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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Cowboy Code: Chapter 9

Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, send a friend to do your job. Don't even think of allowing a friend to do your job.

Your job, in this case, is making your feelings known to a potential significant other or patching things up with a current significant other.

Flash back with me for a moment:
  • When we were in elementary school it was OK for Janie to send Susie over to Johnny on Janie's behalf. It was OK for Susie to whisper to Johnny that Janie really liked him - like-liked him.
  • When we were in middle school it was OK for Johnny to send Billy over to Susie on Johnny's behalf. It was OK for Billy to whisper to Susie that if Janie liked Johnny she should meet him behind the gymnasium after 5th-period study hall.
  • When we were in high school it was OK for Susan and William to argue with one another in defense of their friends Jane and John, because Jane really liked John, but he was being a jerk, and because John dug Jane, but she was being stuck up. And thanks to the two interceding friends, Jane and John usually got back together, if only for another week or so.
But when you're 32 and you can't figure out how to get the attention of the woman you're interested in, you are plumb out of luck, and you should take it as a sign from fate that it wasn't meant to be. Or maybe it wasn't meant to be quite yet.

I have a buddy in Seattle - age 32; how did you know? - who has been pining for a certain young woman for weeks. She is an acquaintance - not a friend, just an acquaintance - of another woman with whom my buddy is friends.

My buddy considers himself to be lacking in game, so he couldn't come up with what he felt was a clever enough way to break the ice and make his feelings known. He and the woman he likes have had casual conversations at the coffee shop where the other woman works. They've laughed. They've talked seriously. But the conversation has always been short and always about something in the news, some current event. Then one or the other of them has to go - back to work, home, wherever.

I suggested he go the direct route with something to the effect of "You know, I have really enjoyed talking with you for a minute here or there. Would you like to grab dinner or a drink some night so we can have a longer conversation?"

But what do I know? I'm a married guy whose game has been retired and is awaiting Hall of Fame balloting.

My buddy did not go the direct route. He asked his friend who works at the coffee shop to "investigate" for him, find out if the acquaintance could possibly be interested in him. The friend enthusiastically agreed, taking on the challenge like a spy mission.

Not good.

The next day, when my buddy went to the shop for his coffee, the friend confessed that her enthusiasm was a little too intense and that the acquaintance figured out 10 minutes into the conversation that this was a Johnny-sent-Billy scenario. The acquaintance reacted with scorn, got a good laugh out of the whole thing, and then told the friend that if my buddy didn't have the stones to come to her himself, then he just wasn't interested enough.

My buddy got angry with the friend for botching her delivery. I told him he couldn't kill the messenger, 'cause this was a message he should have delivered himself.

Remember the Cowboy Code. Once you are grown, you are on your own. The most your friends should be doing for you in the romance arena is introducing you to someone else. It's up to you to turn up the heat. And if you can't, get the hell out of the kitchen.

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  • The woman's reaction was perfect and predictable.

    If someone is so insecure that he fears rejection more than he wants to know her, he can't be that interested.

    She could have been a bit less derisive, though, but then, she is not his mother. (Hopefully.)

    By Blogger heartinsanfrancisco, at 2:37 PM  

  • I agree with you and Heart. He can only be angry at himself for treating this like a schoolboy crush. Hopefully he learns from this and does better next time.

    By Blogger katrice, at 10:14 PM  

  • 32 and still can't muster the courage to ask a girl out. Sounds like he can use all the help he can get. Though asking a mutual acquaintance for assistance can seem juvenile, he may see it as his only resource for avoiding the crushing blow of rejection. Maybe when he's 33, he'll have the self esteem to go it alone.

    Or maybe the next "friend" he'll ask will be a tad more sensitive.

    By Blogger The Sarcasticynic, at 6:59 AM  

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