Ladies*, we’ve all been there. We all know this pain. It’s the most relatable part of any superhero movie you’ve ever seen: You’ve got a job to do, and a guy in your way who just doesn’t know when to quit with the monologues.
You’re trying to sleep; he won’t quit nattering on about Fortnite.
You made a nice dinner, and all he talks about is this high-gravity beer he found that tastes like a kitchen towel fell into a sidewalk puddle.
You were promoted months ago at work, and have yet to inform him, because he saw a cool dog on his way home. Every day. It’s the same dog, every day.
You love him dearly. But don’t you ever wish your man would just stop?
You need help, and it’s on the way. Presented to the public, for the first time ever: The “OK, Batman” Protocol. When executed correctly, it is undefeated** both in laboratory conditions and in field testing.
Here follows the process. Please review all steps before launching your first attempt, and adhere to them carefully.
PART ONE: The Arrest. Much like the Caped Crusader himself, your journey towards justice (well, peace, anyway) begins by stopping a robbery already in progress. The thief in this scenario is your partner; the stolen goods, your time and energy. It is crucial to take this first step before your mental and emotional bandwidth is completely drained; a convincing sell job here provides vital foundational support to steps two and three.
The physical component of this step is quite simple. Sitting or standing out of your partner’s line of sight, push your shoulders up towards your ears as high as they’ll go. Next, thrust your shoulders back, as far as they’ll go while maintaining that height. Then, drop your shoulders to as close of a natural resting position as possible, while maintaining the backward thrust of the previous motion. Notice how this set of movements affects your posture. Do you feel in charge? You do, don’t you?
Now, notice the position of your chin. The protocol requires sustained eye contact, from as close as you can get to a dead-on angle. Is your natural speaking stance one of talking down? If so, lower your chin to enable yourself to meet your partner’s eyes directly. Do you tend to speak with a lowered face, perhaps up through your eyelashes? They’re beautiful, but now is not the time. Raise your chin to increase the strength of your gaze.
If you ever played double-dutch as a child, you’re well positioned to master this final element of your initial onslaught. Do not wait for a lull in your man’s monologue; if these speeches came with spots to get a word in edgewise, none of this would be necessary in the first place. Breathe in deeply through your nose, and at the next available syllable of silence, jump in. This may not be at a sentence break; in fact, it probably won’t be. But sooner or later, most men do need to breathe. (If yours is an exception, hearty congratulations to you both.)
Smile. For many of you, this may be the most daunting step of all, but in order for any of this to work, you have to beam, and you have to mean it. Let it reach your eyes. Fix those sunny eyes on your partner’s, lay your hand on his forearm, and in the brightest, most melodious voice you can muster, utter these words:
Well begun is, in this case, more than half done. Most of what remains of this guide will describe the cascading effects of the protocol on your partner, but a robust and sustained follow-through effort on your part will speed both of you on your separate ways. In football, this is what’s known as “finishing the drill.”
To complete part one: Upon unleashing the words, hold your partner’s gaze, and your cheerful countenance, for the space of one heartbeat. A count of “one, Mississippi” may help beginners here. Advanced users may attempt a single blink before proceeding. Everyone else, continue immediately to part two.
PART TWO: The Escape. This step of the protocol employs body language and your surrounding environment to make it clear to your partner that “OK, Batman” was the end of the conversation (such as it was). Speed and decisiveness at this point are of the essence. In part one, you were instructed to breathe in through your nose. By the time you inhale again, you need to be in motion. Remove your hand from its position on your partner’s arm, and break eye contact with a lateral motion to either side. From here on in, with one possible exception detailed in “TROUBLESHOOTING”, you must avoid eye contact, without drawing attention to that avoidance.
Return your full attention to the task at hand. If you’re cooking, turn back to the stove. If you’re driving, turn on the radio. If you’re in bed, close your eyes. Whatever you do, do not acknowledge that anything out of the ordinary has occurred.
And while this is happening, here’s what’s happening to your partner: Having been brought up short by the introduction of Batman into the conversation – it is this halt from which “The Arrest” derives its name – your man will be plunged into a momentary state of utter confusion. Did he hear you correctly? Had his mind been wandering? When did comic books come up? He may mentally rewind the most recent portion of his speechifying, in a hunt for clues.
This induced state can vary in length, but it never lasts long, so be sure to use the time wisely to demonstrate that you have moved on with your day. A constant smile is no longer required at this point, but keep your demeanor as outwardly pleasant as possible. A silent reassurance that nothing is amiss will help ensure a smooth transition to part three.
PART THREE: The Afterglow. Having considered and discarded all possible avenues of misunderstanding between the two of you, and observed you continuing on your merry way, your man will now find himself enveloped in a warm cloud of radiance – invisible, but balmy. She thinks I’m like Batman, he’ll conclude, and will find no great impulse to question your reasoning. After all, isn’t he handsome, even while brooding? A charming public figure with a fearsome private alter ego? Possessing of hidden depths? With careful practice, you may eventually be able to subtly cut your eyes towards him for just long enough to see a smile begin to creep over his face. Yeah. YEAH. I AM Batman. Thanks, babe.
This reverie will take some time to dissipate, with any luck enabling you to accomplish whatever endeavor you’d been interrupted at, and neither party will be unhappy while you’re doing so. In exceptional cases, your man may even descend into a superhero fantasy of his own, starring himself as the costumed crimefighter beloved by all of Gotham. Are you not merciful? Congratulations on all your success.
TROUBLESHOOTING. In rare cases, a particularly recalcitrant specimen of man will balk between parts two and three of the protocol, and may demand an explanation. Delay this explanation for as long as you can – turn up the music, change lanes, or simply pretend not to have heard him. If pressed, execute the following backup sequence at a brisk pace:
- Angle your body towards your target, but do not face him directly.
- Glance toward your man, but do not make direct eye contact. Keep your eyes focused in the middle distance, and allow him to see you permitting yourself a small smile. This expression should be less radiant than that employed in part one, but no less genuine.
- In a thoughtful, loving tone, utter the following series of words: “I guess you just remind me of Batman.”
- Return immediately to your chosen task. This should clear up any lingering obstacles between your subject and the quiet bliss afforded to you both by part three.
FURTHER STUDY IS NEEDED. The OK, Batman Protocol is not designed to work in reverse, and should not be attempted. At time of publication, due to the sample size limitations of our own household and workplace, field research has been narrowly focused; as such, we cannot confidently state that the OK, Batman Protocol will function outside the confines of cishet interactions. We gladly welcome additional data from relationships of all kinds to assist in the assembly of a more inclusive data set.
Please email your findings to firstname.lastname@example.org (confidentiality guaranteed), or share online via the hashtag #CallHimBatman.
USER WARNINGS. Like Batman, the peace you bring using the OK, Batman Protocol will be short-lived.
Deploy with care, as repeated use may result in dramatically diminished utility.
Know your subject. To be told you are Batman is to be trapped in the cloak of another’s making. (After all, Batman is forever.)
*Gender remains a social construct; thank you for patronizing our college football website.
**The OK, Batman Protocol will backfire spectacularly in the event your partner is, in fact, secretly Batman.