In the long, storied history of relationships, man has said all manner of stupid shit that has resulted in his lady locking herself in the bathroom all night long while he pounds on the door for an hour before drinking his troubles away. Of course, sometimes the nature of the dude’s transgressions seems mystifying, partly because women are complicated creatures with subtleties that go beyond “fridge, beer, couch, fart, hey let’s have sex,” and partly because men are, well, idiots. But mostly it’s because people both male and female are weirdoes, and just about anything will set them off. But as dudes, you need to understand that there are a handful of comments that you should never make to a woman. Jot them down on a note card if you need to for easy reference, but whatever you do, keep these words out of your mouth lest you awaken the lady dragon and she rains down fire on your head and steals all your gold while you run into the hills, weeping with terror. They are nine things you should never, ever say to a woman.
9. “You look like…”
Stop. Just stop right there. It doesn’t matter if you tell her she looks like the hottest woman in the universe, because she’ll either take it one of two ways – one, she’ll twist it into the ol’ “Oh, so I’m not good enough for you, you have to make me into one of your fantasy babes?” or two, she will flip out because you’ve made the fatal mistake of comparing her to a woman she can’t stand. Look, you’ve seen E!, right? There are whole shows devoted entirely to women tearing down other women. Sure, you might think “You look like Jennifer Love Hewitt” is a fine compliment, but don’t be surprised when that’s followed by “That bitch???” or “Oh my god, but she’s gotten so fat, do you think I’m fat?” Your lady should always be the central reference point of your attraction scale, at least out loud.
8. “My mom says…”
Sigh. Look, feel free to bust this one out if you want to immediately emasculate yourself. At best, you end up sounding like you’re comparing her to your mother, and that is not a hornet’s nest you want to poke at. At worst, you end up sounding creepy as hell, and believe it or not, no woman wants to get down at the Bates Motel with Norman and his Skeletor mother. You’ll probably end up striking a tone somewhere sadly in the middle of those two sour notes, and she’ll think you’re an immature momma’s boy who still drops off his laundry on weekends. Women love a dude who has the proper respect for his mother, they just don’t want to hear about it, okay?
7. “You’re just full-figured.”
No, stop! You’re better than this, man. Take a time out for a second to gather yourself before stepping on this landmine. No matter how hard you try to save this with some variant of “What? I like thick girls,” there is no coming back from this one without either a slap in the face or a night filled with tears and “I swear, I don’t think you’re fat. No, you’re beautiful. I just meant…” and so on and so on for 127 hours. And whatever you do, don’t fall for the trap of agreeing with her when she starts talking about how much she hates skinny girls, because that’s a doorway to hell you can never close.
6. “It’s my money.”
You’re not an asshole, are you? Because this is something only assholes say. You end up coming across as petty, selfish and insecure. Even if you feel like your significant other is spending a little too much money, and even if some of that money comes from the sweat of your brow (or, let’s be honest here, the groaning of your office chair after another trip to Wendy’s for lunch) never ever say this. Instead, if you absolutely have to say something, put it in terms of “we,” like “I think maybe we’re spending a little too much money.” Even that’s not ideal and will lead to a probably unpleasant conversation, but “It’s my money,” will lead to the end of the relationship and her badmouthing you to all her friends as a selfish dick.
5. “You sound/act just like your mother.”
Believe it or not but women tend to have, uh, complicated relationships with their mothers, and the last thing most of them want to hear is that they are behaving just like that obnoxious woman they spend all their free time complaining about. The only time this is even kinda okay is when you’re just good-naturedly giving her a hard time. But even then you’re planting a neurotic little seed that will probably sprout right in the middle of a legitimate argument later. A good rule of thumb? Just scrap any and all talk of mothers, yours or hers.
4. “Why can’t you be more like…”
Again, this is a thing only assholes say. It’s borderline abusive and you should probably punch yourself in the face immediately after. The only thing this can possibly accomplish is making her feel incredibly insecure about herself. Look, a lot of these are pretty lighthearted, but I’m serious about this one. It’s pretty fucked up.
3. “You just want to be the man in the relationship.”
Oh, you insecure little boy. If you’re honestly bothered because your girlfriend or wife or whatever is “too masculine” then maybe you need to ask yourself some delicate questions, questions like “Why am I so threatened by a strong woman? Am I actually an ineffectual weakling?” and “How did this time machine take me here all the way from 1954?” This just marks you as sadly pathetic, a pitiful and loathsome creature incapable of overcoming the depth of your own failure. You’re better than this. Come on.
2. “My ex…”
Good God, you need a friend to follow behind you and drag you out of the room, don’t you? Only a great fool would begin a sentence with those two unfortunate words. You never, ever want to make your girlfriend compare herself to someone you used to bang. It will never, ever end well. There are various shades of this, sure – I mean, if you’re about to whine because your ex was somehow cooler, than game over man – but even if you mean it in as complimentary a way as possible, you never, ever want her to start letting the thought of you with your ex eating away at her brain like some sort of relationship-hating parasite. Just do the right thing, and burn all your old pictures and letters, or at least hide them in the closet so you can jerk off to them when she’s not there. Wait, I’ve said too much…
1. “You look fine…”
Insert image of that weird squid-man from Return of the Jedi jumping out and yelling “It’s a trap!” There is no way this ends well, as ridiculous as that may sound. Telling a woman that she looks fine is like a woman telling you that you’re sweet, or that you’re nice and remind her of her brother. It immediately sets off insecure alarm bells. “Fine? What in the hell does that mean?” If you’re not ready to deal with that question or the 40 days and nights of Byzantine questioning that follows, in which you debate the meaning of simple words, and end up consulting dictionaries at 2 AM while she hurls hair brushes at you and the neighbors try to get you that coveted slot on Cops, then just avoid this one at all costs.