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The Things We Glue For Love

For two years, I've been desperately in love with my best guy friend. He and I dated last year, but broke up for reasons still unclear to me. Actually, our relationship wasn't much of one; he'd hold my hand or hug me if I MADE him, but it never got further than that. Still, we went everywhere together, and he paid for dates, and otherwise behaved as if we were in a relationship. This confused me, and when I asked him about it, he broke up with me. Six weeks later, we're friends again. He spends most of his time with me, and always shows up at my door unexpected. Yet, if anyone asks him whether we're back together, he'll defensively bark "No!" On some days, he won't have anything to do with me. He's said he just isn't interested in girls (or guys...in case you were wondering). Well, no one makes me feel the way he does. I'm afraid if I bring up his odd behavior, I'll lose his friendship. Why does he treat me like a girlfriend one minute and a stranger the next?

--Friendly Fire

GRANTED, THIS GUY does seem like the perfect boyfriend; that is, apart from the personality patterned after a clogged sinus and his notion of wild sex -- grudgingly letting you hold his hand. He's actually the perfect Project Boy -- a lump of unresolved issues covered by a thin, boyfriend-toned veneer. Where he and other guys like him belong is not on a date with you, but bagged up with a hot glue gun and plastic tubes of glitter and stacked on the shelves of craft stores.

No one makes you feel the way he does? You mean, like you're eleven and your mom just bought you a bag of furry acrylic yarn balls so you can turn your Kleenex box into a French poodle? Geneticists have yet to explore the widespread evidence that women have a crafting gene, which first manifests itself in childhood in the need to glue glitter-dusted elbow macaroni to every bare surface in sight. In adulthood, in its most harmless form, it causes some women to spend countless hours and thousands of dollars hand-crafting household items that can be purchased for $9.99 or less in the housewares department at Target.

You, unfortunately, couldn't content yourself with decoupaging your toilet seat or even with sewing a chintz mud ruffle and matching chintz curtains for your car. Instead, you spent two years trying to plant daffodils on this guy's mountain of psychological issues. Two years hopefully stenciling little hearts around his every boyfriend-like noise and gesture -- although even you would admit that he looks only remotely boyfriend-like (and only when you squint at him from the side on a pitch black February 31st).

What's wrong with the guy? Who knows -- maybe somebody stole his Ho Ho's when he was three. Figuring that out isn't the stuff of a romantic partnership; it's something that should be covered by his health insurance. Were you involved with a fully-assembled grownup, your relationship would be about the two of you instead of about one pondering the other's oddball behavior. Learn to live with this guy's mysteries (and whatever limited friendship he's willing to provide when he takes a break from his charming impressions of a stubbed toe). Throw aside any lingering notions of kneading him into a boyfriend in favor of more remunerative craft-tivities; for example, macrame-ing all the insulation in your parents' attic, gold-leafing your trash, and/or crocheting a giant refrigerator cozy.

Copyright ©2002, Amy Alkon, from her syndicated column, "The Advice Goddess," which appears in over 70 papers across the U.S. and Canada. All rights reserved.