Dangerous Questions from Women
'Do I look fat in this?' is not a question. It's a test—to see if you remember what Nancy Reagan taught you about drugs: Just say no. Tweet
What are you thinking about? Sounds innocent enough -- but those words contain a multitude of risky possibilities.
Are you just saying that because you think it’s what I want to hear?
Is so-and-so DMing you? Like any good interrogator, she already knows the answer.
Your girlfriend asking, "Do I look fat in this?" gets the same answer as a junkie asking if he can have a Benjamin for some crack.
- “Does this dress make me look fat?”
For decades, according to every TV sitcom, (or at least according to the accompanying laugh track), the most dangerous question a man can be asked by a woman is some variation of: “Does this dress make me look fat?”
The danger was exaggerated. How? Because there is an easy answer: “You’re perfect, it’s the dress that’s no good.” (To be embellished according to circumstances.)
Sadly, as every man knows, not all the questions that rear their ugly heads are so readily handled. Indeed — and this is key! — often such a question is not a question at all, but a test and/or a message cloaked as a question — one that, if responded to unwisely in either word or deed, is likely to ruin your day, month or life.
Here are a dozen questions a woman in your life may spring on you (and, sorry, may already have) with intel on how to ensure domestic tranquility by responding with lawyer-depressing aplomb.
1. “What are you thinking about?” Sounds innocent enough, but those words contain a multitude of risky possibilities. The fact is, you’re probably not thinking of anything. Perhaps wondering if Andre the Giant could beat seven horse jockeys in a fight, or maybe just deliberating on whether to take a bathroom break before turning on the game. Whatever. Nonetheless, what she’s saying is that in her mind there must be something going on in yours.
Suggested Response: “Huh? Nothing.” (Stick to it, even under duress, since it’s probably true, anyway, and hopefully you’ll be allowed to go on doing what you’re not doing.)
Alternative Response: (Lovingly) “You.” (Warning: Do not under any circumstances say “Us.” There is no telling the directions that could lead, including straight down.)
2. “What’s wrong?” A variation of #1, but with even more ominous overtones. Again, the answer might well be nothing, but for some reason she now suspects you could be keeping something bad from her, something running from bad (trouble at work, chest pain) to worse, (a text from a coworker you might be screwing).
Most lady-questions are not questions at all, but simple tests.
Suggested response: “What are you talking about? I told you, nothing!” Another warning: Exhibiting frustration or anger means obviously something’s wrong, so using this irritated response means continuing the interrogation all day.
3. “You okay?” This comes when it’s clear you do have a problem of some kind – yet, being you, you’re not up for talking about it in detail, at least not yet, with her; either because a.) doing so will only increase both your anxiety, or b.) she will insist you follow her advice which, let’s face it, you have a pretty good idea will be all wrong.
Suggested response: “I’m fine. Just need to clear my head. (Laugh is useful.) I swear, watching the goddamn (name a sports team) really puts things in perspective.
4. “Are we okay? Still love me?” Asked anxiously, when she’s done something wrong, like maybe given your signed DiMaggio ball to Goodwill:
Suggested response: (With whatever degree of heroic forbearance it takes.) Yes.
5. If I died, do you think you’d fall in love again? We know one poor wretch who, confronted with this, foolishly tried to joke his way out of it: “Get a fatal illness and I’ll let you know.” Big mistake.
Suggested response: God, don’t even think that way!
6. Can you believe what she/he [mother / father / sister / best friend] said/did?”
Suggested response: None. At most, a noncommittal nod. But don’t ever bite on this. Because if you in any way endorse her anger/annoyance/disappointment/contempt, she’ll remember it long after she’s forgotten what was said/did and mended fences with the other person.
7. Do you like ____’s hair? / breasts / any physical feature? Only a fool fails to understand the subtext: “compared to mine.”
Suggested response: “Not compared to yours.”
8. Are you just saying that because you think it’s what I want to hear?
Suggested response: “What? No! Don’t be crazy!” (Variation, for added emphasis: “Don’t be an idiot.” It is the rare case when a mild strategic insult enhances your case.)
9. What did I tell you just five minutes ago? Okay, you may dimly recall it was something. Could be about some item you’re supposed to pick up at the store. Or something she told you about someone you both know. Anything. Problem is – and surely there’s scientific data that proves it – there’s something in the timbre of the female voice that dictates lots of things it says simply don’t register on the male brain.
Suggested response: (Shame-faced) “I’m sorry, I must’ve been preoccupied. I was thinking about the (dog/kids/car/vacation/dress you’re wearing, which I love). Please, tell me again.” (Warning: Wait at least 24 hours before letting this happen again.)
10. Who’s/what’s (any person / event / cultural touchstone that you cannot believe she knows nothing about.) Note: This is a particularly tricky one. Indeed, if the ignorance is especially egregious – if she’s never heard of Bob Dylan, say – the better questions might be directed to oneself: What am I doing with this person? Are Mia’s supple young breasts and perfect ass really worth it? We say yes, but you have to listen to the head-noise.
Suggested response (if you plan to continue on this likely suicidal path): “Just some folksinger. Not important.”
11. Is so-and-so DMing you? Like any good interrogator, she already knows the answer.
Suggested response: “yes,” because it’s the truth, and you’re trapped. So even the whitest lie could go nuclear.
12. Feel like sex? While rarely expressed so directly — it’s more often expressed in body language, a fleeting suggestive look, or a coy remark — the answer must never vary.
Response: Absolutely! (Warning: Even the slightest hesitation, whether driven by fatigue or anything else, is absolutely to be avoided, lest the question never be repeated.)