"A Straight Line!" He Declares; "A Gentle Curve?" She Asks Another gentle habit of the gentle sex that, unfortunately, drives men stark raving berserk is that she hints at something she wants, or she turns it into the form of a tentative gentle question. I was on a Sunday outing last fall with a couple who had just started dating each other. Susan and Jake were riding in the front seat and I was in the back as we headed upstate to see the changing leaves. After we had been on the thruway for about an hour, Sue turned to Jake, who was driving, and asked, "Golly, would you like to stop for a coffee?" "Nah," Jake said. A little miffed, Susan turned around and looked at me. We just shrugged at each other. A little while later, she tried again. "Gosh, Jake, do you think there might be a rest area coming up soon?" "I'm not sure," he answered. Five miles later Jake whizzed by a rest stop with a big "Fresh Hot Coffee" sign out front. Susan turned around to me with wide eyes and that ''Can you believe this brute?'' look on her face. She leaned back and crossed her arms. I could tell she was upset. Poor Susan. I finally decided I should speak up. "Uh, Jake," I said, "I think Susan wanted to stop for a cup of coffee." "Well, why didn't she say so?" Jake asked, genuinely confused. "But I did!" Susan grumbled. "Gee, Sue, I must not have heard you." I could tell that Jake was beginning to think his new girlfriend was a bit moody. "Sure," he said. "We'll stop at the next restaurant." Was Jake being insensitive? Not at all. He was merely taking Susan's questions literally. Did he want coffee? No. Did he think a restaurant was nearby? He wasn't sure. Was Susan overreacting? Not at all. If Jake was ignoring her wishes as she thought he was, she had every right to be angry. But he wasn't. He was just thinking like a man. Susans and Jakes all over America are plummeting head-first into the communications gap on first dates. Many emerge rubbing their wounds and vowing not to go out with the other ever again. When smart tourists go to Paris, they learn a little French to avoid being shunned by the Parisians. When smart Hunters and Huntresses go out on dates, they learn a few opposite-sex phrases to avoid inadvertently turning off their Quarry. TECHNIQUE #67 (FOR HUNTRESSES): DON'T HINT-SAY IT STRAIGHT Huntresses, realize that your Quarry will take your questions literally. When you want something, say "I want" or "I'd like to." When you really mean I, avoid phrases like "Would you like to" or "Do you think we should . . .?" Gentlemen, for you the reverse is true. For example, on a long drive with your Quarry, you're dying to stop for lunch. Instead of just saying "I'm hungry" and making a sharp swerve into the next fast-food joint, ask her if she'd like something to eat. She'll probably answer, "Would you?" After you say yes, ask her what kind of food she think, would be good. Let her answer. Then you can make a sharp swerve for the nearest grub.
TECHNIQUE #68 (FOR HUNTERS): PUT SOME SOFT CURVES IN YOUR CONVERSATION Hunters, instead of telling her what the two of you are going to do, ask her opinion first. Also, when your Quarry asks you a question, don't take it literally. Read between the lines to see what she's hinting at. When she asks, "Would you like to," it probably means she would like to.