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Column: How not to talk to women

“Do you know we’ve been together now for five years?” said My True Love to me the other day.

Now, I’m no lawyer, but on the other hand, I didn’t ride the turnip truck across the border and hang on over some pretty bumpy roads just to fall off over a leading question like that one. The look on her face told me that it was readily apparent that I should carefully consider how I should respond to such a question.

OK, I wasn’t quite certain how to respond. However, she had a meaningful look on her face; an expectant look, a look that said she was looking for a special response from me. So far, so good. All I needed was something special.

I had nothing.

Well, that’s not strictly true, I had stuff. I could have said, “Well, the fish weren’t biting very well today but I think it was because of the wind.”

I could have said, as a bit of self-defense, thinking that good deeds might pave my way into her heart, “Have you noticed I hung that new curtain rod up downstairs?”

I could have said, “Don’t forget, it’s almost time for you to change the oil in your car.”

I wanted to say, “Isn’t it peculiar that the word ‘war’ and the word ‘wore’ are pronounced the same way?”

I’m reminded of a friend who one day brought home a big dog that other friends could no longer keep. It seemed like a great dog. All went well between him, his wife, and the dog. For a while.

But the dog was a guy’s dog, and This Guy went to work every day, leaving his best friend behind with That Woman. All day. Every day.

The dog began to exhibit some jealous behavior, like chewing up only That Woman’s shoes, not his. Like pooping on the floor, only when he was gone to work. Other stuff, too.

One day she had had enough, and she called him at work and said, “Look. It’s either that dog, or me.”

To which he said he replied, “Give me a minute…”

Three hundred and sixty-five million years ago, one of my ancestors crawled out of the ocean and learned to survive on land. Granted, scientists admit there is a plus-or-minus error here of a few million years, but nonetheless, I’ve come a long way.

Not far enough.

Given what I replied to her in the next few seconds, which didn’t seem fair, I might find myself much the worse for wear. Survival of the fittest got me to this point in time, but the end of the line must come along sometime. Maybe this was it.

I looked at her. Even if I only had a minute. In one minute I can Google the gas to oil mixture of my boat’s outboard motor, discover the difference between beet sugar and cane, and find out why Mother Teresa is a shoo-in for sainthood. In one glorious minute, I could Google how a man should talk to a woman.

Wait! That’s a great idea. I excused myself and raced for the computer.

“How to talk to a woman” came right up but it was all about how to pick one up, or how to avoid a sexual harassment lawsuit, or what not to say about how her purse seems to have become a portable mercantile outlet. There’s nothing about how to talk to one you’ve known for some time. (Maybe that’s because we have to start over so often?)

I raced back into the kitchen and faced my fate, ready to ad lib to the best of my ability.

I looked at her, opened my mouth, and out came, “Gee, it seems like longer than that.”

This is a short column. Next time, I’ll Google how not to talk to women.