Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Auntie Seraphic and Does He Like Me

I received a great Auntie Seraphic letter, but it was so full of personal detail, I said I wouldn't use it. However, when I thought about it later, I realized that it contained a very important problem. It is actually one of a Single woman's principal emotional difficulties in high school and post-secondary school, at very least. So I shall entirely rewrite the letter, removing all details, and getting right to the heart of the problem.

Dear Auntie Seraphic,

I really like this guy. My girlfriend told him he should ask me out. He said if he wanted to ask a girl out, he asked a girl out. He didn't need someone to tell him. She then asked him WHY he didn't ask me out. He said he only liked me as a friend.

I know him as a friend, so I asked him out for dinner. He explained that he was busy, and didn't try to reschedule. He does tell me where he usually has lunch on campus, though. So sometimes I see him on campus, and we have conversations. We had a big conversation about X, and after X happened, the next day he came up to me when I appeared and said, "Hey, isn't cool that we were just talking about that?"

My question is, Do you think he might be interested in me? I really, REALLY, hope he is!

Does He Like Me?

I've written to the writer of the original letter already, and instead of repeating what I said to her, I'm going to write generally to you all.

First, it's so hard to be young. When you are 20, you think being 39++ practically unimaginable, and the only point to it is having lots of money, and hopefully you will be thin, but if not, hopefully you will be married with six kids so it won't matter, etc., etc.

But now I am 39++, and when I see or hear from girls of 20, with their beautiful, BEAUTIFUL skin and their whole lives ahead of them, I feel tremendous compassion for them---unless they are shrieking on the bus, of course. There's just so much a 20 year old doesn't know. Oh ye heavens--if only one could be 20 with the brains of a 39++! How amazing that would be!

Second, if there is something worse than you telling a twenty-something guy to go out with you, it is your friend telling him to go out with you. It is so bad, I would say it is either an act of treachery or an act of utter stupidity.

Newsflash: twenty-something guys don't like being told what to do. They spent the first twenty years of their lives being told what to do almost every waking moment, and they're sick of it. Leave them alone. 

The definition of a crazy friend is a girl standing beside you when you are fishing, screaming into the water, "Nibble my homegirl's fishing line, damn you!"

Meanwhile, your friend will have destroyed the mystery of you, particularly if she tells your crush object that you are crazy about him. Men like to know that women are crazy about them, as it means their universe is working as it should and that if they were desperate for female company, they wouldn't have to do much to get it. But when men really want something, they are willing to work for it, and they mostly value those things for which most men have to work, e.g. the Masarati Gran Sport.

Third, to understand what men want or don't want, it is a good idea to listen to what they say they want or don't want. Admittedly, sometimes they come out with all kinds of crazy, hilarious rubbish like, "I prefer girls who don't wear makeup."* (Ah, ha, ha!)  But when they say "I just like you as a friend," you must actually PAY ATTENTION.

It is NOT true that twenty-something men are so crazed by hormones that they are attracted to anybody and everybody. Honestly. Fifteen year olds--maybe, which is why so many get seduced by whackadoodle teachers. But twenty-two year olds? No, nie, non, non, nein. If a man says to you or to your gal pal that he just likes you as a friend, he just likes you as a friend. Why would he lie?

Men are big fat liars, but they aren't going to lie if lying gets in the way of what they want. And if they want certain girls to be their sweethearts, they aren't going to tell them or the girls' girlfriends they only like them as friends.

Fourth, if your pal tells a man to ask you out, and he says no, it is game over. Ms Pacman is dead, and you are out of quarters. Your friend now owes you a trip to the MAC counter for a new lipstick, and you must wash your crush object right out of your hair. You. Must. Not. Ask. Him. Out. On. A. Date.

I am desperately trying to think of a situation in which you could go out with a guy after your pal's Treason/Abject Stupidity, and as I am very imaginative, I have just imagined myself in the ugly, computer strewn ground level floor of the main library of Boston College, c. 2006, and some guy with movie star looks has just come up to me.

Cute Guy: Boston Girl says you're crazy about me.

Seraphic: I could be. Where are we having lunch?

