Q: I started seeing this amazing guy, but had to initiate most of the making out. He soon dumped me, saying he has little experience and was freaking out. (He’s 40, and has only had three girlfriends.) We got back together, but he still wasn’t initiating, and six months in, still hadn’t had sex with me. After a perfect date, I told him I wanted to make love to him. He said he wasn’t up for that kind of attachment, hightailed it out of my place, and ended it again. We’re friends now, but I’ve fallen totally in love with him. I can tell he’s attracted to me, but my friends think he’s gay or sexually dysfunctional. I told him I wouldn’t care about the latter. He’s too great to walk away from. He gets my weird artwork and disturbing humor, and we work great together on art projects. I’m considering making my upcoming 40th birthday my deadline and telling him what I REALLY want. If he cannot commit or initiate sex, I’m leaving! Right?
A: There are some subtle signs that somebody’s attracted to you: dilated pupils, flushed face, heavier breathing, taking off out the back door like somebody fired the gun at the beginning of a track meet…
It is possible that you mumbled when propositioning the guy, and your “I want to make love to you!” sounded exactly like “Did I mention that terrorists planted a bomb under my couch, and it’s timed to go off at any moment?” But, chances are, the truth is exactly as it seems: While you’re dying to get him into bed, he’d rather get into a cannon with a lit fuse.
Yes, maybe he’s gay, maybe his man parts are on the fritz, or maybe he’s less interested in sex than in being slowly eaten alive by fire ants. The why of this is unimportant; what matters is that you want something that he can’t provide. Great, he likes the same weird artwork, but don’t be looking to him for anything racier than an afternoon of fully clothed collage-making (“Want the glue stick?” being a euphemism for “Want the glue stick?”).
Come on, you know that continuing to demand sex and commitment from this guy is dumb — dumb like sitting yourself down in a vegan restaurant and refusing to leave until they bring you barbequed ribs with a side of hog cracklins. You’ve latched onto the common excuse for this sort of self-destructive behavior: “Help, I’ve fallen in love, and I can’t get up!” There’s a good chance you are in love — with the chase. You avoid admitting that this is a lost cause by clinging to “This would be so perfect, if only…” Yes, if only he were somebody totally different — a man who can’t wait to have sex with you instead of a man who probably redresses you with his eyes: Show cleavage, and he’ll mentally put you in a poncho.
For your birthday, give yourself the gift of living while fully conscious. Identify men who are broken, pat them on the head, and send them on their way. The weirder your sensibilities, the harder it’ll be to find a boyfriend who shares them. Maybe you can’t, but maybe you can make a bunch of friends who do. Relationships always require compromise, but there’s trying to make it work with a guy who likes sex in the morning when you like it in evening — and there’s trying to make it work with one who likes it on February 30th.
Q: I’m putting up my online dating profile, and wonder if I’m being deceitful by posting a picture of myself without glasses. (I photograph better without them, but basically wear them everywhere but in bed.)
—Miss Four Eyes
A: Internet daters posting photos to their profiles are intent on putting their best foot forward — and all too often, it’s a foot attached to another person’s body. So, on the online dating ethics spectrum, posting a photo sans your glasses is like taking an extra mint at the bank versus holding the teller up at gunpoint. After all, you can take glasses off, unlike somebody’s unpictured 80 extra pounds, as in, “I basically wear these 80 pounds everywhere but in bed!” To be more honest, post a secondary picture of your bespectacled self, and be sure to include a full body shot to show guys that you aren’t built like a manatee (aka the “sea cow”). Keep in mind that online daters probably assume their prospects are lying about essential details until proven otherwise. It should come as something of a relief to your dates when they find out your big secret, and it’s that you have an astigmatism, not an Adam’s apple.
© 2010 Amy Alkon, all rights reserved.