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May 25, 1998   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Dear Breakup Girl,

Hi. I know you've written about Friend Boys, but so far no one has seemed to share my curse, so my variation on the theme hasn't been addressed. I hope you can help.

My problem is this: I believe a solid romantic relationship is built on a solid friendship. The main reason I feel this is that when you date, pretense and airs are, well, up in the air. When you get to know someone as a friend, you get to know the real them, because they have no reason to put on airs. Also, while I'll check out the hottie in the tight red dress, I could never find myself attracted to someone on any level beyond the physical unless I really know her. Unfortunately, this has left me on the business end of a bad Catch-22.

See, whenever I get to know a woman well enough to develop feelings for her and try to bring the friendship to a "new level," she says that I can't because I "know her too well," and vice versa.


Women are constantly complaining about never knowing what their man is thinking, or that he never knows what they are feeling, or that he is just too confusing, and yet, when presented with someone whom they are very close to, and who knows them so well (and again, vice versa), they say, "Uh-uh, no way." Sigh.

--The Shadow Knows

Dear Shadow,

Your points of gender analysis, while well-taken, are unnecessary. This "knowing each other too well" thing ... well, forgive my bluntness, but Shadow, it's a line. It's Girls Being Nice code for "I like you, but I don't LIKE like you."

BUT. Why that line?

When friendships do morph into more, it is probably for the reasons you describe. Yours is not inherently a flawed strategy. (Make no mistake, however: "friends" don't not put on airs; they put on different ones.) But here's the trap you've set for yourself. Women -- and, yeah, men -- often relish the getting-to-know-you phase of a blossoming romantic relationship: the frisson of tentative, flirty exploration; the pleasure of watching a face soften into familiarity; the zing of saying, "Wow, me too!" For whatever reason, you have been friend-ing women who want that. And by the time you make your Move, it's too late.

I wouldn't say give up your approach, but I would say vary it. Make some new friends; mack on some hotties -- and if there's no mad chem, well heck, it's one frappuccino. You don't have to have "developed feelings" before the fact. That's what friends -- er, dates -- are for.

Breakup Girl



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