By Gina B.
I'm normally an unwavering proponent of honesty. To a fault. But even I must admit that there are certain questions that, if answered honestly, will not produce good results.
Men, you know that if a woman asks you if she looks fat, the answer is "no."
Unequivocally. Even if she looks like a stuffed sausage or a rhino in a tutu, the answer is always a resounding no.
If we're smart, most women will refrain from asking that question. Just as men should avoid asking us how many partners we've had.
Men, seriously . . . why bother to ask? Women rarely ask men how many women they've slept with because we don't want to know! We don't want to imagine the legions of women in your past. We are aware that the answer will make us nauseous, so that's a stone that the majority of us are willing to leave unturned. For our own sakes.
We suggest you do the same. Most of us have erased the real number from our memories. Besides, you will not be satisfied with any possible answer -- especially not the real one. Even if the answer is two.
Some women navigate that question quite expertly. And by expertly, I mean they lie.
One of my buddies was dating a woman who was known for being quite . . . um. . . spirited and very friendly. He and I were discussing her one day over an after work martini, and he beamed with pride when he revealed that she'd only been with three or four men before they started dating.
At that point, I damn near needed the Heimlich to dislodge the olive from my windpipe. It was all I could do not to ask him if she gave him a multiplier, but I decided to leave it alone. Whether or not he was kidding himself by believing her number, it obviously made him very happy.
So, is she smart? Or deceptive?
I will never forget the story of one of my excruciatingly honest friends who didn't get the memo about recalculating the number. She learned her lesson the hard way when her boyfriend posed the intimacy question.
She violated the code by giving her real number (as opposed to her real number divided by three - or 10, depending). Her man didn't react very well, and her response turned into an argument and a heated topic of conversation for weeks.
She didn't understand. He asked; she told. What was the big deal?
I reminded her of the male ego.
If a woman tells a man that she's slept with 10 men prior to him, he doesn't think about it realistically. He doesn't see the long-term commitments, or the spurts of short-lived dalliances, or even the times that she innocently thought she was entering a real relationship that turned out to be a mistake. He sees none of that.
What he envisions is a lineup of men waiting to have sex with her.
He imagines a series of one-night stands and threesomes with professional athletes or all members of the Wu Tang Clan. She's suddenly shifted from loving girlfriend to skanky ho in less than 60 seconds, and his impression of her might be forever changed.
Early in our relationship, my boyfriend actually asked the taboo question. I didn't lie, because, like I said, I'm a big proponent of honesty.
Before I answered, I asked him if he really wanted to know. He thought about it for a second, confessed that he didn't, and we happily resumed our night.
He's never revisited that question - either because he's smart, or because he's afraid I'll reciprocate.
So . . . have you ever asked that question of a significant other, and if so, how did it turn out?
Tags: @sixbrownchicks, GinaB., infidelity, lies, men, Naturals By Gina B., questions, relationship advice, relationship questions, relationships, Sex partners, six brown chicks, truth, what men ask, what men want, women