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Loaded Questions

Respond to one of your girlfriend’s queries the wrong way, buddy,
and it could be your final answer.

Lisa Lombardi, Maxim, July 2001

When it comes to relationships, we women want constant reassurance as to where we stand, but we know better than to risk freaking you out with a machine-gun line of questioning. So we get sneaky, cross our fingers, and take a more subtle approach. We ask you indirect, seemingly harmless questions to suss out how you really feel. See, we’re afraid the direct route (“Where is this relationship going?”) will put pressure on you and make you run the other way. Worse, it might induce you to lie to spare our feelings to stay out of a fight.

Manipulative? Maybe a little, but you can use our tactic to your advantage. Think of it as a risk-free opportunity to tell us how you’re feeling. Follow this no-fail guide—and avoid a long, drawn-out discussion that would surely outlast the commercial break.

“Don’t you think Kate Moss is too skinny?”
Rule of thumb: Anytime we ask for your opinion on another woman, we’re setting you up. We want to know we’re hot in your eyes—even if we’re nowhere near supermodel proportions. We also know incessantly asking you if our butt is too big drives you mad. So we’ve gotten slicker.

“We were watching the Oscars when Gwyneth Paltrow walked out, and I said, ‘Don’t you think she’s sexy?’ He said, ‘She’s got no curves. Real women have hips and curves like you,’” says Maddie, 28. “Worked for me.”

Before you think we’ve got big-time body issues, remember this type of question is usually asked when the relationship gets routine, both partners have packed on the pounds, and those early compliments you used to whisper, like “You have an amazing body,” have evaporated.

“Aren’t lesbian scenes/threesomes/orgies disgusting?”
Of course you don’t think so—you’re a guy. We know this. So when you say “Yeah, babe, really gross,” our bullshit detectors go off. Give us some credit. Besides, there’s no need to rule out taboo sex. We love it, too, and might be up for some crazy stuff one day—as soon as we’re comfortable enough with you. At this point, though, we ask the question because we want to know how much sexual pressure we can expect from you. As long as we’re in the driver’s seat, we’re more likely to show you our wild side.

When a kink question creeps up on you, handle it like 24-year-old Kate’s man did: “We were watching a porn film with two girls going down on each other in one scene,” she says. “I wanted to find out how much he was into it, so I said, ‘Aren’t lesbian scenes overrated?’ He scrunched up his face and said, ‘Every guy thinks about it, but it’s not like it’ll happen in real life.’ Then—and this is the key—he fast-forwarded it.”

“What do you think of John and Louise getting married?”
When we ask about other couples, there are two things going on: (1) We like to gossip. (2) We want to find out how serious you are. Now’s your chance to let us know where we stand with you—for better or worse.

If you’re nowhere near ready to bite the bullet and make a commitment, deflect the implied similarity to the couple in question with something like “They’ve gone out for six years, so it makes sense for them to get married now.” We’ll get the hint.

If you haven’t entirely ruled out the idea of one day popping the question, use this opportunity to let us know without committing. “When one of my best friends got engaged, I asked my boyfriend if he thought it was too soon,” says Alicia, 28. “He said, ‘It’s the right time.’ That let me know he wasn’t closed to the marriage thing, and I felt relieved.” An answer like that shows us where we stand with you without making any false promises…buying you time.

“Would you still love me if I were obese/ugly/a Sox fan?”
Bizarre, over-the-top inquiries inspired by too much Lifetime mean we want to know that despite physical deformity or debilitating disease, you’ll stick by us. Here’s how to knock our insanity out of the park. Show us you’re not a pushover (nobody likes a wuss) by calling us on our craziness. Then reassure us with an offhand comment.

“Paul McCartney’s girlfriend with an artificial leg was on the news,” says Jane, 23. “I asked my guy if he’d leave me if I lost a limb. He told me to stop watching so much TV, then said, ‘I’d buy you a wheelchair.’ Sounds a little psycho, but that’s what I needed to hear.”

“Can you believe Mike cheated on his girlfriend?”
It doesn’t matter if Mike helped you perfect your Little League fastball or bailed you out of a Mexican jail. Now is not the time to stand by your best friend by happily cheering on his decision and reminding her that his girlfriend is insane. Why? Be-cause this isn’t about him at all. Our real concern is: “You guys are so close, does that mean you’ll be doing the same thing to me at some point?” Any support of your dirt-bag friend translates to us as an intention to cheat.

