IMAGINE IF YOU WILL...
You're eating lunch with a group of diverse individuals, among which is your fun and pretty girl friend/friend-girl/girl-that-is-a-friend/I-frickin'-hate-the-term-girlfriend-but-I'll-address-that-in-a-later-post. She's telling you about how she hates her new haircut or how great her shopping spree was or how her mom has no idea what she's going through or something like that. You're doing your very best to listen and react when it feels appropriate. You may have even envisioned the pink shoes she described buying for 40% off, even though most of your mental attention is being used for chewing your food. Holy cow, you are an awesome friend.
Then conversation shifts to boys. One thing leads to another, and eventually, your Chick of Significant Interest drops the name or references the visage of a guy other than you.
We have all totally been here before. (If you haven't, you're either a dirty liar or you're just too dang awesome to even be reading this. You should be writing this stuff. And playing Smash Bros with us.) You immediately become panicked and fraught with emotion, yet you have to act as bored as if they were still talking about dumb shoes, because if they saw this turmoil well up within you, they would discover your feelings for this chick that you've worked so hard to bury beneath layers of machismo, but you long for her so desperately and now you're on the verge of losing her forever. The question rings in your mind: WHAT DO I DO???
One of two things is happening right now:
1! The chick has no idea that you like her because she is interested in someone with more muscles/sport skills/psychological disorders than you. If events follow their natural course, odds are she will try to date this other guy, then come back to you to talk about it! Why? Because YOU'RE SUCH A GOOD LISTENER!!!
Therefore, Rule #1 is DON'T BE "THE LISTENER!"
It is clear that you are considered by this girl to be something called an "Intellectual Whore" (a term coined in 1994 in Exeter, CA by Dallas Lynn after watching a movie wherein all the wives in the town are so stupid that the men hire prostitutes to have intelligent discourse with). This girl is trying to get with Mr. MuscleTard and only wants you for your ears. You are not special to her. You are one step below her gay friends.
At this point, you need to basically cut this chick loose. Talk more with your bro's at lunch, and keep your responses to her polite but succinct. Hide her from your IM, Facebook, and other social networking thingies so you don't think about her as much. Just divert as much attention away from her as you can without being rude or cold. Chances are, 86% of your brain and 10% of your body have been focused on winning this girl for a while now, and it needs to stop. You're torturing yourself, man. I have found video games to be an excellent alternative emotional outlet.
"But Wise Ones," some of you have been thinking while reading this post, "to be truly manly, shouldn't we men tune out what women say altogether?" You bring up an astute point. Most of what women say does not directly or immediately apply to us men and therefore does not need to be listened to. We have been trained through Natural Selection to listen for critical keywords, such as "naked," "trouble," and "sandwich." However, when you approach conversing with a female woman as a type of game, and listening to different topics give you different amounts of points, and racking up a certain number of points will get you a hug or date or make-out session, then it becomes a competition that you can win for yourself. And competing and winning are two very manly things.
Oh snap, I forgot the other thing that could be happening right now:
2! The chick TOTALLY KNOWS you like her and is playing MIND GAMES with you, in which case, you need to straight-up run out the door. Because you will lose that game. And losing is very not manly.