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Dear Miss Information, I’ve developed quite a crush on the receptionist at my local tattoo parlor. I met him a few weeks back when I got my first tattoo, but I’m not a frequent client and am clearly out of place there. He was funny and sweet, and put my nerves at ease. This week, I went back with a friend who wanted a tattoo, and also spoke to the artist about a custom design for me. While I waited for my friend’s tattoo to be finished, the receptionist and I hung out. I was a little shocked at how much I liked talking to him. I realize he gets paid to flirt and make the customers feel comfortable, but I felt a genuine connection. I’m waiting on a callback from my tattoo artist, but would like know what to do about the receptionist when I return. I’m sure he’s used to girls throwing themselves at him. How do I feel him out without coming off as a desperate little girl in puppy love? — Inked and Infatuated
Dear Inked and Infatuated, Get his name above your ass in Chinese characters. Add a couple nautical stars and a Celtic Winnie the Pooh while you’re at it. Then, offer to show it off to him on a sleepover date. At your parents’ house. Or not. I’m a firm believer that you can date the professionally undateable. I wouldn’t believe it myself if not for the fact that, many moons ago, I successfully picked up a bartender. A favorable outcome rests on a combination of your target being attracted to you, your target being available, and you not being intimidated by your target. You can’t control two out of the three, but take comfort in this. Your heart doesn’t palpitate every time you run a yellow light or scratch off a lotto ticket. Very little of this rests on what you say or do. Just find that proverbial “in.” Ask him about the band on his shirt (because I know there is one) or where he got the delicious-looking sandwich he’s eating. Schedule an appointment near closing time, bring along that friend, and loudly mention eight or ten times that you’ll be grabbing a drink in the immediate vicinity. There’s nothing more simple and effective than a casual “come with?” If he declines the invitation — either because he’s caught off-guard, is not into you, has plans to leave the country, etc. — simply leave your contact info on one of those business cards he keeps on his desk. The follow-up paper exchange is important. It gives the person time to think and make an honest, non-pressured decision. It also gives you time to agonize, but let’s try to focus on the positive. I recommend giving out a phone number and email address when you’re the one initiating. Yes, it looks a touch desperate, but if he’s as phone-phobic as I am, an email option can be a game-changer. I have a guy friend who put off calling a girl for close to three weeks. Imagine how much faster he would have moved if he could’ve hidden behind his Gmail. You are cool. He’s just some mofo who works in a tattoo parlor. Ask him out. If he says no, you’ll be still be you. Only that much braver.
Dear Miss Information, I’m a thirty-two-year-old guy living in a small college town. I have a good job with the university and lots of friends, most of whom are coupling off and having kids. My hobbies keep me busy and relatively fulfilled, but I’d still like to meet someone. I’m trying to be more aggressive in asking girls out, but I end up with the biggest flakes. We have dinner and a movie, all is well as far as I can tell — then they flake on future plans, aren’t responsive to further communications, end up with a different guy, etc. Have I used up the dating pool in this city? I swear I’m diversified and hang out with many different kinds of people, though I’m very liberal and wouldn’t feel right with someone who didn’t hold similar ideals. I’ve even made a personal ad on this site, but only found interesting people whom I already know. It even suggested I date one of my best friends, who’s just not interested. Womp-womp. Do I need to move? — Restless in Singleville
Dear Restless in Singleville, You’re coming on too strong. That, or you’re being too mercenary with your dating. Try a drink instead of dinner and a movie. If you’re not into booze, then coffee or ice cream. Contact her post-date to let her know you had a good time and would like to do it again, but put her in charge of making the next plans. It sounds like you’re whipping out your Blackberry and blocking out Date #2 before Date #1 has even ended. Give it a day or two; allow breathing space. Ask your BFF who’s not interested to audit your personal ad — photos, username, the whole shebang. Bribe her with a free dinner in exchange for five honest criticisms, with a jalapeno-popper bonus if she gets a second opinion from a female friend. If she won’t do it, ask a relative or one of your married dudes. What about those liberal ideals? Is there any chance you’re being an asshole about them? I’ve known people who can manage to make my most deeply held beliefs sound unattractive. Try not talking liberal smack on dates, and eliminate all the NPR references from your profile. Trust that like-minded people attract like-minded people, and even if they don’t, sexual attraction shall overcome all obstacles. When I said that you might be too “mercenary,” I didn’t mean to “relax” or “just let it happen” or any of that cock-and-bull that people who haven’t been on a date in years try to sell you. Keep going on dates and keep looking for your future missus. Just don’t expect everything to be linear, or that you will be rewarded for good behavior. Sometimes good people stay single. For a long time. It sucks, but what’s the alternative? You mention moving. It doesn’t sound like you’re serious, but here are a few ideas to tempt you, anyway. Moving is awesome. I’m a big fan. It expands your pool of applicants and beats the hell out of long-distance dating.
Dear Miss Information, I’ve been with my girlfriend now for about half a year. Two months ago I asked her if she’d ever had an orgasm. She told me she hadn’t, so we talked about getting her a vibrator. She was too embarrassed to buy one for herself so I surprised her with a Rabbit. We were both excited about the purchase, but that died off in about a week. Before we got the vibrator I was more than willing to take care of my girlfriend. I do everything to get her in the mood, but after we got the vibrator she became a bore in the sack. She would use it then want to go right to sleep afterwards. If we did have sex I couldn’t have an orgasm. It’s been weeks since I’ve had an orgasm. This sucks! I have brought this to her attention and she could care less. She tells me it was years before she started to have orgasms and I’m being selfish. I don’t want her to stop using it but I would like to enjoy sex again. Please help. — The Giver
Dear The Giver, Bea Arthur forgive me if I’m wrong, but I smell a hoax letter. You date this woman for four months before inquiring as to whether she’s ever gotten off, yet you were “more than willing” to “take care” of her? What were you doing all that time? Changing her feeding tube? Giving her a French manicure? She’s too shy to talk about orgasms or buy her own sex toys, but now she’s a vibrator-wielding maniac? She goes from silently never climaxing, to being bossy and vocal? Sorry, I don’t buy that. It sounds to me like you’ve got a bone to pick with plastic boners, or you get off on not being able to come and want to share your love of blue balls. On the other hand, your fake question is twenty-percent more plausible than all the other fakers, and it’s nowhere near as braggy — “I can orgasm while waiting for my prescriptions!” “Help! My girlfriend is ADDICTED to my enormous penis!” — so I’ll take the chance and ask my always-knowledgeable readers to field this. Should The Giver let his girlfriend’s Rabbit obsession run its course, or should he boil that sucker à la Fatal Attraction? Gang, why are some of you so weirded out by the most basic of sex toys? I’ve been around the block or four, and have yet to meet a guy who greets a vibrator with anything other than veiled indifference. Then again, I’ve never had a Fleshlight pulled on me, either. Maybe it’s different when your genitals are the ones being replicated?