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Meg's Blog

MORE ADVICE

For some reason, a large number of you seem to think I am the appropriate person to ask about your love-and-life difficulties. I am still perplexed by why this is, since I have never professed to excel in this arena. However, since so many of you seem to feel differently, I am dedicating this diary entry to helping answer some of your most common relationship/life questions.

To do this, I have once again enlisted the aid of the beautiful and talented Dr. Michele Jaffe, PhD, former peer contraceptive counselor at Harvard, sex ed and MIT charm school instructor, and current writer of thrillers that are so scary I can't read them when I am alone in the house (www.michelejaffe.com…if you dare). So, without further ado, let's dive in:

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Dear Meg,

I like this movie star. Last night I had a dream that we were French kissing, and that sort of freaked me out. Do you think it meant anything?

Future Mrs. Orlando Bloom
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Meg:

You are so lucky. Whenever I have a celebrity dream, it's always about Neil Patrick Harris (aka Doogie Howser) and he and I are making out in his bedroom and then his mom walks in right as we're–

Michele:

Thanks for that, Meg. Personally, I think crushes are totally cool things. Sometimes they can cause pain, but more often they add a special little something to your day–a reason to remember to reapply your lipgloss. Someone to think about as you are falling asleep. Someone to look for in assembly. That kind of thing. All crushes have basically the same symptoms and all of them start the same way, that is, you get a special secret feeling for someone.

But there is actually more than one kind of 'crush' and how you proceed with yours depends on which type you're having. The type we have here is what I call the “Stacey's Mom Has Got It Going On” style crush—a crush on an unobtainable person like a movie star or a hot male teacher or, um, Stacey's mom.

This kind of crush is totally fine and normal, AS LONG AS it stays in the fantasy realm. Its based on idealizing the object of your affection and thrives on the fact that you two won't get together. It becomes a way to develop a fantasy life and experiment with things in your head (and your dreams) before trying them in real life with a more suitable and accessible love object.

As soon as this crush passes from fantasy space into reality space, it stops being a crush and starts being something else–something that probably is unhealthy and could be psychically scarring. Dreams about this person are OK. Stalking this person is not.

You can have this kind of idealized crush on a regular person, too, like that guy you noticed in study hall for the first time. But beware: what's attracting you and what he's really like might be two different things; since you don't really know him, you can make up a personality for him which could be way better than his actual one.

Which brings us to:

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Dear Meg,

Ok, I like this guy. Recently he's been flirting with me. My stepsister says, “It's so obvious, I can't believe you can't see it. HE IS IN LOVE WITH YOU.” What should I do?

I Think He Might Love Me Back
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Meg:

I didn't get to finish about my dream. In it, Doogie is still wearing his stethoscope, you know, from the hospital, and it keeps digging into me as we're playing Dance Dance Revolution Party—

Michele:

Thanks, Meg. The letter above is an example of the second type of crush: The “You're the one that I want” style crush—a crush on a person who is obtainable.

Usually I'd be all about 'Be honest, take the direct path, follow your heart', but crushes are very fragile things and require caution and circumspection. Ask yourself seriously how well you know this person and what is attracting you to him. One danger with this kind of crush, the potential-relationship-crush, is that it has more fantasy in it than people realize (see last paragraph of Stacey's Mom crush). You may think you know all about him, and be fully crushing on what you think he's like, but he could turn out to be totally different. So the best thing to do even with these real person based crushes is PROCEED WITH CAUTION.

This is especially true if you are dealing with the male of the species. Because most guys spend a lot of their time thinking about how to get into girls' pants. So if a girl shows any interest, their mind says 'BINGO!' and into the pants they go. And while you may be thinking, 'Wow, he looooves me!' he's just thinking, 'Wow, that was fun. I hope I get home in time for spaghetti.'

So it is important that you make sure both you and Mr. Crush are on the same page. Or you could end up feeling really betrayed and a little used. Something we want to avoid.

This means that rather than marching up to your crush and being all “Hey hot stuff! I had a dream about you last night. Want to act it out?” you might take things more slowly. Pretend you are a CIA agent and your assignment is to find out everything you can about your crush. Don't get stalkery or do anything illegal (breaking into someone's locker, even if you've spied and found out the combination, is illegal, for example), but find out what his interests are, what bands he likes, where he goes during school and/or after (be SUBTLE—don't ask his friends, or they will blab).