Yeah, like I could ever come up with that at once. Anyway, I give it to you girls for free. That's your emergency, flirtatious, jokey, ah-ha-ha, maybe-I-just-like-your-money-big-boy response. Memorize it, repeat it in the mirror, practice it on your friends.

Fifth, friends talk to each other, so if a guy talks to you--especially after your friend has made it clear to him that you admire him, and after you have made it clear yourself by asking him out for dinner--it means he's friendly. It does not mean he wants you to be his girlfriend. It means he thinks you're his buddy, like a guy, only nicer to look at, less competitive and maybe even a source of homemade cookies.

Sixth, a guy who tells you where he hangs out on campus is a friendly guy who is not interested in you as a girlfriend. A guy who is interested in you wants to know where YOU hang out. If he doesn't ask, he goes looking.

Seventh, most college-age guys are not marriage material. They might be boyfriend material, but unless they know exactly what they want to do with their lives after graduation, they are not marriage material. And if they are not marriage material, they certainly will not be among the few college men thinking about getting married.

In my cynical opinion, you college girls should not be knocking yourself out to meet college boys but your friends' college-grad older brothers working in the city. Too many young men are slouching around college campuses boasting that they really don't know what they are going to do when they graduate.They should be ashamed. All that money spent on their fancy education, and for what? So they can backpack around Europe rewriting the first paragraph of their novel? Puh-leeze.

And that's me for today.

Update: Sorry for the rough edges. When I saw the time I literally had to run to the bus stop to get to my dentist appointment. The d.a. was truly awful, so B.A. suggested I buy myself a treat. And so to the MAC counter I went--whoo hoo!

*Of course they don't prefer girls who don't wear make-up. They prefer girls who know how to wear make-up well. Blend, girls. Blend, blend, blend.

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Meaghen said...

Ahahahahahahahah "and for what? So they can backpack around Europe rewriting the first paragraph of their novel?"

Perfect. Thanks Seraphic!

Jules said...

Haha! Oh the cleverness of you with that line!!! :)

I must second the notion that generally, college men are not "marriage material". It appears that this day and age, come junior or senior year of college, the lads have some kind of a frenzied realization that they are running out of time and that they probably need to figure out what they are to do with their lives since they are soon to be exiting the comfort blanket of the educational system. They realize that making the grades, having (hopefully) some healthy relationships, exercise, you-get-the-idea is not enough to fall back on any more. I would say that introspection on their part, has been little practiced.... much because they likely don't NEED to do it (or have much reason to on their spare time) unless they have been through some very tough things/problems. Which, in that case, the lad probably knows himself better. (As women, we are impaled with social pressures much earlier on which cause us to wrestle with our value, self-image, who-am-I? things and we tend to introspect more. (Yes, women can leave college and still be lacking direction in life- but I do think that we do have more practice in self-knowledge because we have more opportunity to do it.)

For Catholic men, I think we see an uprising of "vocational discernment"... which can cause a slurry of broken hearts along the way (if they were/are in a relationship)... as they ride the waves of not knowing who they are or where they are going.

I can say that from personal experience, I do not have the energy nor the time to deal with a young gent who is all over the map with himself. That is not an "adventure" in my eyes... but an opportunity for headache, heartache, and frustration. A man who is "stable" (and by this, I do not mean boring!) is certainly much more appealing and attractive to me.

Alas, you live and learn.

Katerina said...

I happen to be turning twenty tomorrow, and this feels hugely relevant, thank you! :)

Seraphic said...

Sorry, Anonymous, I'm not accepting Anonymous comments today.

Meanwhile I hope all readers take on board the general advice and not just the sideswipe at the lackadaisical! They're victims of the modern world, too.

Maria said...

"you college girls should not be knocking yourself out to meet college boys but your friends' college-grad older brothers working in the city."
Ahahaha! So what we should actually do is walk up to our crushes and say, "You're pretty hot. Any older brothers?"
Snork, snork. I may actually be tempted to try this.

Seraphic said...

No, no, no. I meant your girlfriends' brothers. You will cause college boys to shrivel and die if you demand to meet their successful older brothers.

With good GIRLfriends, you can say, "Does anyone have a cute brother she'd be willing to introduce me to?"

