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July 3

Fixing up a nice boy

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 8:24 am

Sending signals on October 19, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

Discovered your site about an hour ago, and you’ve already answered a few questions I didn’t even know I’d asked. But ay, here’s the rub. I’m a 27-year-old card-carrying nice guy. Other than not having a car and still living with the ‘rents, I’m a pretty good catch, or so I’m told.

Which is part of the problem… I’m invariably told I’m a “great catch,” “real prince,” “such a sweet guy,” etc. By women who either a) have no romantic interest in me whatsoever, b) are married/engaged/ blissfully happy and thus can compliment nice guys with impunity, or c) both. You’d think they’d tell their single female friends… but then again, life would be too simple if things happened that way.

Which brings up my first question… how do I upgrade myself, or at least my perceived image, from NiceGuy 1.0 to the version that actually lets the world know I have other features?

And then there’s my other problem, the cluelessness. I am *awful* at reading signals… positive ones, anyway. Complete lack of interest, I get right away.

But anything short of my bones being actively jumped is met with confusion on my part. As a result, I end up very hesitant to make a concrete move, and either a) she gives up and moves on or b) she responds to my non-move-like gestures and we become *sigh* friends, or something thereabouts. Not that friendship is bad, but it pretty much means that the love boat has sailed, and ain’t coming back.

So my other question, BG, is howHowHOW do I know? Are women too subtle, or am I really that dense?

— Clueless in Canada

Dear Clueless,

First of all, let me refer you to my column on Friend Boys, and then to … well, pretty much every other column I’ve written, ever. Such a common question. You are not alone. I mean, not in this way.

So. As I’ve said it a million times (here’s a brief summary): be nice because you are naturally, not because you’re Being Nice. You know this already: bag the “non-move-like gestures.” Don’t drive her to the airport, drive her to the movies. Loft, schmoft.> Act like a boyfriend.

Which brings me to my next point: the “signs.” You can read total rejection, good. (It’s a rarer skill than one might think.) But other than that: who the heck knows? Some gals think they’re being totally shamelessly forward, while their quarry remains oblivious. A gal tosses a drink in a guy’s face, he says, “Damn, she was all over me!” The more reliable way of going about this business is not to read signs, but to give them. See: nice, movies, move-like gestures, etc. above. Ask her out. She says no, ask her one more time, later. (She mentions Diana’s Last Days1.0, drop it.) How do you “know,” Clueless, bottom line? Well, consider this: sometimes she doesn’t know … until you ask.

Breakup Girl


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