Saturday, 24 April 2010

Auntie Seraphic & Confused in California

Dear Auntie Seraphic:

Two and a half years ago I met a wonderful European guy through an exchange program. We talked a lot and despite a few language mishaps, I thought we had a lot in common. I was supposed to go to visit his home country (not staying with him) but a long story short, that didn't end up panning out through no fault of either of ours.

Now we're occasionally in touch, mostly via emails. The last time I had a phone call from him was New Year's the year before last. I am still interested in being friends, but I don't know if he is. I feel like I'm always the one asking the questions that keep the emails going. I'm still interested in him. Is this too long? He's not taking up my every waking thought, but I do use him as a yardstick when considering new guy friends. Help?

Confused in California

Dear Confused,

A year and a half ago I met a wonderful European guy after he invited me to stay at his place in Europe. We talked a lot and despite a few language mishaps (like my calling Scotland "England"), he asked me to marry him before I left. He called me on the phone almost every single day until we were married seven months later. The last time I had a call from him was just now.

I'm not reminding you of all this to rub it in, but to show how European men act when they fall in love with a lady who lives far, far away.

My first impulse was to say, Confused, go to Europe and visit Mr. European instead of just sitting around wondering, "What if?" But then it occured to me that this guy could be French. Or Italian. Or one of a dozen nationalities of men who have a good time on vacation and then gradually forget the girls they met while practically kidnapping the women they actually want to marry.

When men are the caffeine in the cappuccino of life, they are practical and active. They know what they want and they try to get it before some other man can take it away from them. If your European friend was That Into You, he would be calling, emailing and visiting you whenever he could afford to. To quote Greg of HJNTIY fame, he's JNTIY.

So you shouldn't be that into Into him. Forget him. Scrub him from your mind. Ditch his sexy European imagine into the gutter at the side of the road. Break up with him right now by taking out his photo or whatever souvenir you're hiding from me and burning it in the back garden or bathtub.

As the acrid smoke swirls upwards, say, "You haven't called me since January 2009, you foreign bastard. You almost never write and you definitely never visit. When I couldn't make it to Europe, you could have offered to come here. But did you? No, you lily-livered cheese-eating surrender monkey, you did not! So I am hereby washing you right out of my hair, and calling up my friends to say that from now on I'm going to keep my eye out for a brace or two of red-blooded American men to be friends with."

The sheer futility of using some neglectful European as a yardstick when most Europeans use metric just goes without saying. Meanwhile, the first litmus test for the charm and smarts of any eligible man is that he shows up, unbidden, at your door, in your in-box or on your answering machine.

Grace and peace,


Julie said...

Ohh :( Indeed, Auntie Seraphic hits it on the head once again, much to my sorrow. This isn't my letter, but gosh if it's not my problem. The cruel fact is that while boy initiating is good, boy responding means nothing at all. A very very hard truth. And if no one else pops up one is prone to spending years poking a dead horse in eternal hope and disappointment.

Pedantic Classicist said...


That was awesome.

The yardstick/metric quip alone made my day.
Thanks for that.

Lemons said...

Oh yeah, going on a year of being even mildly strung out over someone a country and ocean away that you rarely speak to is just a waste of time. Period.

That movie 'He's Just Not That Into You" makes this point 100 times: [generally] If he's interested,*he will make it happen.*

Of course, there are exceptions to the rule... Guys can fear rejection as much as girls. But if it's been a year and he rarely even calls or writes, he's probably moved on, and so should you.

S. Elizabeth said...

Brava, Seraphic! I firmly believe that if a woman has to wonder and analyze and pine and guess whether that smile or that laugh meant that a certain gentleman is interested in her.... he just isn't. Perhaps early in getting to know a new guy, things can be subtle and every grin is fair game for analyzing. But after awhile, if he is still being so terribly tepid, she should probably keep looking.

Anonymous said...


You have an incredible talent for writing, even when there is a little sting in the tail. I hope you write another book. At first I thought this was incredibly cruel. (I wrote to you with a similar problem under another name) and keep coming back to this to see if it's changed :) Nope!

Fr Z had a "keep everybody out of trouble thread" on country music while he was gone. After I read this the first time, I left and heard Taylor Swift's ballad "White Horse" (listen on line or google lyrics) in my car. She's kind of a crossover - not twangy country. She said pretty much what you did but to music.

So I deleted his emails and the phone number he TOLD me to call, so I wouldn't do so in a moment of weakness. Sigh. Maybe it is God who is JNTIM.

Thank you for the response if it was directed to me, even though it wasn't what I really wanted to hear. If it was for somebody else, thank you as well.

White Horse (on this thread anyway - I live where almost everybody knows everybody else)

Seraphic said...

God is so Into You, He took on humanity, stretched out His arms and died on the cross.

God is so Into You that He has a plan for you that takes into consideration all eternity.

God is so Into You that He wants you to be happy in the way the saints are happy.

God is so Into You that He doesn't want you to throw yourself away on chasing what you think you want but to wait for what He wants.

If your long-distance crush object wants to know what happened to you, he will take steps to find out. Meanwhile, the man you really want (whoever he is, if he exists) is the one who lays his heart at your feet for you to pick up: a real friend who loves you and wants to be with you every day.

Seraphic said...

FWIW, I've cried the same tears you're crying a DOZEN times. At least a dozen. Unrequited love sucks. It seriously sucks. But having suffered it, later you can help others who suffer.

theobromophile said...

As I've gotten older, I've seen friends who struggled for years with this type of thing, only to later meet The One and understand how fundamentally different a marriage-bound relationship is from one that isn't.

Unfortunately, you either have to have gone down that road yourself (at which point, you don't really need advice, as you should be happily Married), or seen enough of your friends do it, to understand.

some guy on the street said...

It's too bad we can't link directly to specific comments, here. That GISIY --- OK, horrible initialism, but anyways --- that stanza there should be worked into a popular ballad to be sung wherever JNTIY is a thing.

MargoB said...

"the first litmus test for the charm and smarts of any eligible man is that he shows up, unbidden, at your door, in your in-box or on your answering machine."

SO true!

Loved your 1st comment, too; *well* said. Can I quote you on this one?: "God is so Into You that He doesn't want you to throw yourself away on chasing what you think you want but to wait for what He wants."

So good to hear, even when it's not guys or romance I was chasing. Thanks, Seraphic!

Anonymous said...

Thanks. I still keep looking at this for some stupid reason. Still says the same thing it did yesterday. And probably will tomorrow.

Will try to remember the GISIY instead. It actually would make a nice ballad, maybe you should trademark it before somebody else does.

White Horse