POSTED ON OCTOBER 8, 2008:
The Advice Goddess
Sublets Get It On
I'm a 25-year-old woman who spends an exorbitant amount of hours daydreaming about this 28-year-old guy I met nine months ago. We're both musicians, and both tired of the games men and women play. He tells me I'm an absolute catch, and leans in when we talk in the hall like he's trying to get closer. He has said he's timid with girls he likes, plus I told him, "When I really like a guy, I tell him so." Oops. I later backpedaled, explaining that I wait till the last possible moment. I'm just aching to reveal my feelings, but have only made hints while we've both been drunk, and I don't think they've registered. Oh, yeah, did I mention he's my roommate? What if he isn't interested? What if I lose a tenant and a friend? How can I broach the topic of taking our friendship to the next level without scaring him away?
--Mooning For My Roomie
Just get in bed with the guy and see if he complains. Say something only vaguely explanatory. Like "I saw a bug." Or "I had a bad dream." Or "Whoops! There was a lot of fog in the hallway, and I guess I got lost on the way back from the bathroom."
The worst thing you could do is lay your feelings out like a big, dead carp. Guys normally aren't huge fans of the old "Can we talk about the relationship?" They're particularly icked out by hearing it from a woman they have yet to even feel up. Plus, if you spell out interest that isn't reciprocated -- "I've spent nine months festering with lust for you!" -- there's no taking it back. An unreciprocated move, on the other hand, can be pretended away: You were drunk. You don't know what came over you. Maybe it was the fog!
You say you're tired of "games." (That's funny, because you're playing one, just not an effective one.) When somebody claims they hate "games," they usually mean they hate their situation -- no boyfriend or girlfriend -- but they're too scared and lazy to change it. "Chance rejection? No way!" "Work on my flirting? Um, actually, I'm much more comfortable sitting on my couch waiting for the burning meteorite of love to crash through my roof and land in my lap." Meanwhile, had you made moves on this guy, you could've been in a relationship with him all this time or over him in a few weeks. Instead, you've spent almost a year decoding what it means when he leans toward you in the hall. (Yeah, maybe he likes you -- or maybe he's a bit deaf after years in a rock band.)
You can spend the next nine months following the guy around the apartment with a little curl of drool hanging from your mouth -- or decide it's worth it to you to risk losing a tenant and a friend. Actually, if he is into you, you should lose a tenant, since it's ill-advised to move in together before the first date. As for losing a friend, okay, not super-fun, but surely there are more where this one came from. Finally, let's say he doesn't share your feelings. Maybe you can stay roomies and friends -- if you can accept, without going all weird, that he's never going to ask if you, uh, wanna see his etchings. In fact, like one half of some old married couple, you may eventually become convinced your head will explode if you have to ask him one more time to pick his etchings up off the &%#!@$ living room floor.
Who's Yer Fatty?
For eight years, I've had a "friends with benefits" arrangement with a buddy. He's always been stocky, but recently, he's gotten fat, and is no longer attractive to me. He's expressed disappointment that I've gone off the relationship. How do you say "Hey, lose some weight" without shattering the fragile male ego? Or do you?
--Boy Toy Turning Into A Boy Tank
The fragile male ego hears "You've exceeded the weight limit for your benefits package," and snaps, "Why, I'm never uncrossing my legs for you again!" Luckily, it's no match for the steel-belted male sex drive: "What time did you say the gym opens?" Of course, it's easier to avoid the fat chat altogether, but kinder to let a guy know it's not a performance issue, just a cosmetic one. Don't be cruel, but do keep in mind that men respond to hints like they respond to dog whistles, and be blunt enough that he gets the message: Lift weights, not forks. More fat, less fun. Help him keep his chins up with positive reinforcement; for example, the reminder that you two really aren't all that far from the bed -- just maybe 200 or so miles by treadmill.
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