I am in our weekend getaway hotel room watching Melissa follow the rules for dating. She is sprawled on the sofa reading while I brush my teeth with her toothbrush because I forgot mine.

I snap a picture of her brush in my mouth. I play with animal filters. It seems like I’m too old for Snapchat, but she tells me, “You create content for a living! How can you ignore Snapchat?!?”

She says when you give a guy a compliment, he does not want something specific from a woman.

This is our life, now. I am trying to get competent at Snapchat and she is trying to get competent at compliments.

I tell her that at work you are supposed to give specific compliments. Like, if you just say good job then the person feels like you didn’t really notice anything he did. Also, people assume you are being more genuine when you are more specific.

For you cynics who are thinking of clicking away right now, you will be thrilled to hear that compliments make you more money. And they lay the groundwork for you to be able to rip the head of a co-worker later with impunity. In fact, when I searched how to give a co-worker a compliment I got a slew of articles in the search results about insulting a co-worker.

Maybe the reason it’s so hard for successful women to date is that men who aren’t your co-workers want to hear something like, “I really had such an amazingly great time. It was so very fun.”

Notice all the unnecessary modifiers in that sentence. They are not unnecessary to men. This is what Melissa tells me that her book tells her.

This advice rings true to me because I say to my husband all the time, “I love you,” and he tells me that is not a good way to make him feel good. He wants to be told he’s competent.

So now I tell him things like, “Thank you for making sure the cat placenta was not on the porch when I got home.”

Melissa sits on the sofa now, writing odd missives to her new boyfriend who was not her new boyfriend for very long before he had to take a long business trip.

I say, “Are those breasts real?”

Her breasts are very big and very real, so it’s a little joke. It’s a compliment joke. Which I make instead of saying, “You look way too thin and I’m worried about you.” Telling Melissa that you’re worried about how thin she is – that’s something she hears as a compliment, as in: get even skinnier and I’ll love you even more!

She made the new guy sign up for Snapchat because she loves it so much. She did not make him, of course, because that is against the rules. She lured him. You have to give the guy chances to make you happy. She gave him the Snapchat chance and he was up to the task.

The guys sends her handwritten hearts on Snapchat. Which makes me get all romantic and call my husband to tell him he is so great and I’m really really appreciative that he took care of the kids this weekend.

He says, “You have to come home early. I can’t take it any more.”

That is not my love language.

I try to stonewall him by creating an annoyingly asynchronous conversation about a serious topic, but I give in to come back early after he texts to me: “I hate you.”

I tell Melissa I need more attention because I am having to leave early.

Melissa is showing me how to put my hair in a bun. She says she likes my bangs but a bun is not a pony tail that failed. A bun is a bun. And she is the only person who likes my bangs.

My husband really doesn’t like my bangs. He saw me cutting them, in the bedroom, onto the floor, when we were supposed to be in the car driving to cello. He said, “We have to go or we’ll be late.” But he meant, We have to go before you start cutting yourself instead of your hair.

I am fast at cutting bangs. Seven-inch scraps drop to the floor. I think maybe he is right. That this is a cry for help. So I take extra care to make sure the bangs are even so no one can accuse me of being a drama queen.

With Melissa I realize I was just trying to find something I could actually get done. I wanted an accomplishment.

I do a few Snapchats and I see that she screenshotted one. It takes a lot of effort to save a snap, so I breath a sigh of relief: A compliment on my content is the best I can hope for right now.