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Meg's Blog

ADVICE

So, people are always writing to me and asking for advice. Not just writing advice, either. Lately people have been asking me for dating advice, as well. I have no idea why since I have never professed to be an expert in the romance arena.

That is why for today's blog, I have asked a special guest to join us. The special guest is my friend Michele Jaffe, who was a peer contraceptive counselor at Harvard–where she got a PhD–and who taught sex education in inner city schools for Planned Parenthood in Los Angeles for a year and a half after college. She also taught “charm school” at MIT, which means she gave lessons to socially-challenged scientists in how to act, um, not socially challenged. Additionally, she writes awesome thrillers which you can read about on her website, www.michelejaffe.com. Don't worry, they scare me too.

Anyway, I am going to post a few of the requests for advice that I get most often (I know everyone thinks their problems are uniquely theirs, but most of you seem to have the same problems. I understand, since I had them when I was your age, too) and Michele (and I) will try to answer them.

Don't worry, though, I'm combining multiple letters on the same topics so that the senders won't be able to be identified by their writing style/problem. When you write to www.megcabot.com, your anonymity is always guaranteed. That's a promise!

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Dear Meg,

I love this boy and so I sent him an email to tell him so. The problem is, he showed my email to the whole class! Now everyone is making fun of me. And today his girlfriend came up to me and said she is going to kill me. The problem is, I still love him. How can I make him love me back?

Desperately Devoted To Him
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Dear Desperate,

Michele and I see a number of problems here. Let's break them down, shall we?

First: Why would you EVER put something like that in writing? That is just ASKING for trouble. Never EVER put things in writing that could come back later to embarrass you, because chances are, they will.

Second: Why do you love a boy who is such a jerk that he showed your email to everyone in your whole class? A gentleman never shares private correspondence from a lady with ANYONE. He is not worthy of your regard, so direct your amorous feelings elsewhere, PRONTO.

Third, as long as you go around making a big fuss about it, your class is going to continue to tease you.

Michele:
Pretend like it doesn't bother you, or, if you feel up to it, even go so far as to say “Wow, that was embarrassing.” The more okay you pretend to be with it, the less fun it will be for people to tease you. In fact, they'll even probably come to respect the way you're taking it. And you might be surprised—sometimes pretending to be cool with something will eventually make you feel that way. Acting confident, even if you don't feel confident, will get people to treat you differently and make you start to see yourself differently. I know this is true because I saw it on Made.

Meg:
Michele has excellent taste in TV shows, as well as in clothes. So you should listen to her.

Fourth, as for the girl who wants to kill you: Well, you DID try to steal her boyfriend. What do you expect her to do? No one likes a boyfriend stealer. Apologize.

Michele:
Just say, “I'm sorry I acted that way. It was wrong.” Period. End of story. She can still be mad if she wants to be, but now she is the one who looks stupid.

Meg:
I suggested telling her you have “family problems” right now that made you behave irrationally (lyme disease is also a good excuse). But Michele prefers an honest approach. And she's right. Honesty
is the best policy (usually).

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Dear Meg,

I have the worst problem! I'm in love with my best friend's boyfriend! I really think he likes me better than her because we've both seen every episode of Saved by the Bell, and my best friend doesn't even watch that show. What should I do?

Screech Leach
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Dear Leach,

The best friend's flame is OFF LIMITS until the best friend and he have broken up. Even then, you must wait a suitable amount of time (three weeks is adequate) before making your move.

Michele:
I highly recommend telling your friend that you are going to ask out her ex before you do it.

Expect your friend to hate you for a while, especially if he dumped her before she got a chance to dump him (unless she's the greatest friend there ever was). Hopefully, if you give her time, you'll be able to be friends again (yes, even the boy!)

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Dear Meg,

OH MY GOD!!!! MY BOYFRIEND WANTS TO HAVE SEX WITH ME!!!! WHAT DO I DO?????

Virgin Vera
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Dear Vera,

Michele and I don't understand why you people are always so surprised when this happens. All boys want to have sex. ALL OF THEM. ALL THE TIME. Unless they are gay. And then they still want to have sex, just not with you.

Michele:
Whether or not to have sex with your boyfriend is a matter of personal choice best discussed with someone older whom you trust and know well, like a relative or a teacher.