But don’t overcompensate and come out with a heartfelt speech on how all cheaters should be strung up by the wrists and castrated. We’ll think you’re either patronizing us or have been ordering from Oprah’s Book Club, and neither is a pretty scenario. Just make it clear that you stand by your dog of a best friend (which shows you’re not bullshitting us), but you think he made a big mistake.

Says Stephanie, 28: “My boyfriend’s best friend started cheating on his girlfriend, so I was freaked out. When I brought it up, my boyfriend said, ‘What can I say, he’s an idiot—that guy is throwing away a good thing. Besides, what’s the point of going out with somebody if you’re going to screw around?’ I was so relieved to find out he felt that way. I knew I could completely trust him.” Bottom line: Come down hard on cheating, but don’t pretend that you’re disgusted with your friend. We’re not that naive.

“How many women have you been with?”
Forget all the equations you’ve heard, like divide your number by three then subtract two, and so on. Save yourself the arithmetic because any number is too high, and we don’t actually want to know anyway. What we’re really asking is: Are we unique, or just another notch on the proverbial bedpost?

Your answer: Spare us the details. (We’ll never forget ’em, and you’ll be sorry you ever spoke up.) Instead, make it clear that you’re done sowing your oats. “I asked that question ages ago, wanting to find out if he really thought I was special,” says Janice, 25. “He just smiled and said, ‘You know, I wouldn’t trade my college spring breaks for anything, but after a while running around gets old.’ I was satisfied.” Whether or not it’s true (most likely not) we’ll get the message: Sex was meaningless before you met us. 


Don’t get thrown by her trick questions—give bad responses like these and you’ll earn a few penalty socks to the jaw.

“I told my girlfriend I just wanted a guys’ night out. She laughed and said, ‘So, you like hanging out with your friends better than me, do you?’ I thought she was kidding, and I said, ‘Well, that’s not going to change, so you’d better get used to it.’ I was joking, of course. She didn’t think it was funny.”—Jason, 32

“She came home and delivered the news that her sister was going away for the weekend. ‘Do you mind if my niece stays with us?’ Before I could stop myself, I said, ‘I don’t want that bratty kid around.’ Next thing you know, I’m a guy who hates kids—which is complete bullshit. I just hate the rotten ones.”—Aaron, 33

“Last week my girlfriend says, ‘What do you think about Jon and Marie being on the outs?’ My honest response: ‘Who can blame him? She’s been packing on the pounds since they started going out.’ Bad idea—she comes back with, ‘Men are all pigs. Are you going to dump me if I’m bloated?!’”—Mark, 24

“As we’re lying in bed after some great sex, my girlfriend asks me, ‘What’s the wildest place you’ve ever done it?’ I tell her about this time I did it on a hotel windowsill. She just glares at me and says, ‘Do you really think I wanted to know about you and another woman?”—Rob, 28


Was she up when you got home? Mike Ritz of Team Delta's interrogation camp helps you survive the Inquisition.

Tip 1: Don’t get lulled.
If she’s cuddly when she ought to be pissed—you came home late without calling…again—don’t be fooled. She didn’t forget about her missing bra and all those cans of squeeze cheese—she’s just softening you up so you’ll slip up.

Tip 2: Man the defenses.
When she starts pressuring you for details, try leading her down an alternate, less hazardous path. Fabricate a tale about a hilariously tacky girl who tried to pick up your buddy, draw parallels to a Will & Grace episode, or even—but only if all else fails—dis a friend. (“John was all over those strippers.”) He’d understand—in fact, he’s probably returning the favor over at his place right now.

Tip 3: Tell the truth…almost.
Don’t spin elaborate lies, or she’ll trip you up on the details. (“Did I say I went to the restaurant before the bar? What I meant to say was...”) Instead, be as honest as possible about where you were and whom you were with—just not about exactly what you did. “Yeah, I went to the strip club with Alex, but I was throwing up in the parking lot the whole time. Hold me…”

Tip 4: Turn the tables.
If she angrily accuses you of lying, say, “I wish you had a little more faith in this relationship.” She’ll think, “Am I being a drama queen?” and back off. Unless she’s damn sure you’re guilty as hell…in which case, of course, you’re screwed. We suggest Motel 6.

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