HOW GUYS THINK By Dave Barry, Pulitzer Prize Winning Columnist From The Boston Sunday Globe

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By Dave Barry, Pulitzer Prize Winning Columnist
From The Boston Sunday Globe, August 20, 1989

Today we're going to explore the mysterious topic of How Guys Think, which has
baffled women in general, and the editors of Cosmopolitan magazine in
particular, for thousands of years.

The big question, of course, is: How come guys never call? After successful
dates, I mean. You single women out there know what I'm talking about. You go
out with a guy, and you have a great time, and he seems to have a great time,
and at the end of the evening he says, quote, "Can I call you?" And you -
interpreting this to mean "Can I call you?" - answer: "Sure!"

The instant you say think, the guy's body starts to dematerialize. Within a
few seconds you can stick a tire iron right through him and wave it around:
in a few more seconds, he has vanished entirely, gone into the mysterious Guy
Bermuda Triangle, where whole squadrons of your dates have disappeared over
the years, never to heard from again.

Eventually you start to wonder if there's something wrong with you, some kind
of emotional hang-up or personality defect that your dates are detecting. Or,
possibly, foot odor. You start having long, searching discussions with your
women friends in which you say such things as: "He really seemed to like me"
and "I didn't feel as though I was putting pressure on him" and "Would you
mind, strictly as a friend, smelling my feet?"

This is silly. There's nothing wrong with you. In fact, you should interpret
the behavior of your dates as a kind of guy *compliment* to you. Because when
the guy asks you if he can call you, what he's really asking you, in Guy Code,
is will you marry him. Yes. See, your basic guy is into a straight-ahead,
bottom-line kind of thought process that does not work nearly as well with the
infinitely subtle complexities of human relationships as it does with
calculating how much gravel is needed to cover a given driveway. So here's
what the guy is thinking: If he calls you, you'll go out again, and you'll
probably have another great time - so you'll probably go out again and have
*another* great time, and so on until the only possible *option* will be to
get married. This is classic Guy Logic.

So when you say "Sure!" in a bright and cheery voice, you may think you're
simply indicating a willingness to go out again, but as far as he's concerned,
you're endorsing a lifetime commitment that he is quite frankly not ready to
make after only one date, so he naturally decides he can never see you again.
>From that day forward, if he spots you on the street, he'll sprint in the
opposite direction to avoid the grave risk that the two of you might meet,
which would mean he'd have to ask you if you wanted to get a cup of coffee,
and you might say yes, and pretty soon you'd be enjoying each other's company
again, and suddenly a member of the clergy would appear at the table and
have to get married - Aieeeeeee!*

(You woman think this is crazy, right? Whereas you guys out there are nodding
your heads.)

So, my advice for single women is that if you're on a date with a guy you
like, and he asks whether he can call you, you should give him a
non-threatening answer, such as: "No"

Or: "I guess so, but bear in mind that I'm a nun."

This will make him comfortable about seeing you again, each time gaining the
courage to approach you more closely, in the manner of a timid, easily
startled woodland creature such as a chipmunk. In a few years, if the two of
you really do have common interests and compatible personalities, you may
reach the point where he'll be willing to take The Big Step, namely, eating
granola directly from your hand.

No matter how close you become, however, remember this rule: Do not pressure
the guy to share his most sensitive innermost thought and feelings with you.
Guys hate this, and I'll tell you why: If you were to probe inside the guy
psyche, beneath that macho exterior and the endless droning about such things
as the 1978 World Series, you would find, deep down inside, a passionate,
heartfelt interest in: the 1978 World Series. Yes. The truth is, guys don't
*have* any sensitive innermost thoughts and feelings. It's time you women
knew! All these years you've been agonizing about how to make the
relationship work, wondering how come he never talks to you, worrying about
all the anquished emotion he must have bottled up inside. And, meanwhile,
fretting about how maybe he needs longer golf spikes. I'm sorry to have to
tell you this. Maybe you *should* become a nun.

Anyway, I hope I've cleared up any lingering questions anybody might have
regarding guys, as a gender. For some reason, I feel compelled to end this
with a personal note:

Heather Campbell, if you're out there, I just want to say that I had a really
nice time taking you to the Junior Prom in 1964, and I was a total jerk for
never, not once, mentioning this fact to you personally.