There are a number of things to take into consideration if you DO decide to go ahead and have sex, not the least of which is birth control/STD prevention. Obviously, you must use a condom AND a backup form of birth control EACH AND EVERY TIME YOU HAVE SEX. There is no such thing as a “safe” time of the month to have sex. Recent studies have shown that many women ovulate TWICE a month, not once, as was originally thought. And condoms alone are not enough, as we know from what happened to Rachel on Friends.

Sometimes girls are all, “But birth control is so unromantic! It spoils the moment!”

You know what spoils the moment? Nine months later, when you have a screaming, puking, baby shooting out green diarrhea that does nothing but demand your attention and keeps you from being able to watch the Lifetime channel much less go to the mall in peace. Not being able to go to college because you can't afford it now that you have a baby? THAT is unromantic. Having to live with your parents because you can't afford rent on your own and your boyfriend fled in panic when he found out you were having his baby? THAT is unromantic.

Michele:
If you are really into whoever your Doing It with, no small piece of latex will get in the way of the romance.

Meg:
Ew, way to be graphic, Michele.

Michele:
Well, it's the truth. Latex is really thin.

Another thing you need to consider when deciding whether or not to have sex with your boyfriend is that fact that, once you Do It, you can never, ever go back to not Doing It. With him, anyway. Unless you are living together, and Do It all the time, every date you have will be about Doing It. He won't admit this, but it will always be in the back of his mind. Yours, too. Trip to the movies? Maybe you should sit in the last row, so you can Do It. Fun picnic in the park? Anticipate him picking out a deeply wooded area, in cas
e no one is around, so you can Do It. Anytime his parents leave town, or yours do, it will be all about Doing It.

There is nothing wrong with any of that. Many, many, many girls have Done It and, because they planned responsibly beforehand, suffered no ill consequences. Many, many, many girls have also NOT Done It, also with no ill consequences. I just want you to be aware that Doing It changes things. You can't go back to just being friends. It will ALWAYS be there, hanging between you. Maybe this is fine with you.

But I can guarantee, it won't be fine with him. Because ALL boys want to Do It. ALL THE TIME (see above).

Michele:
Also consider that there are a lot of things you can Do that are very satisfying to both of you that stop short of Doing It. “It” is just the final station stop on the Love Locomotive. So if it's fun you're after, be creative. For a lot of girls, Doing “It” isn't even the most satisfying part of the experience.

Meg:
Never never use the phrase 'Love Locomotive' on my blog again.
It's almost as scary as your books.

Michele:
Um, that's what I've heard you call your husband. Don't try to deny it.

Meg:
DOH!

One more thing: Is the guy you're with the silent type, or is he going to blab to everyone you know that you and he Did It? Because the only thing worse than getting a reputation as a boyfriend stealer is getting a rep as a…well, you know. This is a horrible double standard in our world, because of course boys can Do It all they want and no one cares. But if a GIRL does it, all of a sudden she's a slut (like Missy says, in the song). You want to make sure your guy is going to keep his mouth shut about it, because the last thing you need is for the entire school to know your business.

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Dear Meg,

He dumped me. I want to die. How can I get him back?

Lonely Lisa

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Dear Lisa,

Hello. He DUMPED you, and you want him back? No, no, no, and no. NO! He is NOT WORTHY of you. That boy is a no good LOSER!!! I don't know him, but I HATE HIM!!!! You may not want him ANYMORE.

This is the part where I would have told you to do crazy stuff like smear chicken fat all over his locker and spy on him and stuff, but Michele says there is a better way. Let's hear it:

Michele:
A lot of times after a break up, there is the temptation to do something mean to someone. You're feeling pain, and you want them to feel it back. I have one word of advice for you, a single word, to make it easy to follow:

DON'T.

While doing some sick thing to his car or locker might make you feel a little better for like a second, the next minute you are going to be embarrassed, and the minute after that you are going to feel nauseous, and you are going to have to live with it for the rest of your life. Doing something like this is letting his breaking up with you make you a lesser person. DO NOT GIVE IN TO THIS. It's a cliché, but its true: the only person you will be hurting here is you. He won't be hurt by your actions, he'll think less of you, and so will everyone else.

The most important thing to do after a break up is keep busy. This does NOT mean calling his house and hanging up, or driving by his house, or sitting outside his house in your car, or wondering what is going on in his house, or drawing pictures of him, in his house.

Meg: These are all the things I would be doing. Have done. If you are one of my exes and you are reading this, get over it, I'm not talking about you.

