Saturday, September 18, 2010

Dear 60 Minutes...

Dear BA,

Sorry! Sometimes being male means you like to put in your two cents, even if its been said already!

-Andy Rooney

Dear 60 Minutes,
I find that totally unsurprising, though I appreciate the email. It's so rare that a man is willing to admit his shortcomings to a woman. Usually you let us discover them for ourselves.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Dear 15%...

Dear BA,

Recently I've read a posting of yours about how to read the minds of men... or perhaps it was about not bothering to read the minds of men. Likely, it was the latter. Anyway, your posting was in response to a woman who had been told that she smelled good by a man despite the fact that she was not trying to smell good. I suppose this posting begged me to respond as I may be one of the only male readers of your blog, and I have to say, I disagree with your preliminary analysis.

Thinking as a man who has used sample statements such as the phrase "You smell nice," I can tell you that is nearly always used as a lure. The same as "You look nice/great/pretty today," or "Your hair looks nice/awesome/sweet today". It is meant to see if the girl will bite at the compliment, repay the compliment, and just create a general awareness that there is some interest there. Men are trained to hide what they are thinking from everyone except for other men. In some cases, the more innocent the compliment, the more thought went behind it. So I have to disagree with you when you speculate that it is a man simply stating the facts. I would conjecture that men state facts out loud much more often when they DON'T like something and mostly keep the things they DO like to themselves, for example; "Dude, your farts smell like rotten cabbage and hard boiled eggs," or "That girl's voice annoys the hell out of me," with the exception to the rule being when something violent or competitive happens like "He just kicked him int he nuts! Awesome! OR when it promotes him in the current social hierarchy such as, "I can eat a whole pizza by myself!"

So I would have to say in an 85-15 split, in favor of a flirtation, that the woman who wrote you that message should wear some nice smelling things and maybe even some nice clothing in order to confirm the flirtation. The safe bet is that this guy will continue to compliment having an excuse now to compliment and thus more flirtation can continue and finally someone can sit down with the other someone and say, "My-oh-my you seem to have been taking a big interest in me. Should we have dinner sometime?"

But never forget that 15%.

-Charlie Chan

Dear 15%,
I am constantly surprised by the letters sent to me by men. Why? I'm not sure. But you all consistently keep me on my toes. I guess that's good, as I would have nothing to write about otherwise. (So...good for blog, bad for personal life? Hmm.)
I'm preeeetty sure I told Rose that her coworker was likely flirting. I didn't suppose that he was just pointing things out. ("You are wearing green today! Your hair is brown! The sun is shining!") What Rose hopefully took away from my words was that this gentleman didn't mean the other things she feared--such as, "You smell good because you do not smell like a dumpster today and that is definitely a positive change." Guess you should read all the words before you shoot off an email, huh?
While it is nice to know that there are some brave men trudging their way through my posts, be careful not to disagree with me if you don't actually disagree with me. (This is one of those things that would likely start a fight in a relationship and then guess who gets to sleep on the couch? That'd be you.) You'll notice we both lean towards this being a sign of flirtation, although you seem to think my reader ought to step up her game for it to continue, whereas I would like to remind everyone that in nature, it is the male who typically shows off and struts about to impress the female. I'm just saying. Let's not give this coworker a free pass on anything. Men may appreciate a little extra effort, but they are not alone in that.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Friday, September 03, 2010

Dear Secret Decoder Ring...

I had a (recently single) male coworker tell me "You smell nice." Which took me off guard, because I wasn't trying to smell nice. I had showered the night before, was wearing clean clothes, and remembered deodorant that morning. So I don't think I was smelling bad... but there was no reason for me to "smell nice."
So here are the options:
1. I mysteriously started to smell awesome, which he kindly pointed out.
2. The coworker at the desk next to me smelled good, which was mistakenly attributed to me. In which case, he thought I smelled like a dude. Which would be weird. Since I'm a girl.
3. I work in gross places, so wouldn't be surprised if I get back to the office and smell like cat piss sometimes. Maybe he was pointing out "you smell nicer than your normally-foul just-got-back-from-the-
landfill" stench.
4. He was looking for a way to give a compliment... and what girl doesn't want to hear she smells nice?
So lets assume its a combination of 1 and 4. Did I fuck things up if, instead of just accepting the compliment, I stated "I don't think that's me. I'm not trying to smell nice." Because that's what I did. Which turned out to be an awkward thing to say. Do boys normally say things like that if they aren't interested in a girl? If I was trying to smell nice I'd probably just think "yay someone noticed!". But I wasn't, so I'm confused.
Am I overthinking this?
BitterAmanda I don't know whats going on! How do boys minds work? What was he really trying to say?! Please help decipher!
Smells like a Rose?

Dear Secret Decoder Ring,
Yes, you are overthinking this. That you've worked yourself into a letter-writing frenzy over whether or not a boy thinks you really smell nice? Means you are clearly overthinking this.
Boy minds? Work pretty much the way they appear. Generally speaking, the things they say are basically what they mean. Or a misguided lie, when they've royally screwed things up. So unless you've had a huge fight with this coworker recently and he's doing his best to make things better, then he probably meant "You smell nice." It's that simple. I've written before about the perils of decoding the words of men...they just don't operate the same way we do. Which, despite being a constant source of anxiety for many overthinking women, at least gives us something to talk about with our friends, I suppose.
That being said, I think it's safe to say that you just straight up smelled good. (This could mean that you smelled good on a normal scale, or that you smelled good in a non-animal urine kind of way. It's an odd scale to use, sure, but you never know.)
However. That he chose to voice this opinion is another matter entirely. There's the distinct possibility that he was attempting to flirt with you. And if that's true, that is awesome. Wanna know why? Because if you weren't trying to smell good and he still thinks you do? You would literally have to put in ZERO EXTRA EFFORT to continue impressing this boy! If you're into him and things progress? You can start wearing your sweats around him so much sooner than the average relationship.
You'd be living the dream, Rose.
Oh, and I would guess you didn't totally screw things up by blowing off a compliment. Fixable, for sure. (I mean, this is a boy we're dealing with here.) And if he was totally offended by your remark? Well whatever, he was probably talking about the guy at the next desk anyway.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda