Friday, September 28, 2012

How To Deal Sensitively With Women

It’s a matter of giving dismissive, smartaleck responses to their concerns. Women appreciate caustic wit above all else. Just try this sampler of male retorts:
Her Concern: It was a formal dinner and you ate like a pig.
Retort: I have never been a slave to etiquette.
Her Concern: How dare you insult my friends!
Retort: Everybody needs a hobby.
Her Concern: You’d rather watch sports than spend time with me!
Retort: Yeah, but you’re a really strong second.
Her Concern: We’re going to counseling!
Retort: Ah, then you’ve met my bartender.
Her Concern: The movies you like are too violent.
Retort: Actually I have an idea for a chick flick. Ladies share their feelings for 90 minutes then everything explodes and Bruce Willis rescues them.
Her Concern: You are not playing golf; we’re going to the gallery opening.
Retort: (having seen an inclement weather forecast) As you wish my dear.
Her Concern: You are driving recklessly.
Retort: I prefer to think of it as driving wrecklessly.
Her Concern: Are you crazy?
Retort: No, I don’t think so. Oh look, there goes Woodrow Wilson.
Her Concern: Do you ever stop to think what’s the meaning of life?
Retort: I have a theory but I’m keeping it to myself in case it’s wrong.
Her Concern: You can just wipe that smirk off your face, Mr. Smartypants.
Retort: Grover P. Smartypants at your service.
These retorts are not half as clever as they seem. But if your goal is to return tedium to the relationship, just go around saying, “Have a nice day!” The thing is, being a smartaleck actually does contribute to a nice day. At least it always does for me.
[For more of the same, visit Alan’s blog,]

Friday, September 21, 2012

How to win arguments

            I don’t endorse these techniques. Arguments should be won on merit, not via some cheap conversational ploy. On the other hand, if you appreciate cheap ploys, here are some tricks you can use to win arguments:
            1. Declare victory and leave the room. It resolves nothing, providing only a momentary one-up. Shallow but effective.
            2. Throw a few Latin phrases into the discourse. Example: Ergo ipso facto persona non grata. Rough translation: Get outta here. Your opponent will be thrown off balance just long enough for you to marshal a real argument. It’s a slimy ploy but we’re not dealing with ethics here.
            3. Render your opponent’s point of view absurd. No matter how salient your opponent’s point, respond by quacking like a duck. Warning: You render yourself vulnerable to a charge of trivialization. Quacking is really not much more than a smokescreen.
            4. Patronize your opponent. Feign agreement: “You’re absolutely right. Everything you say is true.” Then yawn with elaborate ennui, like one of those smug characters in a Noel Howard play, as if to say ‘Arguing with you is not worth the trouble.’ Not widely used; you may get away with it.
            5. Engage in a shouting match. Can manifest itself in violence. The upside is that you can shout pretty much whatever you want since logic is not a factor.
            6. Be a pacifist. Announcing “I’m not looking for a fight” gives you the moral high ground, from which position you can launch a real donnybrook.
            7. Accuse your opponent of filibustering. Then take the floor and deliver a 60-minute diatribe on the evils of filibustering.
            8. Don’t argue about religion. If someone says, “My religion involves snake handling,” don’t ask, “Isn’t that dangerous?” Of course it is. That’s probably the point.
            9. Ask an “objective” third party to settle the argument. Then invite one of your drinking buddies to be the objective third party. This is a little transparent and probably won’t work.
            10. Be honest and forthright, even if it means losing the argument. There are worse things than losing an argument, such as winning by being a mindlessly combative street fighter. Again, I do not endorse the above techniques. I may use one of them occasionally, but only in intellectual desperation.
            And of course there’s the ultimate strong-arm tactic: If you can’t win the argument on merit, attack the personality of your opponent. The thing is, even if you win, you feel lousy afterward.
            There is such a thing as a principled argument from which both parties emerge enhanced. I’ve had a few of those, and they’re rare and sometimes almost noble.