In The Line of Fire

Another argument with your woman has come and gone right past you. Your well laid pre-planned strategies blown out of the water.

My guy friends are always telling me how they never win with their women. You've all experienced it: the long arguments, the silent treatments, her leaving the house and not telling you where she's going, the character assassinations… the performance assassinations. She's scorned. You're in the line of fire. And you're not sure what ammunition she's packing.

My friends say no matter what the argument is or what they say, they always find themselves in the loser's corner, the proverbial dog box. In the wide spectrum of arguments, she never seems to be in the wrong. But you don't have to be beaten all the time. We women are simple creatures who need nothing more than slight persuasion. We are open to the idea that you could be right. So change your approach. Let me take you back to my friend who just lost another battle. Just so I don't dis his business across town, we'll call him Joe.

Joe knows this girl. His girlfriend doesn't like her. The girlfriend thinks (or should I say knows - a woman always knows) that this girl wants him. So the dislike is justified - a girl's got to protect what she's got. One idle Tuesday afternoon, Joe is walking with his girlfriend when who should appear on the scene, but little missy. Joe tenses up when he sees her. He knows that from that very moment his every move is being watched. He must calculate accurately, there's no room for error here.

To greet or not to greet? If he ignores her, the question will be 'What was that about? Why was there so much tension between the two of you? Are you hiding something?' No. He'll render a normal greeting. Usually there's a peck on the cheek, but not today. That's definitely out of the question. She comes. He greets. No peck on the cheek. He asks very clinically how she's doing, careful not to show any kind of emotion. Pleasantries pass. She walks away. Safe. 'Well done old boy,' he thinks. But he doesn't see the bullets coming. 'How come you didn't kiss her on the cheek like you usually do? Is there something there you don't want me to see? Do you want her Joe?'

That night the grilling begins - 45 minutes straight. Beaten, he mumbles, 'Okay… I should've kissed her on the cheek.' You lose. Again. Now, I admit poor Joe had a fairly good thought process going, full of logic. He thought he'd covered his bases. But therein lies the problem my friends. What made Joe's girlfriend angry is not that Joe didn't give her a peck on the cheek. In fact, had Joe so much as shook that tart's hand he would've hit the sofa that night. What might seem like a lose-lose situation is actually not. The problem is that Joe was thinking about himself rather than about his girlfriend. That's the problem with most guys - your game is all about the defense, you want to cover your own butts. What we wan to see is that you are considering 'me' in all of this. So whether you kiss her or not, what you do with me while you're socializing is what matters. Introduce me, hold my hand while talking to her. Let her know that you're happy with me. Bit of a curve ball isn't it?

Remember, when arguing with a woman, you need to think out of the box. So how would it have turned out if Joe had climbed out of his box for this one? Joe pecks the girl on the cheek and then introduces his girlfriend. He holds her hand throughout the ensuing conversation. 'Great play' he thinks. But as soon as the girl leaves… And then? 'Why were you all lovey-dovey to me when you saw her? What are you trying to prove? Why were you working so hard?' Forget it. Men. They're all the same.