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March 23, 1998   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Dear Breakup Girl,

Hi, I just replaced the phone after a two-hour conversation in which the subject was "male bashing" (perhaps you know of it). My "girl"-friend had just been told by her steady that he had only wanted her for one thing (take a guess). Yes, I was as disgusted as she was and it set me thinking. I am used by a lot of people as a comfort from the tough times and although I am not unhappy, I am sick of hearing about all guys being chauvinistic pigs who look for one thing in life. I have gone out with two girls for a grand total of four days and after both, I was given the good old friends line. I know this is similar to other letters, but it is slightly different. I am not bad looking, I have a decent sense of humor, and consider myself romantic (flowers, candy, letters). The problem is, no one wants to accept me as more than a friend. I don't see what my problem is. Although I am used as a stuffed toy when times are tough, it is not a position I would change for the world. Why is it that a) all the women around me seem to make the same mistakes even though I warn them, and b) How do I get over that "friends" line? It destroys me inside, and leaves me feeling inadequate as a guy, but more like a used tissue. What can I do to make myself appealing? Should I change or accept the fact that I will only ever be a friend?

Thank you kindly for all your help.
-- Unlucky in Love

Dear Unlucky,

Everything I said above, plus a few points:

1) "He only wanted her for one thing." My sense is that this may be your girl-friend's interpretation of what her "steady" said. In other words, girls tend to complain about boys being "pigs" out for "only one thing" when in reality, the girl can't think of any other way to explain the apparent fact that the guy just doesn't really like her all that much any more. So girls, quit tossing those terms around willy-nilly -- it depletes their strength for when we really need them. A boy is a "male chauvinist pig" when he says, "Women don't deserve equal pay for equal work, and I like to paw them when they come into my office -- and in fact, they're honored, because I'm Senator Packwood, dammit." But when a boy says,"You're a nice person, and man, the sex was killer, but let's break up, " he is not a male chauvinist pig; he is an ex-boyfriend. Got that?

2) "Flowers, candy, letters." Okay. You say you've dated girls for a "grand total of four days," and you've bestowed flowers, candy, letters? There's no delicate way to say this: you may be scaring them. Apply less pressure, and this so-called "friend" problem may start to clear up.

3) "What can I do to make myself appealing?" ...Which leads me to my final point, which may sound familiar. You're being the enforcer -- which is also why you get huffy when people don't heed your warnings (though BG can completely understand that one). Stop trying so hard. To be a friend and to be a boyfriend. The girlfriend will come eventually; in the meantime, don't wear yourself out. I know you don't want to shrug off your role as the shoulder, but yes, women will lean on you, perhaps too heavily. When women get dumped, we like to have two kinds of conversations: (1) dishing / spewing / venting with galpals, and (2) boo-hooing with a temporary boy-substitute, sort of an I Can't Believe It's Not Boyfriend. It's not pretty, but we do it. You don't have to indulge us every time.

Breakup Girl



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