Saturday, January 21, 2006

Dear Bitch,
I'm a divorced woman, 42, and I have a friend who I think might be interested in being more than friends. The problem is, I don't know for sure and I'm afraid if I say something and he isn't interested, it'll be weird and there goes the friendship! I really like him as a person and it seems to me we have mutual respect.

Is there any way of knowing for sure that he's interested without asking? I really don't know what to do. Would you say something and take the chance? Or should I assume that if he's really interested, he'd make a move?

Friend Without Benefits

Dear FWB,
This is one of those tough ones. I've faced this very situation - more than once, and from both sides (initiator and initiatee). One of those friends, I married (and eventually divorced). One turned me down and we're still good friends. Another one turned into a torrid affair, an emotional train wreck that lasted for years and left deep scars. So there you go.

How can you tell when a guy is interested? I gave up a while ago. I just can't tell. No, let me amend that: I can tell when they're interested, but I'll be goddamned if I can predict whether they'll actually do anything about it. Personally, I have my own rejection issues, and I don't want to make the first move. So where does that leave things?

It depends on what you need. More often than not, I need someone to be interested enough to make that first move. However, my male friends tell me how paralyzed they get at the thought that a woman might reject them and if there's a ghost of a chance she'll say no, they won't even try. Some fine mess, huh?

I've read those books like "The Rules" and "He's Just Not That Into You." To an extent, I think they're true. But not all people are alike. Some men are painfully shy, some have no social skills and some really, truly don't want to risk losing your friendship. (Sucks, I know.) Some are just too afraid of being rejected to pick up on what seem to you the incredibly obvious clues you're strewing in his path.

Let me list some standard clues. Maybe you could show them to him and get his reaction.

First of all, when a woman talks to you about sex, it means on some level, she thinks you're doable. (Or gay.) Doable is halfway there. Women won't even mention sex to men they wouldn't do, because they don't want to give them ideas.

If a woman finds you physically repulsive, she won't touch you if she can avoid it. (Or she thinks you're gay. Don't worry, it's usually pretty easy to figure out if a woman thinks you're gay.) If she doesn't find you physically repulsive, odds are she could be attracted to you under the right circumstances.

You know, I can't think of anything else because I just realized something: Women don't want the clues to be too obvious, because they don't want to feel all pathetic and shit if the guy isn't interested.

Christ, it's a wonder men and women ever get together. I give up.


The Bitch

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