Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Dating-phobe now in love

Dear Clare,

My roommate, "Mark," has been seeing "Ashley," for about six weeks. This is rare because he is usually too afraid of chilling with just one girl, and doesn't keep them around for more than two weeks before getting freaked out. Ashley is really cool and is really good for Mark. I'm worried because Mark told me he thinks Ashley is getting too serious since she wants him to meet her parents this weekend and has mentioned the word "love." She doesn't seem at all overbearing, but Mark doesn't think he's overreacting. Should I tell her he's freaked out so she can give him a little space? I don't want to get involved really, but I also don't want him to dump her for this stupid reason if she can fix the problem.

Hopeful Hal

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Dear Hal,

Wow, what a good friend you are to be so concerned about your stupid roommate! It's difficult to watch a friend destroy a good relationship because of his or her odd tendencies, and especially hard when the person he/she is dating hasn't done anything wrong. I have often thought that people should come with dating "user manuals" detailing all of their faults and deep complexities. Whether it is a weird habit, odd hobby or relationship phobia, it is unfair to expect people to simply figure us out, act accordingly and break it off if they fail to understand our every inner thought. "Not opening up," "coming on too fast," "expecting too much," "not calling enough," are all reasons people break things off with a potential mate they have been seeing for only a short time. Just think of how EASY and UNSTRESSFUL dating would be if during the first date, the two daters would take some time to read each other's manuals. For example, Mark's manual would include, "afraid of commitment and will overanalyze comments or situations that may be insinuating any sort of relationship, after which he will have a temporary freak-out and will want to break off courtship." Upon reading this, Ashley would think "Note to self: Don't tell him the names I have picked for our future children," and would know that he would freak out about meeting the parents, though she doesn't think it's a big deal. Ashley's manual might read, "Very chill, cool girl who isn't psycho and doesn't want to pressure you into a relationship. Actions aren't to be dissected by outside source for ulterior motives because she doesn't have any." After reading this, Mark would not mind meeting her parents, because he would know that it isn't because Ashley is seeking parental approval for a future fiancé, but simply because she thought he might like a free dinner out.

Of course, one couldn't write one's own manual. Unless we have horrible self-esteem and don't want anyone to date us, creating our own guide would be like making a brochure promoting ourselves, which would be hugely awkward, not to mention completely inaccurate. It should be the job of one's closest friend to do this write-up, complete with warnings and suggestions. Using this same line of reasoning, I would encourage you, Mr. Hal, to tell Ashley that Mark really digs her, but that he gets freaked out so she should ease up a bit. Ashley shouldn't have to completely change her actions just to keep Mark around, but the info you could provide her with would help her find the best approach to bring up the "L-word" or to meet her parents. Relationships are about compromise: Ashley should maybe back off a bit, but Mark should also be a little more open to the idea of actually having a relationship with her.

In terms of the "love" factor, Mark shouldn't be freaked out; he should be flattered! How nice is it to have someone love you? Can you ask for a higher compliment? Though the movies have taught us that when one says " I love you" first, the other must immediately reciprocate, I think this is unrealistic. I have a friend who "falls in love" after dating a guy for five days, and then another who has been dating a guy for a year and is just now calling him her boyfriend. I don't doubt the affections of either of these ladies for their leading lads, but I think it illustrates the fact that people deal with all that mushy stuff differently. Rather than freaking out and causing a scene, Mark should say something like, "Wow, that is so nice. I really care for you, but I just don't know if I'm ready to say that yet." This could crush Ashley, but again, if she's given a heads up by you that he's a scaredy cat, she will be much more understanding and may give him another shot.

Good luck, Hal.

Clare

Dear Clare,

The polo collar: to pop or not to pop?

Frat Guy

Dear Frat Guy,

I believe the preferred term is "Fraternity" guy, but I'll go with what you chose. It's funny how people have such strong feelings about this apparel issue. There is an "Anti-Collar Popping International" Facebook group that boasts 256 Wisconsin members. There is another Facebook group at a school I won't name, in which one person lacked tact, grace and human decency, creating a group called, "Wearing your collar down is for poor people," whose 30 members apparently want to let the world know they are actively trying to secure a place in Hell.

In terms of polo-style shirts, the collar pop totally depends on the attitude of the wearer. If you have been told that you are a conceited twit, wearing your collar up will not only confirm this viewpoint, it will nonverbally alert strangers to your egotism. If, however, you are humble, wearing your collar up will serve you no disadvantage because others will probably think that it was a mistake you made in an attempt to get dressed in the morning. Being slightly insecure in addition to being humble will guarantee that no one will mistake you for trying to be a cocky dude.

In case you are concerned about impressing me, I personally have no real opinion on this subject. If you have ever witnessed any of my outfits, which many would simply call "mistakes," you would figure out my clothing mantra: You shouldn't care what other people think, but should do what makes you feel the best. You could also completely miss this reasoning and come to the conclusion that I must be colorblind, but that is actually incorrect.

If you do decide to pop that collar, Frat Guy, and someone gives you grief, just quote the wise words of the many guests on Jerry Springer who say, "I do what I want! You don't know me!" I promise the heckler will then leave you alone.

Good luck. That's not really relevant here, but oh well.

Clare

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