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Lost In Fond

For about six weeks, I’ve been seeing a guy who’s here on a temporary work contract. We get along well, and I like him -- despite his right-wing political views, his messy place, and his college kid diet. However, last night he told me I’ve grown on him and he’s fond of me. Fond of me? Who says that? He’ll soon be moving across the country to his next three-month gig and wants me to come see him. Should I take the position that I’ll come when he sends me a plane ticket? I’m just trying to keep from investing myself in somebody who doesn’t value me. Am I expecting too much from a six-week relationship?


Ovaries suddenly shouting “last call”? Biological clock not just ticking but wired to plastic explosive?

This is the real world, not a $3 paperback. Sure, if you were the girl in the corset who gets bent backward by the guy in the pirate suit, he’d already be carrying you over the threshold of your two-drawbridge starter castle. But, here you are feeling romantically ripped off because a guy who’s known you for six weeks announced he’s fond of you and you’ve grown on him -- and he probably doesn’t mean like back hair or a precancerous lesion.

Maybe fonder feelings will come, or maybe this will turn out to be a “time and place” thing -- like an airplane flight where you and your seatmate have some magical connection for five hours and 22 minutes, then collect your luggage, walk out of the airport, and never see each other again. Of course, even if this guy does feel more than “fond,” he might be wary of saying so, since many women see any declaration of feelings as a sort of promissory note, auto-translating a guy’s “I love you” into “You owe me.” (Not to worry, Dude, a bunch of carats will do.)

It also pays to remember that men aren’t exactly the gushy sex. Compared to women, their brain structure and hormonal makeup leave them less able to store and process emotion. They typically aren’t so hot at talking about it, either. Perhaps this is understandable, considering that brain scans generally reveal women using both halves of their brain while speaking and men only using one half. This doesn’t mean men are dumb. In emotional expressiveness, they’re like my “Historical Dictionary of American Slang,” which stops at the letter “O” because the publisher ran out of money. If I need something from “P” through “Z,” I’ll probably have to go to the library and root it out myself.

If you want more than “fond,” all you can do is wait for the guy to show it to you. That’s how men express their feelings; they don’t sit around chattering about them like schoolgirls. Avoid getting all pissy about plane tickets or coming on like he’s your one final chance not to be a spinster -- even if he is. He did tell you he was there on a temporary work contract, which meant he’d probably be moving on when it ended, not moving into a kneeling position with Barry Manilow in the background. Maybe the question you most need to ask is whether you really want him or you just want him to want you. After all, while he isn’t exactly cribbing sweet nothings from some bodice-ripper, you merely say you “like him” and “get along well” -- as a prelude to a litany of complaints about how he’s a messy, under-expressive right-winger who eats badly.

Posted by aalkon at July 6, 2006 7:10 AM

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In this, like other columns, the advicee's letter looks to be a shorten as your response suggests more was written than the above. Similarly, sometimes in reponse to comments you mention that the letter writter included more details. I understand that for the newspapers you are space constrained, but why not print the entire letter here especially since your advice is debated?

Posted by: hubrist at July 6, 2006 10:38 AM

Debated by whom? I don't see any debate here. Is there some internal monologue you've failed to let the rest of us in on?

That pretty much is the whole letter first of all, and I don't care if you disagree with me, I care if I get it right. And it doesn't go out until I spend days and days getting it right. What, exactly, do you take issue with here?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 6, 2006 1:17 PM

The comments on the guy being her last chance to avoid spinsterdom and the biological clock cracks. I see someone who is in the early stages of a relationship trying to figure out if it's worth investing time and money into the dude.

Posted by: Mo at July 7, 2006 1:08 AM

"Debated by whom? I don't see any debate here."

This isn't an argument.

Yes it is.

No it isn't.

Look, saying "no it isn't" isn't an argument.

Yes it is.

No it isn't

(Apologies to Monty Pythin)

Posted by: steve at July 15, 2006 12:57 PM

I live in a small ski town with a very transient population, so we run into this kind of thing all the time. You have to ask yourself if this guy was sticking around permanently, would you really want to put up with his right-winging pork rind habits? No, the temporary nature of the situation is probably part of what turned you on. I'd suggest finding a guy you're crazy about who's also geographically available than waste your time flying back and forth to see a guy you only "like".

Posted by: Dawn at August 7, 2006 2:27 PM

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