What You Say: "Are you really going to wear that shirt?"
What He Hears: "I've tried. I’ve tried so hard. I’ve given you nice shirts for birthday presents, I’ve taken you shopping, and I’ve hidden your Goonies t-shirt. If you won’t make the effort to be presentable, maybe I’ll stop making the effort to shave my legs."
What You Say [when the check comes]: "...Do you need cash?"
What He Hears: "I don’t really want to pay, but to save face I’ll ask if you 'need cash,' which, technically, isn’t even a proper offer to pick up the tab, but more like a loan."
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What You Say: "You’re working late ... again?"
What He Hears: "You’re working late. Of course you’re working late. You’re always working late. Clearly you’d rather stare at spreadsheets than have dinner with me. Or maybe you’re having an affair?!"
What You Say: " ... [fill in the blank…]"
What He Hears: "NAG NAG NAG NAG!!!"
(Sometimes you just can’t win ...)
What You Say: "Why aren’t you listening to me?"
What He Hears: ...
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Jeff Wilser is the author of The Maxims of Manhood and the editor of ThePlunge.com. You can follow him on Twitter here.