about their daughter.

A.J. says he doesn't have a problem with that.

As for sharing time in front of the mirror, Dr. Phil suggests the couple work out a schedule for bathroom time.

"You say you don't enable him. If there's a flat tire, who fixes it?" Dr. Phil asks Abbie.

"Me," she says, sheepishly. "Yes, I enable him."

"She doesn't let me," A.J. interjects.

"He doesn't know how," Abbie says.

"I'm a man, so I want to learn those things," A.J. says. "Teach me how to do that instead of " I feel like she's stepping on my manhood." He says that he has attempted to do more manly things, but his wife takes over before he gets started.

"Let him figure it out," Dr. Phil tells Abbie. He asks the couple about their sex life.

A.J. sighs and says, "It's not where I would like it."

"You want her to initiate," Dr. Phil says.

"Sometimes," A.J. agrees.

"That's not my job," Abbie says.

"This is a negotiation," Dr. Phil tells them. He turns to A.J. "You're in touch with your feminine side, then get in touch with her feelings. Her feelings are that she's not feeling appreciated. She's not feeling desired. She's not feeling valued. She's not feeling attractive," he says. "Now, I'm going to talk to your masculine side and appeal to your greed. If you make her feel all of those things, your sex life is going to get a whole lot better."