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August 6

The trouble with Wayne

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:03 am

Good friends from April 6, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

I’ve got a friend, Wayne. Wayne right now is kinda coasting through life — never left home, still working on that Bachelors for 12 years now. Unemployed. Anyway, we set him up for dates and it never works out. Wayne hangs out with one older woman, but he doesn’t want to date her because he thinks she’s too messed up! We’re Wayne’s best friends and we are concerned. How can we get Wayne socially ready for dating?

— Exasperated

Dear Exasperated,

BG thinks it’s kind of cute when she sees those personal ads (research!) that are like PLEASE DATE OUR EXCELLENT FRIEND WHO’S TOO SHY TO PLACE THIS AD. Fine. In your case, though, I gotta ask: Wayne may still be working on his Bachelors … but have you done all your research? As in, does Wayne¬†want to date? If not, no amount of charm- or clue school will land him a Betty.

Also, are you trying to fix Wayne¬†up, or fix Wayne? Look, I get that you’re genuinely concerned about a friend; I totally know what you’re talking about. But the way you speak about him — well, you’re not, as they say, coming from a very positive place. Write and tell me about how great he is; then we’ll talk.

Love,
Breakup Girl

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May 15

Forbidden flirting

Filed under: News — posted by Mia @ 12:10 pm

I for one, believe that the human need for love and romance is indomitable, and two recent articles — one focusing on young women’s point of view, the other on that of young men — in the New York Times’s Generation Faithful series totally back me up.

In Saudi Arabia, as the articles describe, the opposite sexes live nearly entirely separate lives — the harsh and hardly women-friendly restrictions are a topic for another post — in a culture that values carefully arranged marriages in support of large familial groups. The details herein are fascinating, particularly for revealing the ways that young Saudis do yearn for romance, love, and intimacy even as they embrace traditional and religious restrictions against co-ed interaction before marriage. They also show the extent to which technology is aiding and abetting forbidden exchanges between young men and women with the same — or perhaps even more intense — excitement, hope, and fears shared by people everywhere. I mean: they’re prohibited from flirting, but their ring tones all play love songs.

One question I was left with: what happens to the romance of the anticipated and the forbidden once these young folks do get married? Conventional wisdom holds that arranged marriages often do form the basis for solid, lasting bonds. If so, can they offer some pointers? Or should we at least be more open-minded when our moms want to fix us up?

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