How to slip a woman's knottiest questions
Women enjoy talking-and after a lifetime of dating, you should have the flattened cilia in your ears to prove it. But blithe banter over martinis and cashews doesn't last forever. Once things turn serious, you're going to have serious conversations. The good news: You don't have to get pulled into drawn-out discourse or end up arguing or revisiting the same exchange you thought you'd sorted out last week. Mastery is within your reach. Here, the top six questions every woman is hardwired to ask, and when she's likely to ask them.
Be on the lookout: After you've had sex but before you've agreed not to see other people.
Why is this happening to me? Because the Man Who Is Really Interested and the Man Who Is Really Not Interested have a strange ability to behave identically. We need to know: Do you have the potential to fall in love with us?
The responses: If this is going somewhere: A slight prevarication-"I'm glad we're talking about this, because I want you to know I am really interested in you"-should work. She needs to hear that you like her specifically, not just that you like having a little company when you're eating and having orgasms.
If this is going nowhere: Quickly introduce that small part of her who hopes your apathy is actually masking depths of passion to the larger part of her who knows that is bullsh-.
Be on the lookout: When she begins relating lengthy anecdotes about her exes. She's trying to create an atmosphere of mutual sharing, which you, my sadly pussy-whipped friend, are about to fall for.
Why is this happening to me? Because your girlfriend is obsessed. Not with your exes, or even with you, but with herself. She's not interested in your past relationships per se; she's interested in what they say about her.
The response: Emphasize that your sizable, but not overly indulgent, love and erotic experience has been in the company of beautiful, talented, smart women. She'll do the logic: He's dated women who were beautiful, talented, and smart. Therefore, I am beautiful and talented and smart! When discussing "how things ended" in the past, present yourself as the man who has never found the right woman to love and understand him, but also the man who has never found a woman quite worthy of his best behavior. It's all spin.
Be on the lookout: When you've been together long enough-3 months-that she expects a steady stream of emotional sharing. You know: Ideas. Feelings.
Why is this happening to me? She'd like to find you fascinating, maybe even deep; but she needs a good backstory to confirm this.
The response: Start with some family photos. Then, at family gatherings, share sensitive "observations" with her to show that you're emotionally in touch with your family: "My father seems a little lost now that he's retired."
Be on the lookout: If she's been saying things like "God, I am so sick of walking around with my underwear in my bag."
Why is this happening to me? In an ideal world, after too many nights of "my place or yours?" both of you would blurt out, at the very same time, "Let's live together!" This not being an ideal world, and women being more inclined to demand momentum, it's often her suggestion.
The responses: If you've been thinking the same thing, call the movers, and good luck to you. If not, tell her everything you imagine you'd enjoy about living together: waking up to her, seeing her even if you didn't have specific plans. This creates a favorable environment for expressing your reservations, about which you should be specific. Tell her you've always lived with roommates, and you want some time to live alone. Bring up pursuits-writing, meditation, compulsive masturbation (maybe not)-that require a degree of independence, but make sure you're already involved in them. "I can't live with you because I have to start my screenplay" is weak.
(May also be stated as "Are we getting married or what, you giant a-hole?")
Be on the lookout: If (a) you're dating a girl who is definitely the marrying kind; (b) more than 2 years have passed; or (c) she's over 30.
Why is this happening to me? Because your girlfriend is annoyed at herself for having potentially wasted years of her life.
The response: She wants to know when she's getting her damn engagement ring and, in the absence of a satisfactory answer, when you're coming to get your stuff. Spare her your feelings on this one. If the answer isn't weighed in carats, she's not interested.
Be on the lookout: If there are extended, unexplained silences on her part. It may be her passive-aggressive way of saying, "I'm sick of filling these conversational holes."
Why is this happening to me? If you don't erupt hourly with an Old Faithful?like gusher of steaming words and opinions, she'll imagine that the hot, subterranean stratum of your relationship has cooled.
The response: You will be tempted to refer to your stellar contribution to all the conversations above. You will think about saying, "What do you want to talk about?" Don't. Applying male logic to female emotion is about as smart as throwing gas on a fire. "We don't talk anymore" is unsubtle code for "I'm starting to think you're a bore, and I wish you'd change my mind." So start. Ask more questions. Give longer answers. Read a book and tell her about it. You're undoubtedly fascinating, but you have to market yourself, every day, to ensure she keeps buying.