Should Girls Ask Guys Out, Sept 04 | When Friends Give Unwanted Advice

Dear Meg, 
I was divorced four years ago and feel ready to date. My friends advised me it was okay to ask men out. I am 47 and consider myself relatively attractive, but the men I’ve approached seem indifferent at best. Is it really okay for a woman to initiate a first date?

My Dear Apple, 
Certainly there is nothing wrong with a woman taking the initiative in the dating department, and I have it on good authority that despite the legend and the subsequent movies, it was Jane who first approached Tarzan and suggested a swing from tree to tree.

This said, I’m going to advise you against taking this route. Many capable and attractive women have complained to me recently that after proffering such offers, they felt most men presumed their suggestion of getting together was a desperate plea on their part to be spared a life of bitter spinsterhood. These silly men seemed to feel my friends had bought hook, line, and sinker those ridiculous studies that implied women after the age of 30 were more likely to be hit in the head by a wayward piece of the Sputnik satellite, hurled into an alternate universe and find themselves in a deserted Siberian labor camp with Mr. Spock than get married. Good grief.

My advice is to recognize your worth and hold out for a man who is well-mannered and confident enough to request the pleasure of your company. If I might remark on your name, in both Greek and Roman mythology the apple is the symbol of love and beauty. Be patient, do your own thing, and soon enough you’ll become the apple of some lucky guy’s eye.

Dear Meg,
I’ve been unemployed for over a year, which is a drag all by itself. What is beginning to bug me even more are all the people who want to give me a hundred suggestions of what I might try doing. Is there any graceful way of getting people to stop doing this?

My Dear Adam, 
I can certainly empathize. Before I got this glamorous position advising folks like you on such matters, I had been pounding the pavement for quite sometime. Now I have to deal with all the trappings of fame. If it helps even a little, Adam, the grass is always greener on the other side. Some days I long for my former anonymity and a respite from all my fans.

As you’ve experienced, I found if I confided in someone that I was looking for work, they tended to be full of helpful suggestions that were generally anything but. It’s not as if I didn’t realize these amateur social workers weren’t well meaning, but how often can one nod one’s head graciously at what are essentially the same five ideas?

Eventually, I began to modify Andy Warhol’s famous line as a coping mechanism. I would smile blankly and nod, saying, “Gee, that’s a terrific idea,” and then excuse myself ASAP from the conversation.

Unfortunately, this is the best I have to offer unless you have any duct tape purchased at Tom Ridge’s behest, lose your cool, and decide to apply it to helpful suggestor’s mouths when absolutely necessary. Best of luck with the job search. Even the Wall Street Journal has admitted that the economic recovery has only benefited the nation’s most wealthy five percent.