The shiznit

Pub date April 17, 2007


Dear Andrea:

Two years ago I met a guy who was a friend of a friend. I got to know him and realized that he was the most fascinating, intelligent person I’d ever met. Despite not being initially attracted to him, I soon got over this and fell in love with him.

We skirted discussing a romantic relationship because he had deep emotional problems precipitated by a number of traumatic things that happened to him in his childhood. He could often be unfriendly to the point of cruelty. I made too many allowances for this and probably let him get away with things I wouldn’t have tolerated in anyone else.

We remained friends even though we now live in different cities. I have had involvements with numerous other people but have always known that if this guy suddenly wanted me, I would drop everything. It’s against my feminist sensibility, but no one can compare. I can’t see myself ever meeting another person who understands me so completely. Will I ever get over it? Am I being totally pathetic?


Hung Up and Hung Over

Dear Hung:

Yep. Pathetic in a way I have no problem understanding and even reutf8g to, but pathetic nonetheless. And yes, you’ll get over it, but I can’t promise it will be quick or painless. Extractions and amputations so rarely are.

Look, we’ve all been there. Most people who value (I’m tempted to say "overvalue") qualities such as intelligence and quick wit in a partner have been there. Sadly, there is no rule that says a big brain has to come with a big heart or any heart at all, for that matter. A big, fast, fascinating brain is no guarantor of sanity either. Your friend sounds like he might have been more than a little dinged up by his crappy childhood — he’s probably broken beyond reasonable hope of repair. I’m sure he’s also devastatingly sexy or whatever, but who cares? Not you. Not anymore. Not if I have anything to say about it, anyway.

Here’s another lesson it’s hard to learn: getting your jokes is not the same thing as getting you. He may be wonderful to talk to, and you may have endless "Oh my gawd, nobody else ever got that!!!!" moments with him, but that doesn’t mean he knows (or cares) what you need, what makes you happy, or even what’s so great about you. Even more disappointing, understanding you is not at all the same thing as being your friend. If he’s the kind of charming, destructive bastard I think he is, he’s nobody’s friend, not even his own.

While I’m rabbiting on about how you don’t have to be this to be that or that to be this and so on, here’s another one: you don’t have to be nice to be exciting in bed. Not for certain values of exciting, anyway. So let’s just be thankful that you never did it with him. You didn’t, right? Realizing just how deadly a bullet you might have dodged there, let’s give you credit for making at least one terribly smart decision, even if it’s because you never got the chance to do him and still regret it. I’ll never tell.

So, let’s summarize. This guy, alluring as he is, is pretty much a shit. Happily for you, he’s currently a long-distance shit (good lord, what an image). Unhappily for you, he has probably acquired something of that long-distance glow since you’ve been apart. Look, for instance, at the time dilation you’ve apparently undergone since you started letting him warp your space-time continuum: you say you’ve "always known" you’d drop everything and go to him should he ever express interest, yet it’s been all of two years since you met and probably much less since you started mooning around over him (and that marks the last of the cheesy space metaphors, I promise). Don’t let him warp your sense of the future — will you "ever get over" him? Of course you will. You’ll even find someone just as much to your liking eventually, but he won’t be just a nice version of the shit, so don’t waste your time looking for that. Such a quest is doomed to fail, not to mention make the not-shitty guys you do meet think you’re kind of messed up in a not-all-that-appealing way.

Oh, and one last thing — there’s nothing gender-politics related about your situation, so don’t go getting your feminist sensibility in a wad. You think guys don’t lose their fool hearts to girls who are perfect for them in every way except for being cold and cruel and maybe a little crazy? Where would great art be without the Cruel Mistress or La Belle Dame sans Merci? In Barneyland, that’s where. "I love you, you love me" makes for a very nice LTR, but you can’t dance to it.



Andrea Nemerson has spent the last 14 years as a sex educator and an instructor of sex educators. In her previous life she was a prop designer. And she’s raising twins, so she’s one bad mother of a sex adviser. Visit to view her previous columns.