Wednesday, September 30, 2009

NO, NO, DON'T SPEAK

Have you ever noticed how nothing good ever comes after the following?

"We have to talk."
"Can we talk?"
"I have something to tell you."
"Can I ask you a question?"

Good news and good questions have a way of arriving unannounced. The fanfare comes after the fact.

Here in Buenos Aires, I've learned the hard way. Whenever a guy asks, "¿Puedo hacerte una pregunta?" I always know what's coming: something about penis size ("¿Cuanto mide tu pene?") or sexual role ("¿Activo o pasivo?") or the myth about black guys in bed. I should make my standard response to the latter: "Is that a Greek myth?" It worked for Rose Nylund after Sophia Petrillo broached the subject on an episode of The Golden Girls.

Whenever I find myself fielding that particularly loaded question ("¿Puedo hacerte una pregunta?"), I always respond (in Spanish), "If you need permission to ask something then you probably shouldn't ask it."

"We have to talk" is generally a precursor to some revelation of infidelity, the beginning of a break-up speech, or worse, a matter of life and death. No one ever says, "We have to talk... The tests came back negative. I'm in perfect health," or "We have to talk... Will you marry me?" or "We have to talk... I think I love you."

Can we talk?

Well, I don't know. Can we?

As the old cliché goes, some things are just better left unsaid.
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