Tough Talk From Steven – Episode 3



Master Matchmaker and VH1 Tough Love commander Steve Ward‘s blog commentary continues! Below, Steve talks about Arian questioning his sexuality, this week’s sexy photo shoot and why he isn’t so quick to believe Taylor’s sob story about her child.

Arian says she doesn’t believe in monogamy. Not only does that make your job difficult, but it makes her situation seem more sad than desperate.

I applaud the producers for using their discretion and not revealing more of her personal life that she shared in that moment. She basically explained to me that she never had a model relationship to emulate. Obviously, that implies she’s referring to her parents. I’m not in the position to say too much on the subject, but it’s very clear that this person never had a good example for healthy relationships. And it’s unfortunate, the ramifications that has had on her behavior as an adult.

You say that she needs a guy that fosters growth. Isn’t that the ideal for everyone, or is it particularly necessary for her?

Ideally, you want to be with someone that’s going to lead to development and growth for you and the relationship, but that should be more natural in a healthy relationship. It shouldn’t be such a concentrated effort for the average person. In her case, she needs to be with someone who is like her and struggles with these demons and has managed to rid himself of those demons and focus on living a healthy, productive life. She’s probably a good fit for someone who’s overcome addiction or some sort of major obstacle that has given him a sense of salvation or higher purpose.

What did you think of Arian’s comment about wanting to see if you really like women?

Ask any of the women I date and they’ll tell you that they have no doubt in their minds where my s*** swings. It doesn’t affect me. I’m confident with my masculinity. Arian feels that she can control people sexually. In her mind, if I were heterosexual, she’d be able to control me. She became increasingly frustrated as the show went on that I wouldn’t cave to her type of tactics.

She sort of announced herself as being sexually interested in you from the beginning.

You don’t even know the half of it. She was interested in me and the A.D. on set and anybody else that had any position of authority. That’s what she’s attracted to: disciplinarians, men that are authority figures, powerful guys. I could have looked like the Elephant Man and I have a feeling that she still would have been attracted to me.

Any favorites and/or disappointments from the photo shoot?

I was very impressed with Natasha. She becomes sexier every time I see her. I saw her at the premiere party, and I was dumbfounded. She looked like a knock-out. She’s getting on her game. I’m very proud of her. On the other side, I was less attracted to Stasha after her photo shoot than I was before. If she didn’t have all that stupid eye makeup on, she could have just taken a picture in one of her sexy dresses and I’m sure all of the guys’ jaws would have dropped. But she choose to be weird, and that’s Rule No. 1: don’t be weird.

Any idea why Jessa’s photo wasn’t discussed by the panel of guys you had evaluating the shots?

The recurring theme with Jessa is that nobody can get a beat on her. She’s constantly alluding us, and it’s hard to figure out why. She confuses men. They don’t know if she’s being sexy or not, if she’s for real or faking it. She turns her head one way and gives you a face, and then turns again and gives you a totally different face. I guess because of that, there was nothing really beneficial in her critique.

You poll the girls on how long they typically wait to have sex. How long do you recommend?

There’s different strokes for different folks, so I don’t like to judge anybody. What goes on between two people behind closed doors is their business. I know many people that have developed very serious, long-term commitments out of one-night stands or sex on the first date. The only requirements that must be there are confidence, respect and trust. If you can communicate with each other and understand exactly what the other person’s expectations are, all the ingredients are there to be able to make that mature decision to make love responsibly.

Jody gets another one-on-one with you in this episode. Was her process particularly intensive, or does it just seem that way via editing?

Jody has a real connection with Shane and she’s sabotaging herself in a way that’s different than Arian sabotages herself. Arian purposely keeps men away, whereas Jody doesn’t know any better. It’s just a matter of trying to give Jody the tools and insight she needs so that she can change her behavior on her own. Jody’s smart. I don’t think she’s emotionally damaged. She’s insecure, but what woman isn’t? Men are, too – I don’t want to come off as biased against women. I just think they’re more emotional creatures. I knew that at some point in Jody’s life something had happened to her, and it turned out that her father was terminally ill, and her mother took care of him until he passed. After that, the mother never remarried and has been pretty much miserable for the past 20 years. Jody really fears a fate like that and so she doesn’t want to be in that position herself. She keeps men away from her and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Your mother says that Taylor is your biggest challenge. Did you get that sense as well?

It’s hard to tell when Taylor’s genuine and when she’s full of s***. Even now, I go back and forth. But one thing I learned from Sun Tzu is that you keep your friends close and your enemies closer. I managed to side with her because I knew if I befriended her, she’d be more willing to be introspective without feeling like I’m a threat.

What did you think of her drunken antics?

Getting too drunk brings out the worst in people. That’s why I put her in the hot seat: she needed to be reprimanded for the way she treated that guy. Even if she wasn’t interested in him romantically, the very least she could have done was be polite. At this point, Taylor has a lot of ground to make up to prove to me that she’s a genuine person. But it does seem like she and Jody are making the connection and that they’re trying to learn from each other. So that’s positive. That’s growth.

It’s surprising, considering how much they clashed initially.

Taylor can read what people’s weaknesses are and where their insecurities lie. If she feels threatened, she’ll go after those weaknesses. She fights dirty. Sometimes you have to turn the other cheek when that person’s trying to befriend you. You can’t hold what they say against them because they did it to purposely upset you.

Taylor’s reveal about giving a kid up for adoption was really humanizing.

Was it? Remember what she said to me during the speed date? I knew she had given up her kid for adoption then, and I asked her, “Do you ever see yourself having kids?” And she said, “Me? Having kids? Are you kidding? I woke up at 4:00 this morning. Do you know how long it takes for me to get ready? Can you imagine if I had a kid to take care of, too?” She said it tongue-in-cheek, but riddle me this: what if that were the case? What if the, “I was poor, living on the streets” story was a crock of s***? What if she just wanted to go out all the time and she couldn’t find herself a sitter? Maybe the baby cost her too much and she didn’t want to take care of it anymore. I hate to be insensitive about it but you have to play devil’s advocate as a matchmaker, and frankly, I haven’t made my mind up about her yet.

So then she may be the gold digger she seems to be, issues notwithstanding?

Yeah. She’s obviously insecure from the experiences she’s had. I don’t know enough about her childhood and upbringing. But when someone with Taylor’s personality is insecure, they need a sense of security from the person they’re with. They latch onto that and become co-dependent. To her, that security comes from money, not virtue or love. She’s on a slippery slope. I hope she gets her values in order and that’s what Episode 4 is about. It’s about the perception of value and worth. The progression of the show is much like the progression of a courtship, starting when you first impress upon someone to initial communication to discussions of intimacy, and now we’re getting into sizing up the other person and figuring out values.

Is there anything else from this episode that you want to talk about?

My lingerie-party outfit. The only reason I got dressed up in that ridiculous outfit was to help the women feel that I was willing to participate with them. It was important to me that they didn’t feel that they were overexposed. I didn’t want them to feel that they and their bodies were exploited so that’s why I came up with an idea to participate with them. I didn’t want them to think I was trying to come from a higher place.

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