You need to really assess your mutual suitability. Then if you still think all systems are go after that, approach him. Ask him to see a movie you think he'd like (possibly with a group of friends), or to go to a concert or Xtreme motocross.

Meg:

Or to play Dance Dance Revolution Party.

Michele:

Or Dance Dance Revolution Party. Try spending time with him in a group before transitioning into the one-on-one thing. This will give him a chance to get to know you, and you a chance to sense whether he's really interested, too, and whether it would be a good idea to tell him how you feel. Because once you've told him, there's no going back. If this is a guy that you have romantic feelings for and you suspect (as we do from your description) that he has romantic feelings for you, then you've got two choices, based on what kind of risk you are willing to take.

Option 1: Sit and Spin

This option is the easiest option. In this option, you do nothing and just sit back and wait to see what happens as time goes on. If your stepsister is right about his feelings for you, he'll probably make some kind of move. PROBABLY.

If he doesn't, or you're tired of waiting, consider

Option 2: Pay and Play

In this option, you ask him out for coffee/pizza–

Meg:

Or Dance Dance Revolution Party.

Michele:

Why, yes. And while you're there, have a chat with him about his love life. Does he, for instance, like anyone in particular? Opening with the 'So, do you like anyone right now?' question gives you a chance to show him you're interested if you want to, or not, if you don't (because its fully normal for you to ask a friend who he likes, so it's not laying all your cards on the table at once). With luck, he'll say, “Why, yes, there is someone I like. You!”

Meg:

Or at the very least he'll have such a good time with you that he'll ask YOU out for next weekend. Whi
ch is the next best thing. Mission accomplished.

If neither of these things happen, it's time to move on.

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Dear Meg,

I need to wear make-up, like it says to in Princess Lessons, but I don't know what kinds look good on me. Please help.

Plain Jane
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Meg:

First of all, no one NEEDS to wear make up. Wearing make-up or not is a matter of personal preference. If you would LIKE to wear make-up, read on:

Michele:

There are people all across America just waiting to help you with this project Plain Jane! But before we get to that, repeat this one simple mantra:

Less is more at the make up store.

Ok. Now there are a few ways to go about this. You could just go to your local drug store and pick up some inexpensive make-up there and start experimenting on yourself or with friends. This is fun, and magazines like Seventeen and Teen Vogue and Allure have a lot of helpful make up application tips.

But for a more professional approach, its time for the Make Up Marines. They're not really called that, but that is how I think of the army of women (and some guys) that you walk by whenever you go into a big department store like Macy's or Robinson May or Dillards or Nordstroms standing like sentinels at the make up counters, armed to the teeth with lipgloss and concealer, just itching for a chance to get you into their chairs and 'demonstrate.' They do this not because they're on like a quest to make America prettier, but because they want you to buy some of the stuff they are using on you. The thing is, though: you don't have to.

So here is what I would do (and what I sometimes do do, when I'm depressed): go to a department store, and look around for a Make Up Marine who's make up you like. Then go to them and say “Hi, I'm not really good at make up, can you help me out?”

The make up basics you should be looking for are lipgloss, eyeshadow, mascara, and blush. Maybe eyeliner. That's all you need to start. (And don't be afraid of telling the Make Up Marines you don't know much about make up, they'll love you for it.) Each Marine usually works for one brand, so you can also choose based on brands. One of my favorite brands you can find in department stores is Stila, which has great colors and good prices and usually totally cute Make Up Marines.

Another GREAT place to buy make up, especially once the Make Up Marines have shown you the techniques for proper application, is at www.sephora.com (there are also Sephora stores in some communities). The excellent thing about Sephora is they have make up application tips on the site and they sell a TON of brands including brands too hip to be in department stores like Tony & Tina, Deluxe, Too Faced, Sugar, Urban Decay and Benefit. Many of these are less expensive than the famous ones and have seriously groovy colors and sparkle liners.

Meg:

Are they suitable for wearing while doing Dance Dance Party Revolution?

Michele:

Totally. The absolute best thing about Sephora is everything is returnable. Even if you've used it. Oh, and remember also to buy make up remover–something for your face and a special one for your eyes–because what goes on must come off.

