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Ask The Vatican Assassin (Sad Old Story Remains the Same)

Got a problem? Well, your worries are over: We here at Shaking Through World Headquarters have an expert in the field of "problem-solving." When he’s not busy carrying on the noble tradition of the Knights Templar (“God’s Green Berets”)--snuffing out world leaders, dispatching demons and generally saving the world like a long-haired, street-smart James Bond--Vatican Assassin spends his free time indulging his every hedonistic whim, which gets him into lots of trouble. Who better to dole out helpful advice to the lovelorn, conflicted and confused?

Posted: December 2, 2002

Hey, Vatican Assassin. You seem to have a way with the ladies. Maybe you can help me.

There's this girl I work with, her name is Amy. I'm attracted to her, so pretty much the minute she started her new job at the coffee shop I work at, I went out of my way to be nice to her. You know, showing her the ropes, listening to her problems, and so on. Well, we've become pretty close, and, well, I bet you know what's coming next. It's pretty obvious to everyone (except her, I think – or maybe not) that I'm in love with her. Whenever I complain about not having a girlfriend, she rattles off a list of my great boyfriend qualities; I'm sweet, I'm a good listener, I'm smart, I'm funny, et cetera. But unfortunately, she's drawn to the bad-boy types. I've been there at her side for her during not one, but two so-called "relationships" with jerks who have cheated on her, lied, said hurtful things and just basically treated her like shit.

This is such a sad old, familiar story you probably already know my question. How can I get her to take her own advice? She doesn't seem to realize what a good, sweet, sensitive person she is. And, two, can I do that in a way that'll make her look at me a little differently, like maybe boyfriend material?

I know you're probably gonna rip me a new one. I'm a wimp. I admit it. I don't even care if you call me a baboon. Just help me. Can it be done?


Swooning in Somerville

Okay, Swooning...

A sad, old story indeed. So sad and so old that I just answered this friggin' question in my last letter. However, you are correct, monkey boy, in that I do have a way with the ladies. Usually One Way, or Wrong Way, or Way Off. But until I can refine my methods, I'll just experiment on you. It may be obvious to others that you're in love with this girl, but is it also obvious to them that you're an idiot? If they've failed to mention this to you, then no real friends are they -- in which case, you've come to the right place: someone other than yourself to help with your problems. Let me break it down for you.

The problem we really have here is you both don't know what you want, you just think you do. What's worse is that you not only don't know what you really want, but you presume that you know what's best for others. Here's my theory, ladies and gents, so take note: Women, and I'm thinking this applies to men too, think they want a nice person. But have you ever noticed how they gravitate to the jerks? Of course you have. We all say we want someone nice, but when we have someone nice right at hand, we always hop on the back of the bike and ride off with the jerk (or jerkette). Why do we do this? We're idiots, that's why. A confused lot that almost invariably wants what we can't have. There are two ends to the mating spectrum, both extreme examples of what we want. On one end, you have the complete puss. No spine. No will. Total subservient. In short, the nice person. On the other end, you have the convict. Liar. Dominator. Reckless. Resolves everything with violence. What I've come to see is that what we all really want is someone who encompasses both extremes. The charming Cary Grant rogue. The bad boy with a heart of gold. The proper lady in public who's a whore in the bedroom. The problem with this is that we don't have enough self-respect to demand better, and angrily dismiss those that are too selfish to fill our needs. The problem with that is, we're all too selfish and self-centered to give as much as we take, or to focus past our petty needs to see what's been right in front of us all along.

Now, let's tie this into how it relates your "problem." Oh, yes. Now comes the part your stomach has been knotting about. You see, you're serving your own selfish needs and deluding yourself in the process. Showing her the ropes. "Going out of your way to be nice to her" is the line I like. What, like normally, you'd be a prick? Hell, then you might've shown up on her radar. It's pretty obvious you were going above and beyond here because your selfishness was driving your brain pan. You did, and do, all these things, not because you're a nice guy, but because you hoped to sway her to become your girlfriend. I'd even bet that once you extract your head from your hindquarters, you'd probably notice a girl who listens to your problems about this girl and is just as hung up on you. John Hughes made a good living off of guys like you.

So here's a trick. How about the next time she goes prattling on about how she wants a "nice" guy, why don't you roll your eyes and ask her point blank: What qualities should this guy have? If she starts rambling on, as I figure she will, and list all the qualities you feel you possess, that's when you have to show her through example how you are that guy, yet she hasn't gone out with you. At this point, and I feel like John Madden with his clicker pen, she will shoot you down with the most dreaded of all excuses: She Likes You Like As A Friend. Now on my planet, relationships are supposed to be founded on friendship. You can quote me on that if you like. Here's the best part: You get to tell her that the reason her little brow is wrinkled in confusion is because she just said what she wanted, you just pointed out to her that you are what she wanted, and she turned you down. Reason: It's not what she wanted. She just thinks it is. Then, and only then, can you walk away from this person and get on with your life. For the record: We only get treated like shit by people because we let them do it to us, not because they are jerks or jerkettes.

Call you a baboon? Nah. Baboons are smarter than this. Humans over-complicate simple things. Baboons pick fleas off one another because that's just what you do for your fellow baboon. I can't help you: only you can help you. And maybe if you stop obsessing over this chick, stop trying so damn hard, she, or someone better, just might notice you.

In the words of a great prophet:

Love is for dreamers, love is for believers, love is for losers, for suckers.

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