One night, I told my girlfriend she was really hot. She kept asking if there was anyone hotter. I ended up saying Beyonce did have a little bit on her, then jokingly added, “Sorry, you’re only hotter than 99.99 percent of the women in the world.” Now, she brings it up all the time, crying to me because she wants me to think she’s the absolute hottest girl in the world. She knows she’s being unreasonable, but she feels bad, and I love her and want to make her feel better. What can I do? —Foot Stuck in Mouth “Boyfriend, Boyfriend, (soon-to-be strung up?) on the wall, who’s the hottest of them all?” There’s no time like the present to stop using that cavity in your skull to store spare change and Grandpa’s cufflinks, and return that blob of gray matter to its original resting place. Sure, you were just being honest, or trying to seem honest, by limiting the number of women who’ve got a little hot on your girlfriend to one leggy, gorgeous, international rock star with skin like spun gold. That isn’t the dumbest declaration you could make. That would probably be informing a 250-lb. tattooed biker dude that he looks the type to wear lacy panties when he’s home alone. Contrary to what you may have heard, the truth will not set you free. Trying to make up for telling it, however, is likely to liberate a number of your hard-earned dollars from the confines of your wallet, and send them flying into the cash register of the nearest jeweler. Tears are liquid Kryptonite for most men. A well-placed bit of “Boo-hoo, doo-hoo whatever I say” will shrivel even a tower of virility and intellect into a whimpering lap dog awaiting his mistress’ next order: “Sit! Roll over! Fetch!” (And, if you fetched her jewelry the last time she got weepy, perhaps you’d be kind enough to think mink or vacation property this time around?) There comes a time when the guy’s got to tell the girl to cut the crazy. Your girlfriend knows full-well she’s no Beyonce. That’s why she’s crying to you, not her boyfriend the rapper, the movie star, or the guy who commutes to work in his private jet. By letting the Beyonce brouhaha drag on, you’re sending the message that tears do indeed work; that today is the first day of the rest of your lifelong manipulation. To permanently retire from your burgeoning career as a man-puppet, be prepared to put your foot down immediately — and repeatedly, if necessary — whenever a woman tries to pass off the inane and ridiculous as sensible and sane. If that doesn’t get you to reasonable, toss her back into the dating pool like a too-small trout. Do remember that daily compliments are not only the best way to keep a woman feeling happy and secure, they’re your best protection against being asked no-win questions like “Tell me the truth: Does my butt look fatter?” The regress is always greener I recently dated a girl on the rebound. I usually avoid doing this, but two friends married girls who’d just left relationships when they met. Plus, this girl was everything I wanted. Unfortunately, after three months, she was back with her ex, and my hopes were crushed. Were my friends just lucky? Or are there signs I should look out for? —Alone Again In a perfect world, you would go on dates armed with a checklist: Does she eat her peas or arrange them into her ex’s name? Does she answer mundane questions about her childhood by blurting out, “He took the dog, the apartment, and the best years of my life!”? And then, the biggie: Has she crawled under the table and curled up in a fetal position? Unfortunately, dating in general is like wandering blindfolded across a busy intersection, only there’s a chance of getting a little action before you get flattened. While you could ask mutual friends, if any, about her state of mind, or probe her about her ex to see whether she comes off more involved than apathetic, maybe the sensible approach is accepting that getting crushed from time to time is the price of possibly having love in your life.