The toad less traveled
The guy I'm dating has a habit of putting himself down -- making cracks about his chubby face, what's wrong with his body, or how he'd better get some "male-enhancement" pills. We've gone out five times in six weeks, and he has yet to jump me. We do flirt, and yesterday he kissed me sweetly, then smacked me on the butt as I was leaving, which made me smile. Is his insecurity what's making the relationship progress so slowly? And do you see reason for me to worry or pull back? -- Not Digging The Digs
Interspecies dating isn't what it's cracked up to be. You've heard the one about the girl who kisses the toad? In real life, the toad stays a toad and the girl comes down with a nasty case of amoebic dysentery.
It seems you missed the giant arrow flashing the words "mouth-breathing loser" hovering over this guy's head. He's just trying to bring it to your attention before somebody (like him) gets hurt. What happened -- you were on the list for a bad boy, but in lieu of naked and nasty with the Prince of Darkness, you settled for Dungeons & Dragons with the Prince of Dorkiness? Maybe that isn't how you see him, but from the way he rags on himself, he probably assumes that when a woman points in his direction, it's only because she wants her girlfriends to know who she's laughing at. Of course, he probably is handed his share of apartment keys by women hot for sex, as in, "Be a dear and unclog my toilet while I'm out getting used by my cruel Adonis." (Serf's up, dude!)
Losers are not born, but sentenced by a jury of their mean little peers. Once high school ends and the "cool" kids are busy getting hired and fired by 7-11 or making bail, what keeps somebody a loser simply is believing he is one and acting accordingly. Last month, I got a slew of e-mails from a male reader whose back had seen more stiletto action than the carpet at Jimmy Choo shoes. I responded time and again with detailed directions off Planet Loser, but the guy couldn't help himself, and each story of his use and abuse was more pathetic than the last. Finally, patience not being one of my several virtues, I wrote, "Just go to a bar tonight and pretend you have dignity!" He did. The next morning, he e-mailed: "YOU! CHANGED! MY! LIFE!" All it took was a slight change in message: "I want to be your date," instead of "I want to be your dog."
Pathetic is easy. In fact, it can be a form of sloth. Take your guy. Unlike all those other men, sweating to be what women want, he just curls up in his trusty old fetal position, resigned to the fact that it isn't him. Now, maybe you can tunnel him out of Dudville by telling him to kill the hard un-sell, hammering into him that whatever he's got, that's what you want. Somebody's gotta do all the work -- why not you? Speaking of which, he's probably one of those guys who waits for a woman to jump him. Taking charge is a great idea -- unless you're a woman who's looking to land a man. In that case, your best bet is flirting yourself dizzy to let him know it's safe to make a move. In time, say by date 11, when you've worked your way up to an erotically charged hug, it might become clearer whether you've got a man on your hands or just a big girl's blouse with men's bathroom privileges.
My best friend confessed to having sex with my girlfriend of five years. He said he told me because he just wants what's best for me, and I needed to know what kind of person she really is. She denied cheating and claims he's lying. I hate them both so much. How do I get past this? -- Beyond Low
The guy didn't really have sex with your girlfriend, but investigative sex. I'm sure he was only thinking of you the entire time. After all, that's what best friends are for. Or would be for, if you actually had one. Perhaps, like a lot of people, you've taken to calling acquaintances friends once they've been hanging around a while. That's not friendship, it's loitering. There's one definite bad seed here, and it's the acquaintance who either knocked boots with your girl or wants you to think he did. If you use the same methodology for girlfriend-picking as you do for choosing friends, maybe you have reason to hate them both. If not, maybe what you know of your girlfriend's character after five years is a more accurate source of information -- tempting as it is to take the word of a guy who "just wants what's best for you." In his bed. Naked.