Answers to Men's Questions*

1. It's just an illusion. Women go to the bathroom all the time. Men only seem to notice when we go to the bathroom in groups.

2. I like salads because of salad dressing. Lettuce is simply nature's vehicle for conveying tasty sauces into the body. And as for steak. I love steak so much that it singlehandedly kept me involved with one guy who used steak as a bargaining chip. If he'd apologized by taking me out for salad I assure you I would not have stayed in that relationship as long as I did.

3. No you can't. The only thing men can think of to do on a weekend usually involves network sports broadcasts.

4. I can't answer this one. I would never take a boy shopping. I personally think girls who take their boyfriends shopping are either clinically insane or secretly trying to drive their boyfriends into breaking up with them in the tried and true male method of "maybe if I'm mean enough she'll leave me alone."

5. One word: vibrators.

6. I don't have a preference. Uncircum-cised is more exciting because, well, there's just more going on and more to play with but there's a lot to be said for the streamlined look too.

7. Women go to the bathroom in pairs in order to discuss the men they're with. Particularly to discuss penis size. God. Men are so paranoid.

8. Men make everything complicated by their failure to understand the game so women are constantly having to go over the rules and the context-specific application thereof. It has always mystified me why men, who are masters at arcane pre-relationship rules (i.e., when to call back, what venue is appropriate for the fourth date, etc.) seem to balk at the idea of relationship rules.

9. Eyebrows are the only facial hair women have. If we had a whole field of facial hair to groom into little beards and sideburns and mustaches then we probably wouldn't pay so much attention to our eyebrows. In fact, you could argue that our lack of personal facial hair is what makes us so opinionated about our boyfriend's.

10. Because.

11. Mostly we just gossip. On a kind of intellectual level gossip is the means by which women become friends, it's our way of conveying our values and beliefs to one another. And we discuss shopping. We're busy people and it helps us save precious time if we know which stores currently have good stock in or good sales going on. And of course we discuss sex. Guys are really bad at telling you what they like in bed, they're too shy and too squeamish. But girls have no qualms swapping blow-by-blow tips on what seems to work and what doesn't. It's also very useful to know that the guy who just asked you to do X or Y isn't actually the total freak you thought he was because it turns out one of your girlfriends has already done X and Y.

12. There are only three basic fight endings: The Thoughtful Gesture, Behavioral Modification, and Talking. Combining the endings in the proper order is of course the tricky part. If the fight is about a behavior ("You never do the dishes") you pretty much have to lead with Behavioral Modification (do the damn dishes already) and follow up with a Thoughtful Gesture (dinner date, cute present). Never try to end a behavior fight with Talking because despite what you think women don't really have to talk everything out. Never try to end an issue fight (Talking) with a solo Thoughtful Gesture because you'll just seem completely insensitive.

13. Shaved is weird. Trimmed is good. If you start out trimmed chances are we'll never really notice the effort. We'll only notice the overall pleasantness of the effect.

14. Deep down most girls have already "experimented." If she has and she wasn't into it then damned if she's going to admit to it and further fuel your hopeless imagination. And if she was into it she might be worried that your fragile ego can't take watching her get off that much faster with a women than with you.

15. The only way to convince a girl you adore a particular body part is to lavish it with affection as often as humanly possible.

16. Remain calm. Act normal. Don't talk about it. Wait until another time, preferably just after hopping in bed with the lights off so there's no pressure to make eye contact, to see if she even wants to discuss it. If she doesn't want delve into it then you're going to have to let it go for a while, maybe forever, until she brings it up again on her own.

17. Yes. Too small can be a little bit of a let down but it's easy to compensate with action and enthusiasm and a wide array of alternative techniques. Too large is actually a nightmare because certain positions hurt like hell and others can cause something of a gag reflex, so to speak. However, and I'm sorry to disappoint you, too large is incredibly rare.

18. Some women really love it; it's fun to know how much power you wield. But a smart women can and will easily trick you into thinking she's a true enthusiast. Just take it when you can get it and don't quiz us too much about it.

19. Sometimes, as you well know, we just feel fat. Other times maybe we're tired and worried it'll show in our expression. But to be brutally honest, sometimes we just aren't turned on by the sight of a naked man. You might be a great guy and a fabulous lover but if you're not the world's best looker then why shine a light on that?

20. I have no idea. Every time a woman fakes an orgasm she's making a guy into a worse lover. It's a crime against the sisterhood.

21. More often than I'm going to admit.

22. After extensive research (c.f., Talking On The Phone) it seems that tragically a lot of women don't masturbate more often than once a week. But that's just hearsay. The girls I know own up to far greater frequencies and admit to using it like sleeping pills. Often while their boyfriends snooze innocently next to them in bed. Sometimes it's just easier to do it yourself.

23. You're bad in bed. Girls will always initiate sex if they know you can deliver the goods.

24. Sex without condoms feels better. It's smoother, juicier and more electric. But it's also more terrifying. So, yes, it makes a difference. A big huge health difference.

25. I don't resent men who hang out with guys. What kind of double standard would that be? I mean, *I* like to hang out with guys.

26. If it's a one off thing then I don't want to know. I don't want to be told and I don't want to suddenly discover I've got some heinous STD. If it's a repeated thing then I want to know so I can drop the sorry asshole ASAP.

