illustration by Bachelor Girl
My brief sojourn as Anne Chelnik is over -- yes, it was a pseudonym. An anagram, actually, and I'm awarding a special prize to the first reader who figures out what it spells (friends, relatives, past, present or future bad dates, acquaintances and lovers -- please sit on your hands).
In the meantime, dear readers, your letters:
|Dear BG, |
Okay, I've bounced this off everybody else -- might as well pick the brain of an Internet advice columnist. Here goes:
Me: SWM, late thirties, post-graduate degree, white-collar professional, still single.
Her: A casual acquaintance from college whom I had a little crush on many moons ago. Someone I would have liked to know better but the timing wasn't right or whatever and I never asked her out. We lost track of each other soon after graduation and have had not been in contact for going on seventeen years.
I have recently learned that after several years in New York, she has moved back to this area, is practicing law in a city within a couple of hours drive of me, and is still single. I would like to get back in touch and possibly make good on the missed opportunity of earlier times, but I need some advice on how to proceed.
A phone call would be the obvious choice, but since we didn't know each other all that well, there's a very good chance she won't remember me at all. In this day and age getting a phone call out of the blue from what amounts to a total stranger might set off alarm bells -- not a very auspicious way to get things started.
As far as I know, we don't have any mutual acquaintances who could intercede for me. I've thought of writing her a letter, but that seems awfully formal.
So do you have any ideas on how I might be able to contact this woman and ask her out with a reasonable chance of getting my foot in the door, so to speak? I'm not expecting fireworks, necessarily, I'd just like to meet for coffee and see what, if anything, develops from there. If sparks, fly, great. If not, I'll at least have given it a shot and won't have to wonder, "what if..."
I hope you find the time to answer this, because I'm really interested in your take on this situation.
You're taking this awfully seriously, which, in my vast experience, tends to kill any sparks that might otherwise fly.
First, how did you find out this woman moved nearby? When you call her, have an explanation handy so she'll know you're not a stalker. From personal experience, when ancient acquaintances called me unexpectedly, I was always glad to hear from them, flattered that they remembered me, and eager to catch up.
So rather than agonizing over it, Kermy, chill out, give her a call, say you (somehow) found out she was nearby and see if she seems receptive. If she does, ask a little about her life, tell a little about yours, and if that goes well, make your request to meet for coffee. If you enjoy yourselves over coffee, your next step may be to offer to show her around her new town.
But above all, hang loose, my friend -- the future of your universe does not rest on whether or not she agrees to go out with you. If she's freaked out by your call or less than enthusiastic on the telephone, tell her you just wanted to say hello -- and move on!
I'd like to share with you my best date -- but first, the worst.
A guy walked up to me while I was sitting on the rocks at a reservoir near where I went to High school. I would later learn that he was drawn to other liquids besides reservoir water. We went on one date to a comedy club. He spent the whole night drunk.
You know how a comedian will often pick one person out of the crowd to tease all night? That tease-ee was my date. The comedian and I joked during his show about how my date obviously wasn't getting any that night.
I drove my date home in his jeep. We stopped once so he could puke out the window -- careful not to soil the interior of his jeep, I suppose. He called to apologize the next morning and, to his credit, fully and humbly understood why I would not go out with him again.
My best date ever was on my 33rd birthday -- or was it my 32nd, maybe my 30th!! I keep remembering it as "a couple of years ago" but it could be longer now. Anyway, it was with my best friend Jonathan Kravetz. He gave me a new basketball and a shopping trip to Victoria's Secret. He knows me very well.
Best of luck with the column,
Thank you for your kind wishes, and yes -- Jonathan Kravetz is a pretty cool dude. Jonathan co-coordinates ducts.org (with the magnificent Phil Shane), and also runs a monthly reading series called "Trumpet Fiction" over at the KGB bar in the East Village. A basketball and undies, huh? Pretty kinky stuff.
Now, since we're dishing about dates, let me tell you about one of mine. I used to visit my granny, Pearl, every few months in Virginia, and every time I went, she set me up with some "nice Jewish boy" from Virginia Beach in hopes I'd get married and move in next door.
There was "Bubba" Greenberg, a lawyer (later convicted for selling cocaine). There was the scrap-metal yard owner who drove a souped-up Cadillac; the obese pharmacist; the effeminate pediatrician. This time, it was Marvy, who, my grandmother told me, owned a nightclub.
"A nightclub," I thought to myself. "Hmmm. That could be interesting." When he showed up wearing tight jeans and cowboy boots, a cheery freckled face and only a few visible hair transplant plugs atop his head, I was pleasantly surprised. We went to dinner. We danced. We conversed. I'd already had two or three glasses of wine when I asked to see his nightclub.
"You sure?" he asked. "Yes," I said. We'd driven for about 45 minutes when he pointed out the club from the highway off-ramp. It was a small silver box of a place at the end of a strip mall. The windows were mirrored, so you couldn't see inside, but you could hear loud music and the thump, thump, thump of the bass nearly lifted you over the threshold.
Marvy pulled the door open onto total darkness. Once my eyes adjusted, the first thing I made out was a naked woman arched backward on a runway, her unmentionables just millimeters from the nose of a large, beer-bellied truck driver. He was tucking dollar bills into her garter.
"Another glass of wine, please," I said to Marvy, who went over and kissed the bartender passionately, squeezing her breasts before returning with my drink.
I was just drunk enough to be fascinated by the sexual power dynamic: here were these skinny, naked, high-heeled women prancing provocatively before a dozen or so big men -- who were obviously aroused but couldn't touch them. I was pretty sloshed by the time we left, because when I woke up the next morning, it was on Marvy's couch.
Granny was livid when I got home, and even more so when she found out the nature of the "night club." Seems Marvy came from a fine, wealthy family, and the Virginia Beach ladies, friends of his mother's, had been trying to civilize him for decades. Twenty years earlier, he'd taken my cousin Amanda to her High school prom -- but they never made it, she told me, because Marvy drove his car into a lake.
|One final note: |
Dear Jeff and Zac and all other single men who have a hard-on for advice columnists,
I have received several notes from guys looking to date me.
Look -- what is it exactly you like so much about advice columnists? Remind you of your mother? Tales of bad dates get you excited?
Hey, I spent a lot of time barking up the wrong trees -- as you seem to be doing now. Don't go looking to date advice columnists -- we have issues! Just like shrinks, we don't go into this business because we travel light. We're talking major baggage here -- and serious heavy lifting for any suitor fool enough to take it on!
So if you don't want to be a Sherpa for the rest of your life, go and find yourselves a nice woman who doesn't want to publicize her problems -- and yours. Believe me, the guy I end up with will definitely wish he'd fallen for a mathematician.
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