Sometimes people ask questions that there are no right ways to answer. Sometimes they are deliberate trick questions, like, "Why is Obama afraid to show the public his birth certificate?" (the one that is available all over the Internet) or "Do you think she looks better than me?"
But a lot of times people honestly ask the wrong question without knowing it. Here are some I see guys continually asking about women, along with the question they should be asking if they actually want an answer.
The right question:
"What does [girl I am interested in] like in a guy?"
Are you attracted to girls based solely on how "nice" or "jerky" they seem? Why would they be then?
You don't even have to stop being a misogynist to recognize girls evaluate men in more than one dimension. Even a shallow girl looks for more than one thing. What about looks? Money? Fame? Penis size? Any of those could be higher on the checklist than "nice/jerk." And every girl is different.
For example, I like a guy who is smart, sarcastic and good at video games. (Hey, I can open my own jars but I can't get past the Meat Circus level of Psychonauts on my own.)
OK, OK ... I couldn't even get past Black Velvetopia.
One of my friends used to have a thing for blue eyes, and another needed to find a guy that shared her musical talent. And on the other end of the spectrum, I've had friends that just need to check for a penis and they're good.
Being nice is important to us, but it's not a free ticket to the bedroom if you've got none of the other things.
Just to be clear, there are actually girls for whom jerkiness is the first thing they're drawn to (or rather, they're drawn to other factors that tend to come packaged with jerkitude). But for a lot of them, this is because they've grown up being mistreated or abused, so trying to take advantage of that makes you a dick.
(Note: The above is a real iPhone app, by someone named Simon Poon.)
The right question (Plan A):
"Girl, what did you mean when you said X?"
Believe it or not, there is, in fact, no universal woman-code language. A girl who says she is "not ready for a relationship" may literally mean the very idea of dating terrifies her at the moment for whatever reason. She may be politely avoiding telling you that she doesn't find you attractive. She might be the manipulative harpy some men think all women are, and is playing games to see how much you want her. And of course, she may be a hipster who finds the word "relationship" too conformist and wants to have a "cooperative sex-love venture" with you.
"Are you participating in this venture or not?"
So which one is it? Well, Plan A --and I know this is going to sound crazy -- is to ask her. I'm sure that you, the socially well-adjusted Cracked reader, would have already done that, but many people will just nod in understanding at the girl and then run away to ask other people, or complain on the Internet. I'd strongly suggest Plan A, but if that goes wrong, like she's terrible at explaining things, you might have to ask someone else.
Like if you were talking to Miss Teen South Carolina.
The right question (Plan B):
"What did [specific girl] mean when she said X?"
Here I would suggest asking someone -- and this is going to sound crazy again -- who knows her. Not someone who knows "girls," someone who knows this girl. "What does a girl mean when she says X?" is going to get you nowhere, but "What does Sheila mean when she says X?" might actually turn up something -- if you're asking someone who knows Sheila.
If you're asking someone who doesn't know Sheila and you get an answer, I would mentally cross that person off your list of people to ask for advice in the future.
The right question:
"How much does feeling fat or ugly bother this woman?"
The first misconception is that the women know they're not fat or ugly, and that they're fishing for compliments or playing some kind of power game. That happens, but usually the woman actually thinks she's fat or ugly, what with the media and body image and all that.
That's what happens when you watch Julia Roberts cry about having to get "big girl jeans" in Eat, Pray, Love.
But let's not go too far in the other direction and think that women are constantly bathed in a depressing cloud of self-loathing. You're thinking of teenagers. But as women get older, feeling fat and ugly can actually be pretty routine, and less a part of your identity than something you check on every day. It's like having a hole in your pants or a spaghetti stain on your shirt -- dismaying to see in the mirror, but something you can fix or shrug off.
Although to be fair, this kid does seem pretty devastated.
That's why you might have heard some women say, "Ugh, I feel fat today." Just today. Tomorrow I might look in the mirror and go, "You lookin' good, girlfriend." It depends on things like my hair and the clothes I'm wearing. For example, if I am wearing a girdle, I feel thinner.
Don't you love it how they get women who don't need girdles to model girdles?
Do some women fish for compliments or attention by falsely claiming they feel so ugly? Sure. I've done it. (We were all teenagers once.) One clue is if they post an elaborately staged picture of them trying to look cute on Facebook or whatever, with a caption about how ugly this "candid" picture is.
"Ack! Someone just accidentally took this horrible picture of me while I was cleaning the house!"
If you want to call them on it, I would advise being really really sure that's their game, and then saying, "OH GOD I'M TURNING TO STONE" or, "PH'NGLUI MGLW'NAFH CTHULHU R'LYEH WGAH-NAGL FHTAGN" or a good old, "Well, there's always personality." If she bursts into tears when she sees you, you probably should have been more sure. You asshole.