Michele:
I'm not saying you can't think about him, you can, but you need to be doing something related not to him, but to yourself. At first these things may feel dumb or pointless, but you will be amazed as time goes on how you can go for hours and then days at a time without thinking about him. To help you through this hard time, I've developed an eight step process that I call the SCREW HIM program.

Michele's

S
C
R
E
W

H
I
M

Process:

SHOUT OUT. One good thing to do is get back in touch with all the girlfriends you neglected when you were going out with him. Admit it, you fully did. Apologize to them. If they are still mad at you, work even harder to get them back. And remember that girlfriends are forever whereas guys…well, they're not girlfriends. This is important because sometimes when people are sad, they have a tendency to isolate themselves which can exacerbate the sadness. One tip though: don't spend all your time talking about Him. No one wants to hear it and the less you do this, the easier it will become.

CLEANSE: Whether you believe in it or not, sometimes just participating in a ritualistic cleansing can make you feel better. Like that girl in the musical South Pacific, who washed that man right out of her hair, you can SYMBOLICALLY wash that man away by taking a long hot bubble bath and envisioning, when the water drains out, that HE is draining out of your life.

REAWAKEN YOUR INNER HEROINE: Do something you have never done before like a paint by numbers kit or pay a visit to the local rock wall. Get out a cook book and plan a dinner party (invite over all the girlfriends to make amends). Get out a digital camera and make a short movie. Write a story about how you are feeling. Then write one about yourself as a super hero. This step should help you open up to all the possibilities out there, and all the potential inside yourself. You can still be anyone and do anything. Don't get trapped into thinking you are less without this guy.

EAT CHOCOLATE. But not too much of it. There is a chemical in chocolate that is said to trigger the same chemicals in the brain that being in love does, so eating chocolate can help you feel better. But eating too much chocolate, along with ice cream and Twinkies and pizza and popcorn and French fries and (basically anything not made of tofu)–while it will make you feel sort of comforted for a little while–will actually leave you feeling listless and depressed. Not to mention make it hard to fit into your cutest clothes. Don't let depression keep you from taking care of yourself. The best revenge you can have on him is to come out of this whole thing oozing confidence out of your pores, not oil.

WRITE A LETTER TO YOUR EX. In it, detail how you are feeling, the ways he hurt you. Write about things you miss, good times you remember, as well as bad times. Look deep inside to uncover your true feelings, and make yourself remember everything, the bad times as well as the good. Don't romanticize the relationship. And DON'T MAIL THE LETTER. When you are done, you can put the letter away in a safe place or, if you prefer, tear it into tiny pieces and throw it away or flush it down the toilet. Imagine the pain you are feeling swirling away with it. Then picture your ex's face in the toilet. Put Mr. Dumpy Dump right where he belongs. That's right.

HACK YOUR HAIR. Back in the Ye Olde Roman day, a haircut symbolized a break with the old, and a willingness to embrace new challenges and opportunities. Look thorough magazines until you find a style you like, then go to a stylist and take the plunge. Or move more slowly and just experiment with a lot of barrettes.

IMPROVE YOUR MIND. There's got to be something you've always wondered about, from what REALLY is inside Twinkies to where the best karaoke in your town is to how to do card tricks. Chose two topics and research
them. I know it sounds lame, but you'd be surprised how much arcane knowledge can serve you well. Being a cute girl among other cute girls at a party? Good. Being the only one who can “read” the hot guy's mind to guess which card he picked? Priceless. And that is where you want to be because now that you have cleansed yourself, reawakened your inner strength, and proven to yourself you can do anything you want, you're ready for the final step in the SCREW HIM program:

MEET SOMEONE NEW! Ha. Take that, dump boy. Mr. Humpty Dump move over and make room for Mr. How-ya-doing-hotsuff.

Meg:
Wow! Michele is smart, right???? Now you know why I email her for advice all the time. I love the SCREW HIM program! And I hope those of you out there who have been dumped follow it, because I'm sure it will have you feeling better in no time.

And remember, Michele and I both know that there are a LOT more boys out there who will worship the ground you walk on. You just be yourself and don't let this little setback get you down. You are a young and vital person and you will find the man of your dreams very soon.

Although it might be better to wait until college because the pickings are kinda slim in high school.

That's it for now. Michele and I are exhausted! But she promises to come back next month to offer more advice to the lovelorn. Yay!

More later.

Love,

Meg

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