Dating and/or relationship advice pretty much always sucks. Countless hours of television shows, endless rows of books in the Barnes & Noble, and a ridiculous amount of bandwidth has been dedicated to helping people understand the un-understandable.

Universal Question: What makes a relationship work?

Universal Answer: No one fucking knows.

No one can answer that question beyond the scope of their own relationship since every relationship is unique to those in it. Relationships are like snowflakes, if that sounds gay enough for you. Hell, I don’t even understand why MY relationship works most of the time. Is it because my girlfriend and I both love Heineken Light but hate regular Heineken? Is it because we do a call-and-response routine singing “O.P.P.” by Naughty by Nature, only we do it with weird Central Asian accents? Is it because we play “6 Hands on a Kitty?” when people come over? (How do you play? Come over to our house, put your hands on the cat, and we’ll show ya’! The cat is freaked the fuck out, but damn if it isn’t hilarious!)

More importantly, would sharing this bizarre bullshit be beneficial to anyone?

With that in mind, I’d like to dedicate this space to respond to dating and relationship columns published all over the web. I’m like your friendly neighborhood advice column, except I’m the only one to encourage you not to pay attention. If any of the articles I mock each Monday is helpful to you personally, enjoy the advice. If not, you’re probably wasting your company’s money anyway, so what’s another ten minutes reading this?

Welcome to the Cru Jones Love Lounge appearing each Monday morning, fresh for your consumption.

Our first collection of helpful hints comes from msn.com in an article entitled “10 Things You Should Never Say to a Guy.” MSN has more articles on dating, relationships and love than virtually anywhere else on the web. I searched the dating sites, men’s and women’s magazines websites, and other search engines (you’ll find columns from many of these sites in the coming weeks), but I found most of my material on MSN. Weird.

Anyway, this is how the article works. Each phrase you should never say to man is numbered. Below that number is the original author’s explanation. Following that, I chime in with my thoughts in italics.

1. “That looks cute.”

For the most part, men hate cute. We don’t want to hear about it, we don’t want to see it, and we sure as hell don’t want to be it. If we come down stairs after getting dressed and you tell us we look cute, there’s a 100 percent chance we’re changing. We’re supposed to be your protector, your rock, and cute does not fit into that picture.

This is accurate. The worst is when a woman tells you that you have a cute penis. Awesome. Why don’t you just rename it Tinky-Winky? That would be far less emasculating than calling anything of ours cute. I’d like to see women do a find and replace in their brains for the word “cute” and replace it with the words “fuckin’ sick.” Example: “Does this shirt look okay?” “Yeah, it’s fuckin’ sick!” I think this is way better.

2. “We need to talk.”

These four words shut off a man’s brain faster than long division. When men hear you say that they immediately go into flight mode. And anything they can do to get out of this conversation-and better yet, your apartment-they will. There are plenty of other ways to approach a delicate conversation, and getting us in a place where we feel comfortable is a good start.

This article is 2-for-2. Although, once again there’s opportunity here. Only use the phrase “We need to talk…” if it’s followed by something like “…about how the Rockies haven’t been hitting with runners in scoring position.” Or try this: “We need to talk…sex. I’m down for some new positions and I’ve drawn these sketches.” (safe for work)

3. “It’s just a game.”

Actually, it’s not just a game. Sports are a major part of our lives and the outcome has as much to do with our mood as just about anything else. Is it fair? No. Is it right? No. Is it immature? Maybe. But it’s life. Sometimes we just care too much. We understand that it doesn’t make sense, but you should be happy that we’re that passionate about something. Telling us that “it’s just a game” is like us telling you that Oprah’s just a talk show host.

Sorry, but it is just a game. This is a good lesson for everyone, not just guys. Ever played Pictionary or Catch Phrase against a team of girls? I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that not a single male has ever gotten laid after playing either of these games. The competition is always brutal, and more often than not it’s the women who leave with wounded pride and hurt feelings. If a couple ever suggests a game night to you, just pick a fight with your woman instead and spend the night on the couch watching sports. It’s the same end result of going to a game night, and you’ll save yourself the hassle of actually having to play something awful like “Sniglets.”

4. “Nothing’s wrong.”

Please don’t tell us nothing’s wrong. The look on your face could make the toughest guy on the planet weep like a third-grade girl and your arms are crossed so tight you might explode. We’re not mind readers; tell us what’s going on. And don’t make us guess because-believe me-you won’t like what we come up with.

