A girlfriend turned to me once, her brow furrowed in thought.
“What would you do if I died?” she asked.
I told her I’d start by going, “Hey, get up . . . Why won’t you get up? . . . Are you sick? HEY!”
This was not a satisfactory answer. “After that, what would you do?” she asked. And then she impatiently glared through my explanations of how I’d call the hospital or the coroner, depending on how dead she was. She ignored all my questions about how she died, if she left any parting instructions, and where her address book was. In time, she gave up because I obviously “didn’t get” what she was driving at.
I actually did, but I know a landmine question when I see one.
Landmine questions are bizarre hypothetical scenarios designed to measure your devotion. The problem is, once a guy submits his devotion for measurement, it never measures up. You’d be sad? How sad? You’d live alone? How long? You’d kill yourself? How soon? The Fifth Amendment is no help here. Your only defense is to parry and stall. Here are some common landmine questions, and useful “rope-a-dope” responses.
“What would you do if I died?” “I would die” is actually your best response. This insulates you from follow-up questions, because both of you are dead.
“If I were horribly disfigured, would you still love me?” This one is easy. Just answer “yes,” and move on. Conditional answers (“How horribly?”) will lead you straight into hell.
“If I died, would you get married again?” Again, easy. Say: “Not after you.” (But make sure NOT to snort before you say it, because that changes the meaning.)
“If I died, which one of my friends would you date?” Don’t go near this one. It’s actually: “Which one of my friends do you think is hot?” in disguise. The best response I found is: “Well, it certainly wouldn’t be the one who had you killed.”
“If I were a man, would you still love me?” This is a test to see if your devotion is stronger than your sexual orientation. Answering “yes” is the easy way out. But, if she has friends, she’ll share this information, and it will come back on you like a razor-tipped boomerang. Your best response is: “How will I know it’s you?”
This will lead to an exhausting discussion about how a person could switch genders and still present valid ID. If she slips past that one, you can ask, with some irritation, why she felt the need to run off and “change teams” in the first place.
Eventually, she’ll beg you to turn on the television.