Another romantic fool e-mailed me this list, again - The Man Rules (These are all numbered "1" ON PURPOSE!). Thus, my bold rebuttal bears repeating:
1. Men are NOT mind readers.
Nor do you read instruction manuals, maps, or fashion magazines. That's why we must tell you what to do, where to go, and what to wear for the occasion. AND we're saying it all OUT LOUD. So when you're straining to read our minds, just stop and listen.
1. Please say whatever you have to say during commercials. Is that when you're at peak mind reading, err, listening, capability?
1. Learn to work the toilet seat. If it's up, put it down. You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down. We also don't hear you falling into the commode in the middle of the night.
1. Sunday sports: it's like the full moon or the changing of the tides. Let it be. Ditto on PMS, another pair of shoes, and girls' night.
1. Crying is blackmail. No, it's revenge.
1. Ask for what you want. Let us be clear: Neither subtle hints, nor strong hints, nor obvious hints will work! Just say it! We're asking, OUT LOUD, during every diamond commercial. But you keep hoping our minds are saying something different from our mouths.
1. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question. Then why do you pout when we say, "No?"
1. Tell us your problem only if you want help solving it. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for. You have no idea how much our girlfriends sympathize with us.
1. If you think you're fat, you probably are. Don't ask us. If you think we gave your ragged-out, sweat-stained, St. Louis Cardinals hat to charity, we probably did. Don't ask us.
1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad, we meant it the other way. The way that makes us want to go Lorena Bobbitt on you? We never would have guessed.
1. Either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done. Not both.
Wait a minute. In numbers 1, 1, and 1, you made it clear that not only will you solve our problems, but that you also want us to come right out and tell you how we want it done. Men are so wishy-washy.
1. Christopher Columbus did NOT need directions and neither do we. Christopher Columbus could read the stars. You can't even read minds.
1. ALL men see only 16 colors. Peach and pumpkin are fruits, not colors. We have no idea what mauve is. Quit stressing. We're not going to quiz you.
1. If it itches, it will be scratched. We do that. It's the itching, not the scratching, that concerns us.
1. If we ask what's wrong and you say "nothing," we assume nothing's wrong. We know you're lying, but it's not worth the hassle. Don't ask what's wrong if nothing's worth the hassle, unless you're trying to start something.
1. If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, expect an answer you don't want to hear. If you don't like our reaction to your answer, expect a perfectly acceptable, "No," to your question.
1. Thank you for reading this. Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight, but men really don't mind that. It's like camping. Good. Enjoy your vacation. And bring back something nice for us. That is not a hint.
While our girlfriends are great sympathizers, only you can solve our jewelry problem. We will remind you during the next diamond commercial.
(Lucy Adams is columnist, freelance writer, and the author of If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny. She lives in Thomson, GA. Lucy invites readers to send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and to visit her web site, www.IfMama.com.)