OFF: Men Are Piggish Octopi, Researcher Finds

Just when I was about to regain faith in humanity and my gender. If The Sacramento Bee is to be believed, a UC Davis researcher has found that, when on dates, men are explicitly susceptible to wishful thinking, thinking that’s measured in degrees of getting some.

Nearly every woman Motley questioned answered that when she tells a partner “it’s getting late” during intimate situations, she means she is putting up a stop sign. But most men interpreted “it’s getting late” to mean either that she wanted him to “skip the preliminaries” or that she wanted him to go forward and was politely informing him about the late hour.

The vast majority of women questioned by Motley told him that when they tell a man during an intimate moment that “I am seeing someone else,” they mean that they want to stop “making out,” he said. The vast majority of men interpret the comment to mean, “Keep going, but let’s be discreet,” or “Keep going, but I want you to know that I’m not making a commitment.”

Here I was thinking that “It’s getting late” meant that my date was tired. Most men, apparently, disagree, seeming to translate what women say into more pleasing constructions.

I’d think it would get confusing after a while. After all, if “It’s getting late” meant “Get your lips off me, greaseball,” then what does it mean when your date says, “Get your lips off me, greaseball?”

Not that I need to know.

Sometimes, however, men and women do speak in code, when “It’s getting late” actually does mean “let’s skip the preliminaries.” It happens enough that men delude themselves into making it a stereotype, as measured by this survey. Confusion reigns, and all because of codetalking.

Therefore, I am no codetalker. I try to be perfectly honest when so many others skirt around the truth or embellish. Whether I’m faced with a first date or a second interview, it hasn’t yet hurt me any.

Trust the word of an unemployed bachelor: No harm at all.


  1. Kathryn

    “a UC Davis researcher has found that, when on dates, men are explicitly susceptible to wishful thinking”

    I sincerely hope there was no grant money involved in this stunning revelation.

  2. In a manner of speaking. The natural state of things is technically unemployed bachelorhood, isn’t it?

    Glad you caught on to the subtext, though.

  3. That’s why intonation was invented. ‘It’s getting late’ in breathy voice, lingering on the late, definitely means ‘let’s get it on’, while a short, curt ‘it’s getting late’ with late ending in a low tone means she’s not interested.

  4. Hadn’t thought of that — somehow, I doubt intonation was part of the survey.

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