What are you Thinking?

The question this time, from the mens side of the table: what should you do when the women youre with asks you: What are you thinking?

Every male in the world has had to deal with this question, which is more often than not uncorked at entirely inappropriate times, such as when you are watching sports, locked in a passionate embrace, or reeling in a feisty marlin from the Gulf of Mexico. Regardless of what youre doing, you must come up with a complete and satisfactory answer, or stand accused of Hiding Your True Feelings. Which means, of course, youll spend the next week pretending to be sorry. So youve got to come up with something. And it had better be good.

Now, the obvious question here is: WHY do women want to know what were thinking? Simple: they assume were thinking in the first place. Hard to believe, but there it is.

Why on earth would they think that? Well, go up to a woman and ask her what she is thinking. I have just done so with my wife, and this is what she is thinking about:

Off the top of my head, Im thinking about the party were having Saturday, and how Im going to fix that chandelier in the front room so that people can walk around without hitting their heads. Underneath that Im thinking about my work schedule this week and whether or not Im going to have time to do some of the things I need to do at home as well. And under that Im wondering if its too late to get tickets on a plane to Ohio for Christmas. AND Im thinking about getting a snack.

Not only is she thinking about something, shes thinking about four separate things. If I check back in five minutes, shell still be thinking. Women are always thinking, and often about practical things.

Men, on the other hand, are actively thinking for about five minutes out of every hour (usually not in sequence). So, at best, you have a one in 12 chance of catching a man actually having a thought. What are we thinking about?

1. Sex

2. Food

3. Steve Miller tunes

4. Sports

5. Beavis and Butthead

6. Sex

7. Work

8. The black unknowable nothingness that frames our existence, and whether a benevolent and omnipotent higher power can possibly exist within it (or Beer)

9. Sleep

10. Sex

In summary, randomly asking a man what hes thinking has precisely a 8.83% chance of turning up a real, verifiable, honest-to-God thought. You might as well bet on the New York Jets. Sound harsh, guys? Fine. Quick–what are you thinking? Had to think about it, didnt you. You lose. Sit down.

Despite the overwhelming evidence that men, in fact, are almost never thinking, women will still demand to know their innermost thoughts. In a way, its touching; women are expressing faith that, if prodded long enough and frequently enough, they may yet boost the number of times we think in an

hour. And they will. Unfortunately, most of what well be thinking is stop asking me what Im thinking. And thats just going to get us in trouble.

The best way to keep a woman from constantly asking you what you are thinking is to have a ready, pre-memorized answer for the times that she does. Here are some tried and true responses, with the pros and cons of each:

Im thinking that tonight itd be nice to stay at home and sit by the fire together.

Pros: Romantic; Sounds as if youre spontaneous.

Cons: Requires fireplace (or a cement floor and ventilation); Romantic moments often prompt even more What are you thinking queries.

Im thinking how much I love you.

Pros: Generally provokes a positive response that short circuits any need for further conversation; Is often also true.

Cons: If you use it too much, shell know its a line, and then youre really in trouble.

I was wondering if there is actually life on other planets.

Pros: Cosmic; Shows you are a deep thinker.

Cons: Woman may wonder if this is an intro to the same sort of alien sigmoidoscopy story that ruined her last relationship.

I was imagining, if I were an animal, what sort of animal Id be.

Pros: Imaginative; Allows woman to spend many happy minutes trying to establish your place in the animal kingdom.

Cons: She might think you resemble a marmoset or skunk; She may forego the animal world altogether and go straight to yeasts.

Im just thinking about how true the lyrics to Dust in the Wind really are.

Pros: Shows depth of musical knowledge; As last resort to forestall conversation, you may break out into song.

Cons: If shes a connoisseur of 70s melodic rock, you may find yourself in a bitter, divisive quarrel about which is deeper, Dust or Aerosmiths Dream On.

Keep in mind that these responses are not to supersede an actual thought. If you find yourself having one at the moment she asks, go ahead and share it, as long as its not something along the lines of This relationship blows or I really like margarine. With a little practice, you should come out okay.

But, hey. Thats just what I think.

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