The Hook Up: Going to an ex’s wedding and crushing on a bicurious coworker


Big fan of The Hookup. I have been putting off asking advice on this issue because it essentially boils down to a straight girl crush, but I am on the verge of losing my mind over it. So here goes: I have been working with this woman for about two years now. We became friends and she is the most amazing person I’ve ever met. We work at a bar so usually when we were hanging out it was just a lot of fun, lots o’ booze, and general shenanigans. We would always make jokes about me wanting to hook up with her. She is in her mid 30s, I am 24. She’s a single mom, and very much straight. So the joking was just that.

We started hanging out more and more, and I started to develop some feelings but just figured it was a little crush no big deal. About three months ago, I told her I was in love with her. She said she’s so sorry that she just can’t be with women. And we were fine. We joke about us getting married, and she has said she knows her life would be so much easier if we were just together. I have certainly not stopped trying to hook up with her, and she says she has thought about it, but she cares about me too much to lead me on like that. So I had all but written the whole thing off as a straight girl that I will always have feelings for, but have to deal with the friend zone.

But the last month or so she has been asking me all sorts of questions about bisexuality, such as would I date a bi girl. I work on a GLBT helpline and she asked me what I would say to someone who called and said, “I think I’m bisexual” and things of that nature. So my question is, am I reading way too much into it because I am grossly in love with this girl? I am just so confused as to if I need to back off, or push further on this bisexual curiosity. Since I told her I was in love with her, and she politely rejected me I had tried to be more of a friend, and fill her in on my latest dating dramas, and stuff I would never tell a potential boo. But now I wonder if I should cut that out and get back to being more charming. Or am I totally delusional. — Hating on the friend zone

Anna says: I too hate the friend zone. It’s my second least favorite zone, followed only by The Discovery Zone, but only because those little brats never let me play in the ballz anymore. (There’s a bisexual joke in there, but I refuse to make it).

I think you know what I’m gonna say, Hating. But I’ll go ahead and say it because there seems to be a straight girl crush epidemic going on around here and maybe we need our own support group? You gotta let it go, and be content simply being her friend. Her bi-curiosity might be a dimly lit sign, but you should barely be able to see it because of the dozen other flashing Las Vegas marquees that she’s thrown your way. Signs like, “she just can’t be with women” and the part where you told her you were in love with her and she “politely rejected you.” If her hypothetical curiosity was something she was serious about acting on, I assure you, you wouldn’t need to do any guesswork. You’ve been very blunt and direct. And so has she. It’s not a question of coyness or subtlety at this point. If she’s going to come around, it’ll be on her own terms, and there’s nothing you can do to change that.

There’s a quote I came across recently by Marianne Williams that I wanted to share: “To attract the coolest man in the world, become the coolest woman in the world.” Switch that male pronoun, and it’s just as applicable. What that means to me is that we have to stop pushing things. We have all these ideas about those we fall for, fantasies, stories, hopes, but they often get in the way of what’s actually happening. If we pay attention to those daily, sometimes unpretty realities, I think we’d be much less inclined to worry and confuse situations that are fairly clear cut. This isn’t to say you and this gal might not cross that line someday. You very well might. But in the meantime, I’d urge you to practice letting go.

In the Vedas, (which are ancient Indian truth bombs, and which I am totes dropping on you because I’m in India, and it’s rubbing off on me) they talk about the art of intention and detachment. This also might seem familiar because of a little known prophet you may have heard of called Mariah Carey. Then Deepak Chopra stole it. I’m pretty sure that’s what happened. Anyway. In the song “Always Be My Baby,” homegirl was like, “Now you wanna be free / So I’ll let you fly / Cuz I know in my heart, babe / Our love will never die.” In other words, set your sights on what you want, focus your intentions, and then detach from the outcome. Let’s say your intention/attention is focused on getting a girlfriend. So what you do is put your faith and feelers out there in the world, and then let go of your expectations, e.g. that this straight girl will fall in love with you and be your girlfriend. You have to let your relationship be what it is now, not tomorrow, or a year from now. Not the way you want it to be, but the way it is. Be open to change, but don’t be attached to any one solution. Accept the changes as they happen, and they will. Relationships change all the time.

When you focus your desires wholeheartedly, you might not get the outcome you wanted, but staying grounded in the uncertainty allows you to stay open to other, potentially better, opportunities.

Does this make sense? I’d give you a metaphor, but I can’t top the Frisbee one from a few weeks ago so I’ll instead just say, be the coolest girl in the world.

I’m in love with a girl who’s getting married in a year. We had a brief, but intense affair over the summer, but she thought better of it and went back to her boyfriend in the end. We’re still friendly, however, and she invited me to her wedding. My friends think I’m crazy for even considering going. Am I? I don’t think it’ll be that big of a deal – I’m not going to go all The Graduate on her or anything, but a part of me also thinks I’m not entirely over her and this will just cause me unnecessary pain. What do you think?

Anna says: It’s too bad you’re not going The Graduate route because your situation is perfectly rife for a queer rom-com. Katherine Heigl could play the mischievous bride. Also, nobody has dramatic, attempted wedding break ups anymore. Apparently we got that all out of our systems in 1960s movies, and later, parodies of those movies.

Here’s a litmus test for you: If you think you can attend her wedding without the slightest harboring of resentment for her, then go. If you can’t, then don’t. In other words, if you can be happy for her, then by all means, dress up, drink her free booze, and dance with her bridesmaids. But don’t put yourself through the ringer if it’ll cause you bad juju.

It sounds like you’re trying to be a good sport about this admittedly awkward situation. And maybe you are an incredibly tolerant, carefree person/unicorn. I can’t really tell by your brevity and non-magical email address. But if it were me, I’d think twice about whether I wanted to have a recent ex’s new love shoved in my face like three-tiered, overpriced cake. Will you look back at your life ten years from now and think, “Man, I really resent that I missed my opportunity to get jiggy at Stacy McSwitcheroo’s wedding!” I doubt it.

I also, personally, think it’s kind of weird that she invited you in the first place. Does her fiancée know? Is he going to shake your hand at the reception and give you a creepy wink? And if he doesn’t know, are you going to feel weird about that? This whole thing skeeves me out, in other words. I say save the money you would’ve spent on a new bowtie or taffeta dress or sensible beige pantsuit, and go take a girl on a nice date who’s actually single.

Hailing from the rough-and-tumble deserts of southern Arizona, where one doesn’t have to bother with such trivialities as “coats” or “daylight savings time,” Anna Pulley is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. Find her at and on Twitter @annapulley. Send her your Hook Up questions at [email protected].