Whenever I’m near a youngish couple (in a Starbucks or Coffee Bean, inside a gas station convenience store, passing them on a sidewalk), nine times out of ten the guy is apparently saying something really hilarious because the woman is throwing her head back and laughing her ass off. She’s not just giggling or chortling — she’s howling and busting a gut.

I hardly ever hear couples having patient but intense conversations about whatever. They never seem to say to each other “I know, I know, but there’s another side to this” or “please just listen to me…I’m not saying that, I’m saying this.”

This is how some conversations between Tatyana and myself tend to go (not all of them but now and then). How many times do I say something that makes Tatyana shriek with laughter? It happens from time to time, but infrequently.

The best I can figure is that the couples I’m observing are either on first dates or just getting to know each other, and so the women are “performing” or, you know, projecting exuberant responses to whatever the guy is saying. They’re turning on the gush as a way of saying “you’re cool, I like you, you’re a brilliant alpha guy, keep it up.” But it feels so phony. Committed couples rarely howl with laughter at each other’s remarks. When you really get to know someone there aren’t that many secrets or surprises.

All I can say is that the fun couples are a real drag to be around or overhear. More often than not I look at them with expressions of slight disdain, and sometimes…I was going to say that I sometimes convey feelings of flat-out loathing, but I don’t actually do that. I feel the negativity, I mean, but I hide it. Just stop fucking laughing already.