Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Beware, brothers, beware

Men, Valentine’s Day is over for another year, and that gives us a year to continue walking on the eggshells that are relationships. While on February 14 we can bestow on our wives and girlfriends flowers, candy and cards, those other 364 can be fraught with peril for us. We have to tread carefully through the minefield of communication with our distaff side, and we can freeze with terror (at least, those of us with experience) when we hear that awful question: “Does this make me look fat?”(1)

So many jokes have been written about this simple question that whole sitcom episodes have been based on it. But it really is no laughing matter. That question, answered improperly, can cause much pain, argument and tension. I think it should be specifically banned in wedding vows for the bride: “And do you, Daphne Jane, promise to love, honor, and obey and to never ask your husband if your apparel makes you look fat?”

There are variations on the question, though, which are equally loaded for an unsuspecting male. Those may be as simple as “Do you like my new hair style?”(2) or as deadly as, “Do you think my legs are as good as your secretary’s?”(3) Better rehearse some answers in your mind before opening your mouth. Beware, brothers, beware.

What brought this whole subject to mind were these two items from my local daily newspaper, which coincidentally, appeared on the same day. They reminded me that even after 47 years of marriage I need to always be on my guard.

Click to enlarge.

My advice for answers to loaded questions:

(1) To any question with the word “fat” answer with a smile and a soothing voice: “You look wonderful, honey. I think you look fabulous.” Avoid the word fat at all costs, even when she uses it. Even saying, “No, you’re not fat” puts the word in her mind as coming out of your mouth.

(2) Answer to new hairstyle should be, “It makes you look much younger. I love it.”

(3) For a question such as this, fraught with danger, always say something like, “I have never noticed her legs. You’re the one with sexy legs.” A further admonition might be that when this question comes up, it is because she has already caught you eyeing other women, and this is a trap. There may be no answer that will satisfy her, and your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination does not apply in a domestic matter. Better have a bag packed.

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