How to Make the First Move

Love Advice from a Love Buffoon

I did it. I found the courage to talk to the red-haired girl in the computer center. Sort of.

I took a seat in the swivel chair across from her desk, and stammered my way through an introduction. She was a bit dubious but friendly; her name was Chelsie, she said. I grasped for small-talk straws. What really threw me off my game, though, was the fact that the mechanism for adjustable height on the chair I’d chosen was broken, so every thirty seconds the chair would cluck a loud click and slip an inch down. Valiantly, I forged on, but I could barely squeeze out a thought, I was so anxious about the next jolt. Chelsie, for her part, could barely contain her laughter. I suppose my botched attempt might have seemed endearing, but I just felt red-faced and incoherent. At last, I leapt from the chair, told her I’d love to hang out sometime, passed her my email address and phone number-as our reader Kylie from Ontario had suggested in my last column-and booked for stable ground.

Two days later, Chelsie emailed me. She’d enjoyed meeting me, she said, and appreciated that I’d stopped by to chat. However, she had a boyfriend who she was absolutely crazy about, so she wouldn’t be able to go out on a date with me. Still, she said, any break from the computer center’s monotony was a welcome one-she encouraged me to come by and hang out with her at her desk any time I found her there. It was about as generous and gracious a rejection as you could ever hope to receive. Even if I felt a little bit disappointed, I was warmed by her friendly and open response. A few times since, I’ve stopped by to chat it up with her. The first time was maybe a little awkward, but now it’s become a nice friendship, and our conversations help me get through each long night of work at the computer.

Do I still have some kind of lingering hope that something could develop one day between me and her? Perhaps. But mostly, it’s just nice to make a new friend, to find connection with a stranger. I’ve heard single friends complain that they have enough friends already-what they really want is a boyfriend or a girlfriend. But my theory is this: the more friends you have, the more folks who could potentially introduce you to your future mate. Maybe one day Chelsie will come to her senses and realize I’m the only man for her-or maybe through her I’ll meet another cool girl who I’m even more compatible with. The bottom line is, introducing myself to her, though difficult and embarrassing, was a really great thing. If any of you readers are nurturing secret crushes that you’ve been too shy to act on, I’m tellin’ you: go for it! Say hi, chat it up, pass on your contact info, and see what happens. Your friendly directness will be appreciated.

OK, enough about my own derailed advances, let’s go to the mailbag!

Hi Davy,

Why does my on-again off-again boyfriend David think he can bring me French fries in the middle of the night and then make a move on me? Who does that? Oh wait, a guy who just got out of a rehab facility that used electrodes to make him sober. Why does David treat me with more respect and consideration when we aren’t “together”? Oooh, and my carrot peeler thing broke while I was trying to make dinner yesterday and I sliced my finger with it… ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Somebody love me please!!!!!!

-Marie in Houston, Texas

Hi there Marie! Finally, a question where I’m qualified to give advice. Target stocks a nice carrot peeler with a rubber grip which helps provide leverage and decreases the possibility of bloodying yourself. It lists at $12.99. There’s a cheaper model for $7.99, but I recommend splurging for the more expensive one with the rubber grip.

Your real question here seems to revolve around David’s hot and cold treatment of you. If he wants to make a move on you, he needs to know that French fries alone won’t do the trick. I mean, come on, dude, how ’bout a Double Whopper with Cheese? My guess is that David is scrambled about what he wants out of his relationship with you-and I don’t think it’s just the electrodes. He seems to only want to be with you when it’s convenient for him, like late at night, or when he’s drunk. And I suspect that every time he comes by, saying nice things and apologizing for his mistakes, you’re quick to open the door and let him back in.

Marie, you need to create firm boundaries for your relationship with David. He needs to know that he must treat you with respect and kindness all the time, whether you’re “together” or not. When you train a dog, you’ve got to make clear rules and enforce them or they’ll keep peeing on the rug and snatching food off the dining room table. Training a guy is the same. Stick to your guns. Demand better, more consistent treatment from him. You deserve the happiness and stability that a reliable boyfriend will bring you. If David doesn’t shape up, it’s time to find a new carrot to chew on.

Dear Davy,

My brother-let’s call him “Adam”-lives in Vancouver, and his longtime girlfriend-let’s call her “Ingrid”-lives in Winnipeg. They’ve been together five years, living in separate cities only the past year. The past few months, Adam has been cheating on Ingrid with girls in Vancouver. The thing is, he really loves Ingrid, but he doesn’t seem passionately in love with her. I’m sure Ingrid must know about his infidelities, but she’s been ignoring the facts because she’s so determined for them to be together. Now, Ingrid is planning on moving to Vancouver to join Adam, with plans of marriage. I think Adam is going to go through with it and marry her, but I’m fearful about their trajectory. Davy, can a marriage work if two people love each other but aren’t in love?

-Aidan in Vancouver, B.C.

What up Adam! Thanks for the great question, but let’s drop all the tomfoolery-this isn’t your brother writing in, it’s obviously you. Level with me, I’ll level with you, OK?

Look, the hot hot heat of a relationship’s early days are thrilling and dazzling, but that fiery energy endures only so long. Lasting marriage is more of a slow burn, built on a foundation of close friendship and mutual respect. If you have a deep love and admiration for Ingrid, if you’ve got physical chemistry, if you think she’d be a great mother to your children-those are the things you need to look for in a life partner. That in love stuff comes and goes.

At the same time, before you say your vows, you need to consider how ready you are for the big leap. If you’ve been cheating on Ingrid the past few months, are you really ready to commit to her now? You’re mistaken if you think you can get hitched, keep cheating, and dodge the consequences. Now is the time for you to decide what you truly want from your relationship with Ingrid. If you wait until she moves out to Vancouver and ties the knot with you, and then decimate her heart by continuing to cheat, I’ll buy the woman a carrot peeler myself and encourage her to peel something of yours besides your carrots.

All right-thanks for all of the great questions y’all been sending in! Don’t be shy-if something’s on your mind, let me know. I’m here to answer your questions about love, sex, and relationships, and I respond personally to every question I receive. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks with lots more advice. Peace out for now!

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