Bodhi Call

The Advice Goddess

By Amy Alkon

This man I dated for two weeks is sensitive, spiritual, talks with trees, appreciates astrology … basically, my ideal match. But, I think I messed up, repeating bad patterns: I kissed him first and had sex too soon. He called twice at 9:30 p.m., wanting me to come over and see a movie, but we ended up naked again. I asked him out twice, but only because he often waits till the last minute to decide anything. (I don’t know why one has to play a game of letting the man call.) I also asked if it was safe to open my heart to him. He said, “Why don’t you ask your heart that?” That was the last I saw of him. I called him, and he said he didn’t “feel a romantic thing,” and that I’d shared my feelings too fast. Help!! We had a past life together where I was the man and he was the woman, which he himself mentioned, yet now he’s not even sure we can be friends.

— Distressed

No. You didn’t. Two weeks in, you didn’t really ask a guy, “Is it safe to open my heart to you?” Answer: “Only if you open your front door at the exact same time so I can get the hell out of here.”

Forget the old “anything worth having is worth waiting for.” You’re a woman in a hurry. Anything worth having is worth cornering like a trapped animal. Unfortunately, guythink doesn’t work on that timetable. Yeah, he might be sensitive, spiritual and chatty with trees, but he’s still a guy. The usual rules are in effect. For best results, you don’t kiss a guy first, you don’t initiate dates and you don’t chirp “I’ll be right over!” when he calls at 9:30 for a movie date at 9:35. What’s playing? Surprise, surprise, cable’s on the fritz, but he’s got a cell phone camera, and he could shoot you two doing it.

There’s much sneering about game playing as a form of deception, but it’s more of a social intelligence test, a way of signaling people that you’re worth having or hiring. In a job interview, it probably means showing up in a dress and heels instead of your bra and underwear and clown shoes. In dating, “playing a game of letting the man call” is how you avoid playing the game of begging him to call after he loses interest. You know this, but you diss game playing to give yourself a pass to do what you know doesn’t work but works for you in the moment: throwing yourself at a guy and hoping against hope you’ll stick. (”Hmmm, maybe if I rub my naked body with Super Glue?”)

This hoohah about who you supposedly were to him in a past life only helps distract you from how you keep coming back in this one: as a bug under a man’s shoe. Do the work to fill the empty places in yourself so you won’t continue these desperate attempts to plug them with a boyfriend. Only when you’re OK alone are you fit to start looking for company. At that point, “playing the game” will come naturally. You won’t have guys calling at the last minute because you’ll seem like a girl who’d be busy — too busy having self-respect to make like Domino’s and have yourself delivered. Forget whether a guy’s into astrology; it’s whether you have dignity that determines your fate with him, not the fact that you were both born when Capricorn was in 7-Eleven.

Flat Attire

How about my date this past Saturday? He has the potential to be really cute, but I absolutely despise his bland style. How do you approach making someone over?

— Bothered

Does that someone need a new shirt or a new head? Once you have a bit of a relationship with a guy, you can flatter him into a better shirt. (”You know, that Cosby sweater would look so much more attractive in the Dumpster!”) But, on a first date, if you’re obsessed with tearing a guy’s clothes off, it should be because you want to see him naked, and not just for that brief moment before he gets into something that meets your dress code. It’s possible you aren’t ready for a relationship, so no guy is right for you or you’re so desperate for a relationship that you’ll take any guy, then try to turn him into a guy you really want. People say style is a superficial thing — and it is, unless it’s a big deal to you. Ultimately, it isn’t going to work with a guy if your first date fantasy is “You’d be so perfect … if only we lived in a world of total darkness” (“Once you go pitch black, you never go back”).

Amy Alkon is a columnist and author. Her book “I See Rude People: One woman’s battle to beat some manners into impolite society” was released by McGraw-Hill in 2009.

Categories: Advice Goddess