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CAD TO THE BONE
My lifelong friend has been talking trash about why my very sexy new girlfriend refuses to see me when he's around. He claims she came on to him and he rebuffed her. According to him, it happened the first time they met, after I left the room. She vehemently denies anything went on. When I pressed him, he told me she'd "stretched" and "preened" in front of him. He also claimed he could have "had" every girl I ever dated. (He's always found himself irresistible.) To console me, my buddy nonchalantly suggested we just accept that these things happen, and move on. Can I trust either one of them?

-Monkey In The Middle

Like whistles only dogs can hear, there's a secret language used by hot women that only certain men can understand. Unfortunately, their comprehension seems limited to one three-word sentence: "I want you." In other words, yes, that leggy blonde waving her arms as your buddy's pulling out of his parking space does want him - madly, desperately, immediately - but probably to stop admiring himself in his rearview mirror before he backs into her brand-new BMW.

How lovely that your friend finds himself irresistible. Do you also notice beautiful women from all over the world engaging in cat fights on his front lawn? According to studies by UCLA's Martie Haselton and other researchers, men are prone to overestimate women's attraction. Haselton references an Associated Press story about 12 female Safeway employees who filed grievances over the supermarket chain's "smile-and-make-eye-contact rule," contending it led some men to believe the women wanted to bag more than their groceries. One produce clerk said she "is hit on every day by men who think she is coming on to them. Another said she has hidden in a back room to avoid customers who have harassed her, propositioned her and followed her to her car."

But, back to that cheap hussy you've been seeing. What kind of woman stretches in front of your male friend? Umm… one with a stiff back? As alleged near infidelities go, this sounds less like a walk on the wild side than a meander through beginning yoga. Then again, he did say she "preened" for him as well. "Preened"? What, exactly, did this entail, pulling out a handful of her tail feathers and spelling, "Meet me at my place after my chump boyfriend goes home"?

If your buddy strains any harder to make your girlfriend out to be the Whore Of Babylon, he might blow a vein. Some women flirt for fun; others flirt for real. Sure, even the most innocent nod or smile is subject to misinterpretation - especially in the shadow of an ego so enormous it should come with Sherpa guides. But, assuming no other friends have mentioned anything about your girlfriend's tongue getting lost and ending up down their throats, there's a good chance your buddy was the one who actually got rebuffed, and he's now doing damage control.

With lifelong friends like this, you could use a few fly-by-night enemies. Thanks, perhaps, to the overwhelming demand for his sexual services, acting in your best interest might simply be more than he can handle. Just ask him - the streets are teeming with women who want him. All he has to do is change lanes without warning, and female drivers pull up beside him, roll down their windows, and talk dirty to him. It must come as something of a surprise when, instead of shrugging apologetically or screaming back at them, he smiles, waves and holds up his phone number so they can call to book a quickie.

DISSED OPPORTUNITY
My boyfriend of several years told me he'd said to our mutual friend, "Brenda," "You and me in the next life, baby." I was speechless. Some weeks later, we double-dated and he said, "You sit there; I want to sit next to Brenda," and later jokingly referred to her as his girlfriend. I told him his flirting upset me. All he said in response was, "You have trust issues; I'm not your ex-husband" (who cheated on me). Isn't his behavior inappropriate?

-The Understudy

Sometimes, it's easy to miss a man's cry for help; in this case, "Get out of my way, I want to sleep with your friend." To be fair, you must have a lot on your mind: What flowers should he buy Brenda on your birthday? What fancy restaurant should they go to on your anniversary? Which diamond tennis bracelet is more her style? Currently, your relationship doesn't lack much - apart from love, affection, common decency and fun. Even so, if you end it, it shouldn't take much for you to relive the way it makes you feel; say, by going in for elective root canals, tax audits and colorectal exams?

Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail [email protected] (www.advicegoddess.com).

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