The silence of the lamb chops
Women do such crazy, manipulative things! After an ex-girlfriend and I spent hours reconnecting online, we made plans for her to visit. Out of the blue, she said she wasn't coming, admitting she'd been seeing someone and had never been happier. Ouch. But I knew she was a narcissistic, um, witch, so maybe I deserved that. Second example: I was dating a woman who had a tendency to cancel last minute, didn't answer her phone, etc. After I stopped calling, she called me, explained away these red flags, and suggested we go out that weekend. I phoned repeatedly to confirm but couldn't reach her. Finally, a guy answered, claiming to be her boyfriend. What the hell?! Why do women hide their boyfriends and lead me on? -- Spat On
There are lambs easily led to slaughter, and then there are lambs like you, who pop up on a girl's doorstep already in chop form, leaning against a jar of mint jelly, begging for directions to the oven.
Now, maybe you were too busy rolling naked in rosemary and meat tenderizer to pay attention to all those "red flags" popping up everywhere. Or, maybe you wrote them off with the most obvious explanation, which would be, let's see ... yet another parade through the heart of suburbia commemorating Chairman Mao? You do see the red flags eventually -- right after a girl's poked you in both eyes with the sharp end of one. Let's just hope you don't apply your dating M.O. to crossing the street: wandering blindfolded into traffic, hoping you won't cross paths with some tiny blonde piloting her Ford Explosion while watching a DVD, reading a trashy novel, blow-drying her hair, and hammering out a peace accord between the soccer teams in the back.
Come on, can a "narcissistic, um, witch" really offer you the love you're looking for -- or is it "love" you have to try really hard not to look at? You're the kind of guy who sees way too far into the future, picturing a woman accepting your proposal on the giant TV screen at the World Series before she even has a chance to stand you up on the first date. For the woman involved, it's probably opportunity at first sight. Chances are, in everything you say and do, you send the message you're desperate for love -- a condition that pretty much ensures you won't end up with any. Still, if you play your cards right -- perhaps humiliate yourself into the woman's weekend -- she might let you clean out her cat box while she's on a date with that man who doubles as her answering machine.
It's absence that makes the heart grow fonder, not absence of self-respect. Note that the moment you stopped speed-dialing the no-show woman's number, she started dialing yours. But the key isn't playing hard to get, it's being hard to get. There's no game in that. It takes duking it out with your insecurities until you're OK being alone -- but could be even more OK with the right woman in your life. To find her, forget looking for love and simply look to have a good time on dates while getting a good look at who you're with.
But first things first. What you need now is a mental health year -- a sabbatical from dating until you can stop approaching women like an alcoholic at a Jack Daniel's bottling plant. Use your free nights and weekends to ponder what you want in a woman -- apart from a woman who appears to want you. Don't despair. You actually can learn from your mistakes -- once you stop trying to take them to dinner and a movie.
Not a whole hot going on
My ex and I were super-attracted to each other, but there's a reason she's my ex. My new girlfriend is an amazing person, but I'm just not into her physically. I thought the attraction would come, since we're great together in every other way, but it hasn't. Is there anything I can do to help it along? -- Luke Warm
Think of all the men whose lives would be changed if only they could get their brains overhauled so they'd become sexually obsessed with homely heiresses. That's gonna happen -- probably on the same day you convince your taste buds that they're just as thirsty for wheatgrass juice as they are for Guinness. There is a name for the people you really, really like but aren't sexually attracted to. They're called friends. Perhaps you could be one to this girl? As your first act of friendship, break up with her -- freeing her to find a man who's as eager for her to take her clothes off as you are for her to keep them on.