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March 1, 1999   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need



Dear Breakup Girl,

I work in Germany and I have a girlfriend here. She is smart, good looking and very much like me, in temperament and her outlook on life. I know I love her and I also know/hope-like-hell that she really loves me too. So what's the problem?

Three things really: one, she is kinda lazy. Not a total slob or anything, but it's kinda European Body Lazy; she doesn't bathe every day and well, to say it in a nice way, sometimes has some extra body hair (underarms, legs). I think this is natural (the body hair thing) but I still don't like it. It's kind of a turn off, and I know about 80% of your readers are currently going "YUCK!" And sometimes I do have a "ooh, that could be shaved" thought.

The second thing is, she is not very sexual. She never initiates sex, and never really gets into it when we do make love. Sex doesn't seem to do anything for her. I've tried different things, romantic sex, a quickie, a long session, little sexual innuendoes during the day and caressing her, putting on some music, lighting some candles, and talking small talk before it might happen, but to no avail.

I don't think I'm a jerk. I always try to think of her first, and like to see her happy and try to do things for her. I'm interested in what she does and how she spends days. I like to hear her tell me about things that happen. I'd like to think I'm not stupid, I'm somewhat attractive, got a kinda whacked sense of humor, got some good morals, a career, and I love life. I don't think it's too tiny, I'm in shape and love a variety in our sex life, nothing too kinky. I don't think I make any weird noises, or say some negative stuff. I don't just roll over after we've shared the experience either. We talk sometimes or share some ice cream and I love rubbing her tummy. She's not a mental case either, or has too much on her mind that she just can't enjoy it. So what's the problem?

The third thing is, yes this is a three-parter, that sometimes she just doesn't make me feel that special (has nothing to do with sex). Like I'm just a part of her life, a passing phase. I don't want to be everything in her life, but I'd like her to be a little excited to see me if we haven't had the chance to see each other in a day or two (we don't live together). The sad thing is I know that this is the way she is, it's just her. And yes she has some great qualities, and I don't want her to change for me, and at the same time, I also don't want her to do things just make me feel like... well like she's crazy about me.

It hurts and it sucks at the same time. We have been together for 3 and a half years now, and I thought at the beginning that her lack of feelings towards me (I think) was a "We may not be together for a long period of time, so I'll keep you at a distance" kinda thing. On account that I didn't think I'd be staying over here this long. Things have changed (months ago), and I may stay much longer. So I don't think that is it either.

How can I say "Baby I love you, but it makes me happy when you smell clean more often."? And I don't have a clue about the sex thing. And the third, is it possible to help a person express their feelings, if they are any there to express in the first place? Please help.

-- Dan Lost in a Foreign Land

Dear Dan,

What, besides having a companion in a foreign land and actually wanting to share your razor, is actually in this for you? Neither our very own Belleruth nor I can quite figure out what you're doing. "Sounds like he's trying too hard and she not enough," says BR, and we're not just talking about bathing, bubble or otherwise. What's wrong, BR wonders, with saying, "'Hello, I'd like more from you, are you home?' If she's not willing to do -- or show -- anything differently for you, then you've got a problem with an out-of-balance relationship, 'cause you're standing on your head, balancing candles and Barry White CDs, trying to be Mr. Ideal Boyfriend. And relationships that are out of balance usually topple."

So. Quit being Herr Perfect and just be. Talk to her, not her tummy. Tell her how you feel toward her, and what you don't feel from her. 'Cause you're right. You can't make her change -- ways of being, conditioners, whatever -- for you. Entire cultures need to learn to respect differences, and so do entire boyfriends. But respecting is not the same as settling for. In this case, I think you'd be giving up you -- not just your Noxzema -- in the process. Follow your nose. I mean heart.

Breakup Girl and BR, too



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