Dear John: Friend’s Drunk Boyfriend Gets Kissy

Tuesday, May 01, 2012


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What’s your problem? Write to John at [email protected]

Dear John,
I was at a party recently when, on may way to the bathroom, I was pulled into another room by a guy I know who shut the door and started kissing me. I was pretty drunk, to be honest, and I was more receptive to this than I would have been if not for the late night and my state of mind. I do like this guy, I’ve been attracted to him for a while, but for a few years he’s been in an on-again/off-again relationship with one of my friends. The bad thing is they are in one of their on-again phases.
So this occurred, we left the room we were in and picked up where we left off like nothing happened. And that’s how it’s been ever since and I’ve seen him (with my friend) a couple of times. He acts like nothing happened, so much so that I wonder if maybe he doesn’t even remember it because he was maybe even drunker than I was. Now I don’t know whether to forget about it, talk to him about it, talk to my friend…and I don’t know what I would say anyway: I’m sorry that happened and it won’t happen again? Want to go out with me this Friday? Your boyfriend is a jerk and I have a crush on him? Or nothing at all???
Confused More Than Anything

Dear Confused,
As far as this particular incident goes, I would write it off as drunken party foolishness. If the guy doesn’t seem like he’s thinking about it, it’s probably because he isn’t. This was just a dumb thing that happened at a party.
Stepping back a bit, though, the signs are discouraging. Basically, you’re attracted to a guy who either can’t control himself when he drinks or hits on his girlfriend’s friends. And you seem kind of okay with this. As to whether you should tell your friend, I’m fairly ambivalent. I don’t think what happened meant anything, so I would forget about it, but if you think your friend should know this happened, that’s reasonable. It could well affect your friendship, though. And are you going to tell her you didn’t mind? This could get messy with little chance of anything good coming of it. If their relationship has been on and off, she probably knows what kind of guy he is. Oddly, you do too, and you still want him.
Dear John,
Help me out here. Last year, I had a tree on my property that needed pruning. I was talking to my neighbor about it and he offered to prune it because he has the tools to do so and he seemed to know more about it than I do. So I took him up on his offer. Well, my wife and I were pretty shocked at the results, as a good quantity of the tree seemed to have been hacked away (as opposed to pruned) and it looked pretty unsightly. But it was a young tree and I figured it will grow back. The tree went the rest of last year looking straggly but I didn’t think anything of it. This spring, the tree looks like it is dying – there’s definitely something wrong with it – and my wife is convinced it’s related to the bad pruning job. Long story short, she wants me to dig this tree up, plant a new tree, and ask my neighbor to split the cost. She thinks he should be paying the whole thing, so splitting the cost is a neighborly concession in her mind. I don’t mind buying a new tree, but I don’t want to talk to my neighbor about it. It seems petty to me and I just don’t think it’s worth taking a fine next-door-neighbor situation and making it contentious. My wife is really giving me a hard time for not being supportive, i.e., doing what she wants me to do. This whole thing has become a bigger deal than it ever should have. What do you think?
Trees Make Bad Neighbors

Dear T.M.B.N.,
When you accept someone’s offer to do you a favor, you’re agreeing to be okay with the job performed unless it’s outrageously incompetent. Like if the guy had accidentally cut the tree off at the base. As it is, I don’t think he owes you anything. You could have paid for an arborist, but you didn’t, if I may get a little lecture-y. (And it’s conceivable that the tree’s condition now is unrelated to the bad pruning job.)
If your wife feels differently, I can see that. I don’t agree, but it’s not the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. Why is it up to you, though, to raise this issue with your neighbor? If that’s her opinion, I think she should be the one to make her case. And being supportive simply means you don’t undermine her or let the neighbor know this isn’t your idea. I do think that her knowing you want to drop it but expecting you to be the “bad guy” isn’t fair.
Dear John,
How does one kindly respond to impertinence? Whenever I get my hair cut, the stylist will immediately ask where I work, my marital status or if I have kids. I find it intrusive. I try to be kind, as I realize they are just attempting to foster conversation, but I just don't want that degree of familiarity with a total stranger (yet, oddly, I'll let him/her shape my head). Does my demeanor invite such inquisitions, and if so, how do I politely say, "That's not your business"?
Cut The Talk

Dear Cut The Talk,
A hair stylist isn’t really being impertinent by making idle chitchat. It’s pretty much the job description after styling hair. All you’re doing to invite such questions is occupying a swivel chair. There are a few things you can do:
Go to an old man who keeps his scissors in a cylinder of blue liquid and has Rocky Marciano pictures on the wall. “What do you want?” is the last you’ll hear from him.
Take something to read and explain at the beginning that this is your only time to quietly relax and that’s what you’d like to do.
Have fun. Make something up. What’s it like to have twelve kids?
Be honest. There’s nothing wrong with saying, “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be rude, but I really don’t want to talk about my personal life.”

John is a middle-aged family man from Providence, Rhode Island. If you learn from your mistakes, he’s brilliant. Write to him at [email protected]

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