Advice

Miss Information

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Have a question? Email erin@nerve.com. Letters may be edited for length, content and clarity.



Dear Miss Information,

I see this cute bouncer every two weeks or so at a place I frequent. Initially there was some vague flirting, but for the past two months the flirtations have increased tenfold. Last time I showed up, he literally got on one knee and bowed to me! He told me this would be just the beginning, if we were actually alone together. He has my MySpace, so he knows how to contact me, yet he doesn’t. I’ve always been receptive — very receptive, actually — to his flirtations, so what gives? — Confused in Jersey

Dear Confused,

Unless you count the airport, it’s been awhile since I’ve gone anywhere that requires a special procedure before entry. And the last time I hit on a bouncer was at a strip club. I was trying to flirt my way into free admission and got totally denied. Who knew awkward small talk and a moderately risqué tank top couldn’t compete with an endless array of exposed boobs?

Since I lack the hands-on experience to answer your question, I decided to call in an expert. Rob the Bouncer has been a velvet-rope jockey for years and writes a hilarious blog about his experiences. Here’s what he had to say:

Be careful. I can’t speak for the guy who’s flirting with you, but most bouncers I know don’t take the women they meet in bars or clubs seriously. This is because most of the women we deal with have few qualities that would compel us to spend time with them in anything other than a horizontal position.
You’ll have to overcome this perception, if you’re looking for anything more than this bouncer carting you home for an awkward and rushed post-shift turn in the sack. And trust me, going home with a bouncer after he’s been standing around getting his eardrums blasted out for eight hours isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. You also need to realize that bouncers sometimes do things just to relieve the boredom of watching other people enjoy themselves for hours. We talk to people to kill time, and then we forget about them and everything else as soon as we walk out the door.
I’d suggest taking a more proactive approach instead of just being "receptive." He probably doesn’t know you’re interested. You say he has your MySpace and hasn’t attempted to contact you? Get his MySpace. Contact him instead. Make him think about you when he’s not at the bar. Let him know you’re more than just a time-filler.

If you want to read more of Rob, and believe me, you do — the man is a primo storyteller, and one of his favorite words is "slapdick" — check out his book, Clublife: Thugs, Drugs, and Chaos at New York City’s Premier Nightclubs.


Dear Miss Information,

Five years ago I met a wonderful guy in France. We spent an amazing few weeks together and fell in love. Small problem: I’m British, he’s American, and we had to go back to our home countries. We’re still in love, though we only see each other once or twice a year. My friends ask, "How does it work?" Truthfully, it doesn’t. We never agreed on rules, so we’ve both slept with other people, felt guilty, confessed and decided we didn’t want to keep hurting each other. But celibacy with the occasional dash of phone sex thrown in is no way to live!

Owing to visa restrictions, I can’t emigrate for a good three years. He doesn’t ever want to leave his home city. In addition, he’s too worried about losing his (very good) job to ask for time off to see me, and I don’t make enough to take more than one trans-Atlantic flight each year. His solution is to get married but isn’t it crazy to marry someone, just to find out if you can live with them for the rest of your life? I’m being asked to make a huge sacrifice for someone who’s not prepared to make one for me. I’ve thought about it so much I don’t know what I think anymore. Is he selfish, or am I? — Frozen to the Spot


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Dear Frozen to the Spot,

It’s not just him: both of you are selfish and full of excuses. You want to be together, but you want it to be low-cost, risk-free and convenient. Are you aware you’re on different continents? Do I have to whip out a map for you kids?

You have three options. One: break up. Two: move this sucker to the next level. Three: keep blaming each other. You’ve gotten number three out of the way. Now it’s time to think about what’s next. Immediate marriage doesn’t sound like the best option, given the circumstances. You two can’t figure out how to see each other more than twice a year. How would you tackle the thornier problems that marriage would inevitably bring?

I’m skeptical when he says he’ll be shitcanned from his "very good job" for taking a vacation. He needs to learn to be more assertive, or start looking for a job that will let him take time off. If he wants to badly enough, he’ll do it. And what about you, Frozen? You don’t make enough money to go over there more than once a year? Why not? Edit your budget, start a change jar, or sell stuff on eBay, but get the ball rolling. Build your skills, find a mentor and look for a gig you like as much as your present job but that pays more. If you want to badly enough, you’ll do it.

You both are treating each other’s physical presence as a negotiable. It has to be a non-negotiable. I can see this working with marriage or without. I’ve known couples who delayed marriage in favor of years’-long courtship, and those who went all kamikaze into wedded bliss. (What do they say in England? "Knickers down"? "Bloody fucking crazy"?). Both achieved the same result, and went on to have the same joys and trials that go into any regular union. The important thing is that you make a decision, together. Then make mutual concessions, so that whoever feels like they’re giving up more also feels comfortable with that risk.

Readers, are any of you in cross-continental relationships? Feel free to chime in.



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©2008 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com