Rule Three: Manners Count.

This happens to be a pet peeve of mine as well as the Midwest, because women (is this just a Seattle thing?) demonstrate loads of neanderthal behavior too.
First there is the whole compliment complex. I was under the impression that when meeting a date, it’s always a good start to say something extravagant about their clothes, the shoes or even the color of their hair. This is very dangerous territory, as the more specific you are, the more likely the woman is to question you as to the finer points of your observation. Be as general as possible, but do say something nice just the same.
Next, none of the following are acceptable: sitting before the date; ordering before the date; commencing eating before the date; finishing before the date; breathing before the date. Well, you get the drift.
Now, some vital eating etiquette rules:

1. Never, ever lick your fingers.
2. Never, ever chew with an open mouth.
3. Never, ever eat from the knife.

This is pretty basic stuff. From my observation however, taking those college dorm habits that were amusing when you were all nineteen, and strangling them, will gain you mucho kudos with any desirable babe. Here’s an idea men! Practise these skills all the time. Maybe then you’ll get a job that requires a tie. Continuing:

4. Don’t point.
5. Don’t pick your teeth. Oh boy, have I got stories about this.
6. Belching is a sign of delight in Arab countries only. Which explains why Islamo-Hugging Seattle is seeing an renaissance of outgassing at the meal table I guess. How inclusive. Yuck.
7. Don’t smack your chops. Strictly for bovines.
8. Don’t get caught with detritus between the teeth. If you are likely to make cake-hole to cake-hole contact later in the night, do yourself a favor and find a mirror. That would be the shiny thing near the basin in the men’s room wherein scruffy doofus stares back.
9. Washing your hands requires soap, water and time. Try it.
10. Buy some mints.

Too much to remember? Well, I’m just trying to help. Keep up your current indecent personal habits, buck-oh, and watch the quality of your girls keep pace.

Men Think Like This

It’s a settled matter now with Midwest: she doesn’t understand how men think. Time and again she’s surprised when I tell her that:
– the guy has absolutely no opinion about her new jeans.
– he was just as happy with the old hair color.
– he could care less about a couple of pounds you lost from your arse.

And ……….god that Tara Reid’s got a great set.

Whoops, that was me thinking out loud. Being a guy I guess.

But she just can’t figure it out. Let me illustrate.

We’re hanging out on a Saturday, tooling around Crate and Barrel looking at furniture. Walking past another couple, MW thinks she notices we two guys exchange knowing ‘this blows’ looks. She comments, accusing me of conspiracy by smirk. I’m baffled at this, and think ‘what other guy?’

As every man who has been out shopping with a woman knows, I hadn’t spent the morning comparing sectionals with chesterfields. I wasn’t contemplating whether cream’s nicer than taupe. And I’m sure as hell not swapping knowing looks with other guys. What I was doing was checking out the all the wives and girlfriends, head to toe, as discreetly as possible. What Midwest saw was me scoping out the other guy’s girl, and him checking out MW. It’s that simple.
So ladies, next time you’re out shopping with a guy and you ask his opinion, don’t be surprised when he looks absently into the distance and mumbles ‘….is that a thong she’s wearing?’

He’s just telling you what he’s thinking.


Ah, the Fadeout, the desperation-inspired rarely perfected relationship exit. The truth about the Fadeout is that it represents the triumph of hope over logic. It’s almost exclusively a male invoked phenomenon, because we are hopeless at communicating, that, for us, it’s over.

At its heart, the Fadeout is passive-aggressive. It involves hoping – praying, even – that the woman magically figures out that we don’t want to be with her anymore. Ideally, she somehow picks up these vibrations, says to herself “Oh, that’s too bad the Wombat doesn’t want to be with me any more”, and continues her life as if we’d never met. We want the whole relationship infractructure dismantled while we sleep, like Kaiser Soze…..poof! disappearing before your very eyes.

This is insanity of course, because breakups are a reason for women to endlessly analyze, talk with friends, re-hash, question, re-construct and generally squeeze the life out of something that had ceased to exist anyway. Basically men are just over the girl in question, and want to avoid all of the recrimination and heartache that women attach to being the only one left in a two-person institution.

The Fadeout mostly occurs when one party reaches for the How to Leave a Lover playbook and doesn’t find any gambit to their taste – like facing the person directly and saying “By the way, we’re over”. By the time you’re at Fadeout stage, there’s pretty much no stopping you. All logic has disappeared, you feel trapped with no way out, and you’ll do anything to get out of this straightjacket…….ummm, relationship. Here’s how it works (much as MW describes):

1. Move out.

2. Move somewhere far away.

3. Refuse phone calls.

4. Pretend with all your heart you didn’t spend the last three years with that person.

5. Hope, and hope some more that you never see that person again.

6. Get liquored up.

7. Find loads of new trim.

Naturally I don’t recommend this course of action for anyone, simply because it’s neither adult, nor smart. The aggrieved ex-other is now out for revenge (once the incredulity gives way to rage which gives way to lifelong desires to get even). In short, you make an enemy for life.

Then she marries your broker.


Rule Two. Concentrate.

On the girl, that is. Gentlemen, women have an atomic clock integral to their brains. It’s much more accurate than your Tag, so just take note: if your eyes leave her for the smallest measurable interval, she’ll know. In the words of MW, this is called ‘eye-darting’ and significantly reduces the likelihood of getting what you’re after.

The danger of first dates for guys is that whilst apparently benign, they are actually conducted under pressure-cooker-like conditions. You know that little Mars Rover guy? Well that’s you. She’s playing the role of the hypercritical flight controllers, checking out all your moves before, during and after you’ve made them. Poor sap, you think it’s a quiet cocktail, but really you’re at seventy-three atmospheres and it’s six-hundred degrees.

Don’t think you can surreptitiously check out that babe who just walked into the bar, because you’re wrong. Babe might notice, date definitely will. And you’ll notice that at the end of the date it’s suddenly six-hundred below.

The upside is that if you focus on the job at hand and resist any other quadrant of the compass except that which encompasses her, things might go your way. It’s easy really. Pretend you’ve got a crook neck and have limited left/right mobility. Look into her eyes as much as you can. Blink. Nod your head, smile, and the second date’s as good as yours.

Unless you’re on a first date with the babe.


Wombats by nature are placid creatures, but I’m pretty steamed today. Over the new year weekend, I provided dinner for two women. One, the current passion interest, the other a friend who might be a future interest. New Year’s Eve I shopped and cooked at home for the PI. After arriving late, she downs an hour’s worth of cocktails and gives me an hour-long monologue. I then serve the four-course dinner, with wines, over two hours. Every request met, not a finger she lifted. At midnight we had dessert and celebratory drinks. Sounds OK doesn’t it? Well I figured it was acceptable, but when she left the next day not a word of thanks, not a reference to the effort, not a compliment for the thoughtfulness. In short, passion interest’s a pig.

Future interest was divorced earlier in the year after sixteen years of marriage. She’s forty, and lost the handbook decades ago. This was our first one-on-one outing so I applied Wombat Rules of Dating.

Number One: I pay. Encouraging her to talk I listened to hair-raising tales of the last years of her marriage. Caribbean affairs with local post-pubescents, dirty dancing in St Lucian Hotels and dalliances with lesbianism had my head spinning. But what really bugs me is the churlishness of not saying the magic words, ‘thanks for dinner’.

Future interest becomes never interest.

Ladies, we can take the moods, we can get through the tears. We can pay for the nights out and want to pay for the lingerie. But get with the program, get smart, and get some manners.