Dear Dr. Date,
I’m in a love triangle with my two best friends, but neither of them know it. We all go on a message board where there is a big flame war going on between two factions on this board. This is important, because the leaders of the factions are my two best friends. Neither of them know the other one’s screen name, but I know both of theirs. As far as I know, they don’t know that I even go on that website, much less what MY screen name is. I tried to stop the flame war, but I made things even worse. I just want things to go back to the way they were. How can I tell them what I know without things getting even worse? And how can I confess my love for one of them without hurting the other?
—Angry Solo Helper
I’m not sure you even have a problem here, yo. Sounds like the message board is messing with your concept of what’s real and what’s virtual, regarding your relationships with these people and their relationship with each other. And you know what I always say — if you can’t stand the virtual heat, stay out of the flame-war-ravaged message board.
I get the sense that the two warriors don’t talk IRL — otherwise, wouldn’t the fact that they’re battling against each other in a flame war come up in casual conversation? If my hunch is right, you’ve got the love triangle problem in the bag. What’s to stop you from going whole hog on the one you like? The one you’re all “idgaf” about will never know, and you can always give the “Dude, not interested, w/e, ttyl,” treatment if the hounding gets aggressive.
If you all do spend time together, you should casually bring up something that might get one of them talking about the flame war next time you’re all together. “Say, how’s that (something tangentially related to the issue being fought about on the message board) going?”
Watch the sparks fly. Your innocence won’t be compromised because they don’t even know about your secret position as bystander.
Dear Dr. Date,
Does size matter? No it’s not what you’re thinking. I’m a really tall girl. We’re talking 6-feet-4-inches here, and my boyfriend is really short, only about 5-feet-2-inches. We were good friends for a long time, but he had such a hard time agreeing to date me because he was concerned about the height difference. He finally agreed, but I’m still worried that he is embarrassed to be seen with me out in public. How can I talk to him about this without making him feel any worse about his height?
You: Baby, thanks for FINALLY agreeing to date me.
Him: Yeah, well you know. I eventually resigned myself to your ogress features.
You: Yup, and I’m a cool person, so the fact that you’re as short as the actor who’d play Napoleon Bonaparte in a historically inaccurate movie doesn’t get to me one bit.
Him: Babe, that’s great.
You: Babe, here’s the thing — I sense that you’re little embarrassed to be seen with me. Out in public. Where I’d like to, you know, go on dates with you. I know it’s because I make you feel short, and that’s obviously one of the crosses you have to bear, but it’s time for you to become a “bigger” man and love us for us.
Him: What? Me? Self-conscious? No way! No. No! No. Babe. Babe! No.
So right, that was an example of how you shouldn’t have that conversation. But girl, please wipe the sweat from your forehead! I’m about to give you some tips on how to un-furrow your boy’s brow too, because let me tell you something, Jumbo Gal: You are perfect for each other! You both know what it’s like to stand out from the crowd – or in the case of your boy, what it’s like to sink below the crowd’s collective shoulder.
When I see a couple so unconventionally matched in height, my heart simply flutters. I sigh, put down my Arnold Palmer and think, “There they go, those young kids … There they go, subvertin’ the norms. I hope they aren’t crippled with self-consciousness. I hope they stick together, through thick and thin, short and tall.”
Here’s one, somewhat sheisty, method of bringing it up:
Don’t bring it up. Pay off one of your friends to bring up your appearances next time you’re all together, but in a really positive way. So your girl will be like, “Damn, you guys look GOOD together! So sexy. I wish my boyfriend and I looked as good as you guys.”
And later be like, “That Stacey’s so nice. Always saying nice stuff about us.”
So right, it’s a little sneaky, and you wouldn’t want to admit to it, and it requires a really good friend (her being named Stacey is optional). But, it will be a way for you to bring it up positively, and it will seem like you haven’t been thinking about it. Stacey (or whoever) was. If he’s been thinking about it, he might jump at the chance to talk. If he doesn’t, try your best to assume innocence, and try to believe that he’s not bothered as much by the height blight as you think he is.