I tried writing about five different jokes here. None of them were funny. Saying nothing’s wrong is just plain unfair. Men are just as guilty of this, though. Just say what’s on your mind. Everyone will be better for it. Unless it’s girlie problems. Then use “nothing’s wrong” as code you’ve worked out with us beforehand. Trust me, we’ll leave you alone if it’s girlie problems. Can we make this a universal rule? Can I get a ruling? Most men I know have gotten over hearing about women’s periods, but if it’s anything else associated with your endocrine system, we probably don’t want to know and aren’t mature enough to handle it. Just say nothing’s wrong with a wink, and we’ll get it.

5. “I sound like my mom.”

The mere fact that you might turn into your mom someday scares the hell out of us. Don’t say it, even in jest-it’s not funny. We actually believe (and pray) that the saying “every woman ends up looking like their mother” is an old wives’ tale. If we didn’t, no one would ever get married.

My advice: Get to know your girl’s mom and sleep with her. Then you tell her if she sounds like her mom or not. Bada-bing!

6. “I just want to be friends.”

No you don’t. You just want us to stop calling you. This is a lot like pulling off a band-aid. Do it quick-don’t prolong the agony. Most of us take “I just want to be friends” as “There’s still a chance,” so if there isn’t just make it a clean break and move on.  Everyone will be much better because of it.

A good way to put the kibosh on this is by asking, “Me and my friends all shower together. What do you think of that?” That ought to shut her up. Everyone has enough friends already, why would you ever want to associate with someone who no longer has sex with you? Get your exes out of your life.

7. “Size doesn’t matter.”

Don’t lie to us. We know it does, and we’re doing our best to make up for it in other ways. It’s best just to not say anything at all.

Size matters to everyone, but not in the way you might always think. My friend (who is of average wangitude) was telling me about his girlfriend with a shallow vagina and how he’s always banging up against her cervix when he’s taking his skin boat to tuna town. The lesson: Find a girl with a shallow cooter and suddenly you’re Dirk Diggler no matter your real size!

8. “What are you wearing?”

We’re wearing whatever’s clean or whatever you tell us to. We don’t plan out our wardrobe days in advance, but we do actually try and look presentable. It may not work a lot of the time, but we do give it a shot. Giving us direction is completely encouraged though, so go ahead and suggest … nicely.

Correction: Please don’t give us direction. Unless there are specific dress code instructions for a specific event, please just leave us alone.

9. “Do you think she’s pretty?”

Of course we do, our standards are much lower than yours. But just because we check her out doesn’t mean we think any less of you. We try to be as discreet as possible, but for the most part, we can’t help it. It’s in our DNA. When an attractive woman walks by, it’s best to just pretend nothing happened.

Wrong question. For the above question, the answer is always, “Eh, she’s not bad.” It’s non-committal, it’s vague, it ultimately means nothing, and the term “pretty” is irrelevant. Pretty is for flowers and inspires no feelings of depravity in any man. If the question is, “Would you sleep with her?” The answer is, “Um, probably.” Looking back over my life, I probably would have slept with 83% of the women (non-relatives) I’ve ever known given proper circumstances. And “pretty” factors into that about 2%.

10. “Which outfit do you like better?”

I’m going to be honest here-90 percent of the guys out there are not going to tell you which outfit they like better: They’re going to try to pick the one you like better and not get into a holy war when the babysitter is due any minute. To us, you always look good. Getting a couple cocktails and spending as much time as we can without the kids is our ultimate goal for a rare night out.

Don’t under any circumstances ask us this question. This is a corollary to #8. And I don’t know what the hell the author is talking about. Pick the one we think they like better? What kind of sycophantic nonsense is that? The truth is, we don’t give a shit. Wear something. Wear anything. It doesn’t matter. Ultimately you have to live with the consequences of that choice – not us. We managed to dress ourselves without getting a ruling from the judges. And we probably can’t tell the difference anyway.

The only advice I’ve found works in every situation is to pay attention. If everyone paid closer attention to the needs, likes, dislikes, and favorite sexual positions of their partners, relationships would either be happier and more fulfilling; or would end much more quickly and with less agony – a more fulfilling ending either way.

“6 Hands on a Kitty” may not work for everyone, but it works for us. Find your own absurdity and annoy your friends by telling them about how happy you are. Sure, they’ll always secretly hate you, but that’s most of the fun of relationships anyway, isn’t it?

Until next time…

edagger@crujonessociety.com

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