“What are you thinking about?”

It’s impossible to date a girl for any significant length of time and not hear this plaintive inquiry from her. In fact, if she likes you, you will sometimes hear it on a first date. A reader offers a quick escape:

Answer with “thoughts are sacred” and change the subject so it doesn’t seem like you’re trying to be profound. I stole that from a Fellini film. Have used it on a few different types of girls and it works like a charm. I enjoy the blog man.

Not bad. Another good reply (if she’s got enough brains to catch the wit): “My burdensome masculinity.” Or: “A ham sandwich.”

Any move to evade the question, or to answer it in a way she could never have predicted, is the correct move. The key is to understand that in matters of romance, women don’t want to be taken seriously. They want you to, with a wink and a smirk, patronize them like the be-boobed and be-hipped children they are. The worst possible answer to these seemingly innocuous female questions (which, in reality, are actually subtle shit tests) is the candid answer. For example… BAD: “I was just thinking about how much I like you.” You, with your feeble beta brain, thinks she wants to hear that, (because why would she ask?) but she doesn’t. What she wants to hear, or rather what her vagina wants to hear, is “A ham sandwich.”

Now of course there will be times when the sincere response is the right one. A long term girlfriend asks because she is A) worried you’re withdrawing from her, or B) genuinely interested in what’s on your mind. In those cases, you may, but only occasionally!, stroke her inquisitive feelers til she’s purring like a kitten.

I can hear the chorus of betaaches now. “When should we be sincere and when should we be cocky?”

Don’t sweat the small stuff. A good rule of thumb is the 3:1 cocky-to-sincere ratio. A sincere reply should be bookended by at least three cocky ripostes. This can play out over a few minutes of an energetic first meet or over a few languid days, depending on your level of intimacy with the girl. This gives her hamster juuuuuuuust enough pellets to keep him shitting regularly. Too many pellets and the overworked bugger gets the runs, his rationalizations spinning out of control into a turgid drama fest. Too few pellets and he gets constipated, backed up with negative emotion. A regular hamster is a happy hamster. And a horny hamster.

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