Ask the Advice Goddess 14

I am a 30-year-old woman just coming out of a three-year relationship. While I was loyal to my boyfriend, I've had a crush on a certain man for five years. He's different than most of the men I've dated, who were handsome in an offbeat way. He's not, but he has more character than anyone I know. He's deeply kind, very successful, and he very much wants to find a woman to marry. I've gone out with him a few times and always had a great time. The problem is, I don't really find him very physically attractive. The question is, do you think you can grow attracted to someone based upon a growing sense of love?--Maya, Everett, WAA female friend of mine has one of those old amusement park signs hanging over her bed: "You must be this tall to ride this ride." If the greatest dwarf in the world fell at her feet, promising her the moon and several other planets in our solar system if only she'd marry him, she might be tempted by his offer, but she still couldn't be attracted to him, even if she desperately wanted to.Look at this man in terms of some food that doesn't really agree with you, such as eggplant. Perhaps eggplant and you are merely a chemical mismatch, or perhaps your dislike for the stuff stems from an unpleasant childhood memory of your great aunt's experiment in eggplant parmesan, which you returned to her, semi-digested, in a most socially inappropriate way. Whatever the cause, you can't force yourself to develop an affinity for it. Luckily, the stores are full of foods you prefer. It may take a number of shopping trips to come up with the perfect meal, but you're never going to starve. In the mean time, you don't need to banish this guy from your life. Just turn him into a friend. Like the old saying goes, "If you can't eat 'em, join 'em." (Or something like that).***I have a co-worker who is not only short on social skills; he is also weird! Sometimes I think he is going to go postal. He also seems to have a foot fetish...and it's getting in the way of my job performance. Every morning, this individual scatters photographs around of high heeled shoes of all types with the arched female foot. Today he requested a picture of my foot in a shoe. I don't want to get this person fired, so going to the supervisor is not the answer. I'm in a quandry -- what makes a person do this -- should I be nervous?-- "Betty Don't Want To Give This Guy The Boot" While this could simply be an extremely long-running variation on Younger Brother Syndrome, in which little boys employ time-tested methods of getting a little girl's attention, such as sticking a snake or lizard in her face and making her squeal -- it could also be something a little more serious. It's tempting to suggest that you pre-empt his little morning show with a few footsie shots of your own, such as a sampling of foot fungus photos from a podiatry textbook. However, since there's some chance that this guy may be psychologically unstable, it's best that you take a more conservative route. First, try talking to him, as non-confrontationally as possible. Gently inform him that his little photo display makes you uncomfortable, and you feel it's inappropriate for him to bring these photos or any further mention of female feet into the workplace. Add that you're approaching him directly because you don't want to report his behavior to your supervisor, but you will be forced to do so if it continues. The above approach will only work if this guy has a mere preoccupation with "the arched female foot" or is simply trying to get a rise out of you. If he has a true shoe fetish, which is a kind of sexual compulsion thought by many psychiatrists to be borne out of childhood trauma, it's unlikely that anything you say or do will make him stop his footwear fashion parade. Turning to a higher authority could be your only alternative. If you have reason to believe that his fantasies may run the gamut from Charles Jourdan to Charles Manson, you owe it to yourself and your coworkers to confidentially inform your supervisor. Before you do, make a mental list of examples of his erratic and inappropriate behavior so it doesn't seem as if you're complaining that he has "cooties." Until this problem is resolved, getting your arched female foot into a pair of Doc Martens may be your best revenge. 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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