Tuesday, January 27, 2009
The lady on the left is on a date with 3 people at once.
Thanks for your patience. After a few weeks off, I am ready and raring for more advice. I hope to have a podcast or web radio show soon, so stay tuned.
In the meantime, I have a new 150 word limit on questions. This is the last edition of Ask Nicole to include questions as long as Encyclopedia Britannica/Bible/Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
Dear World's Smartest Girl,
Here's a question about dating etiquette.
I am a recently single young lady and am on the prowl, so to speak.
I'm dating about four women right now. I'm not polyamorous or anything. I'm just dating.
I live in a mid sized town.
Friday night, I was out on a date and bumped into someone else that I'm seeing, that I'll be going out with on Sunday.
I went over and talked to Miss Sunday and her friend, chit chat, said hello. It was apparent, however, that I was on a date with Miss Friday, who hung back and did not meet Miss Sunday.
I like Miss Sunday because she's smart and sweet and I've been on three dates with her, only just kissed her once and am just getting to know her. Not sure what my intentions are.
Miss Friday, who I'm sleeping with but am sort of ambivalent about, hung back and I don't think she could tell that Miss Sunday and I have a thing going.
Anyways, what am I supposed to do when that happens?
When I run into one girl when I'm out with another girl?
I tell the girls that I am sleeping with that I am dating other people but the ones I'm just getting to know don't know about my ways because, well, we aren't ready for that conversation yet.
Furthermore, I might decide I like Miss Sunday enough that I just want to cool it and hang out with her, I don't know right now but I don't want to foreclose the option because I'm seen out with other people. What I do know is that I want to act right and not mess it up even though I'm dating other people. So, a bit of etiquette instruction, if you don't mind.
This situation is only as awkward as you make it.
The time to tell someone, in my opinion, that you have other dates, is before you make out with them. Before you even kiss them, you have to say
“Hey, I have to tell you that I’m really really CASUALLY dating some people right now. I just want to let you know that. ….” And you can elaborate or not based on their reaction. But don’t let them trustingly stick their tongue in your mouth if you have someone else’s spit marinating in there.
If you run into one girl when you’re out with another, I think you should say “Hi, how are you?” and make it brief. Tell them you’re excited to see them again or WHATEVER, but you need to say “Okay, I have to go hang out with my friend Miss Friday right now. Nice talking to you. See you soon.”
Don’t make it awkward for Miss Friday by openly flirting or carrying on a long conversation with Miss Sunday. No matter who you want to keep making out with in the situation, this is bad manners.
If you act totally chill and normal when you return to Friday’s open arms, then it shouldn’t be an issue. If she brings it up later “Who’s that?” try to be open and honest, but gentle with her feelings. Even if you feel ambivalent about her, she's still a HUMAN and might not feel ambivalent about you, especially considering the fact you were on a DATE and are currently having SEX with each other. Which in some cultures means "I Like You" .
SO. Be Polite. Be gentle.
Don’t act squirrely or guilty. You’ll only make things worse.
I want to talk about The F Word; Friends.
The back history: I've been in Portland for 5 years (as of this
week), and I have yet to make my 'core' friends here. I have lived in
larger cities like Chicago and Los Angeles and have always had my core
friends (usually 4-5) who I could really count on and share trust and
closeness, both ways. It always provided a sense of family that I
value very much. I don't do small talk and shallow acquaintances very
well, I prefer quality connections with fewer people rather than
shallow connections to a lot of people. I'm a bit introverted and
low-key, and like one-on-one time rather than big social situations.
I tend to get ultra-sensitive and awkward in large social situations
(this is something I'm working on).
THE PROBLEM: Since I have moved to Portland, I have had many
fall-outs with folks I try to befriend. Usually what happens is that
there is an initial spark (sometimes romantic, sometimes not),
sometimes this spark is quite powerful, and we hang out, communicate,
etc… then it seems that to keep the connection going I am the one
doing all of the communication and 'tuning in'. However, this is bad
because it causes an imbalance, and both people are left resentful of
I realize that these things take time, but Portland has a science all
of it's own and I sense that you may know something that I don't.
Open and Sincere.
Dear Open and Sincere,
In any relationship, romantic or otherwise, there needs to be reciprocity. If you are trying to contact people who are dropping the ball and not contacting you back, then you need to move on. Sounds like they aren’t interested in the same level of friendship you are.
