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 hit on an acquaintance while I was drunk. He rejected me outright. I don’t see him that often, but I really want to be his friend. Now he won’t take my calls. I’ve tried emailing, but he responds in a strange formal tone. How do I fix it? — Smash-Up



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Dear Smash-Up,
    Sorry, but you don’t. You leave him alone. When someone adopts a formal tone, it’s because they think you’re a psycho. Now, I know you’re not a psycho, but you know what’s psychotic behavior? Repeatedly contacting someone when they want you to stop.
     I understand your desire to make amends. It’s humiliating to know that a sloppy pickup attempt is the last impression he has of you. You might also believe that if you and he become palsy-walsy, you’ll have another shot at winning his love. Wrong. If a guy’s really into you, he’s going to say yes no matter how you asked him out. I found myself in a similar scenario in college. I drunkenly hit on a bartender I had a crush on and woke up thinking I had blown it (the date, not the bartender). The next day he came by my work to ask me out. I still remember the exact moment I was in my fast-food uniform, loading half-eaten cheeseburgers into a dumpster.
    An active contempt for another individual requires quite a bit of effort to maintain. If you leave this fellow totally alone (for, say, six months), it’s likely he’ll be more friendly the next time you see him. If not, fuck it. The only person who got along with everyone was Mister Rogers, and half of his friends were puppets. Some relationships were never meant to be.



Dear Miss Information,
     I’m in med school, and I recently met a surgeon who works at the university via a BDSM website. I’ve gotten into the habit of not talking about my profession on dates because it seems to intimidate some guys, so even though he outranks me, I didn’t mention it to him when we met for dinner. After our date, we had fantastic sex at my place. As he was leaving, I think I saw him looking at the student ID that was lying on my dresser. He didn’t say anything, but ever since he’s been giving me the cold shoulder. Should I come clean or just ignore him if we happen to cross paths? — International Bottom


Dear International Bottom,
     I don’t understand this habit of lying about your major. Med school requires hard work, intelligence and devotion. Most people find that irresistibly attractive. The ones who don’t are still turned on by the fetish-quality of the uniform. Myself, I’m all about the free scrubs. Hot damn, those things are comfortable.
     Maybe it’s the way you talk about your chosen occupation that’s acting as the repellent. There’s a self-effacing way to explain what you do that won’t intimidate potential partners. Figure it out, and you’ll no longer have to be dishonest.
    Since he’s a surgeon, however, that’s not the problem in this particular case. Therefore, I recommend some triage. I don’t think you’re going to get this guy into bed again, nor should you try — there are serious professional consequences at universities for faculty who sleep with students. There’s your social life to consider as well. It’s one thing to get dumped, but it’s quite another to get dumped and have all the other interns know you’re into water sports.
     A coffee or lunch date where you tell dear doctor the truth and apologize for your dishonesty would be the best solution. If he won’t agree to it, a short email will suffice. When you see him around campus, brief eye contact and a smile or nod are all that’s required.

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 $300 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.
      
Readers, have you had any personals photo breakthroughs? What works? What sucks? Share your stories in Feedback.

 

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©2006 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com