Petaling as fast as he can
I met my dream girl in my poker group in grad school. I recently moved far away to start my own company, but I plan to move back in about six months, once it's up and running. I just learned on Facebook that she and her boyfriend broke up, so I sent her flowers. She posted a picture of them and thanked me publicly on Facebook, but hasn't answered my e-mail asking about her plans after grad school. I don't think she's too interested in me, so I need some good ideas. I'm on a shoestring budget, so what can I do from 1,000 miles away that would rub her the right way? — Hopeful
Your best bet? Invent time travel, go back to the day you sent her those flowers, and get drunk and pass out before you can click "submit order."
Sending flowers to a girl you've had no sexual or even romantic contact with is only appropriate if the girl is a racehorse who just won the Preakness. Once you've slept with a girl, sure, send her a bouquet or, if she was particularly awesome in bed, maybe even a fruit basket. Otherwise, it's pretty much like going to the florist and saying, "What color roses say, 'I'm lacking in social intelligence'? Oh, yeah ... and could you add a few sprigs of 'Boy, am I glad you stopped sleeping with that other guy'?"
As somebody who's starting a company on a shoestring budget, chances are, your regular daily form of transportation isn't a Gulfstream V with a "My other car is a primer gray Volvo" bumper sticker on the back. While you can keep in touch with the occasional witty e-mail, there's otherwise no way but the wrong way you'll rub this girl by trying to pursue her from 1,000 miles away. (What were you planning to do, invite her to a gallery opening with free wine in her town and text her hello from a gallery opening with free wine in yours?)
Of course, the single best reason to stop pursuing this girl is that she's shown no interest in you beyond whether you're the one holding the ace of spades. But, let's say you have a chance with her. If you spend six months obsessing over her (and worse yet, if she's the reason you move back), when you do see her, you're sure to radiate all the personality of a trapped animal.
Quit clinging to your faraway "dream girl," go ask a real live local girl out, and rediscover the joy of old-fashioned instant messaging. No, no more sending questions off into space to sit unanswered on some girl's computer. Just whisper them straight from your pillow to the cute neighbor girl on the pillow across from yours, and get answers instantly to "Got plans after grad school?" — or, better yet, "Got time to do that again before you leave for work?"
Giving him the dry heave-ho
After a great date with a guy I met online, he suggested going out again. Later that evening, he texted that he looked forward to hanging out again. Four days later, he e-mailed, wanting to know my schedule. I e-mailed it to him and never heard back. A week later, I got an apologetic e-mail, saying he'd had the stomach flu all week. Pardon my insensitivity, but how hard would it've been to e-mail that he can't hang because he's puking his brains out? Part of me wants to give him another chance, part of me wants to say "See ya." — Flake Avoider
It takes a special kind of person to stare into a toilet bowl of their own vomit and wonder what's in their inbox. Come on. It's not like the leaves changed while you were waiting to hear from him. Besides, he isn't your boyfriend, just some guy you had a single date with. And, by the way, he actually showed a pretty remarkable level of communication and consideration — verbally, and by e-mail and text — before he found himself watching instant replays of his lunch.
Part of you wants to give him another chance? Which part, the part that hopes to not be so prosecutorial as to find no guy appropriately perfect to be your boyfriend? Sure, we all have about five modes of near-instant communication, but having the ability to respond instantly doesn't translate into a mandate that we do. OK, maybe you'd leap up out of a coma to check your e-mail, but he isn't a bad person if he doesn't do the same. What kind of person is he? Go on a few more dates with him and you might find out. (Time, not angry assumptions, will tell.) Consider yourself lucky if his big character flaw is an inability to multitask while projectile vomiting.
Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org (advicegoddess.com). Alkon is the author of I See Rude People: One Woman's Battle to Beat Some Manners into Impolite Society.