There are no right answers

Published 10:34 pm Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Silence is golden, a virtue even, and sometimes the only smart course for a man to take when his significant other asks certain dangerous questions. You know what I am talking about. If you have had five minutes in a relationship you should have encountered this toxic situation. In those cases, there are no right answers.

My husband, instead of committing to the path of no return, has learned to answer with, “There are no right answers.” Thereby, he charmingly gets out of trouble. Frankly, he points out the danger of my question and I sympathize, letting him off easy. Good answer.

Unfortunately, he learned this procedure after failed attempts of either honesty or overly played compliments because sometimes there are no right answers for women. It’s a trap and a ‘getcha’ moment.

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Men can’t win in these situations. In the words of Thumper the rabbit, “If you can’t say something nice then don’t say nothing at all.” Even that doesn’t work all the time because women also can not let things alone. We press for wrong answers.

But unfortunately, words are just one way to answer a question. If we catch you men off guard, we watch your facial expression like a lie detector machine. Then we judge your answer, disregarding the words, even if you get the answer right!

We use the element of surprise to seek the truth. Men do not have time to manipulate their responses. For example, and the reason I wrote this column, my hubby and I were having a lunch date and I announced I had lost three pounds. If you know me, by now you understand that I have been trying to lose ten pounds for three years — and instead gained ten. Since this is a leap in the right direction and hopefully an indicator that success is around the corner, I expected joyous reciprocating compliments such as, “Yes, I had noticed you were losing weight.” Or, “You look great the way you are.” You know, blah… blah… blah.

Instead of enthusiastic congratulations his response was first surprise and then disbelief, “Really?”

Wrong answer.

“Don’t I look like I lost three pounds?” I insisted. As he is caught in the headlights, he refers back to his new standard answer for entrapment questions. “There are no right answers.”

Women have set-up questions and we don’t even realize it. Do I look fat in these jeans? Do I look older? How do you like my new hair do? Do we really want the truth? NO! We know we look fat in those jeans but we want to pretend we don’t and we need reinforcement of the delusion by our husbands. We know we look older! We know we are not as pretty as so and so, but darn it, we want the lies!

How come we women never ask, “Am I too skinny? Am I too toned? Are my arms too muscular? Are my boobs too big?”

Just a word of advice for men to help them “before” they enter the danger zone of the dreaded question scenario, freely give out compliments ahead of the crisis moment and you should breeze through the incident just fine. If you are going out and you notice she is “fixin’ up,” this is your cue to make the bold statement of how beautiful she looks or to ask her if she’s losing weight.

We also want reassurance through our insecurities and so we ask probing questions, testing our mate. Do you love me? What are you thinking? Is (insert name of a friend or coworker) prettier than me? If I die, will you remarry?

Are all women psychotic? Every woman I have met has their moments. Some way more than others so men should beware.

Are women insecure? Only if we are breathing. I believe that more than ever after watching reality television. Not all women are created the same, but for the most part, most are overwhelmingly needy.

Although I swore never again, I am watching “The Bachelor.” I know it’s pathetic but a lady from Huntsville, Ala., a thirty-something widow that I could relate to is on the show and it pulled me in. I am captivated with the woman on woman drama more than the dating stuff.

Men in dating situations are still in danger of being asked test questions. Settled men either don’t care whether they get the answer right or are too comfortable and lazy in their relationship duties. Few have discovered the wisdom of right answers.

There are no right answers in reality dating shows. My conclusion is a majority of the girls on the show, if they represent the majority of American single women, are extremely insecure, desperate, self-absorbed, and, not just vain, but oblivious to the needs or cares of others. This show continues to give me a negative image of today’s woman. They ask all the wrong questions and at least this bachelor is thinking with his brain and his heart. (Not like some!) If I were a man I would analyze this show’s ability to reveal what women do and then what they think.

And then there is “True Beauty,” another reality show which takes people who are obsessed with their beauty, or conceived beauty, but have some major ugly going on inside. It’s a great moral lesson and totally satisfying to see self-absorbed people get slapped on the hand, kicked off when they are inconsiderate, liars, rude, and oblivious to giving out a helping hand to someone in need. Believe me, conceited is an understatement for these guys and girls. They would never ask, “Do I look fat?” Mainly, because they could care less what you think.

Thankfully, I got my bachelor through the normal way and it involved real ‘reality’. He is a full fledge diplomat when it comes to questions women ask. Although, he has slipped a time or two, like the time I asked how does this outfit look and his answer was, “I don’t know, I am not a fashion expert.” Wrong answer!

Maybe he has no right answers because there are truly no right answers… but he doesn’t need them because he is Mr. Right.

Tracy Williams is a guest columnist and can be reached at