Monday, December 21, 2009

Dear Elijah Wood...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

In regard to your last letter, I have a few bones to pick:

What's the big deal about ballroom dancing? For that matter, what's wrong with doing it on a Tuesday? I've ballroom-danced on a Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday and many other days of the week. In fact, the majority of the last weekend was spent ballroom dancing.

Perhaps you mean to imply that ballroom dancing is automatically super-date-like. All romance and roses. Au contraire. It's more akin to playing one-on-one basketball: two sweaty people moving around with a purpose, showing off, and attempting not to accidentally injure the other one during a collision.

Additionally, I will have you know that ballroom dancing is just as prone to "am I on a date?" syndrome as any other activity, including dinner and coffee or a hot cocoa rendez-vous, if not more so. While some of the evening may in fact be spent moving about the floor plastered to the chest the person you arrived with, you will still probably dance with many other people in the room. Conversely, when you have hot cocoa, usually the person sitting at the table won't get up and be replaced by some other guy plopping a candy cane in your drink. (That is not a double entendre, fyi.)

(Mon Dieu, there is a lot of French in this letter.)

So, perhaps your "no ballroom dancing" suggestion for "coo-coo for cocoa-boy" is a good one, but not for the reasons you seem to imply. In conclusion: ballroom dancing is a good activity for not being able to determine if you are on a date or not on a Tuesday. Or a weekend, for that matter. I know, because I've lived.

-Happy Feet

Dear Elijah Wood,
Wow, you are really into ballroom dancing.
There's nothing wrong with that. On the contrary, I think ballroom dancing could be great. (I myself am not blessed in the coordination department, so dancing is largely out of my scope of knowledge. Reading your assessment, though, I like that it sounds less romantic and more gross. I could get behind that.) But you chose to zero in on that one phrase in my response, rather than take it all in. In that, you've missed my point, I fear.
My point was not that ballroom dancing has to be super formal or inherently date-like. However, to the untrained boy, that is the kind of activity that screams "SUPER FORMAL" and "TUXEDO" and your average boy will freak out a little--particularly if, like my other reader, you only see him during the week. Should he pick you up in a pumpkin carriage and wear a tie? Will the lady be expecting a fairy tale evening? Should there be flowers involved? This is starting to sound like a senior prom--it's too much to take!
The goal is to pick something non-threatening because you want him to decide whether or not he'd like to hang out with you--not whether or not he'd like to learn a waltz. If you happen to be interested in a boy with whom you have ballroom danced in the past, then by all means throw it out there. But for a study/cocoa break boy, I'd suggest something more in line with what you usually get up to.
While I've got you here, penguin, it sounds like you've got some unresolved issues regarding dancing with boys. Wanna talk about it?
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dear Wednesday...

Dear Bitter Amanda,

I have a story (not to mention a question) about a boy who I see in class twice a week and with whom I seem to have fallen into a routine: goof off in class and then exchange witty banter and loiter outside or in the library afterwards for hours at a time. Into this mix we’ve recently added late-night-cocoa-study-breaks, a downtown trip that lasted until 3am, burritos for dinner, lunch and studying, as well as additional hours of outdoor chatter. Don’t get me wrong, my dear bitter lady, I’m not complaining about any of this; I have, in fact, been having an inordinate amount of fun with my chatty fellow and what could potentially be flirting and what might even be called – dare I say it? – “dating.” That being said, the Thursday-to-Tuesday period without any word from the boy has become nearly unbearable. I am by no means a game-player, but the ball at the moment I clearly in his court. The waiting is driving me batty! Any advice?
Nearly off her rocker

Dear Wednesday,
Ouch. It seems to me that you're a work-week girlfriend. I actually felt nauseous while reading about your relationship with this boy. I mean, late-night cocoa dates? That's adorable. And awful. You are grossing me out. And then I got to the part about you not hearing from him all weekend. And that is not adorable at all; thus I do not want to throw up. This is usually a bad sign for relationships. Honey, weekends are prime dating time. If this man wanted to properly date you, you'd at least hear from him during the weekends. (And let's not forget that it's time to push proper dating. No more of this casual "hanging out" nonsense.) As it stands, you've got a weekday boyfriend. It could mean a lot of things. He might have a legit girlfriend/someone he sleeps with on weekends. Like the pill containers my grandmother used to have, he's keeping you closed tightly in that safe Wednesday compartment. Or he might not realize how similar to dating your situation has become. Maybe he's one of those "I'm not looking for anything, but I like hanging out casually" guys (=sad)...and he unknowingly found something. (And SERIOUSLY stop favoring that casual hang out, gentlemen.) Maybe he has no interest in dating you for real. (That one hurts, I know, but it's possible. I tell you this because you so clearly deserve better.)
All of these options really boil down to him being an idiot. (A common theme.) The wildcard is whether he's a clueless idiot or a conniving one. You might have to lay down the weekend card and watch his reaction. (I'm sorry about the multiple 'card' references here; I don't feel any better about it than you do.) Bring up some social thing for Saturday. Not ballroom dancing or anything, but something you'd actually do together, say, after studying on a Tuesday. If he squirms and mumbles something about an appointment and suddenly gets a text message and/or something in his eye he needs to take care of, then it's time to put those hopes back in your bag where they belong. But let's just hope he reacts like a normal human being.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda