By contributing writer Daniel Goodman

Some things in life are black and white, such as Tiger Woods and his Swedish wife, or perhaps the flat-footed giant panda (also known as “Da xiong mao,” for those hip to Chinese wildlife).

Romance, however, is a far more ambiguous matter. Subtlety, insinuations and suggestions make up the core essence of love. The line between flirtation and indifference is blurry and indistinguishable, like an approaching iceberg viewed through the glaucoma-ridden eyes of an aging tugboat captain. Unless you’re handsome and rich like Alec Baldwin, then it would behoove you to hone an acute sense for the signals women send. Be conscious of these signs and you’re golden like mustard from here on out.

And, as always, there’s more to life than just women, so don’t let a boorish broad get you down. To quote Groucho Marx, “A woman is an occasional pleasure, but a cigar is always a smoke.” With that said, it’s time to play “Good Sign, Bad Sign,” a spin-off version of the popular Mexican game show, “Good Water, Bad Water.”

Good Sign (+): She compliments your hands, mentioning to you “how big and strong they look from a distance.”


Sometimes the writing's on the wall. Especially if she's covered in spray paint.

Bad Sign (): You bump into her at a bar, but she shows little interest. During this encounter, she keeps looking around for someone (anyone) else to chat with. For example, the mute street-corner mime. “He looks like a good listener,” she argues. “And he makes climbing an invisible rope in an invisible box look easy.”

Good Sign (+): She’s eager to learn more about you. She asks questions like, “What do you think about using furry handcuffs in
bed?”

Bad Sign (): You ask her questions, but she limits her answers to “yes” and “no.” Then, in an attempt to turn you off, she resorts to mimicking a foul-mouthed pirate. “Arrr! Me itch cream ain’t workin’ so well on these blimey tapeworms!”

Good Sign (+): She twirls her hair and leans in affectionately toward you while talking.

Bad Sign (): She closes her eyes while mumbling certain activities that she’d rather be doing, like “licking a broken mercury thermometer” or “getting chopped up by a giant fan.”

Good Sign (+): Her eyes remain locked on you at all times, whether she’s listening, talking or sipping her drink. Even when she removes her two glass eyeballs, they continue to gaze in your general direction.

Bad Sign (): She’s restless and fidgety, surveying the scene for possible escape routes. When she doesn’t return from the restroom after fifteen minutes, you send a female hostess in to check on her. “I found her shoe in the toilet,” the hostess reports. “She must have flushed herself out to sea.” “That’s it,” you bark in anger, “I’m done dating skinny girls.”

Good Sign (+): You polka dance like there’s no tomorrow. “These accordion beats are hot,” you exclaim. “Wait ‘til they bring out the Austrian yodelers,” she replies. “Will there be cowbells?” you ask. “Eight-inch Bavarian cowbells,” she retorts. “And an Alpine horn that’ll knock your socks off.”

Bad Sign (): You invite her to boogie, but she quickly disappears into the ladies restroom. Minutes later, she emerges in a makeshift wheelchair consisting of a porcelain sink seat and toilet paper roll wheels. “Sorry,” she replies, “but this club has a strict ‘No Wheelchair Dancing’ policy.” Although you suspect her of lying, you can’t help but admire her resourcefulness.

Good Sign (+): She gets jealous when other women talk to you. She circles her competition like a crazed hawk and even purchases plastic bird talons from a local costume store.

Bad Sign (): She runs off a list of negative qualities in men, all of which directly apply to you. “First and foremost, I need a man with more facial hair than me. “Hey, that’s not fair,” you shout. “My growth is extra skimpy, and you refuse to bleach your upper lip.”

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