27. Cramps feel like someone's stuck a large knife in through your stomach and pulled it out your uterus just after you've had a 16 oz steak and half a dozen pints of beer.

28. Girls are unbelievably graphic. Not always about their current lovers but certainly about the old ones. A typical conversation about an ex lover would cover position angles, knee placement, thrust depth, hip mobility, tongue flexibility, lip strength, liquid densities, taste, smell, color, textures, overall hairiness, girth and firmness, duration. We recount minute details such as how clothing was removed and in what order, number of fingers used, where and for how long, the thread count of the sheets, the choice and placement of wall art. We mimic facial expressions, we recap verbal utterances. I guess we're evil but knowledge is power.

29. I don't think women's fantasies are really all that detailed. They're usually more along the lines of "please don't ever stop."

30. A duvet is the expensive, puffy, down comforter that your girlfriend does not want you to come all over.

31. The taste can be pretty horrific sometimes so there's always an initial element of hesitation. And it doesn't exactly feel great to have something shooting suddenly down your throat. Certainly the natural gag reflex isn't easy. Particularly for bulimics.

32. No. Never. Lies, obfuscation and topic changes are what we want. That or more sex. Desire is always reassuring.

33. Theoretically porn is OK but in reality it's usually just unattractive or demeaning.

34. Why would anyone put down the seat cover? Girls don't even do that.

35. I don't know. Because men give them to us?

36. I can't answer this. I don't even remember the last time I saw a guy cry.

37. Looks can take a guy a long way but clothing and grooming will almost always compensate for a lack of height or hair.

38. I can't vouch for all women but my feeling is that men should always offer to pay. Being broke is no excuse. A guy can always specify a venue within his means. And if he can't then he's spineless or bad at planning and both of those qualities don't bode well in the bedroom. A well-bred girl these days will usually offer to split the check unless the chosen venue is completely beyond her ability to do so. The man should then refuse the girl's offer to split the check. I know this sounds archaic and Emily Post but a girl's first offer to split a check is usually her way of saying, "I appreciate your willingness to pay and I just want you to know I'm not going to take you for all you're worth." Offers to pay for subsequent cabs or after dinner drinks should not be interpreted as ball-busting feminist moves but merely as polite expressions of gratitude. However, if a woman insists on paying her way chances are she doesn't want to feel obligated to you and probably is never going to call you back let alone sleep with you.

39. Sex in the City makes us feel better. Watching smart, gorgeous, well-off, attractive, complete weirdos reassures us that our lives are fairly normal by comparison. Plus the show gives us a great excuse to discuss our sex lives.

40. No idea. I've never understood the whole Princess Di thing.

41. Yes. But only after they sleep together. Just kidding. Actually though that helps a lot. It's much easier to be friends with men if you know you never want to sleep with them and if they know you're really and truly never going to. But male friends are different than female friends. It's not as fun to shop or eat chocolate cake or discuss sex with male friends as it is with girlfriends.

42. That all depends on how old the youngest person is. A 35-year old and a 50 year-old is reasonable but a 30-year old with a 15-year old is weird. And illegal. Furthermore, an acceptable age difference is partially dependent on the nature of the relationship. It would be strange for a 33-year old woman to date a 19-year old boy if her immediate goal was marriage and children but if she's just looking for a good time then vive la différence or whatever.

43. Everyone gets swept up in a moment. Sometimes girls get swept up in the moment of liking you and then suddenly they're swept up in the moment of liking somebody else. But mostly I think what happens is that we go out with men we like and then they do something completely unacceptable or maybe just annoying and so mid-date we just stop liking them. Only it's far easier to finish off a date without letting on to our sudden change of heart than it is to expose our new feelings and run the risk of having to Discuss It. Contrary to popular belief women dislike Having A Discussion as much as men do.

44. Brad Pitt has a great ass.

45. I think the practice is deplorable. Unless of course the other woman is deplorable. Then it's OK. Of course.

46. Girls go for bad guys because they seem more unusual, less dull, more adventuresome. And we're hoping that will translate into the bedroom. Usually it doesn't though. Which is a major disappointment. But hope burns eternal.

47. White wine or red? I'll only drink white wine if I have a bad hangover. I'll choose red wine over a cocktail if I think it's going to be a long night and I'm hoping to remain mostly sober. Wine over beer because beer is filling and makes you puffy and you know how women are about feeling puffy. And sometimes I've been known to go with red wine simply because it matches my lipstick. Which is admittedly crazy but you asked.

48. God. Good question. I have no idea.

49. Well we kind of have. The last bridal shower I attended was a weekend in Vegas and all I can say is that while there was no shortage of lacy lingerie it was mostly being worn, transitionally at that, and not being unwrapped whilst nibbling over dainty tea sandwiches.

50. Not in my world. Most of my friends waited so long to get married that they knew what they were doing and they don't feel the need to have their friends express support by jumping on the same bandwagon. Plus considering some of my ex boyfriends I think it's safe to say my friends are probably relieved I've never gotten married.

Some Things You Should Never Ask:

  • Never ask what her bra size is
  • Never ask her to tell you the kinkiest thing she's done
  • Never ask her whether or where you've been programmed into speed dial

*These are answers to 50 questions asked of/about women by male readers of Maxim magazine. We thought the text of the questions themselves was unnecessary to the spirit of the answers.