Many years ago, I was lying around with my then girlfriend chatting about silly stuff and she innocently asks, “If you could change one thing about me what would it be?” Not being a complete idiot, I demour, “Nothing, I love you just the way you are.” “No, really.” “Really, nothing.” Little did I know that this was my first foray into the infamous Girl Trap. I would spend the rest of my life learning to recognize and then avoid answering these little innocent questions that mask a reservoir of indignation, insecurity, and even resentment.
Maybe it was the lilt in my girlfriend’s voice or the playful twinkle in her eye, but after a few rounds of this game, she starts to wear me down. I wonder, “Maybe she really wants me to say something. No, just keep saying, ‘Nothing.’” I sheepishly repeat, “Really, there is nothing I would change.” Of course nowadays, with years of mine-detection under my belt, I would never question my first reaction. Just stick to the story and it’ll pass. Some questions are so obvious, they’re easy to dismiss and end instantly. My wife once threw out, “If I died, which one of my friends would you date?” I confidently shot back, “If you died, I wouldn’t date. I’d just lay on the floor and cry.” “But after you cried,” she plied. “Nope, just crying for the rest of my life.” End of story. Case closed.
Now my girlfriend is really pressing, insisting, “I won’t get mad. I really am curious.” Okay fine. I give up. I’ll think of something to change. I struggle for what seemed like an eternity. The great thing about young love is there really was very little I would change about my 5’2” dream girl. There are a few emotional swings I’d love to get rid of, but I know that’s a losing proposition. Finally, I breakdown. “I guess you could have longer legs.” She spews forth, “Oh sure, pick something I can’t do anything about.” I was so weak and naive back then.
originally posted 8/1/11