Advice

Miss Information

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Miss Information is off this week, stocking up on canned cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes and miniature marshmallows. Check out Third Armpit, her personal blog, and enjoy this Thanksgiving edition of the best of Miss Information.

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



Hi Miss Info,

There’s this married woman who’s constantly responding to my personals profile looking for an affair. Not interested. This last time she was stupid enough to give me her personal contact info. I was doing some Googling and I found out all sorts of information about her! I know where she works and her street address. Her last name. I don’t do anything. Then she sends me a naked picture. This is out of line. (Although to be honest, she did look superb.) I want to go to her husband. I know who he is — he’s her number-one friend on MySpace. I’ve been in his situation. Looking at the pictures of the two of them I can only think that what she’s doing is disgusting. I want to tell him her secret. Do I? — Cheater Bait

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Dear Cheater Bait,

Here’s what happened the last time I went vigilante: I was waiting in line for the bathroom at a local bar. All of a sudden this guy comes sailing up, cruises past me, and starts trying the lock on the door. "Ah, EXCUSE ME," I say bitchily, tapping his shoulder. "I’m waiting. These people are too." Guy turns around, looks at me like he’s contemplating murder and goes, "I work here. I’m putting toilet paper in the bathroom. Touch me again and I’ll throw you out of this bar."

Ouch. Awkward. I still don’t regret what I did, but I wish I had assumed less and waited more before I opened my mouth. I could have also weighed the relative importance of letting someone pee before me in lieu of getting in an unnecessary confrontation with someone who could put a huge loogey in my Brooklyn Lager if he so desired. The take-away: You never know who you’re fucking with. You have no ties to this person. Therefore, there is less reason than ever for you to get involved. Block her from contacting you and move on.


Dear Miss Information,

I’m in a new relationship with a guy I’m really into. I know he’s really into me because he gets all mushy all the time about how much he cares for me. He expects me to reciprocate with equal amounts of mushy talk, but I just can’t do it. I’ve never been the kind of person to be able to put my feelings (love-y and mushy or otherwise) into words. He keeps asking me to tell him all my feelings, saying he feels like I don’t trust him since I can’t open up. I try, but I feel like I’m just repeating what he’s already said. I don’t know who’s at fault — him for pressuring me to get all "feelings" on him, or me for not being able to get all "feelings." How can I tell him to back off a little on all the mushy-gushy talk? Or maybe help him understand that I simply don’t get that way? Inexpressive

Dear Inexpressive,

When people ask for mushy-gushy they’re not necessarily going after words. They’re going after feelings . Their own, to be more specific. They want reassurance that the objection of their affection likes them — or even better, loves them — a whole mess. This knowledge makes them feel special, safe and secure. (I know that was a lot of marshmallow to sift through. Here’s a Joan Jett chaser.)

You’re in luck, Inexpressive, because you can communicate that same sentiment in a number of non-verbal ways: surprise car washes, bear hugs, volunteering to see that super-shitty movie he’s excited about and making it through the whole 137 minutes and previews without a single wiseass remark or complaint.

Before you go crazy with the cookiegrams and blowjobs, I want to warn you about something. There’s a difference between being inexpressive because you’re bad at it and being inexpressive because your feelings for the other individual are weak, non-existent, or waning. It’s common for people to convince themselves that they’re "just not that type." It relieves you from the spooky grunt work of facing your feelings and having awkward status talks — the kind of activity that can lead to a breakup.

I know the following sounds like it’s ripped from the Big Book of Advice Columnist Cop-Outs, but you’re really the only person who can decide that. If you’re still uncertain about how you feel — and I’d be surprised if you weren’t — I think you’ll get your answer anyway. If you’re really into him, you’ll keep trying and trying to get better. If he’s really into you, he’ll recognize your efforts for what they are and try to be more patient. You’re coming from different places — old high-school war wounds, recent relationships, your parents’ marriages. How well you can get away from the "my way is right, your way sucks" mindset will be a good indicator of whether or not you’ll make it.

Dear Miss Information,
Are looks the only thing that matter to women? I come across spectacularly over email. I’m witty and down-to-earth, and I always get quick responses. But once I send my picture to a woman, I never hear from her again. I’ve always thought I was decent-looking, but now I’m wondering. — Not Tom Cruise

Dear Not Tom Cruise,

Be glad you’re not Tom Cruise. Looks can only do so much, and most girls would take an average-looking Joe over a gorgeous egomaniac with phantom offspring and ties to a cult. A pretty smile is not enough — a guy’s got to have the whole kit and caboodle. Personality is part of that, but it sounds like you’ve got that covered. Girls are responding to your emails in a timely fashion and are interested in setting up dates. So where are you going wrong? Obviously, it’s your photos. Some steps to take before you attach your next attachment:

1. Look as Good as You Can. Get a better haircut (hint: it should cost more than ten dollars), shave that mess on your chin and spend a few bucks on fashion rags. You don’t need to run right out and buy that three-hudnred-dollar tie you saw on page seventy-six, but you do need to get a feel for colors, fabrics and cuts. Even simpler: pick a man-crush and copy whatever he’s wearing.

2. Take the Best Picture You Can. A successful personals picture is all about balance. You want candid, but not candid where you’ve got one hand on a girl and the other is holding a bottle of tequila. Clear and in-focus are a given, but you don’t want it to be so close that the viewer can see every broken capillary. Send her more than one photo if you like, but not an entire collection. You’re not auditioning to be a Barbizon model.

3. Find Someone to Tear it Apart. We’ve already established that you’re not the best judge of your photos. That’s why you need to do what celebs do: recruit some outside help. Get several of your best shots, and ask your friends and family to rank them. Use only the top ones. You can also post photos anonymously on a forum and ask strangers for their opinion. The upside is more privacy, the downside is the majority of feedback will be from thirteen-year-old trolls. If you’re lucky (and have a strong ego), you may get some useful advice.



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©2008 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com