This is where acquaintances come in handy. You make someone’s acquaintance, find out if you have a common interest, and if things go well and you’re both so inclined, hang out one on one as actual friends!
I find that social networking sites are a pleasure for this purpose. They give names to the faces you see in your community, and give you a chance to contact them outside of parties and random run-ins.
I want to add that you mentioned a romantic spark for some people who you’ve tried to befriend. This is a bad tactic if you’re looking for stability in friendships. You don’t want something volatile and hinging on whether or not you make out.
As for your desire to have friends and not just acquaintances (“shallow connections”), this is something I hear about as often as I hear lesbians declare their future want for a goat and to live in the country. VERY COMMON.
Nobody wants JUST acquaintances (not even your acquaintances want JUST acquaintances) , BUT we (Portlanders) are lucky to live in a land of common interest. Portland is a bubble with a giant queer community and thriving underground culture. Don’t take it for granted. Recognize the giant privilege you have to even KNOW that many people who are into the same things as you. You have the luxury here of rooting through the acquaintances to find people with whom you share not just gay-roddery and love of books, but also personality or communication styles. Lucky you! Community is nothing to take lightly.
So my advice to you is, look for commonalities with people whom you do not want to bone, test the waters and if the waters are unreceptive, move on.
Also, see my advice about friendship from 2008.
Good luck .
You probably don't remember me, but I went to Rock Camp this summer and was in your zine workshop. It turned out we were both from Kansas!
Anyway, you said you went to Aquinas for high school. Well, I am in 8th grade and about to take a placement test on Saturday. I am torn between two high schools. I shadowed at Aquinas and a new school called St. James, but I can't decide what school I want to go to! Overall, I really liked St. James better, but at Aquinas I will have more friends. I have one best friend going to St. James, and two best friends going to Aquinas. I really can't decide where to go. At St. James you get a mac book, which is awesome, but Aquinas I will know more people and have a cousin there. Aquinas is also much closer to my house. The tuition is also cheaper at Aquinas. Transportation might be a little problem for my parents and I, but I think we could work things out. Do you have any idea what I should do? I really need to decide, and fast!
-Torn Between Two.
Dear Torn Between Two,
I had a nice time as St. Thomas Aquinas. I met new friends, and maintained friendships with my public school friends outside of STA.
Go to the school you like best, and I promise you will have some friends.
I warn you though, in my days the freshmen as STA were forced to wear beanies with propellers the first week. The seniors could then walk by and flip the propeller on your. Really undignified.
If I were you, I would hide the beanie in my bag and only put it on right outside the classroom door. If you pretend to be a stone cold sophomore, you won’t get in trouble.
Okay, I'm 16 years old and have been in a (sort of) long relationship with my boyfriend (8 months to be exact). But the whole 'I love you' thing started EARLY with him. I didn't say it back until I thought I felt the same, and I do think I feel the same. My problem is the 'planning our future' thing started early too. And I just feel trapped because he loves me a lot, and I (and everyone else) can see that. I know for a fact that if we break up he's going to be...self-destructive. As in drinking uncontrollably. Oh, by the way, he's 19 and goes to college in Michigan (while I live in Illinois) if that makes a difference. And the other thing is I don't want to break up with him right now, I just don't want to spend the rest of my life with him...or I'm just not sure of that. I want to experience new things and meet new people before I tie myself down. Should I talk to him? Should I just break it off now? What should I do?
I hereby give you permission to break up with this guy.
You’re lovable. So what. That doesn’t meant you owe the first dude to declare his love for you anything. Lots of people are out there who also might want to love you. It doesn’t mean you need to get married to all of them.
You are not old enough to be making a crazy long commitment (not because I’m ageist, but because you need to date some more people and figure out what you want to do with your ENTIRE LIFE and what kind of person you like) , and you haven’t been dating long enough to be surgically tethered to this dude. His drinking is his own business. If he wants to self destruct after an 8 month long relationship, that’s his own deal. He’ll get over it.
Turn the page, dude.
YOUR business is to take care of yourself and have fun! Date someone you KNOW you love. Or don’t! Date a bunch of people and figure out what you want!
Don’t act like an old lady just yet. You can wait until you’re at least in your mid twenties for that sort of behavior.