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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.

"Why Do Girls Like Jerks?"

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.

"That'll work."

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.

"What Does a Girl Mean When She Says X?"

(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.

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"Why Do hot women Fish For Compliments By Pretending to Think They're Fat or Ugly?"

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.

"Why Won't Women Tell You What's Wrong?"

The right question:

"Why might telling not work in this situation?"

This idea that women have some across-the-board tendency to "never tell what's wrong" breaks down when you note that the same people who ask this question also find themselves complaining about women's nagging, or the dreaded "can we talk" question, so it's pretty clear their women are pretty vocal about stating what's wrong in a variety of situations.

Perhaps too vocal.

But sometimes a woman won't answer that question, usually because she sees it as a no-win dilemma.

The first possibility is that what you did wrong is so glaringly obvious (to her) that she thinks it is you who are playing the game, and does not understand what you are trying to do. Like if you had sex with a man, or killed her dog, or both.

"What? Why won't you tell me what's wrong?"

The second possibility is that what you did wrong is so glaringly obvious (to her) that she realizes she has entered into a relationship with a man who cannot grasp a person's most basic needs without being given a laminated chart every day. She is envisioning a lifetime of constantly giving explanations about why it is wrong to skip her birthday to get drunk with his friends, or flirt with 16-year-olds in an online game. Why push that boulder up that hill today? It's not like she won't get to do it a thousand times more.

All women are well-versed in classical mythology.

A third possibility is that it's something she wanted you to do on your own initiative, like compliment her haircut or ask about her day. These things don't really mean a lot when done mechanically, which is what's going to happen if she says, "What's wrong is I wanted you to ask about my day," and you say, "Oh, of course, tell me about your day." That setup doesn't leave one convinced that you actually want to hear about her day. And compliments given on command are pretty worthless too.

"Honey, what do you think of my new contacts?"

It's unfair, but there's not a lot either of you can do about it at the time.

And finally, as mentioned before, the Manipulative Harpy does exist, sometimes a little bit in all of us, and could very well be doing it because she hates you.

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"Why Do Women Fuss So Much About X Trait (Makeup, Type of Clothes, Shoes) When Us Men Clearly Prefer Natural Beauty?"

The right question(s):

A) "Are they even doing it for men?"

B) "Is your idea of 'natural beauty' actually natural?"

First of all, most women's lives do not revolve entirely around pleasing men. When I get new clothes, do you know who I expect to notice? Other women and gay men.

OK, these women are in fact probably dressing specifically to please men.

If you look at women's magazines, there will be a pretty woman on the cover, and inside there will be tips on how to look like a pretty woman, as well as some kind of pointing and laughing at "fashion blunders." Not everyone wants to be a Marie Claire girl, but every demographic has fashion do's and don'ts, and nobody wants to be a fashion don't.

This seems to be a "don't."

Most girls want to meet the standards of their style, as set by their peer group. Goth girls want to look properly pasty. Female ICP fans want to be the loudest, most hideous thing visible at the Wal-Mart.

They'll do all of this even without boys in the picture. It's about living up to girl standards.

Secondly, many of these "unimportant" things do actually go towards making a girl attractive in the way men like. For example, the right kind of shirt will flatter or even shape a girl's boobs, something men have to admit does matter to them. The right boot/skirt combo can show the good parts of a girl's legs while hiding the fat/pasty parts. It's unfair to complain about her fussing about clothes, while appreciating the result.

These two near-identical everyday outfits have key differences in boob/leg display methods that anyone can enjoy studying.

For guys that say they hate makeup, many girls use a certain amount of makeup just to get to "normal." So girls with bad complexions (a.k.a. white girls) use foundation just to cover up blemishes, not to look like a painted whore. Or girls with tiny pig-like eyes (me) need eyeliner just to give the illusion they have normal-sized eyes. The point of daily makeup is to get from "ugly" (which doesn't necessarily mean ugly, see above) to "normal." If it gets to the point where you notice the actual makeup, it's either overdone, she's going to a special event or she's in show business.

Not totally "natural" looks here, but Alicia Silverstone and Heidi Klum are
going about as light on the makeup here as celebrities ever go at photo shoots.

"Why Do Guys Have to do All the Work to Get a Relationship While Women Just Sit There and Can Pick Any Guy They Want?"

The right question:

"Why do I only look at the women that can pick any guy they want?"

The problem here is usually a sampling error, and the solution is to take a statistics class. The pool of women you look at to make this observation is going to be skewed toward women you like to look at. Their awkward ugly friend in the corner there can't pick any guy she wants, and you probably haven't even noticed her to the point where you include her in your survey.

No, not that. An ACTUAL ugly girl.

There are a lot of fairly sad, desperate girls out there, a situation I am no stranger to. Lonely, no-luck girls spend plenty of time obsessing over what it will take to get a guy, and often throw aside their dignity in a shameless and often fruitless attempt to pursue one. Then they will have a sob session with their girlfriends about "why doesn't he like me?" It's actually kind of funny when you look back on it.

We've all been there.

Anyway, the point is, when you try to remember "every girl" you've met to prove this is true with "every girl," you will remember the most memorable girls and not remember us sad sacks, who are simultaneously asking the same exact same question about guys, probably in the girls' bathroom while crying.

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