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March 21

The Platonic Shoulder Guy Friend II

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:17 am

Not just desserts from June 8, 1998

Readers will recall that Brad’s original predicament vaulted into Of the Week status the moment he recounted that the girl who wanted to hang out, hold hands, snuggle — and just be friends — went so far as to bake him a cake. (Thus serving up, for Brad, immense confusion, and for Breakup Girl, a veritable dessert tray of metaphors.) This week, the frosting thickens.

Dear Breakup Girl,

Since I was your Predicament of the Week, I figured that just maybe you would like to know how everything has been going in my twisted little world lately. Where to start? It started when I made the huge mistake of deciding to bake chocolate chip cookie bars for Lynore. My feeling was this: she baked for me, then I can surely bake for her. Well, I took them to her after school one day. They were still warm. She ate five of them, I think, but only said “thank you” one time. In the meantime, her friends were eating them, and one of her friends (Kelli, who doesn’t come into play after this point, I swear) said that she wanted to marry me. Amber and Tina talked about how wonderful the food was, and how wonderful I was to have baked it. Not one more word from Lynore, though.

Then Stu dumps that new stupid girl and runs right back to Lynore. Lynore says sure, and leaps into his open arms. In fact, to escape her paranoid abusive mother, she moves in with Stu and his family! WHY NOT? Makes sense, RIGHT? I, of course, managed to mention to her that she was making a stupid mistake. Tina did the same thing, since Tina HAD DATED Stu, and she KNOWS what kind of person Stu is. Lynore just got this dreamy look in her eyes and said, “That’s debatable.” Well, I snapped. I said something about her intelligence being debatable, and I drove off very very fast. So now, let’s push Lynore aside for the moment. She’ll be back, though.

Tina had begun speaking to me again, but not very much. My plan to win her friendship back was simple — I bought a rose and gave it to her on the final night of her performance the school play. I attached a note that said, “Of all the friendships that God has blessed me with, yours is the one that I treasure the most. You have been there for me when nobody else was, and for that, I am thankful. If I have done anything to screw it up, I beg of you to push it aside and forgive me. I miss you, Tina. Please say you’re still my friend. Love, Brad.” She read that, started crying, and hugged me. She said that yes, she most certainly was my friend. Right after that, Tina got sick. Knowing that she likes mint-chocolate ANYTHING, I bought her a mint-iced chocolate cake and gave it to her. No ulterior motive. Just to do it. I was feeling really weird by that point I guess. She loved the cake, though, and now we talk on the phone all the time and associate in groups of friends as if nothing ever happened.

Back to Lynore. It turns out that Stu may have sort of … well … hit her … once or maybe … twenty times … and he might have broken her finger and blackened her eye. So here she is, stuck in his home. Who does she run to? ME. She runs crying to me and says that she misses me and that we ought to hang out sometime. I tell her that she needs to seek some sort of help with that broken finger, and that maybe she needs to MOVE OUT OF STU’S HOUSE. Oh, no, she said. She loves his family! She could never do that! Confused, I said, “But he’s hitting you. Leave.” No, she said. She couldn’t leave.
“So,” I said, “You miss me.” Yes, she said. Shrugging, I said, “then you should have thought of that before you threw me away.”

So Lynore and Stu are still dating, although the other day I caught Stu sucking on Rachel’s leg, which I’m sure is an innocent practice. Oh, by the way, I also revealed a past crush on this girl named Amber … well, to Amber. As it turns out, she also used to like me, too. Problem is that she currently has a boyfriend … but if that ever falls apart, then maybe I’ll finally have found someone that doesn’t want to use me as a shoulder. Confusing, confusing, confusing.

— Brad, the Platonic Shoulder Guy Friend

Dear Brad,

Okay, let me get the totally not funny part out of the way first. I’m pretty much quoting myself when I say this: The situation with Lynore now requires compassion (which you clearly have), along with some laissez-faire urgency. I say “laissez-faire” because as maddening as this is, you can’t tell her what to do. Why? Because Stu is already doing that. Any steps she takes away from him will come when she starts to think to herself, “Wait! I am fierce. And my friends rock.” Also, that is, when she starts to believe that she does have a support system somewhere between a mom she doesn’t deal with and a unacceptable foster family. And that, Baker Brad (and readers!) is where you do come in. I’ve said it before, I will <sigh> say it again: once, while wearing her “PRESS” hat, Breakup Girl interviewed a young woman in California who’d finally shored up the chutzpah to dump a guy who jerked her around, figuratively and literally. What made her wake up and get out?The fact that her friends stuck by her, included her in their plans, and constantly reminded her — even without saying it outright — that she mattered. So tell Lynore why you’re concerned, tell her that it’s the last time you’re going to lecture her about why you’re concerned, tell her that you will stand by her, and tell her that she better get her head off your shoulder and her sandals on her feet because you’re going to see Free Willy IX: Orca Ninja.

All of this said, remember, Breakup Girl is just a superhero, not a trained psychologist. And this whole thing is way more complicated that one BG paragraph, but it’s a start. For additional information and support call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE. And/or slip Lynore the number and back off; let her decide when she’s ready to call.

And now, about the baked goods. Listen up, you friend-boys: In Breakup Girl parlance, baking chocolate chip cookie bars is building a loft. Baking cookies is not making a move. No wonder they use you as a shoulder/pastry chef. Boys can bake cookies for girls in only two situations: (1) as cute/ironic dessert for the otherwise romantic/manly meal you’ve just prepared for her (say, the elk you felled with your crossbow and then braised in testosterone-infused oil), or (2) when you guys are already a couple and you do stuff like bake each other cookies with each other’s initials spelled in chocolate chips. Which you are not allowed to bring to school. Don’t worry, I’m not saying you made a major tactical blunder; I’m not convinced these girls were going to come through for you, sugar high or no sugar high. And way to go on the Tina fixer-upper; nicely done. That’s the kind of thing that tells me that there’s a gal out there somewhere eating raw cookie dough and waiting for a guy like you to call. And ask her out for chicken-fried steak.

Breakup Girl

P.S. Sucking on Rachel’s leg?


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