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 met an amazing girl recently. Our first date actually turned into a first weekend together. After that hot start, I agreed to be exclusive with her. But I just found out that she’s also been "exclusive" with another guy, whom she met days after we did! He and I discovered that our three months were also their three months. We’re both shocked by the depth of her deception. Which leads to my question: Is this normal behavior? Any explanation you can offer? — Completely Snowed

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Dear Completely Snowed,
Looks fade and achievements lose their thrill, but one of our most treasured possessions is our ability to judge other people. It carries us through every interaction, from mundane stuff like picking a checkout lane to more important matters, like what company you work for and whom you hire to watch your kids. If you don’t trust yourself to make good calls, it’s rough going out there.
But most of us do make solid calls, Completely Snowed. While it’s true that fucking around is rampant and many people cheat, there’s also a sizeable number who stay out of this nonsense altogether. They may not be perfect and may have a slip-up or two in their pasts, but you can count on them not to lead double lives or engage in elaborate, three-month-long ruses.
You bobbed and bit a rotten apple. It could happen to anybody. It’s one thing if you consistently wind up with a wormy Macintosh, perhaps unconsciously drawn to this damaged type. Some people prefer to play the victim, keying cars and complaining to friends rather than engaging in any sort of self-discovery. On the other hand, sometimes it’s just the luck of the draw.
While we’re on the investigative tip, have you done a cross-check and given this woman a chance to refute all the jive this other man has said? I once had a coworker convince me a new coworker was making the moves on my man. Turns out there were no moves, she was just jealous of the new friendship. Some asking around revealed that the exact same thing had happened to a different girl a few months before. In this case, it sounds pretty far-fetched. But just in case, you might want to consider whether it’s all coming from him or if you have other, outside sources of evidence.

Dear Miss Information,
I’m a thirty-four-year-old guy into naturism. Recently some friends and I shed our clothes while hanging out at the beach. I have a huge foot fetish and, while that doesn’t seem important, it became a problem when a friend of a friend showed off her pedicure. The unwritten naturist rule is to simply ignore displays of arousal, which everyone except this girl did. She stared at my growing member while wiggling her toes and playing with her toe ring. I don’t know if she thought my foot fetish was fun or freaky, but I can’t stop thinking about her. Most women don’t get the whole foot-worship fetish. Then again, she did use her peds to get me stiff. Should I call her? Is she a fellow foot freak or just a tease? — Not-So-Footloose

 

Dear Not-So-Footloose,

You remind me of my roommate and myself trying to score weed in college. We couldn’t just come out and ask. Instead, we’d go dorm room to dorm room, searching for visual clues (lighters? Cap’n Crunch?), asking inane questions ("I said, do you have any fresh produce for sale?") and conducting hallway sniff-test sweeps. When desperate, anything would lead us toward the affirmative: Are they home? Is the TV set on? Holy crap, they must have Mary Jane in there. Tons of it. Packed to the ceiling!
I call this the WannaWanna Effect, from an old Sioux word for "clueless but well-meaning fiend." I think you’re suffering from it, Not-So-Footloose, letting your hard-on arrive at conclusions without back-up evidence. Worrying about whether she’s going to let you suck on her gorgeous toes is a waste of horny. We need to ponder the broader, more practical questions like, "Is she straight?" and "Does she have a boyfriend?" before we get into specifics.
First step: Talk to Hot Feet’s friend. She may have dirt on what her friend thought, or some biographical information you can use to your advantage. If the prognosis looks good — or at the very least, neutral — then treat the boner-popping like it never happened. Ask her out as you would any girl: Invite her to join you for an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage.
Backing up, figure what’s important to you right now — finding a girlfriend for awhile, or a fuck-friend for an evening. If it’s the former, go slow. Focus on charming her and making a connection. Unless she’s wearing gladiator sandals in four inches of snow, wait until you’ve had several good dates before making any comments about her feet. If it’s the latter, bring it up on the first date, knowing that the odds of scaring her off are good. Which isn’t necessarily bad. Who wants to sit through several dates only to test a single, boner-addled hypothesis? The worst she can do is brand you a perv, and who is she to make that call? Figuring out a goal will save you from pre-date thought paralysis and make the vetting process much easier.

Dear Miss Info,

I’ve really clicked with a woman I’ve been on two dates with, and I’m excited about where this may be going. The one issue: Due to conflicting holiday travel and work schedules, we won’t see each other again for at least a month. I want to maintain some sort of contact during our separation, but don’t want to appear over-eager. I can tell she’s afraid of seeming too excited as well. After all, we’ve only had two dates, so an evening phone call to ask about her vacation seems overboard, while a Christmas e-card seems generic.

What should I do?  Leave it up to her to contact me, and if she doesn’t just assume we’ll pick up where we left off in four weeks? Or should I attempt to pitch woo from a distance? If you support the woo-pitching, what are your suggestions on how to seem romantic rather than clingy? I don’t know what to do! — From a Distance

 

Dear From a Distance,
"Pitch woo"? Do you by any chance work in advertising? If so, I expect unlimited premium gin, tickets to MoMA and a hefty consultant’s fee.
All right, I’ll be serious, From a Distance. I fully support the woo-pitching. Four weeks with no contact is too austere and will feel especially weird now that everyone from random strangers to your ophthalmologist’s office is extending warm holiday greetings. Even so, you want to appear balanced. Every phone call, email and text is going to communicate normal dating cues, like how you deal with separation, as well as more advanced dating cues that you shouldn’t be getting into at this stage — surprise, here we are! like how well you deal with your family. Sounds like a lot of pressure, but don’t worry. She’s agonizing over the exact same issues.
If I were you, I’d kick things off with an email or phone call at the end of the first week. Then, sit back and observe. Is she geeked to hear from you, or kinda ambivalent? If you leave a message, does she return the call right away or wait a few days? Your actions should mirror hers, in terms of pacing, level of interest and timing. Simply put: Monkey see, monkey do. She calls on a Sunday, you call her on a Sunday. She emails more often, you email more often. Get it? This doesn’t have to be exact. You just want to pay attention to how she reacts. If you send several texts late at night and she doesn’t respond, then texting late at night might not be a good idea.
A few ideas for long-distance wooing that are sweet, but not heavy-handed:
1) Instead of an e-card, how about an email with a link to an old school holiday-themed video like Charlie Brown or The Muppets?
2) Plan a date for when you get back and ask for her input. Send her a few links to movies or restaurants. It gives you guys an easy excuse to talk and shows that you’re thinking about her.
3) Send a digital photo or two. Nothing too intimate, like Mom and Dad gathered round the hearth, but something funny. A wretched tie grandma gave you, or your aunt’s buffet spread in all its greasy, buttery glory, would be perfect.
Readers, did any of you just start dating someone new? How are you going to handle the etiquette and gifting-minefield that is the holidays?


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©2008 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com