Jumping categories

Can a man ever go from being "just a friend" to being "a romantic possibility"?


Cary Tennis
June 24, 2003 11:11PM (UTC)

Dear Cary,

I've heard that most girls after meeting a guy for the first time will place him into one of two categories: 1) romantic possibilities or 2) just friends.

A few years ago I met a girl whom I immediately "clicked" with, but she happened to be dating a good friend of mine, so I gladly accepted the "just friends" category in order to spend time with her.

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Now that they have broken up and have been separated by many miles for over a year, I've been trying to switch categories, without any success.

She knows that I'm romantically interested in her -- we've discussed it several times (not in great detail or anything), both back when she was still with the other guy and after they had split.

During those conversations back then, she used to claim that I was too old for her (10 years her senior), but it really just sounded like a nice, convenient way for her to say that she's happy with her boyfriend without offending me. And, quite honestly, as she's now reached her mid-20s (vs. the ever-so-young 21 when we first met) I haven't heard, much less sensed, that age is any issue with her whatsoever.

I'm still having a really difficult (OK, impossible) time getting her to put herself into a "romantic" situation with me (e.g., exotic trips, weekend getaways, or even romantic evenings on the town).

When I discuss this situation with other female friends of mine their advice for me was to forget about her and to take them on vacation instead. So, I'm not completely undesirable or anything, but I'm really only interested in spending that amount of time and money with the girl I'm writing about.

Is there some way I can persuade her to move me into the No. 1 category, at least for a trial period? Or, are the categories completely unchangeable?

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She's been out of town quite often over the past couple of years, either in school or working, but now she's going to graduate so I'd like to make my move.

Stuck in No. 2

Dear Stuck in No. 2,

Give it up. Back away from the persuader ray. The categories are eternal. They cannot be changed. They were ordained upon the crown of creation by a vengeful and impatient deity you don't want to annoy. You just leave this shit alone.

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The categories are there for a reason. If there were no categories, we'd be nothing but endlessly copulating apes, mad with pussy lust, slicked down with Astroglide head to foot, swinging naked from mirror balls, and the women would flee into the jungle for safety and we'd never see them again. Believe me, the categories are there for your safety. One day you'll understand. For now, you'll have to trust your elders. Honor the categories. Do not anger the gods. Cross your legs and sit tight.

Surely as soon as these words appear, someone will say he accomplished exactly the impossible feat you're trying to accomplish. Don't believe it. Your male friends will encourage you to keep at it and try to crack her. Don't listen to them. It is true that rarely, a few times every millennium, a man jumps his category. Why this happens no one knows. People in their late teens and 20s are still malleable; like new steel, they haven't yet been plunged into the icy bath of water that hardens their edges and sets their temper. It may be that before a young man's being is completely set, certain hormones fire, or his chemistry changes in response to a sea breeze or the scent of a lemon tree, and he leaps a category. Or it may be that a young woman is not completely formed, and when she awakens from her little girl's sleep, she sees the man in a whole new way. But it's extremely rare. No one knows why it happens. No one can predict it, and no one can make it happen. It happens on its own, like the rain.

If she does change toward you, mark my words: It was a miracle.

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Cary Tennis

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