Dear Carolyn • I'm in my mid-20s, steady job, returned Peace Corps volunteer, avid traveler, active social life, ambitious, and I like to think, at least kind of attractive. Maybe I could lose a few, but whatever. I'm also really funny, and I'm not saying this to be arrogant, it's just always been a trait of mine, and I think it's starting to become detrimental. I can't get a date! I have no problem talking to men, including ones I find attractive, and I'm a pretty confident person, but I think my sense of humor makes me unsexy. It feels like everyone wants to be my friend, but no one wants to become romantically involved. My friends like to reassure me that a lot of men are "intimidated" by strong, confident women, but I think they're just saying that to make me feel better. Do I have to change who I am to get a boyfriend? Yuck! What should I do?
Single and Funny
Dear Single and Funny • You know I won't advise changing yourself. Becoming someone else to get a guy means remaining someone else to keep the guy plus, you'd be doing all this work for someone who doesn't think funny is sexy. Two other mistakes to avoid: listening to people who declare that men are intimidated by strong/smart women and listening to people who use "friend zone" seriously. The first makes a terrible generalization about men. Some men are idiots and some are bored to tears by them, even pretty female ones. Duh. And I'm still waiting to hear a valid reason not to take every person we meet as an individual instead of as a representative of a group. As for "friend zone," that makes a terrible generalization about relationships. Sometimes people know right away whether there's anything "there," but sometimes they also spend months, even years figuring out they're nuts about someone they've known all along. These just-friendships are chances for both of you to get to know each other gradually and well. Take them. Treat each friendship, whether it lasts a month or ever after, not as a romantic failure but as an emotional success. Having someone out there who is invested in our happiness is a victory, even if it's not the kind of caring we had in mind.
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