} The Usenet Oracle is pretty dern tired of this question, which, after
} all, has been asked since time immemorial. In fact, this question
} predates the Oracle Itself, which has been around for thousands and
} thousands of, uh, hours.
} Another facet of this question which has never unduly charmed the Oracle
} is its subtext, which is "I happen to be a man, and, although I may be
} intellectually aware that the problem I face isn't really due to the
} fact that all women are space aliens from the Planet Z, I'm bloody well
} going to behave as if it were! And why? 'Cause it feels good! So buzz
} off!" If the Gentle Questioner really does believe that women are space
} aliens from the Planet Z, he just hasn't been around much, and should
} probably celebrate his eighteenth birthday at his earliest convenience.
} Nevertheless, the Usenet Oracle is going to deign to answer this
} question, because just this weekend the Oracle had a fairly substantive
} conversation with an ex-girlfriend of Its, and the topic is fresh on Its
} The mistake which the questioner is making is one which zillions of
} people (of all varieties of plumbing arrangements) make every second:
} it is to assume that all one has to do in order to keep a lover happy,
} or to win one in the first place, is to be polite, to clean up one's
} messes, and to pick up the check at least 50% of the time. It is to
} believe that a love affair is a continuous time of wine and roses, and
} that if dischord intrudes, dischord did so because THINGS ARE SUDDENLY
} MAJOR BADSVILLE, AND ONE OF US DID SOMETHING TERRIBLY WRONG, AND THE
} UNIVERSE IS GOING TO COME CRASHING TO A LOATHSOME, HIDEOUS DEMISE UNLESS
} THE GUILTY PARTY FESSES UP POST HASTE!!! It is to believe that if
} someone refuses to be perfectly unamiguous about whether he or she would
} like to be wined, dined, and hopped into the sack with, that refusal is
} due to A FUNDAMENTAL, YEA, EVEN PRIMORDIAL DESIRE TO MAKE YOUR LIFE A
} LIVING HELL!!!
} These beliefs are (may I be so blunt) false.
} Look, pal, the English language is a limited tool, and the scope of
} human emotions makes even, say, Mandarin Chinese look like the crudest
} excuse for a communication system imaginable. Having a love affair with
} another human being is like trying to cut a diamond with a two-by-four.
} Unfortunately, the two-by-four is all you got.
} The Number One Rule is: "Be honest: learn to stop trying to edit what
} you say." Women aren't any more confusing than you are; if you had been
} paying more attention, the fact that women have been heard to ask "Why
} are men so confusing?" might have clued you in to something.
} The Other Number One Rule is: "Be patient: you're going to mis-
} understand one another regardless." Ever notice that things feel better
} after a confrontation? Maybe you should stop dreading them so much.
} You owe the Oracle a promise that you will tack the following word up
} next to your desk: "NELTHILTA."