The Hook Up: The only way to really know if she likes you

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I hope you’re doing well, I’ve written to you a few years back and now I need your on-point advice (again)! In 2011, I went abroad for work and went to a lesbian dinner. I met this beautiful, intelligent, mature girl—let’s call her R.

Since then, I’ve had that crush on her and it never went away. I have never fallen for anyone like this. Unfortunately, I never had the confidence to come up and say anything to her. My ex-gf knows this, as R caused a lot of strife and jealousy in our relationship.

As of December 2014, she’s working in the same country as me. We’ve hung out a few times as friends. A week or so, I sent R a few pieces of chocolates, and she said not to drop stuff on her flat unannounced, and that she feels uncomfortable, but appreciates it.

A few weeks later, R and I met up for dinner and I casually told her that I’m single. She said LDR is hard. Over Pride, I headed to R’s place and brought soup for her because she was feeling sick. She once again told me not to turn up unannounced. I said, I’m sorry and I just wanted her to feel better.

At dinner recently, she was asking me questions (we looked at each others eyes almost the whole time, no flinching) and told me that she hasn’t been out for a long while and that we should go. Dessert came in, and we shared a fork. On our way back, it started to rain and I pulled out an umbrella. At first R didn’t want it, but I insisted. She bumped her boobs on my arm.

A few days later, I sent her an FB message about going out and she was chilly. What was that about? Is she sending mixed signals? Help me before I fall head over heels or…—Fall Flat on my Face

 

Dear FFF,

I know far too well what it’s like to pine for a person relentlessly. My forthcoming book, though now firmly in the realm of lesbian sex humor, started out as a series of love poems between myself and a married woman.

I know what it’s like to spend years lusting and hoping and thinking a thousand innocuous things are “signs” that you and she are destined to be together. So I hope you will trust me on this when I say it’s time to get over this girl.

It’s tempting, I know, to see tiny gestures as sweeping statements: the umbrella boob-brushing, the sharing of a dessert fork, the unflinching eye contact.

And yet, in doing so, you are blinded to the much larger signs: that she’s in a long-distance relationship (unless LDR means something else that I am not privy to), that she uses words like “uncomfortable” when you show up to her place unannounced and with gifts, and that she is chilly to you in Facebook messages about going out just the two of you.

These are not “mixed messages,” my dear FFF. At least not from where I’m standing, which is a place that is unclouded by lust and dreamy glances and romantic grandeur.

I will say, though I may be an amateur palm reader, I am far from psychic. So for the sake of argument, and because I think it will help you get out of your frozenness one way or another, I encourage you to seek resolution from this R person’s babely snare.

You do that by finding out once and for all if she has a romantic interest in you. You do that by asking her out on a date.

If she says yes, rejoice!

If she says no, rejoice in that too, because you will be free at long last to pursue other babely types who would be more receptive to your sweet gestures of chocolates and soup.

If she says no, the tiny, not-at-all-permanent bruise to your ego from a rejection is still far preferable to wasting another 5, 10, infinity years with stars in your eyes for this girl, FFF.

Take it from someone who has learned this the hard way for the last, oh, decade or so (me).

End your confusion and angst and wondering in one fell swoop: Tell her how you feel. The rest, as they say, is up to fate.
 

The crux of my dilemma is much like the hundreds that have been posted about in the AfterEllen forum under “Does she like me?”

She is my personal trainer.  In the short time I’ve known her, I’ve come out to my parents and ventured to do several things that I’ve always wanted to do but was never motivated to start, and she was definitely part of the catalyst.

Over the three months I have observed her, and maybe stalked on social networking sites, she appears to be just as positive, outgoing, and engaging with everyone around her. What has thrown me is that I told her I wanted to do a multi-day hiking trip next year, but couldn’t find anyone to do it with because it was just before winter. Without prompt, she offered to go with me, and suggested that we could stay overnight at her Mum’s place. This, coupled with the harmless flirting we’ve subsequently had, made me wonder (and hope) she is interested in me.

My feelers tell me she is interested, but my head tells me that she is just being professional and friendly, and that at most she wants to be friends. When I sent her a link to a show I thought she would be interested in, she immediately asked me when I was free to go but then never got back to me about her schedule even though she said she would. I’m the one who has always initiated conversation outside of the gym via texts, and she has always been positive and professional with her replies. She has taken to calling me buddy twice during our last two interactions. So maybe all those signs are obvious enough that she doesn’t like me the same way I like her.   

Why haven’t I just told her that I like her? Well, I still have three weeks of personal training sessions left and about a year worth of gym membership left (that I can’t just get a refund for), which means I can’t just not see her if it turns out I’m completely misreading the situation. We are also going on that trip together next year. I could just tell her and if I’ve misread her then I can pretend it didn’t happen, act like it doesn’t bother me and hope things don’t become awkward.

And if that means that the most we end up having is a friendship, then so be it, because as they say it takes two to tango and you can’t force things like feelings. But then the other part of me wants to have a definite answer so that if she isn’t or never will be interested, then I can bring myself to—Move On

 

Dear Move On,

My advice to you is quite similar to the advice I gave to FFF above. Does she like you? I don’t know, and you won’t either until and unless you ask her.

I realize you don’t want to have awkward personal training sessions with this gal, so by all means, wait until the three weeks are up (which they should be by now. I am slow! #Sorry). If she’s been professional and courteous up until this point, there’s no reason to think she won’t continue being so if she doesn’t reciprocate your Feels for her.

You don’t have to quit your gym because one babe doesn’t want to do naked squats with you in her downtime. If she says no, expect a touch of awkwardness. But if you play it cool and casual, then she’ll respond accordingly. And, frankly, it’s better to learn this information before you decide to take a multi-day hike with her that requires sleepovers at her mum’s place.

I’m also gonna throw it out there that she might like you, but she might also be required by her job to not get involved with anyone who is a client. That is a real possibility and perfectly valid reason to turn someone down.

But only she knows the answer to that. So get the “definite answer” you seek. Bravery and vulnerability are what connects us to others.

And, as Niccolo Machiavelli, author of The Prince, reminds us, it’s better to: “Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer.”

Good luck, Move On. Whatever happens, it’s worth the sweat.

Anna is a freelance writer in Oakland. Get overly personal emails and haiku from her at tinyletter.com/annapulley. Or Twitter @annapulley. Send her your Hook Up questions at askthehookup@gmail.com 

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