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September 27, 1999   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Predicament of the Week
In which Breakup Girl addresses the situation that has, this week, brought her the most (a) amusement, (b) relief that it is happening to someone else, and/or (c) proof that she could not possibly be making this stuff up.

Dear Breakup Girl,

I'm 17, and I have this problem. (I found out just recently that it is actually quite common for people my age who date guys at school and have to be seen with them.)

Why is it that whenever I start dating a guy at my school, I am so embarrassed and ashamed to be seen with him? I feel like the whole world is looking at me thinking, "What the heck do you see in him? That's the ugliest thing I have seen!" Then I completely shutdown and don't talk to him anymore. The thought of PDA sickens me if people see me with him; yet when I'm single, I dream of the stuff and how wonderful it would be.

My friend had the same problem. I tend to think that maybe it's an insecurity problem. Do you have any ideas on how to GET OVER IT? I hate that feeling, and I try at all costs to make it go away if I'm going out with a guy, but it doesn't work. What do I do? I tend to think maybe it's because I go for guys' personalites, not their looks. Would it be because I think everyone else around me might think he's ugly on the outside, yet because I know him so well, I think he's gorgeous on the inside and outside? I'm confused. What's wrong with me?

-- Insecure About Something

Dear Insecure About Something,

Your letter makes me envision some kind of worse-than-"Freaks and Geeks" trippy hyperreal hell where, as you and your beau enter the building together, some usher announces over the PA, "PRESENTING ... MS. INSECURE, ESCORTED BY ... MR. TOAD."

That said, I know that high school can be some kind of worse-than-"Freaks and Geeks" trippy hyperreal hell. I totally get it. You are cool enough to "go for guys' personality, not their looks," yet "normal teenager" enough to worry about how you look with him. As a teenager, in fact, that is your job. So I guess the answer is to know that that feeling, while not delightful, is normal. And to not try to "make" it go away, which is like trying not to think of a pink ... toad." Know that at the end of the day, the people who think you're the bomb for dating how you do are the ones whose opinions you care about. Like, um, mine?

Breakup Girl



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