From Ask Figaro:
My boyfriend is a football fanatic and likes to spend his entire day on Sunday watching football. I am super busy with school and don’t even enjoy watching football all that much. But when he gives me that “puppy dog” look it is so hard for me to say no, so I will turn to him and say, “Okay, but just for a minute.” As I lie down he will say sweet things such as “I just love you so much and I want you to enjoy the things I enjoy. I know you are tired you have had such a busy week — just lay here and we can cuddle and have a lazy day.”
Well. how do you say no to this? My boyfriend and I have a great relationship and we spend as much time together as we can, but unfortunately we are both very busy and have little time to relax together. In the end I usually spend the entire day watching football. However, the next day I am even more stressed because I didn’t accomplish what I needed to.
What do you think?
Figaro fantasizes in the shower about being Dear Abby. So let’s analyze Football Boy’s argument and gin up a defense for each one:
Pathos: F.B. appeals to your caring instincts. Why do women fall for that stupid “puppy look,” anyway? To defend against it, use humor — “Oh, no, not the puppy dog look! I can feel its tractor beam!” In other words, counter a stupid expression with a stupid expression.
Ethos: Football Boy uses the character trait of EUNOIA, or disinterested good will, by claiming he cares only for your mutual happiness. Use this ju-jitsu move against it: “I think it’s great you want to share. Turn off the TV so we can list those things we both love.”
Logos: F.B. employs the ENTHYMEME, “You’re tired, therefor lie with me.” (Figaro is deliberately fixing the poor boy’s grammar.) Your counterargument? “I’d be less tired if you helped me clean up.”
Ignore Figaro’s advice at your peril! Without a strong dose of rhetoric, you’re doomed to be Football Boy’s servant — with privileges.