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The Grill of The Chase

I have three tests for a woman before I'll get involved with her: 1. Magazine Test: Does she read gossip rags? Women who do like to talk trash, and I want no part of that. 2. Penny Test: Does she react negatively when I buy a candy bar with a dollar's worth of pennies? If so, she's out. 3. No Information Test: I don't respond if she asks what I do, what I drive or where I live. These are gold-digger questions, revealing interest in my wallet, not in me as a person. I stand by my tests as valid, because I expect a woman to truly love me, not my money or what I can do for her. Why can't I find a woman who can pass them?--Down To Worth

Maybe the woman who can pass your tests has tests of her own. As sick as you are of "gold-digging" women, maybe she's equally sick of beauty-grubbing men who flock to her because she looks like she stepped out of Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Edition to binge on a lettuce leaf. Just imagine her letter: "The Eye Candy Challenge: Before I go out, I throw on a pup tent and pack it full of Crisco until I look like a 426-pound zeppelin of lard. I complete the look with a mask to give the illusion that I have one giant wart where my head is supposed to be. Why can't I find even one man to invite me out and withhold information about where he lives, what he drives and what he does?"

Hmmm ... maybe that one man she's yearning for is you? Surely, several hundred lumpy pounds of fat wouldn't stop you from taking her out and refusing to tell her about yourself. After all, you, if anyone, know it's a woman's inner beauty that matters -- even if you have to send in a search party of gastric bypass surgeons to find it. Right? Right?

Yeah, right. Men want beautiful women. Women want men of status and power. Deal with it. This isn't some new phenomenon. Any man alive today is a beauty-grubber descended from a very, very long line of beauty-grubbers -- stretching all the way back to the Pleistocene era. Likewise, modern women are hard-wired to be "gold-diggers" -- descended from an equally long line of female ancestors who would have sold their hairy left knuckle to bear Joe Alpha's furry little children.

The female features that men, across cultures, evolved to find beautiful -- hourglass figure, youth, clear skin, and facial and bodily symmetry -- are a bunch of biological thumbs up signaling that a woman is a healthy, fertile candidate to bear and raise a child. Women, across cultures, evolved to want men with the ability and willingness to invest in their children. It wasn't actually men's wealth that women adapted to seek -- probably because a T-Bone in the hand one day doesn't guarantee the ability to get another T-Bone in the hand the next. The cave mamas whose genes got passed along were those who looked for a man's POTENTIAL to consistently bring home the bison or to invent the wheel. Like a 1.8 million-year-old hangover, this psychology is still tagging along on dates today -- even when a woman has a killer job of her own, zero desire to have kids and a lifetime supply of birth control.

This doesn't mean you have to settle for a woman who sees you as an ATM machine with legs. But, what's with the paranoia that women want you, at least in part, for what you've achieved? Of course they do! And if you want the rest of the story, your best bet is just paying attention, over time, to what a woman says and does. Ironically, with your tests, you reveal much more about yourself -- all of it negative -- than you would if you'd simply spill the beans about what's behind your garage door. Regarding your anti-gossip rag manifesto: Don't you have any guilty pleasures? "Enquiring minds want to know!" About your top-secret career: A woman who's into her work is likely to be inquisitive about yours. Refuse to tell her what you do, and she's sure to assume it's something criminal or criminally embarrassing. Finally, considering that women are biologically programmed to go for good providers, how wise is it to give the impression that you'll be paying for your half of her birthday dinner with a wheelbarrow full of change?

On the bright side, if you do keep paying for small food items with very, very small change, you needn't worry about dying old, bitter and alone -- because you're sure to die young, bitter and alone after you're strangled by the guy in line behind you at the mini-mart.

Copyright 2004, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com)

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