treat them mean, keep them keen

treat them mean, keep them keen

Neglecting a romantic partner (or a potential romantic partner) keeps them interested in you. A: "Why hasn't Tom called me yet? I thought he liked me." B: "Maybe he thinks that 'treat them mean, keep them keen' actually works."
See also: keen, keep, treat
References in periodicals archive ?
Back in Weatherfield, it becomes clear that Johnny is falling for Jenny, but she decides to adopt the 'treat them mean, keep them keen' approach to their blossoming relationship.
They say in the West, 'Treat them mean, keep them keen,' so is Ahlam right?
The ICM survey found modern man is more likely to cry than pick a fight but still believes the 'treat them mean, keep them keen' motto with regards to women.
More than three-quarters of male Britons admit they subscribe to the old "treat them mean, keep them keen" adage in relationships with women, and one in three said they would be uncomfortable with a female boss.
More than three-quarters of male Britons admit they subscribe to the old 'treat them mean, keep them keen' adage in relationships with women - and one in three said they would be uncomfortable with a female boss.
And the worst Treat them mean, keep them keen - that's rubbish