Gift Hearse

Advice Goddess

By Amy Alkon

Several years ago, this co-worker I was interested in was always stopping by my desk to talk, so I gave her some turtle earrings (they related to a story she once told me). I guess I was trying to tell her I was interested, but she was leaving for two months, so it didn’t make sense to ask how she felt about me. A year later, if only to find out what her intentions were, I finally asked her out. She said, “We’ll see.” A month later, I asked her out again. She said she’d consider it. Thinking I’d upset her, I gave her two more pairs of earrings, also along the nature theme. I waited a week, and asked for her thoughts on going out with me, and she said, “It would be weird.” Now, she not only shuns me, I’m the target of other co-workers’ veiled criticism.

— Not A Bad Guy

Are you a man or a magazine? Because you sell yourself like you’re 52 issues of Time: “Get this cheesy touch-screen organizer, with only five functions you already don’t use on your cell … FREE with your paid subscription!” Or, rather, “Date me! There’s more cheap, wildlife-themed jewelry where this came from!”

There’s a reason you didn’t scamper off to the mall to score dolphin bookends for fat old Gladys in accounting even if she did once remark on the joy she felt watching Flipper frolic among the sperm whales. Let’s be honest: Your offerings to your other co-worker didn’t come from the goodness of your heart but the lack of brass ones in your pants. And what did you think would happen, she’d be so blown away by the gift of ear tortoises that she’d agree to have a drink with you, and never mind that tiresome preliminary step of asking her out?

Women are attracted to generous men, but you show generosity by, say, springing for doughnuts for your co-workers after the doughnut budget gets cut. You can give a lone female co-worker the occasional gift as long as it’s in the realm of “Hey, I was at Starbucks. Know you’ve had a hard week, so I thought I’d bring you a latte.” Whatever you do, don’t give the gift that tells a woman “I’ve been logging your every word for the past two years and went to the mall and shopped based on the transcripts.” This is creep street, gift-wrapped: a boyfriend present from some co-worker she speaks to in passing. Sure, this sends the message you’re thinking about her, but probably thoughts along the lines of “I touched this, and you’re going to put it on your ear, and then I’ll be touching you.”

If a hunter approached eating the way you approach dating, he’d sit in his truck sipping hot chocolate, sighing, “I really wish a deer would shoot himself in the head, wrap himself in a tarp, and use his remaining energy to bind himself to my bumper.” No, rejection isn’t fun, but it costs less than doing everything you can to avoid it. A speedy rejection is the least costly of all. As soon as you know you’re interested in a woman, you ask her out. You’ll have to steel yourself for about 10 seconds of feeling like poo under her shoe, should she turn you down. But, even if she does, if you haven’t been festering over her for years, it should be easier to act like you’re cool with it. As a gutsy guy who tried but struck out, you might even garner admiration from your co-workers for your approach — saying it with manhood instead of baby forest animals with hypoallergenic posts.

(c)2009, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail (

Categories: Advice Goddess