That said, I first heard about B.A. from a guy (no longer at college) absolutely not interested in me when I said "Tell me about your Facebook friends? Who you got for me? Come on. Come on. Husband material, please."

Veronica said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I really needed to hear this. I'm 22 and was in, if not the same, a very similar situation.

After recovering from the train wreck of that situation, I completely agree, college boys are not marriage material. Especially when they are so extremely pleased with themselves in not knowing what they want out of life...
Yet, even knowing that, it still stings.

Seraphic said...

Whoa. Wait a minute. SOME college boys are marriage material, or are on their way to being so, sooner or later. My throwaway line seems to have overshadowed the main points of my post which are:

1. Don't let your friends tell who to date.

2. Don't chase boys.

3. Don't confuse a guy who is merely friendly with a guy who is consciously and intentionally going to the trouble of seeking you out where you may be found.

4. When boys say they're not that into you, they're not that into you.

My bit about many (if not most) college boys not being marriage material yet was just to underscore the pointlessness of chasing college boys.

Your grandmother might find it confusing that you are not out there being chased by college boys and wearing a too-big-for-you Varsity jacket because your grandmother went to college when few people went to college and college meant a good job and/or marriage at the end.

College no longer necessarily means a good job at the end, let alone. To get the good job, you really have to hunt, work, strive, call in favours, get your parents to help, contact your sorority/fraternity siblings for help, take a lousy job while searching for the good one, etc, etc.

So the problem is not always that college boys are feckless, lazy and dumb (although of course some are). The problem is that college not longer provides what it provided to their (and your) great-grandparents, grand-parents and parents---or their generations, if they themselves did not go.

Still, I will admit that my generation of young women seemed to have it together careerwise before the men did--not sure why this was, or if it is true, although my prom date (still a pal!) thinks it is.

Seraphic said...

Missing words: boys, marriage

Casey said...

Thank you, Auntie! I really needed to hear this today. It's just as relevant for the workplace. :-) Striving to stay rooted in reality!

healthily sanguine said...

Yes, this is an important post, and the main points you outline do not just apply to college! Guys, particularly outgoing guys, will want the girls to whom they are not attracted to be their friends, even after they graduate.

Claire said...

My freshman year roommate did this to me once, except she pulled the guy into a random dorm room and ordered him to make a decision about dating me. Oy. Needless to say it did not end well for little freshman-year me (or him either, although we are still friends despite the awkward).

I think (younger?) people do this sort of thing under the pretense of matchmaking/helping friends get together, but I wonder if part of the reason my roommate interfered was so that she wouldn't have to listen to me talk about him all the time and generate some interesting drama to take part in. Has that been anyone else's experience?

Seraphic said...

I think younger people, from sheer lack of real life experience, confuse real life with what they see on TV, or in movies or even read about in fiction. They see or read about a nice, friendly character giving a man a push in a woman's direction, and hey presto!

But fiction is not real life, and it takes a really talented novelist or director to create fiction that is both true to life and not deadly dull.

Older people may be just a bit medly, or bored, or also confused by the difference between the real world and the demands of fiction ("Keep the plot moving! Create drama! Sustain tension! Resolve plot in 90 minutes!")

But sometimes people, usually older, but sometimes very savvy young people, can help us be rooted in reality and call us to honesty in our dealings with others. For example, I don't see a problem with a sister saying to her brother, or a mother saying to her son, "That girl's in love with you, and you need either to step up to the plate or let her get on with her life." But that's when the guy is actually DOING something, not when he is just minding his own business, not when he doesn't feel anything but friendliness towards a girl.

Telling a young, unattached guy who he should be in love with is seriously rude nosey-parkering and embarrassing for all concerned!

Amanda said...

I don't think men like make up half as much as women think that men like make up. I've been told by men that I look good with make up on when I'm not even wearing any. Most of the times I don't even think they can tell the difference.

Magdalen Hobbs said...

Never underestimate the power of family members- my grandfather basically brought about my parents' marriage by saying "Maureen's a nice girl. you've been dating for two years. she's older than you and wants children. if you're going to marry her, do so soon, if you're not, give her time to find someone else." that speech is legendary in my family :)