Meg:

Unless you are Anna from The OC and want to wear make up to bed. Which won't mess up your sheets much. Or your skin.

Michele:

That is the LEAST of Anna's problems.

Meg:

Um, you're one to talk. You own a SHIRT she wore on the show.

Michele:

I thought we agreed never to speak of that. Look. Another question!

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Dear Meg,

Lately my best friend and I have been fighting a lot. She called me a bitch at the bus stop the other morning. Then she said my hair looks stupid. I don't know what's wrong with her, but I'm not so sure I want to be her friend anymore. What should I do?

Bad Best Buddy
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Meg:

One of the facts about growing older is that often we don't just grow up…we grow apart from our friends, too. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes the only reason we are friends with someone in the first place is because they live down the street from us and happen to be our age, or whatever. As you get older and get interests other than Bratz or American Girl dolls, it makes sense that you might drift apart from your old friend who is now totally into soccer when you are into classical music.

Or not. It depends on the friendship. Michele?

Michele:

I still can't believe you brought up The Shirt. I'll deal with you later. To Bad Best Buddy I say:

DO NOT:
Believe the things your friend is saying about you.
Put up with it any longer.
Retaliate or act mean in any way.

If you still feel some commitment to the relationship, then DO:

Confront her. Ask her why she's doing it. Is something else going on in her life? How is her relationship with her parents? Other friends? Has she just had a bad break up or is she trying to get someone's attention? No matter what the reason, none of them are grounds for her to treat you that way, though it may turn out (probably not, of course, because you, like us, are perfect, but just MAYBE) that you owe her an apology for something you did that you didn't even realize hurt her. But asking her what's going on might help resolve the situation and keep your relationship in tact. It's normal for friends–especially best friends–to fight, but they have to at some point explain why and make up with appropriate apologizing, note giving, and mix CD exchanging as tokens of friendship.

If that doesn't go well, cut your losses and start spending time with other people. Like Meg says, all good things, even friendships, end.

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Dear Meg

I just started at a new school. No one here knows me, and they're all already friends. How do I make friends?
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Meg:

Do I know how you feel. This happened to me so many times, because my dad was a professor, and he would take sabbatical (a job somewhere else) every few years, which meant, every few years, new school. Ugh.

Michele:

You know that famous line, this is the best of times, this is the worst of times? Or whatever? This question is like that. Because this is the hardest of problems, but its also the easiest problem to solve using our patented BS system for making friends fast. No, NOT that kind of BS. Sheesh. Minds out of the gutter people. But now you'll remember it.

Okay, so:

B stands for Be Yourself
S stands for Seek Out Likeminded People.

See? Simple.

Being yourself is key, because pretending to be someone you're not (like a chain smoker behind they gym) might get you COMPANY for a short time, but its not going to get you FRIENDS. See the difference? (also chain smoking behind the gym will get you sick and dead, so don't do it)

The best way to make FRIENDS is to find people with whom you have common interests, and they can often be found in organizations like clubs or teams. So if you are interested in writing, join the school paper. If you are interested in croissants, the French club. Conversely, if you suck at French, ask your French teacher to recommend a tutor for you. Tutoring can be an ace way to
meet people, especially cute, smart but slightly geeky guys–

Meg:

Like Doogie Howser.

Michele:

–who will love the attention they get from you.

But wait! There's more! Because while you're employing the BS system, making friends and influencing people, you'll also be adding things to your resume for your college applications. And the BS system works in college too. In fact, it works better there because there are more clubs and more cute but slightly geeky guys. Its a system for all time!

Meg:

I wish I had known about your BS system when I was growing up! Well, Michele and I are both exhausted now from all of this advice. If we get—

Michele:

Wait! Meg! There's one more question.

Meg:

I don't see one.

Michele:

Yeah, right here:

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Dear Meg,
I have this friend, and sometimes she has these really embarrassing dreams in which she is making out with Doogie Howser, and afterwards she won't stop talking about it–
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Meg:

Gee, it looks like we're all out of time. Anyway, as I was saying, if we get—shut up, Michele–more requests for advice, we will dedicate another blog to answering them, but in the meantime, we have to go soak our wrists, which are sore from all this typing.

Love,

Meg

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