Mail Bag

June 3rd, 2005

There's been a lot of mail lately. Here are some of the highlights:

Apparently in my last entry, I wrote Ocean County instead of Orange County, which seemed to offend a lot of people. Obviously, I know OC stands for Orange County. I wasn't thinking…perhaps because I was busy working on the book I have due July 1. I am so stressed about this book, in fact, that last night I had a dream I shaved off all my hair, a la Natalie Portman in recent photos, and started hanging out with Tori Spelling. Neither of whom are in my book. But you get the picture.

So, please, if you notice errors in my blog, take a moment before you write an email to me that begins, “I don't mean to sound rude, but,” and think about all the pressure I am under to provide you with reading material for next summer.

And, as I believe I have mentioned in this blog before, if you still feel compelled to write an email to me that includes the words, “I don't mean to sound rude, but,” I can personally assure you that YOU ARE STILL BEING RUDE.

And don't even get me started on how much hate mail I got for saying I would not want my TV character doppelganger to be Lucy Camden from the show 7th HEAVEN, who, I am convinced, is a complete sociopath. Not Beverly Mitchell, who PLAYS Lucy. It's her CHARACTER I believe is deeply disturbed. In fact, I give Beverly Mitchell snaps for managing to inject so innocuous a character with so much deeply hidden pathology. If you don't see the deep well of psychosis that lurks within Lucy Camden, well, you are obviously not watching the same show I am. In fact, I had to stop watching this show because I am so convinced Lucy is going to mow down everyone in her dad's church with an Uzi one day.

I received several letters from girls who claim they have been ignoring boys (as Michele and I advised several girls to do in our last advice blog) for years, to no effect…they've still never been kissed, asked to a dance, etc.

So I can see we have a bit of clarifying to do.

We are not advocating TOTAL ignoring of boys. Just SELECTIVE ignoring. You should obviously throw yourself into the path of the object of your affection as much as possible, without making the fatal error of actually CALLING HIM/TELLING HIM YOU LIKE HIM/LETTING HIM KNOW YOU ARE STALKING HIM, etc.

Why? Because it is a documented fact that boys fall for girls who ignore them. How do I know this? Because I grew up in a house with two younger brothers. They received phone calls from girls ALL DAY LONG. Did they run eagerly to the phone to snatch it up when I said, “Sheri/Shelley/Sheryl/Shirley is on the phone for you”?

No. They did not. They said, “Dude, I'm playing Nintendo, tell her I'll call her back.”

Why was this? Because my brothers did not want to hear from any of the girls who were calling them. The only girls (or boys, as it turned out to be in the case of my youngest brother) they wanted to hear from were the ones who were NOT CALLING.

I realize this introduces a disturbing paradox: Boys only want to hear from the girls who do not call. But if you don't call them, how will you be able to let them know how alluring and lovely you are?

I will tell you how: you allow them to observe for themselves how alluring and lovely you are. This means joining clubs the object of your affections belongs to; hanging out in places where the object of your affection hangs out; and going to social events to which you are confident the object of your affections will also go.

And now some of you are going, “But joining a club that the boy I like belongs to, just so I can see him, is just wrong! A boy should like me for who I am without my having to pretend to be something I'm not!”

Yes, you're right. He should. And I should win a Nobel prize for my book SHE WENT ALL THE WAY.

Lots of things in life aren't fair. One of them is boys. In an ideal world, boys would recognize our inherent greatness and flock to us like bees to honey (and sometimes this does actually happen).

In real life, however, we are sometimes forced, in order to get boys' attention initially, to use artifice (makeup, push-up bras, control top panties, interest in their interests, etc).

But once you have their attention (and their affection) you can start cooling it on the artifice (although it is still advisable, no matter how long the two of you have been together, to try to look nice at least some of the time).

And let's be honest: boys use artifice to get girls, too.

Now, several of you have written to say, “But I'm shy! Even if I joined a club the object of my affections belongs to, I could never go up and SPEAK to him!”

Talking to someone you don't know well (especially one in whom you are interested romantically) is always scary. The only way you are going to get over that fear is practice. It is totally true that, even if you put yourself out there and start talking to the guy you like, things won't work out.

But here's the silver lining: by putting yourself out there, talking to one guy, you will get to know other guys. And one of THEM might turn out to be your one true love. I can't tell you how many times I've started out liking one guy, only to realize, as months and even years went by, that who I REALLY liked was the guy's friend.

(One caveat: if you are one of those people who have panic attacks when meeting new people, no matter how much you practice, go to your doctor and get medication and counseling. But then, once you are on the medication and getting therapy, get back out there and practice.)

Why is it so important that you go after love, and don't wait for it to find you? Because happiness isn't something that looks for you. You have to go after it. If you want something, sitting around and waiting for it to come to you is not going to work. You have to MAKE it happen.

And the way you do that with romance is by throwing yourself into love's path with all the energy you've got (in a non-desperate, non-clingy, non-calling-the-boy-every-hour kind of way).

Put yourself in situations where you can actually speak to the object of your affections—or, if you haven't met the person of your dreams yet, put yourself in situations where you could potentially meet someone who could serve in that capacity.

And, though it may take a while, love will find you. It may not be in the form of the person you were hoping for. But chances are, the person you were hoping for wasn't right for you anyway.

And if there is no way you can do throw yourself into your true love's path (and so many of you write to me to tell me the MYRIAD reasons why there is no way you can socially interact with the object of your affections, since you

a. only see him in the hallway and don't even know his name, or

b. are a freshmen and he is a senior and you have no classes together and he doesn't belong to any clubs or go anywhere or do anything

—which, by the way, makes me wonder why you even want him) either move on to someone else, or—and I realize this violates the IGNORE HIM rule, but I am making an exception ONLY for those of you who claim the “hanging out where he hangs out” plan won't work–ask him out on a group date (a party at your house; a movie; bowling) with other friends.

Yes, I know that's scary. But there's no other way you are going to be able to get to know Mr. Hallway Man, or let him get to know you, unless you figure out where he hangs, and go hang there. Do you really think if you wear a certain color shirt or something, he's going to stop dead in his tracks, notice you, and ask you out?

This is not goin
g to happen. There is no such color shirt. If there were, we'd all be wearing it all the time.

And if you ask him on the group date thingie right, your guy won't think you “like like” him, just that you like him as a friend.

I sincerely hope that in the coming months, you will take the above information and use it to find a summer romance—or, at the very least, that you will practice talking to boys you DON'T like so that when school rolls around, you will feel more confident about talking to the boy you DO like.

Now quit reading my blog, go find a boy, and practice talking to him.

More later.

Much love,

Meg