I was chatting, a few days back, with a commenter and blogger who happened to mention that he'd had bad sex twice last week. I don't know this person very well, but given that he reads my blog, surely the sex wasn't bad because of any technical inadequacy on his part. I told him that if he's having bad sex, then he's not screening his tricks sufficiently. He agreed. I'm not sure whether he agreed because he saw the irrefutable logic behind my statement or because he realized that disagreeing with me is necessarily an exercise in futility. What does it matter, so long as I win the argument?
Anyway, if you're going to hook up with, date, share a bedroom for an indefinite period with, or marry somebody, you've got to do your best to make sure that they aren't going to disappoint you. You have to ask them, specifically, what they like and don't like and what they will or won't do. Be precise. Pin them down. Don't forget to let them back up when they say "uncle."
Not all of the important questions are obvious, however. Sure, if you only date bottoms who watch American Idol (is that redundant?), you'll want to ask about those things, but sometimes the circuitous path to enlightenment is really the most direct.
Back in the day, when I was single and chatting with a potential date, I would sometimes amuse myself (and, one hopes, the other guy) by giving him a series of one-or-the-others. I would often do this as a response to the totally ridiculous things people asked me. Like "Do you like smooth or hairy?" The answer to any question meant to elicit my type (Cut or uncut? Slim or muscular? Tall or short? Red or yellow, black or white?) is always "yes." My questions are better. The rule is that the guy you're chatting with has to pick one from pair. One response, no explanations, no evasions.
Guys who fret that the options you're giving them are too limited and/or that they need to expand on the answers are the types of people who will require six tries to schedule a coffee date. And then when you're having coffee with them, it'll take them longer than Proust to get to any point. Just say no.
Similarly, you can learn a lot about how interested and patient a guy is by how many questions you can get through before he starts changing the subject or demanding that you answer some questions that he poses. Which is, of course, entirely fair. I hate fair.
By the way, if you're so young that some of these questions don't register with you, I'd just as soon not know. Thanks.1
Anyway, some of the questions:
Bugs or Daffy? Rocky or Bullwinkle? Boris or Natasha? Sherman or Mister Peabody? Road Runner or Wile E. Coyote? Milk or Dark? Underwear or Commando? Boxers or Briefs? Cats or Dogs? Dip or Salsa? Still or Sparkling? Sean Connery or Roger Moore? Ginger or Mary Ann? Gilligan or The Professor? Thurston Howell III or Mike Brady? Faulkner or Fitzgerald? Madame Bovary or Anna Karenina? Little Creatures or Fear of Music? Creamy or Chunky? Dress left or Dress right? Coke or Pepsi? Regular or Diet? London or Paris? New York or San Francisco? Aisle or Window? Beer or Wine? The Lady or The Tiger?
If you want to play along at home, write down your own answers. Then you can compare them to mine and see whether e-harmony would think we're a match.
Actually, I normally ask this sort of question so that I won't have to answer it, but, for the record, here are my responses. The asterisks will be explained in due course.
*Bugs or Daffy? Bugs Rocky or Bullwinkle? Bullwinkle *Boris or Natasha? Natasha Sherman or Mister Peabody? Mister Peabody *Road Runner or Wile E. Coyote? Wile E. *Milk or Dark? Dark Underwear or Commando? Underwear Boxers or Briefs? Boxer-briefs *Cats or Dogs? Both Dip or Salsa? Salsa Still or Sparkling? Still Sean Connery or Roger Moore? Sean Connery Ginger or Mary Ann? Ginger Gilligan or The Professor? The Professor Thurston Howell III or Mike Brady? I am just yanking your chain with this one. *Faulkner or Fitzgerald? Faulkner *Madame Bovary or Anna Karenina? Anna Karenina *Little Creatures or Fear of Music? Fear of Music *Cream or Chunky? Chunky Dress left or Dress right? Left Coke or Pepsi? Coke Regular or Diet? Diet *London or Paris? Paris *New York or San Francisco? New York *Aisle or Window? Window Beer or Wine? Yes, please *The Lady or The Tiger? The Tiger
A lot of these questions are throwaways. They might be amusing to ask and even to answer and discuss, but they give you little information about the guy. Others, however, are valuable. And a few are critical.
