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The young fellow was a shy sort and desperately insecure in the presence of girls. Hoping to improve his social standing he sought advice from his father.

"My boy," said he, "All you need to do in order to open a conversation is start with one remark. "Let me give you three topics guaranteed to do the job: family, food, and philosophy. "Simply remark on one of these topics and the girl is sure to start talking. "From whatever she says you will make a further comment, and then the process repeats. "It never fails."

Accordingly, when next the boy found himself with a young lady, the usual silence quickly enveloped them. Remembering his father's advice he forced himself to make a comment on one of the sure-fire topics:

"Do you have a brother?"

"No!" she replied.

Completely crushed, the fellow sat in silence once again. Had she just said "yes" any number of possibilities would have been open to him, but it was not to be. After several false starts he remembered the second topic and tried again:

"Do you like noodles?"

"No!" came the equally laconic response.

Again thoroughly dismayed he was at a loss. Food and cooking would have been so productive an area for conversation, and might have lead to an Italian dinner, but this too had failed.

At last, worn down by the strain, he fell back on the third topic, philosophy, and began with great hesitation:

"Tell me, if you had a brother, would he have liked noodles?"