Friday, April 26, 2013

Ask-A-Dude: Is He Interested? Edition

Hello, everyone! Welcome back to another edition of Ask-a-Dude!

Remember, you can ask your own questions using the submission form on the right!

Today's question comes from reader Sky Davis who asks:

Q: When a guy asks if you have a boyfriend, does that mean he likes you?

A: Thanks for the question, Sky. If I understand you correctly, you're asking me to fathom the intricate mental process guys go through when talking to women. Do I have that right?

Tell you what, Sky. Why don't I just do this. Why don't I solve world hunger instead? Seriously, it'll take less time, be far more beneficial to everyone involved, and won't require me to divulge Secrets of the Durr-Durr Brotherhood.

No? You really want an answer, huh? What did the hungry ever do to you, Sky?

Fine. Let's take a look at your question.

First, you have to understand that all male behavior is influenced by something scientists call The Derp Factor. Derpiness affects how the male of the species behaves, so in order to understand what a guy means when he says anything, we first have to understand Derpiness.

Derpidity exists on a continuum that extends from Mild Derpiness on one end to Extreme Derpiness on the other. And the extent of derpiness is strongly correlated with the presence of female pheromones.

I think a chart is in order.
Preview of your graph
As you can see, the more woman you are, the more likely you'll experience a high derp factor.

So when a guy says something like, "Did you get a haircut?" you can't simply assume he's asking if you got a haircut. You have to take into account the Derp Factor. A low Derp Factor means he is, indeed, asking if you got a haircut. This is mostly a conversation starter and you can proceed accordingly. A high Derp Factor means he's really saying, "I liked you better with bangs and now I'm going to passively-aggressively channel surf C-SPAN to annoy you."

You must establish the Derp Factor or you'll find yourself in a limbo known as the Point of Quantum Insecurity. This refers to the spooky phenomenon where a guy will be both confident and insecure at the same time, giving rise to a statement that may have two meanings until that statement collapses into one state or another.

Allow me to illustrate:

Sample Question
"Do you have a boyfriend?"


"I need a bro to hold my beer while I naked bungee off this cliff."

OR. . .

Sample Question
"Do you have a boyfriend?"


"Erm, well, uh, if you don't have a boyfriend and, um, you're not doing anything next Friday night, uh, I've got an empty seat in my car which happens to be headed to a bar. Maybe. Or a diner. So, you in, or what?"

I know, it's annoying, right? You're probably asking yourself, "Is there any point along the continuum where I don't have to dissect what he says to understand it?" Yes. You'll notice a low derp zone at the start of the graph. This is known as the Gosling Exclusionary Zone, named after the only human male not prone to derpiness in clinical trials. His potent combination of good looks, self-effacing humor and Canadian-ness appears immune to female pheromones. In fact, a double-blind study in Geneva put Mr. Gosling behind a divider and then anonymously presented him with Amy Pohler, Tina Fey and Hillary Clinton in rapid succession. Not only did the subject show no signs of derpiness as recorded on a highly sensitive derp-o-meter, he actually registered NEGATIVE derps! Incredibly, Ryan Gosling actually REMOVES derpiness from the ambient air, thereby making any male caught in his negative derp-field appear up to 38% less douchey.

I think we have a picture of the study in progress.

All fine and good if you're dating Mr. Gosling, not so helpful if you're dating Derpson McDerpderp (of the Scottish McDerpDerps). For most of you, you'll simply have to accept a certain amount of background derpiness.

Okay, so we've established that derpiness varies proportionally with positive readings of femininity. What does this mean for you, Sky?

It means that the more the guy likes you, the more suspect anything he says will be. I realize this creates a which-came-first scenario. If he likes you then you know you're going to have to parse his meaning. But you need to parse his meaning to determine if he likes you.

Yeah, good luck with that.

In the early eighteen hundreds, a group of female lexicographers took up this issue and tried to develop a dictionary that could translate between male-ese and female-ese. These early feminists worked in secret and published under male-sounding names to keep from being discovered.

Their first bilingual dictionary, An Alphabetical, Bi-Defined Language Table by Gunner Dickpunch, was so successful, Noah Webster copied it, removed all the male words (which consisted mostly of phonetically spelled grunts and moans) and republished it as his own. 

Not sure what my point was other than to point out how cutthroat the world of lexicography is. The fact that Webster carried a six-inch drop-point hawkbill knife named Dr. Needlebeak wherever he went (and wasn't afraid to use it on chronic misspellers) is probably the reason he's the only lexicographer you've ever heard of.
Noah Webster, badass.
Oh, right, my point is, trying to understand the true meaning behind a simple question posed by a male, is like trying to understand the nature of dark matter. We know it's out there. We know how it works. But we're damned if we can find any.

Ultimately, there's only one way to determine a guy's meaning. Here's what you do, Sky.

Ask him why he wants to know.

I know, I know, it sounds so simple. But this simple hack for the male brain works because God is a female programmer and, like all good programmers, she set up a back door in case she needed to reset all males Data-style.

Turning the question back on him short circuits the part of the male brain constantly tasked with obfuscating his intentions. Once he knows YOU know there might be more to the question, it collapses his state into either confidence or insecurity and usually leads to a more honest discussion about his intentions.

Also, yeah, he probably likes you.

Thanks for the question, Sky!

You can track Copil's milliderp readings as well as his midichlorian count on Twitter (@Copil).


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