Over the years, I've learned a lot about women.
When I was younger, I was the guy all the girls came to for relationship advice. Don't ask me why. I'd never actually had a relationship. But I was thoughtful, and a good listener, and I didn't openly gawk at their breasts. (I did gawk, of course, I just wasn't rude about it.)
These three things may not seem like much, but from what I understand they rarely come together in a 16 year old boy. The result was that most girls found me to be trustworthy, fun to be around, and neuter as a Ken doll.
But I learned a lot by listening to their relationship problems. I learned what irritated them, what they really wanted in a relationship (or said they wanted, anyway), and the sort of jerky things guys were capable of.
Eventually I started to develop a list of things you should never do in a relationship. Rules of conduct that should never be broken. I continued building that list all through college.
Now I'm not talking about the obvious stuff here. Rules like, "Don't sleep with your girlfriend's sister." or "Don't jab her in the eye with a pointy stick." Shit like that is obvious.
My rules were more specific, but other people had paid for them in blood.
A few real examples:
* Never tell a woman she looks like her pet.
* Never compare a woman to a cow.
* Never compare a woman to any sort of cheese.
Maybe those last two don't happen so much outside of Wisconsin. But trust me, you really can't pull them off. Dairy products are fine. If you're careful, you can use creamy or milky. You can even, depending on the situation, get away with buttery. But cheese is right out. It can't be done in a good way.
Later on in life, as I started to date more, I began to add new rules based on my own experiences. Things like:
* Don't break up with a girl then send her roommate a love letter.
* Don't invite four different women to the same poetry reading. Especially if one of them is your ex-girlfriend, one is your current girlfriend, and one is the girl who kinda wants to be your girlfriend.
That last one might seem a little specific, and it is, I suppose. But if I can keep even one other person from making that mistake, I will be doing the world a very big favor.
Now some of you may scoff at my list of rules. Thinking them bizarre and overly specific. I don't really feel the need to defend myself or prove the efficacy of my system. Simply look at me, then look at my past girlfriends, all of whom have been lovely, intelligent, and sexy as hell. My results speak for themselves.
I'm not claiming to have it all figured out. Far from it. I'm still adding things to my list all the time.
For example, the other day I'm laying in bed with Sarah and little Oot. Because Oot is a happy little bundle of cute, Sarah experienced a moment of what I call Mom Bliss. I'm pretty sure this is an evolutionary thing. Specifically, it's a rush of endorphins designed to make moms adore their children, rather than devour them.
So we're all on the bed and Oot kinda squirms around, looks up at us, and gives us one of his trademarked triple-distilled cuteness grins. Then he makes a happy little shriek that sounds like he's trying to speak dolphin.
This presses Sarah's mom button, and the endorphins hit her brain like a pixie stick dissolved in a jam-jar full of heroin.
"Oh!" Sarah says, her eyes all dewy with Agape-style love. "This is so great! I'm in bed with my two favorite people!"
"Yeah," I say, pretty much agreeing with her. "It's kinda like a lame three-way."
New rule: Do not refer to quality time with mom and baby as "kinda like a lame three-way."
Here endeth the lesson.