Ask the Advice Goddess 11

I'm a guy in my early thirties. I work at a big company. I've liked this girl for a long time who used to work on my floor, but in a different department. Now she works on a different floor, so I don't see her anymore. I asked a woman who knows her to see if she was dating someone. The woman then told me she wasn't, but I wasn't sure if she had revealed my identity. She said she hadn't, but a month afterward, this girl came down and asked me a random question about this friend of hers who was looking for a job. I gave her advice, but I was very uncomfortable, because I still wasn't sure if she'd found out I was interested in her. I'm leaving my job this Monday. Should I try to salvage something or should I just forget about her? --Corporate Ken, Los AngelesIf the rest of the world showed as much trepidation as you about engaging the opposite sex, we'd mostly have movies about large, scaly creatures crawling out of the swamp. Rhett really wouldn't have given a damn about anything to do with Scarlett, and Gone With The Wind would look like a Ken Burns documentary for PBS. Casablanca would have chronicled Rick's trip from Paris to Chicago where he opened a greasy spoon and subsequently turned down Ilsa's waitress application because she didn't have a green card.Romance has to start somewhere. Like it or not, it usually starts with a guy asking a girl out. Of course, there's always that danger that you're going to get turned down, but here's a newsflash: The San Andreas fault is not going to open up and swallow Southern California if you do.If she already knows you're interested, so what? What's she going to do...blackmail you with that information? It's not as if your intermediary revealed that you're in recovery from a bad case of crabs. You appear to have an active imagination...bordering on paranoia. In the future, try to put it to work creating romance instead of preventing it.On your last day of work, pop into this girl's office to say goodbye. Mention that you didn't get to know her very well while you were at Con Glomerate, and invite her out for a drink. (Pick a specific evening after work, so she can give you a definite yes or no). If she tells you that she has a boyfriend or reschedules more than twice, set your sights on another woman and make your move before Haley's Comet makes its next pass.***I'm a really nice guy. I was raised to have good manners and treat women well. But it seems the guys who treat women badly have all the success. Why do jerks get all the girls? --Dudley Doright in New OrleansTo a lot of women, the perfect man is a nice guy in jerk's clothing. This doesn't mean you have to trade in all those Gap casuals for Mickey Rourke's "Barfly" look, complete with cigarette glued to lower lip and a couple thousand bottles of cheap gin. Just take a few moments to study the jerk and learn what about him is so alluring to women.In actuality, most women with whom you'd want to spend more than a few hours really don't want jerks in their lives. What does appeal to them, however, is the jerk's unpredictability. He gives a girl a rollercoaster ride -- albeit a negative one. When is he going to call...why doesn't he call...why does he say he's going to be here Tuesday night, then show up Friday morning...just to snag a twenty? And so on.The trick for you is not to become a jerk; just borrow a few of his trusty tools -- the element of surprise, the aura of mystery. Keep in mind that when a woman can predict your next move with near-atomic precision, she's probably getting bored. That's the time when you should stop by her house unexpectedly, make her drop whatever she's doing, and whisk her off to some mysterious location.If it's not too out of character for you, for added appeal, accessorize with a battered leather jacket, ripped jeans, slept-on hair and a five o'clock shadow. You needn't go so far as starting bar brawls every time you're thirsty for a beer. But even if you split your time between the insurance industry and a part-time job as a scoutmaster, when you're in the presence of a woman, lock those boy scout badges in your glove compartment and do your best to look like you'll put your fist through the next guy who lays a hand on your Harley.Got a problem? Ask Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, box 280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com

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