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March 15, 1999   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Dear Breakup Girl,

I'm gonna postpone my fawning adulation of your unparalleled powers and get straight to the heart of the matter: there's this boy, see, I'll call him Matt cause that's his name, and I'm incredibly drawn to him for a variety of reasons. The problem is, I have had it from a friend of a friend (yes, an oh-so-reliable source) that Matt kicks it strictly on the homosexual tip. When pressed for details, FOAF clammed up, saying only, "I know firsthand. That's all I can say."

If Matt didn't act like he was interested in me I would take FOAF's words to heart instead of with a side of salt. How then, Breakup Girl, can I find out (firsthand, of course) the truth? It's not like I can say, "you know Matt, when we hugged the other night, I really wanted to kiss you but I heard you're gay. Are you?" Guide me, wise sage! I will kick myself if I let a great guy slip through my fingers on the basis of a fallacy. Oh, and there's another complication: he has this roommate who's in love with him, they've been friends for four years, and they've never hooked up. I like to think that it's because she's stunningly unattractive (and I'm being objective here, believe it or not). She has tried on numerous occasions to prevent Matt and me from hanging out on our own. For example, Matt invited himself over to watch Dawson's Creek with me on a Wednesday night, which is the night that we all (Matt, his roommate, my roommates and I) all go to our local watering hole. So of course on that night, she invited my house over for dinner, which she couldn't prepare by herself, naturally, so she needed Matt's help. I told myself that if he didn't call me to tell me he himself that he wasn't coming (I got the invite from my roommate), I wasn't gonna go over there. Well he didn't call or show up, so I stayed home to catch up on my correspondence. The next time I saw him, he asked me, "So where were you on Wednesday night," in this very miffed tone. I couldn't help but feel that even though it may have been childish of me to sulk, if he really wanted to see me, he could have called. Anyway, the purpose of my relating this drawn-out anecdote is to convey to you the group dynamic involved here. The roommate, or TB as I call her, has made it clear that she feels threatened by me, but I don't know if it's because she thinks I'll become better friends with him, or if she thinks we'll name our firstborn after her. I don't know, Breakup Girl. I'm pretty shy and not that aggressive, so this is kind of a big deal to me, even if others might see it as a mere bagatelle. So how do I proceed? With caution? Do I leave things alone? Anxiously awaiting your guidance.

-- Perennially Frustrated

Dear Frustrated,

Did he use the word bagatelle? If so, toss that side of salt over your shoulder and wish yourself luck meeting a straight guy.

Okay, I'm kidding around. Especially because I think we might want to bark up a different tree. I'm not sure there's a way to secure a, um, straight answer from him, no matter how much we can all learn from watching Dawson, because you never know if he knows the answer himself. So I think we need to try and ascertain not whether he's interested in your gender, but whether he's interested in you. Though granted, I'm sure you'd MUCH rather hear "no" to the former.

So let's pull this apart a bit. First of all, it doesn't matter a bit that he didn't call you. The house was already invited as a whole. You're right, you were just setting yourself up for sulkage.

Also, TB is so not your concern. True love has been known to triumph over religious conflict, vast distance, poor taste. Meddling roommate = mere bagatelle.

What to do? Try brokering a just-the-two-of-you Creekfest (though I'm not sure how or where, with all these roommates milling around). Or, in any case, some other slightly-heightened yet non-terrifying situation. If you're not that aggressive, at least give him the chance to step up. Though if you're feeling jaunty, you could always say, "You know Matt, when we hugged the other night, I really wanted to kiss you." Period. Anxiously awaiting an exclamation point.

Breakup Girl



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