I have this friend. She likes me and I like her. We both know this. I don't know if we are like boyfriend and girlfriend or not. How should I ask?
In the week past, I cited the above question — initially received by me as a numinous Communication from Beyond well before I took up the mantle of Advice Columnist, and since queried to me time and time and time again — as being the Question of Questions in the Advisor's trade, the one and single ur-question that is both at the heart of the craft of advising, and in many faces, the heart of so many questions we are asked.
Here, as this Internet enters a terrible 2.0, we bring into question if the craft of advice columnising — where-in a single individual attempts to announce to the public at-large, advice to a single query regarding a single instance — can long endure in this multi-faceted, polyglot, multiply-connected wide-webbed world. While I believe it can — it must — I similarly recognize that, as just a single Squid bound by mortality and time, I cannot fully answer this question, cannot hollow it, without you.
Thus, please, come to join me in my fine electronic Newswire to voice your knowledge in this field, so that we might craft and answer to this question Together.
Please, come, join me and speak your mind in advising these young and star-crosséd lovers.
Your Giant Squid
UPDATE April 19, 2007
I received many fine responses and discussion to last week's column, and have printed these below. I thank all for their contributions, and hope that our Young Lovers, everywhere, might from these gain guidance and succor.
Given the way you described your situation and asked the question, I'm guessing you are young and inexperienced. Also, given that you are asking a Giant Squid for love advice, I'm sure my guesses are right.
Congratulations to both of you for getting past your own fears and making a connection with each other. That's a difficult thing for a lot of people.
It is easy for young folks to get all wound up in a first boy/girl thing and worry too much about what to call it. It is what it is — relax. If you want to spend all your free time with her and she does also, then you pretty much are boyfriend and girlfriend — it will be obvious.
But insisting on making your relationship a formal "relationship" raises expectations, which may put too much pressure on her. And you'll put too much pressure on yourself.
Be a patient and attentive friend first, with low demands and simple needs. If you get the same back, then great! But if you don't get the same back, look out for yourself.
You are young and there are a vast quantity of potential "girlfriends" around you. If you find yourself not happy with the one you're with — if you don't feel respected — bail. Don't get trapped just because you decided to be her "boyfriend."
And use a condom.
Posted by: Alan | April 12, 2007 10:20 AM
The cheese suggests something along the lines of, "Yo bitch, you wanna get nasty or what?" or if that's a little straightforward how about, "Dear *insert name* long have I pined for your affection. I pledge my heart and sword to you for all eternity. If you feel the same I would be honored to buy you an ice-cream. Love, *miscellaneous love struck person*."
Posted by: the cheese | April 12, 2007 02:10 PM
The adding of labels, nicknames, and generally applying terms of your own design to change perceptions and releationships is a tricky business, but can be made to work in your favor. If want your lady-friend to both consider herself your girlfriend and consider you her boyfriend, simply begin treating her as such. Apply a nickname, or use a name for her that is unique to yourself, like her middle name, or a variation on her first name. Phenomenology is a powerful tool, and creates true meaning out of nonsense through the intricate working of our social instincts.
Usually, other people make this social label for a couple. If you do the things a boyfriend and girlfriend do(and i'm not talking about the behind closed doors kind of thing) like going to parties together, sharing in a hobby, hanging out with other couples, the dynamic will sort of work itself out.
Or, slip her friend a note asking her to ask your girl if she is your girlfriend or not. That is surely not the most embarrasing method possible. I mean, you could get it like tattoo'ed, or something. That would be worse.
Posted by: Bret | April 12, 2007 06:22 PM
Man, I like that "pledging my sword" bit. If there is any two things chicks dig, they're 1) shrouding your wang in euphemism and 2) pledging that thing to her. Pledge a lady your love muscle, and she's your's 100%
Dave-o . . .
Posted by: dave-o | April 13, 2007 12:04 AM
Get her pregnant. You'll find out what's up.
Posted by: Adrian | April 13, 2007 11:08 PM
Get drunk and then show her your trouser snake, have it slither out all casual like. Always works for me.
Posted by: Zack | April 18, 2007 12:08 AM
Love the Giant Squid? Buy his first book.
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