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the pith helmet

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Published on 02/01/2001

kayte asks:
so this boy... i like him very much and care about him very much... but he doesn't allow himself to feel any emotions, and therefore won't allow himself to like me back, though i know he wants to in some way, through our interactions. [it's especially lovely because my exboyfriends have all turned out to be the same way, and i notice what an attractive pattern i'm building for myself.] but this boy... i'm practically chasing after him and i'm afraid of scaring him off. i know he likes me. but he won't let himself really like me, or ever do anything about it. and it's entirely frustrating because i really think he's wonderful, and it would be wonderful to be close in that way with him. how do i handle this--do i move on or keep trying?

p.s. is it bad to eat cookies for breakfast, every morning?

I was in San Diego several months ago, cramped into a room in a beach-side motel that we had dubbed "The Pink Palace." Picture pink. Picture stucco. And then picture a surf competition happening outside your window one morning where it was apparent from the bleating on of "Number 7... Number 7..." that surfer number seven was not showing up for his turn in the spotlight. Well inside this motel room (three of us, all buff, young, straight, men) were our provisions for the weekend. We had Fig Newtons and Sun Chips, and most likely would have had some cream-filled oatmeal cookies if we hadn't cleaned the local minimart out of their entire stock1 the night before.

I would wake up in the morning to the snoring of my companions, and being limited in my ability to reach either the door or the bathroom, resigned myself to reaching for the snack table for provisions. The Sun Chips gone, I reached for the Fig Newtons. Now Fig Newtons are a bit like cookies, so I feel that we can draw certain parallels in our discussion of the situation. Regardless, this carried on for several days, at the end of which I was feeling quite malnourished and fat, at the same time.

For you see, cookies really do not have any nutritional value. While they might say things like "May contain food" on the side of the packaging (sealed for your protection), this is a complete lie. Truth in advertising is dead, and do not let anyone tell you different. In fact, the only thing that cookies contain are fat (to make them taste good), and chocolate chips, because chocolate is the foundation for all non-food foodstuffs.

Remember that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You do not want to go filling yourself up with something that is not oatmeal at the beginning of the day. Or yogurt. Or, if you are on the run, an egg and cheese sandwich on a roll. But not cookies. Cookies are bad for breakfast.

Remember also that what you have for breakfast will effect how the rest of your day. Also remember that there is a fine line you have to walk when you are talking to boys. On the one hand, they like girls to chase them. It makes them feel important, and hot. Just like movie stars. However, if a boy has a girl chasing after him and he does not make any moves to return the favor, then it is most likely the case that he is not interested in what he thinks the girl has in store for him.

You see, perception is reality. You never said that you wanted to date this boy (and I do not know if this is your intention), but if you are chasing him, then he thinks that you want something very serious from him, and he does not want that sort of responsibility (mostly because he is a wuss, but that is not the topic at hand). What you should really do at this point is stop chasing and just try to be his friend. Perhaps you can bring him a cookie (though not for breakfast). Or just talk to him. Say "hi" a lot. And find out how his day is going. If things are "meant to be" then things will progress. And don't be afraid to move things forward, if the situation demands it. The nice thing about this situation is that you do not need to either "move on" or "keep trying" but can do both and see where your path forks off in the future. In the process of "moving on," the boy may find that you really are going away, that he misses your interactions. Then he will come after you. But if the boy is running away from you, then for goodness sake, don't chase him down like the paparazzi.

Even celebrities need their "me time."



1. They are the official snack cake of the revolution.


viva la revolution!
Posted by me on 02-03-2001 19:49


C'mon, Jesse, you give great advice, but you are clearly not that kind of boy, or, obviously, that kind of girl.
Now let me tell you what Kayte is talking about. Kayte is talking about a guy who hugs you "platonically" for five minutes and then talks about how you'd ruin your friendship if you became anything more than friends. I liked a guy like this once; his name was David. Said type is also likely to: be flirty in e-mail but friendly in person; tell you he don't want nothing but then threaten to tickle you, twice, again over e-mail; say you're not the ideal person for him/Ms. Perfect/his type/the kind of person he sees himself with in ten years.
The particular thrill of dealing with this sort of magical mystery boy is the incredible, mind-expanding sense of psychological superiority he gives you. He doesn't know what the fuck he's up to, but you sure do. He is ideal material for poems, songs, artwork of all kinds. Plus, he may be a genuinely cool and interesting person under all the brick-wall bullshit.
So what to do? Unfortunately, I have no solutions. You could try to get him into bed so that he'd have to face his own interest in you, but from experience I can say that said tactic, although sometimes briefly enjoyable (and sometimes not), *will not work*. The problem is, if you court his interest and try to get him to see the light you only play into his "I know everything except myself" mentality. (did I mention that these boys tend to be psychologically-astute about everyone except themselves? One of the ones in my life was even getting a Ph.D. in the subject.)
There is also the very slightest possibility that the guy is right and that a relationship would not be the best plan between the two of you. But really, what does it matter what's behind his conflicting and convoluted actions? You are not going to be able to chip away at them, so don't bother anymore.
I sympathize with Kayte. I bet my friend Kate would sympathize with her too; Kate was also involved with the aforementioned David. But sadly, all I can say is, again, get over it. Fixer-uppers are houses (possibly), not relationships. Find someone who doesn't need to grow up before he can love you. Mr. Mystery? Too bad for him.
Posted by Danielle on 02-05-2001 18:13


well, i must say miss danielle hit the nail right on the head. thanks, jesse, for the cookie advice, though. i needed to hear that from someone.
Posted by kayte on 02-06-2001 01:05


only vodka is bad for breakfast every day
Posted by Lynn on 02-06-2001 05:51


Italians eat cookies for breakfast every day. And they have wine with lunch. I think they have it figured out.
Posted by bean on 02-06-2001 11:45


First~ Bean has it right on breakfast.
Second ~ The minute you say he doesn't allow himself to feel you are really saying he doesn't feel what you want him to.
Best Advice ~ "Dump him. He's a jerk."
Why would you waste time on someone who doesn't connect with you the way you connect with them.
Too many fish in the sea.
Later Gator
Posted by A on 02-21-2001 14:56


Oi. I know the type of guy you mentioned. I know him in two incarnations. For this response I'll use their initals. First there is J. J is this guy who did the same thing you mentioned "I don't have emotions." He thought I was hot. But, he "didn't have emotions." Am I wrong, but isn't preference a reaction to emotion? Anyway, then there is also P. Oi... P. He and I, wow... I was after him for about 8 months. Long hugs before and after every class. I gave him rides home every day. We hung out practically every weekend. He was quite aware that I liked him. Like I told it to his face. But, he gave me little things like "Oh.. well..." And the vagueness keeps the hope up. After quite a long while he became attached to some girl. (They didn't/aren't even technically going out) I got pissed at him jerking my chain. We went through a big whole mess. And now we're casual friends. I used to think he knew what he was doing, but now I'm leaning twords he just didn't get what hell he was putting me through. If this is ANYTHING like what you went through, then my only advice is to get pissed off. Get pissed off that he's willing to let you drive him around/help him with his homework/lend him money/whatever... but when it comes to your emotions he just doesn't give a shit. Get pissed off and walk away. If he comes after you then, and only then, lay down new rules explaining that if he wants to be your friend then he's NOT going to lead you on. If he doesn't come after you, then sorry, but it's his loss. Much love. Hope things work out.
Posted by PunkRockKitten on 09-10-2001 19:30


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