Advice

Miss Information

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Have a question? Email erin@nerve.com. Letters may be edited for length, content and clarity.
Miss Info returns from summer hiatus next week with an all-new Q&A, a reader contest, and a "go-getter" attitude.

In the meantime, run naked through a lawn sprinkler, flash the guy driving the ice cream truck, and enjoy this "Best Of" edition.
  

Dear Miss Information,

I’m in a bar, someone hits on me and I’m just not interested. What’s the polite way to handle it? I’m a female in my twenties. — Baby Blue



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Dear Baby Blue,
I like to think of guys at bars as telemarketers. Time is money, and the more time you spend listening to their spiel, the more guilty and attached you become. Also, that’s time that said guy could be spending talking to another (presumably more interested) girl. You think you’re being polite by spending all evening chatting with a guy you’re not into, but what you’re really doing is messing with his quota.
So what do you do? You learn how to reject. It’s grown-up, it’s empowering and it gets easier over time. A good rejection has two parts. The first part thanks the solicitor for their efforts, and the second issues the rejection in no uncertain terms, putting forth any additional rebuttals in a clear, consistent manner. The exact wording is up to you, but I find a little white lie like, "Thanks, but my friend and I haven’t seen each other in a while and we want to catch up," goes down easier than, "Go away, I don’t want to talk to you." A logistics-related excuse like, "No thanks, we’re leaving soon," is also handy, but then comes the pressure to make good on your claim. If the guy’s being ultra-persistent, go ahead and be a little more blunt. The "won’t take no for an answer" shtick is not at all adorable, and the sooner he learns that lesson, the better.
Most importantly, be kind. I have a girlfriend who brags about all the verbal smackdowns she puts on guys at clubs. Yeah, she’s sometimes funny, but she’s also been fired for being "abrasive" and complains that she can’t find a steady guy. I’d like to think these two facts are unrelated, but it’s the little everyday interactions that often have great bearing on your personal life.

 

Dear Miss Information,
I recently read the Nerve profile of an amazing-sounding girl and emailed her. She wrote back saying she was leaving the country for a year, but that I should tell her about myself. I’m prone to saying more than I should, particularly when I’m interested, so I wrote her a pretty long, rambling email. I closed by saying we should get together for a quick drink before she left. She didn’t write back. Did I fuck this up beyond repair? I don’t really care about not meeting her before she leaves, but I’d like to cultivate a friendship with her to whatever extent that’s possible. Is there any way to do that without seeming nuts? — Long-Distance Beginning



Dear Long-Distance Beginning,

You didn’t fuck anything up, but you are being a little dense. I know the idea of a long, slow courtship sounds really refreshing, like an electric fan on a naked ass, post-shower on a summer day. But very few people have the time and energy to email their family and friends, let alone establish an email courtship with someone they’ve never met. A woman who’s about to leave the country is not one of them.

It has nothing to do with you, Long Distance. I’m sure you’re swell. But even if you wrote the most perfect email, the kind that made baby angels fill their diapers with rainbows and kittens cry velvet tears of joy, you probably wouldn’t stand a chance. You’re geographically undesirable, and therefore low on her list of dating priorities.

Send her one more email if it’s going to keep you up at night, but keep it to three sentences max. The first acknowledges that there was a previous email sent but doesn’t rehash its contents: "Hey, I wasn’t sure if you got my previous email, I know you’re getting ready to leave for Italy/Timbuktu/BlowingMeOffizstan and you must be really busy." The second requests ongoing contact without making it sound like you’ve already picked out matching plots at the local cemetery: "So the timing isn’t ideal, but I’d love to be able to exchange emails once in a while and see how you’re doing in your new home."

That leads us to closing sentence number three, which gives her a graceful way out while laying the groundwork for future contact: "If you don’t have time for that kind of thing right now, I’ll hang onto your email address and maybe we can look each other up a year from now and see what’s happening."

If she writes back, great. If not, hit her up a year from now. Things could be way different. Or not.


Dear Miss Information,
I’m a woman in her early thirties. I haven’t been in a relationship in a long time and I’m having trouble re-entering the game. I inevitably end up sleeping with a guy too soon, and although I’m terrific in bed, I usually never hear from him again. I dread the notion that there’s some truth to "the rules," but I want to be loved. What’s your take on the "make a guy wait if you want him to stick around" theory? — Still Single (and Sexy) Gal


Dear Still Single,
Withholding sex won’t guarantee a guy will stay. However, if you’re looking for something serious, it’s not a bad move. More time = more information. More information = better decisions. Better decisions = an increased chance of finding your own version of Prince Charming and feeling better about yourself in the process. If you’re not used to reining it in, here’s a quick primer to get you started:
1. When you leave the house, have a clear idea of how far you want things to progress.
2. Don’t talk about anything ultra-personal ("My little sister once attempted suicide") or ultra-sexual ("I like it from behind"). Intimate conversation often opens the door to other intimate acts.
3. Don’t get drunk.
4. No, really. Don’t get drunk. Or high. Or stay out so late you can use it as an excuse to follow each other home.
5. Recognize when you’re rationalizing your horniness and/or basic lack of self-control with fatalistic arguments like, "Oh it doesn’t matter when we screw, it’s all going to end anyway."
6. Have something to look forward to when you get home. Knowing a fresh issue of The Enquirer is waiting by my bed has kept me from many an ill-advised one-night stand.

 


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©2007 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com