Bugs or Daffy? Come on. Bugs was cool; Daffy was a total moroon.
Boris or Natasha? Sometimes guys will figure they should choose Boris because it shows that they're more macho and have no interest in drag queens. Please. Natasha had it going on. You can overlook the wrong answer here (or reward the right answer) if your counterpart knows the surnames. (Do I have to do everything for you people? Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale.)
Road Runner or Wile E. Coyote? If a guy chooses Road Runner, you can totally invite him over and pound him until he cries "Meep meep!" And then send him on his way. No character in 20th century cartoondom is more tragic or worthy or respect than Wile E. Coyote. In the face of Sisyphean odds, he keeps after the thing that he must know he can never have -- sort of like my phone stalker. The Coyote -- very much unlike my phone stalker -- has a great depth of character. The man who chooses Wile E. is the kind of man you want to marry.2
Milk or Dark? Guys who prefer dark chocolate are better and more adventurous lovers. If you like your sex vanilla, choose a man who likes milk chocolate. By the way, anyone who ignores your options and chooses white chocolate (ewwww, ewwwww, ewwwwwwwwww) deserves nothing but your contempt. He's only worth doing if you're into branding. Nobody's into branding, right?
Cats or Dogs? It doesn't matter so much which he chooses, but his choice should be the same as yours. By the way, if he says "both," he's just trying to not choose the wrong one because he wants into your pants; in other words, if he's a bottom, you should tie him down, plow him and then ignore him, which will make you both happy. I'm the only person who likes both cats and dogs more or less equally.
Faulkner or Fitzgerald? God, how I hate Fitzgerald. Conversely, I adore Faulkner. I may be the only person who cares, so you may want to substitute something like "Britney or Christina?" or whatever it is that you kids these days consider culture. Just don't include "Paris" in any context where you might mean Ms. Hilton instead of the French capital. See below.
Madame Bovary or Anna Karenina? Sure, they both committed suicide, but that Bovary bitch swallowed arsenic and died painfully over a period of days. Anna K turned an express train into a local, and it was all over in a snap. Again, nobody except me cares about this one. Also, anyone who didn't notice that you didn't italicize and were, therefore talking about the characters rather than the novels, is not sufficiently detail oriented. In other words, he has a loose ass.
Little Creatures or Fear of Music? Anyone who understands the question is sure to be great in the sack, regardless of his choice. Go over to his place, fuck two loads out of him, and steal some of his CDs. Date him long enough to download them to your iPod and regift them to him on his birthday. Excuse me? Of course I have never done such a thing. Why do you ask? Extra points to anyone who responds Remain in Light.
Creamy or Chunky? Similar to cats and dogs, a house divided against itself over peanut butter cannot stand. Actually, that's not true: you can have two jars, but it's tricky. By the way, be sure that a guy who says chunky is talking about sandwiches and not sex toys. Even I switch over to creamy if peanut butter is making a cameo in my horizontal quality time.
London or Paris? This is not such a big deal unless you suspect that the person replying Paris means Paris Hilton. In which case you should kermit away with all possible speed. By the way, if a guy chooses London, don't expect any romance from him.
New York or San Francisco? If you live in one of these cities, the answer to this question is of vital importance. The rest of us really don't get what the pissing match is all about.
Aisle or Window? In this case, you want, if at all possible, to find someone who wants the opposite of what you want. Sort of like that whole top and bottom thing.
The Lady or The Tiger. People who pick the tiger are pragmatic, skeptical, and horny, with higher median incomes. People who pick the lady are charmingly naive and live in another world, which they will enable you to visit. Your call.
1Also, if you want to complain about my capitalization here, I agree with you. I don't know that there's a right way to capitalize here, but if there is, I'm sure I haven't followed it.
2I am mostly serious about this one. If you're a Republican, however, you should stick with people who answer Road Runner, even though Wile E. shares your views on product safety regulation.