Sisterly Love

Dear Dategirl,

I can't tell you how many times I have heard some guy say, "I love a sister," or describe me in that way to someone else after gushing with compliments about how "cool, fun, smart, etc.," I am. I am soooo frustrated with that. I'm tempted to ditch the next guy I hear say that and show him I'm not so cool and fun after all!

I figure it comes down to attraction, but some of these guys have dated much worse than me, and they are definitely not "out of my league." I am no supermodel, but I ski well and am a fairly well-traveled backpacker, so I'm hardly a couch-potato lump. I care about and take care of my appearance, but I am not willing to go hungry to impress someone.

What gives? Any advice on how to change the ever-pervasive view of me as "sister" material?


You know how certain women refer to the men in their lives by cute little nicknames when they're talking smack to their girlfriends? A dame I know dated a guy who—for reasons that should be obvious—will be forever known as "sister-fucker." (What I should make clear is that, while it was a completely repulsive undertaking, it was consensual and happened—often!—when they were both teenagers.)

I'm sorry. I know that's not helpful, but it was the first thing that popped into my brain upon reading your note. I will give you the same advice I give your always-a-friend/never-a-fuck brethren: Quit being so friendly. Seriously. Stop befriending men you hope to mush up naked against. Not only is it dishonest and a disservice to the guy you're faux-friending, you wind up cranky and not getting laid. It's what we in the advice biz refer to as a lose-lose situation.

As I've made every mistake in the book, it goes without saying that I'm an old pro at this particular move. Time after time, I'd form these deep, all-encompassing, doormatlike friendships with men I desperately wanted to date. I'd smile sweetly and be their best pal, and then watch as they went out with a dozen different women, never once considering moi in "that way."

One in particular comes to mind. He and I were inseparable—writing together, flirting, playing video games.... Never mind that I hate video games. I'd smile adoringly and do my best to annihilate the alien predators. He knew that I had a crush on him and once even told me that the fact that I liked him so much made me really appealing, but he was still getting over his ex. Taking that as a sign that we'd be together once his heart had healed, I was there for him during a near-O.D., went to see his band play approximately a million times, and basically acted as a human crutch, helping him through his self-destructive phase.

Once I finally wised up and started dating someone else, Jerky (not his real name) got all freaky and tried to come between me and the new guy. Not that he was suddenly interested in me—Jerky just liked me to be available. I stupidly tried to remain his friend, but once I quit being on call, he was far less interested. As for his great heartache—he married some other broad about six months later.

It wasn't that the girls he dated were necessarily prettier, smarter, or funnier than me—these women just weren't romantically retarded and made their intentions clear. Instead of being the lady he called in the middle of the night because his cat was sick, these women were the ones making demands of him. Seems I had it all backward. And yes, while romantic comedies are rife with these friendships turned fuckships, in real life they're far more elusive.

So, my dear, I would keep your friends close and your romantic prospects at arm's length. It may sound like playing games (which it kind of is), but keep a little mystery about you. Do not try to be these guys' friend. Once they are smitten, that can follow. But for now, you don't need any more male buddies.

And hey, if that doesn't work out, I have a phone number for you. He likes the sisterly types!

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