Everybody plays the fool

Dear Dategirl,

I'm 30 years old, and most of my friends are either married or have a significant other. I was perfectly happy being single (at the very least I convinced myself I was, and I tell everyone I am) until just recently. There's this girl at my workplace that I finally got the nerve to ask out. She seemed really interested in me, but I found out today that she has a boyfriend. We weren't really an item, but dang it, she sure had me fooled. She showed all this interest in me, and I'm sure she has to know that I like her. So here I am in a position I promised myself I'd never get into. I'm the kind of guy that is scared to let anyone get close to me, so I put up this "I just want to be friends" wall. I just can't let her know how hurt I am. Damn it!

I've been told that if I don't love myself, I won't be able to love another. Well, it's really hard to be content with myself when I can't even get close to another. My heart is pounding, I feel like I have butterflies in my stomach, and I'm crying deep down inside. I tried being myself, but it doesn't seem to work out. I get the feeling that a woman would only take an interest in me if I made sexual advances. I hate this! I just want to be able to connect with someone, that's all. Life is cruel.

Hopeless

Take a deep breath, sweet pea. First of all, you're not hopeless. You're just depressed, frustrated, and suffering from a bruised ego. If you take an objective look at your situation, it's really not as horrible as you're making it out to be: This is one girl, and there are billions of us—don't give her all that power! I know it's humiliating to put your heart out there and have someone drop a steaming poo on it, but anyone worth knowing has had their heart broken at least once. You're traumatized because you think you made an ass out of yourself by asking this chiquita out on a date. If this is the case, honey, you don't know from jackass. You are writing to someone who has:

*begged a man to sleep with her—on more than one occasion;

*fallen on her ass and subsequently vomited on a first (and, shockingly, only) date; and

*stayed involved with a man who asked her for a picture of her sister (please note that he didn't have a picture of this someone, nor did he seem particularly interested in obtaining one).

And I'm far from the only fool. My friend Jolene had been making eyes with a boy at her local bar for three years before they finally went out. They had a great time, drank a little too much, and made out. So Jolene figures she's getting a piece off this guy—after all, they'd been flirting for three years! Nope. He turns her kind offer down, and instead of bowing out gracefully, she starts to argue her case for why he should fuck her. He stood firm, and the evening finally ended with her sobbing loudly and uncontrollably.

My buddy Dave has had some doozies. "There was the girl who caught me stealing her underwear from the laundromat across the street from my house—I used binoculars to know which machine she'd used. Then there was the time I flew to Berlin to be with my great love of years gone by, only to find that she was living with someone else." Oops.

Petunia started playing the fool at a terribly tender age: "When I was 3, I had a crush on a neighbor's son who was 24. I would ring the doorbell every day and visit him. Then one day he introduced me to his girlfriend. I was shocked and outraged, and said she was ugly to his and her face. They laughed, and I was humiliated."

Petunia swears she's a lot more careful about revealing her feelings these days, but she still gets up the guts to do it from time to time. So should you. If you practice a little, your skin will become a bit thicker, and each and every rejection won't feel like a knife to the heart (just some of them!). And for shit's sake, don't try to become some ass-grabbing Lothario—you sound like a perfectly nice guy, and sooner or later you'll find someone who appreciates that. Good luck!

Romantic difficulties? Write Dategirl at dategirl@seattleweekly.com or c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western, Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.

 
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