On New Year's Eve a few years back, the AW and I were in a bar in remotest Bumfuck, British Columbia. She wanted to dance. I did not. This was nothing new. She arose and said that if I would not dance, she would damned well find someone who would. Then she strode across the room and asked some random guy to dance with her. And I spent the minutes before midnight sipping my drink as I watched them on the dance floor, she drunk, he with a tentpole erection as he danced with my girlfriend.

"Jesus Christ. You think every guy is only interested in one thing," went the fight later, shortly before I played the erection card. "You're such an asshole, sometimes. He was a really nice guy. It was just dancing."

This is a conversation I've had all my life. Apparently, I always will. I will never go broke by betting on the basest instincts of my own gender, nor will I lose by betting on women's capacity for seeing some sort of noble, meritorious homage in the attentions of men. The prettier the woman, the more noble the homage. I have never once been proven wrong. I am invariably proven right. Yet I have never won this argument. My suspicions are always deemed manifestations of my own character flaws. It's my personal relationship Vietnam—I've won every battle, yet I've lost the war.

I think I shall give up. This is the new John in an old situation:

"Wow, they gave you a job as a web designer, even though you haven't a lick of relevant skills or experience? And before you even start your new job, the sales guys want you to join them at their skiing weekend at Whistler? Why, I'm sure that's above-board! Go! Enjoy! I'm sure that any sales guy who bangs you is of the very noblest and homage-giving stock. And of course, if I didn't congratulate you on your new job, that would be evidence that I don't believe in you. So congratulations! All those seconds of hard work have finally paid off."