Tell Me About It.
Byline: Carolyn Hax
Carolyn takes your questions and comments about her current advice column and any other questions you might have about the strange train we call life. Her answers may appear online or in an upcoming column.
Appearing every Wednesday and Friday in The Washington Post Style section and in Sunday Source, Tell Me About It Baefers readers advice based on the experiences of someone who's been there -- really recently. Carolyn Hax is a 30-something repatriated New Englander with a liberal arts degree and a lot of opinions and that's about it, really, when you get right down to it. Oh, and the shoes. A lot of shoes.
Carolyn Hax: Hi guys. Something weird just happened with the question I was trying to answer. Need to investigate for a sec ...
Boston, Mass.: Dear Carolyn,I've never really dated anyone, and I'm really too old for it (27 years old!). One reason is that, when I was younger, I was overweight -- but I lost it almost four years ago, and have kept myself in very good shape since. I'm also doing fine professionally -- while I'm never going to be rich, I make enough money to live decently. I think my work is important and I'm proud of it. All told, I'm pretty happy.
But I just can't seem to figure out how to get started. Most women my age, frankly, don't want to take a 27-year-old out on his first date. Obviously, I don't point this out when I ask a woman on a date -- but once I get past that first step, how do I handle the fact that I don't know anything about all this relationship stuff? I don't even know how to kiss someone.
Carolyn Hax: 1. There's no "too old." You are who you are, this is what it is.
2. If you don't start now, you will be 28 and going on your first date. Or 29. Or 42. If you see your age as a problem, then please also see it as a problem that isn't going to get any better with time.
3. Instead of worrying that women will dump you for your inexperience, assume it. The first one you kiss may think, wow, this guy kisses like he's never done it before (unlikely, but, for the sake of argument). But when she dumps you for it and you ask another woman out, this time she won't be the first woman you kissed. Eventually--again, assumign all the early ones dump you--there will be a 10th kiss and etc. and you'll have nothing to worry about except what everyone else worries about with this stuff. So just get used to the idea that it's going to take a few tries to get right. Treat it like you're learning to play tennis or something.
Washington, D.C.: I have a bad habit of googling ex-boyfriends. I am very happily newly married. I just have this morbid curiosity. Is that weird?
Carolyn Hax: Do you Google them once a year, or nightly in lieu of dinner with your husband? The weirdness is in the details.
Anywhere at all: Carolyn, let's see, some of my friends have: fooled around while married, started relationships with married people before the divorce, and done other awful things I can't even sum up in short here. So I: wait until I am in the right place after the end of a long term relationship to start a new one, and now the new, serious one is in the ashes. I don't think I am feeling Why Me?, but I am feeling like if you do the right thing, it shouldn't be so bad.
Carolyn Hax: If a scientist tried to peddle a conclusion based on the data you've provided, his or her colleagues would urge a career change. You're talking about a few crappy friends and one crappy relationship. The doing-the-right-thing experiment shows reliable results only over the course of a lifetime, not a decade or year or a week. I know you don't think you are feeling Why me?, but stop asking Why Me? The answer is never a good one.
Wow...: Aren't you supposed to be on vacation?
Carolyn Hax: Yeah. Moronically, I forgot to take myself off the schedule and by the time it occurred to me it felt too late to scratch.
Washington, D.C.: Is it bad that I'm sitting here in my office, crying a little?
Carolyn Hax: It it's one time, no. If it's a regular lunch date, yes. If it's related to the news, I'd offer you a tissue, but I just wept through my last box.
S.S. Scientist: So I have this theory that I'm pretty, but not pretty enough. I mean, take away looks, I really have it going on: smart, witty, great personality; life is all together and all that. So much so, that when I interact with my many male friends, I feel the attraction between us, but also the "ehh... but it's not enough." Not that it's really bothering me or anything (not to the point where I must end the friendship), but I would so love to prove one of my many theories wrong.
Carolyn Hax: I would guess that fewer men are put off by imperfect looks than are put off by a tendency to anticipate, overanalyze and then pigeonhole their behavior.
D.C.er's Dilemma: Long time reader, first time writer.
So I have this friend who's planning on getting married at the end of summer. The thing is, she was engaged about a year ago and getting ready to married (to a different guy) around the same time. I didn't really feel too confident about that relationship because they seemed to rush into things rather quickly. Low and behold, the engagement broke and they went their seperate ways. To my surprise, about a month later, my friend gets engaged to the current guy. Just this week, I recieved an RSVP in the mail for the wedding and I've been sitting on it. Should I go, even though I have reservations about the whole relationship or should I stay home and be a really crappy friend? The day the wedding is on is usually a day that I have a whole lot of stuff to do anyways, but should I even make the effort?
Carolyn Hax: Different question, similar answer--I'd rather hang with someone who marries impulsively than judges smugly. She's probably making a mess of it all, sure, but unless you're clairvoyant you have no way of knowing they aren't destined for a rollicking, great-grandkid-infested 60th anniversary party. If you like this friend, go. If you don't like this friend, stay home and do your laundry.
Somewhere in New Jersey: (online only please) I went in on a summer beach house with a group of 11 others, male and female, all in our late 20s, early 30s. I didn't know most of the people in the house going into it, so I have met a lot of new, nice people. (Good thing!) I have also developed feelings for one of the guys in the house (Could be a good thing!).
I kissed him the first weekend, and kissed him again last weekend. We were not falling down drunk, but some alcohol was involved. My problem is that I am interested in him, but I am not sure what his interest is in me -- just to hook up or relationship potential?
We do hang out/talk, etc., all weekend when we are at the beach, but have not spent any time together during the week, outside of the beach house, although I would like to. Should I bring up the subject, or just be more patient and see how things play out?
Thanks -- (sometimes these questions have a way of answering themselves once you type them out. But I would really appreciate your input)
Carolyn Hax: Assume he is a convenient weekend warm fuzzy unless the context starts telling you otherwise. After two weekends (right?), you don't know him well enough to want him to be otherwise.
Washington, D.C.: My boyfriend and I got engaged, and we are very happy. The only problem is that we have had lots of celebrations, and tend to drink lots of champagne and other drinks, get drunk, and fight about the wedding. Simple answer is not to drink as much I guess, but how can I do that when the drinks are flowing? I don't want to turn into Bridezilla after celebrating too much!
Carolyn Hax: You're already Bridezilla if you don't have a "no" switch. Just because you're offered 30 drinks doesn't mean you have to accept them, and just because there are butterflies doesn't mean you have to release them at your reception. I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you were hung over when you wrote this question.
To Boston: I think you're putting this "first date" thing a little too high up on a pedastool. Have you ever... gone out with friends? gone out with coworkers for a drink? You get the idea. It's just another type of social interaction.
As for relationship how-to's? If you enjoy the first date, ask her out again. Repeat as necessary. There is no "right" way to do things or any special formula to follow. Just relax, be yourself, and have fun!
Carolyn Hax: Good 101, thanks.