Sometimes it’s best to hold your silence, and wait for the answers to present themselves.

1. “Is it my round?”
If you have to ask, you already know the answer.

2. “Can I have a pay rise?”
Even the meek are set to inherit the earth above the guileless.

3. “When are you due?”
This is the one – and possibly only – question you really want to know the answer to before you ask a woman.

4. “Can I get a decaf soy latte?”
No, you may not. Not if you want any woman in earshot to think there’s a trace of testosterone in your bloodstream. And what were you thinking for lunch – watercress and cucumber on a slice of cake? Washed down later with a light shandy, perhaps? Enough.

5. “What’s your star sign?”
This is the sort of banter women trade between each other with impunity at “book club”, but coming from a man it sounds vaguely creepy. Or merely transparent – like praising Army Wives or Private Practice.

6. “What’s the latest I can get this to you?”
A sure-fire confidence buster to bosses/customers/whoever. It implies that your grasp of that invaluable tool, the margin of error, is nonexistent. If anyone ever asks you this, lie and bring their deadline forward a week.

7. “How was that for you?”
Caring? Nah. This has needy written all over it. Unless of course your technique has brought her out in a mini-fit of the Mariah Careys, in which case you’re probably angling for praise.

8. “Who’s winning?”
It’s sport. Shut up, sit down and work it out for yourself, man!

9. “Mind if I smoke?”
Well, yes, we kind of do. But if you’re going to blow poisonous gas into our face if we say yes, who knows what you’ll do if we say no?

10. “Are you a natural blonde?”
One way to never find out if she’s guilty of bleach of promise. See also: “Are those your real boobs?’

11. “What would you like to do tonight?
In the early days of a romantic dalliance, benign dictatorships are very often successful, whereas anything that can be perceived as indecision will probably fall flat. It’s dinner. You’ve booked it, and she’ll damn well like it. See? Sexy, isn’t it?

12. “Who let the dogs out?”
Whassup? July 2000 just called, and it wants its memes back.

13. “Am I wrong? Am I wrong?!?”
As if anybody would dare tell you if you were.