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A guide to what a man is really saying
By Mark Patinkin
The Providence Journal


March 27, 2005

A kind reader just sent me a list titled, "A woman's guide to what a man is really saying." He said he had spent years assembling it, and I thought it very on-target.

Here are a few of his translations:

What he says: That one looks great on you.

What he means: Pick any lousy dress and let's go home.

What he says: That's interesting, dear.

What he means: Are you still talking?

And my favorite:

What he says: Yes, it makes you look fat.

What he means: I am incredibly, unbelievably stupid and I want the next four days to be a living nightmare.

I decided to come up with a few of my own to add to the list:

What he says: Do we have any ketchup?

What he means: Could you retrieve it so I don't have to get up?

What he says: How's it going up there?

What he means: We're an hour late, and "the transformation" can't possibly take this long.

What he says: I'll load the luggage, the bags are really heavy.

What he means: And you thought labor pains were bad.

What he says: What should I wear?

What he means: Tell me now so I won't be sent back to change.

What he says: I've got to get something at the drugstore.

What he means: I'll be back as soon as the dishwasher is unloaded.

What he says: Can I just see that for one second?

What he means: And I won't be giving up the remote until they pry my fingers from around it.

What he says: I wouldn't change anything; I mean, maybe the lipstick could be lighter, but it's fine.

What he means: Your lipstick makes you look like Elvira; throw it out immediately.

What he says: I know you're busy, so I'll let you go.

What he means: Can I please get off the phone?

What he says: Your hair looks terrific that way.

What he means: Much better than how you usually wear it.

What he says: Arm's fine, just a little sore from tennis.

What he means: Don't you want to hear details about my most heroic shots?

What he says: Relax, I'll clean up dinner.

What he means: Interested in sex?

What he says: You mean this exit right here?

What he means: Believe it or not, I know how to get there without being told.

What he says: It tastes great, though nothing touches your spaghetti sauce.

What he means: Please don't ever make this dish again.

What he says: I just bagged up the garbage.

What he means: Even for the smallest things, I need an enormous amount of credit.

What he says: You're not the ugliest woman I've ever had dinner with.

What he means: I love you, but the L-word can be tough to say.


Mark Patinkin can be reached at mpatinkin (at)
Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service,

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