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Understanding women: A guide to male survival

by David J. Raymond, Opinion editor emeritus

According to the ancient adage, “knowledge is power.” To this end, the following is intended to enable male readers to spot those key words and phrases women use to show their displeasure, thus helping both sexes to avoid those pointless little arguments that usually leave men wondering what just happened.

“Fine” – This is the word that women often use near the end of any argument to express that she is right and that the man needs to shut up. Never use “fine” to describe another woman’s appearance. This will cause one of those arguments.

“Five minutes” – This is half an hour. It is an even trade with its equivalent, the five minutes that a football game is going to last before the male in a relationship will, as agreed, take out the trash.

“Nothing” – is rarely that. Rather, it is a warning a woman gives just before she turns a man inside out, upside down, and backwards.

“Nothing” usually begins an argument that will last “five minutes” and will probably end with the word “Fine.”

“Whatever” – See “Nothing.”

“Go ahead” (with raised eyebrows) – This is a dare that, if taken, will result in a woman getting upset over “Nothing” and an argument that will end with the word “Fine.”

“Go ahead” (normal eyebrows) – This is a woman’s way of saying “I give up” or “do what you want, because I don’t care.” It is usually followed by (in order): “Go Ahead” (with raised eyebrows), “Nothing,” “Fine,” and resumption of the conversation in about “Five Minutes”.

“Sigh” (loud) – Not actually a word, but often a verbal statement very much misunderstood by men. A “Loud Sigh” means she thinks you are an idiot at that moment and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you over “Nothing.”

“Sigh” (soft) – Again, not a word, but a verbal statement. “Soft Sighs” are one of the few things that some men actually understand. The woman is content. If the man neither moves nor breathes, the chances are good that she will stay content.

“That’s OK”– One of the most dangerous statements that a woman can say to a man. “That’s OK” means that the woman wants to think long and hard before paying you back for whatever it was that you did. “That’s OK” is often used in conjunction with “Fine” and accompanied by the raised eyebrow version of “Go Ahead.” Recommended action on receipt of this combination of words and expressions: hasty flight or serious groveling.

“Please do” – Similar to “Nothing” or “Whatever,” except that this gives the man the opportunity to reconsider the excuse or reason being offered to explain whatever it is that he has done. This should be seen as a chance to tell the truth and thus avoid getting a “That’s OK.”

“Thanks” – This means exactly that: gratitude. Do not faint. Just say “You’re welcome.”

“Thanks a lot” – Very different from “Thanks.” A woman saying this is really ticked off. It could be followed by the “Loud Sigh,” but be warned that any attempt to inquire at this point will probably be met by “Nothing.”




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