In the realm of male-female communication, there are certain topics most of us recognize as single-sex only. We'll spare you the details about the comeback the Jets made, and you spare us the details about Ethan, the ex who was so well-hung his penis had a nickname for him. This approach ensures that nobody gets bored, and nobody gets pissed off.
But love isn't that simple. Fact is, there are other, less obvious subjects that men wish you'd reserve for your girlfriends. If you're wooing a guy, never bring up the following five "turnoff topics:"
Turnoff topic 1: All the cute things your pet does.
We think of pets as noble beasts, as partners in adventure. Which makes it disturbing when you start talking baby talk to them. "Nipsy, wipsy. Your mommy loves you, oh, yes she does." Coddling a pet makes men suspect that your ideal companion is completely dependent upon you for food, lets you dress him up in colorful wool sweaters, and can be castrated if he starts acting too frisky.
Turnoff topic 2: Your belief in alternative medicine.
I was talking to a woman at a bar recently, and we were really connecting ... until she started telling me about visits to her vitaminologist. "He told me I had happiness stuck in my bladder." No matter how important you may feel it is to share your spiritual side, remember: When you tell us about your experiences with aromatherapy, reflexology, or crystals, all we hear is unstable, unstable, unstable.
Turnoff topic 3: How impressed you are with what others make.
I was out with my best friend, Greg, who goes to law school. We met one girl who started assessing the crowd: "Oh, my God, there are so many law-school guys here tonight. You know, in their first year out of school they make $119,000!"
You don't have to convince us that you're oblivious to material possessions. But ogling a man's paycheck -- ours or somebody else's -- makes us feel like you're attaching our worth to our wallets. And we know there's always going to be someone out there with deeper pockets than ours.
Turnoff topic 4: How beautiful the scenery is.
When confronted by natural beauty, men prefer to contemplate it in silence. Women, for some reason, feel compelled to talk at just the moment when we most want quiet. I spent a week on a Mediterranean island with a group that included four women who never met a sunset they couldn't ruin. ("That pink is so deep. I think it's, like, the deepest pink I've ever seen.") They failed to get the joke when my friends and I tried to give them a taste of their own medicine: "Look at that water! It's just, like, so wet."
Turnoff topic 5: Who your favorite celebrities are dating.
Demi and Bruce break up/make up; Oprah gains/loses 20 pounds. We don't care. Pamela Lee opens her mouth real wide and accommodates all of Tommy's manhood? Okay, we care. As a rule of thumb, unless they're naked, we don't want to know. Men have far too hard a time keeping up with their own relationships; the last thing we want is the responsibility of keeping up with the lives of people we'll never meet.
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