LIJ's Relationship Advice for Guys: Playing the Numbers Game

Now, ordinarily, I like to focus my advice on those QJs -- Quirky Jerky guys like me -- who just love staying single... like NO relations with the ladies. We're complicated enough as it is, why make them even more complicated, right?

But then, last week, I was making my usual rounds of the advice columns -- just a little research, capiche? -- and I saw this item from Tell Me About It about having the "Numbers Conversation" in your couple:
My boyfriend wanted to have the Numbers Conversation. I already know what you think about this generally. I was perfectly comfortable trading our numbers, but he has pushed the issue further, wanting to know more about the specific circumstances of each person on the list.
Some key points Carolyn makes:

But I know objectification when I see it. Your boyfriend is more concerned about mining your sexual details than he is about you as a whole. Otherwise he wouldn't be digging for such private, useless dirt.

He wouldn't be pushing, either; he'd not only respect your resistance, but you'd also resist less. In fact, if you and he had a trusting relationship, you'd both be giving up half of this stuff on your own in the course of routine conversation.

Now, maybe this is just "sexual bean-counting" for Ms. Carolyn "I-get-paid-to-do-this" Hax, but guys all know how important it is to establish where your ladyfriend falls on the Madonna-Whore continuum. Important life decisions -- and this is now backed up by research -- such as how long to plan on being with this lady, whether she can be the mother of your children, how much she should tolerate your infidelities, all hinge upon this knowledge.

Further, Ms. Carolyn "my-sage-advice-grows-like-sage-in-Provence" Hax fails to allow for what Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy calls the "mystery of human life" -- in essence, "Different Strokes for Different Folks." In other words, what may seem like controlling and abusive behavior to some, may just be another's idea of kinky role play...

So, in a few words, then, I guess what I'm saying is that I pity this guy more than I fear him. Why? Well, he is obviously lacking the sound relationship vice of Yours Truly.

There are many ways to play the Numbers Game without coming across as pushy or controlling. By following my simple advice, you'll find the key to making the Numbers Game fun for both of you. Essentially, what we have here is a classic case of the famous "I want you to want to wash the dishes!" so aptly relayed in the Anniston-Vaughn vehicle, The Break-Up. Except, here we can rephrase the problem as being, "I want you to want to divulge seamy details of your past sexual history!"

Well, if you follow my advice, my friend, she will.

The first thing to keep in mind is that "Context is key."
The problem we educators face is that even our brightest students will lack enthusiasm for learning if lesson plans and information is presented without context. Your challenge is to make the conversation meaningful by situating it in a meaningful context for your lady.

How often does she have to tell you "Pick up your dirty socks, asshole!"
How many times have you avoided the conversation about "where we're going" merely because she told you "We need to have a talk."

Now, what if we reframed these incidents?
For example, what if the moment you dropped your sock on the floor, she whupped your ass, and then said, "Pick up your dirty sock, asshole!" You'd only have to have that conversation once, am I right? It works with house pets; it works with you, too.

And what if, driving along the Interstate to Gary, you saw a six-car pileup blocking traffic heading up to Cicero and as the ambulance sirens wailed, she uttered, ruefully, "Sometimes I feel that's what our relationship is like." Wouldn't you want to have that talk, then?

Well, getting the goods on your mate's past paramours follows pretty much the same rules.

Some sample scenarios:

1. Admission by mimesis:

Queue up 1 or 2 good movies from Netflix, maybe with Jeremy Irons, or one of those arty Peter Greenaway flicks. Every time you see something that either titillates or would provoke a surge of uncontrollable jealousy, say something like, "Wow, did you ever do that with Claude?" Caught up in a moment of fine cinema, misty-eyed by nostalgia for Claude, it is unlikely that she would be able to resist your interrogation.

2. Admission by false reciprocity:

Use a moment of intimacy to admit to something you've never done: "Wow, when I was with Claudine, we would always [insert lewd behavior that you would castigate in your mate here]." If she becomes appalled, then you know you have a keeper. If, however, this spurs her to up the ante with an admission of your own, then at least you have confirmed your worst doubts.

3. The word problem approach:

On a grocery run with your lady, she asks you to pick up some eggs. You say, "How many?" When she says, "Get a dozen", you can take the lead with words to the effect of "Oh, is that more or less than the men you slept with before meeting me?" If she says "Less", you can start accidentally dropping eggs on the ground until you finally arrive at the right number. If she says "More", Hell, buddy, you better just slam that whole egg carton on the ground and turn tail!

4. Corollary to the word problem approach:

You can also find out important details about your mate's past relations through eggs, by asking if she would like you to get "Brown" or "White" eggs, "Cage free", "Organic",
"Omega-3 added" "Plastic" or "Pulp" cartons, etcetera.

The same smooth maneuvers can be practiced with fruit and pretty much anything else in the grocery store... just like in math class!

5. Public displays of extortion:

This final sample scenario follows from the trip to the grocery store. While many men might wrong-headedly think that the boudoir or the breakfast bar are the only places where one can discuss such matters, staging a scene in public can be a surprisingly effective way to get your lady talking the truth to you. Believe me, not 2 minutes into having you scream "I have a right to know what you did with Claude!" while standing in line for Chardonnay during the intermission of Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and you'll be getting confessions out of her like a Cathar from Carcassonne.
Hint: This approach increases in effectiveness in proportion to your ability to recruit nearby onlookers to your cause. Remember, there's strength in numbers.

A few final words of advice:
Rember, despite the proven effectiveness of all of the above approaches, technique without feeling is like swimming without water. You'll never get anywhere without these simple words: "I only want to know because I love you."
On the other hand, as much as it honors you and behooves you to remind her of the feelings from which your inquiry springs, never, NEVER, NEVER use the following words when playing the Numbers Game: "If you loved me, you would tell me."
Because, in the end, she doesn't love you. How could she, you jerk?

And that is why the wisest among us choose to remain Quirky Jerky.

Note about the video: Our opinion is that the use of this song was fundamental to the message of the post. Unfortunately, the video is crap and makes no sense, but it's the only one I could find on YouTube. One day, I'll learn how to put together my own videos, at which point I will replace the above with a less disturbing montage.