"Ask Dr. Tracy"

8/22/99 Advice Column

Falling in Love on Vacation
Gay Girls and "The Look"
Older Woman Catches Young Man's Eye

Dear Dr. Tracy,

Well, I have a problem. I have looked through all your columns and studied your library but I can't seem to find an answer.

I met a guy on vacation. We spent two fantastic days together and talked about seeing each other again. He lives 400 miles away from me. I have been home from vacation for three days now and he has called me twice and I have called him once. He has told me that I can move in with him anytime and that he misses me and all of that. I miss him too. I also told him that I would like to move in with him but I don't want to ruin things by moving too fast.

The problem is that I seem to do this once a year. I meet someone, fall for them, move in with them, get engaged and then I suddenly stop and think "wait just one second here." I like this guy a lot and I don't want to hurt him. I think I am doing the right thing by saying that we should go slow and email and talk and then maybe I will visit and in maybe six months I will move. He is in the military so I would have to move to him. That I don't mind. I just mind the worry that this relationship will be ruined by me again. i would like to get married someday (I am 26) and have kids so I hate to waste my time in another dead end relationship.

What should I do? Is it best to stop this thing now, before we are too attached to each other? Is it possible that this one could work where the others didn't? What is wrong with me that I can't have a long term relationship?


Dear Confused,

No wonder you're confused and fall out of one relationship after another. There are two big problems here. One is you've fallen in love on vacation, and the other is you've fallen in love too fast.

In all my years of traveling and falling in love on vacation, I found that the love never translated to home turf. That great guy from Tahiti didn't seem great at all when he was in L.A. The great guy from Rome wasn't nearly as attractive without his Italian surroundings.

When you're on vacation, you're in a different mindset. You're not thinking about daily life and its problems. You're not thinking about achieving your lifelong goals. You're only thinking about enjoying a fling in the sun or snow or wherever.

Then, when you've had this wonderful carefree vacation love, you try to bring it home with you, and it never ever works. The carefree guy you loved on vacation is no longer the same person and neither are you. Now you have to schedule your time together instead of just doing whatever you felt like. Now you have to deal with other friends and relatives and obligations.

Making the relationship work at home is a whole different ball game. This is the real thing, not a "throw cautions to the wind, who cares, we're on vacation and nobody knows us here" kind of relationship. That cute Southern accent may not sound so cute in New York City, and that outdoor guy you loved in the mountains is going to be like a fish out of water in the city. It's really best to leave the memories where they belong -- in that great vacation location.

But if you must pursue this Mr. Wonderful, follow the cautious plan you outlined; don't repeat what you've been doing wrong. Do not move to where he is. Do not move in with him until you've had at least a nine-month dating experience and have gotten to know each other away from the vacation glow.

If you can quit rushing into longterm relationships, you'll finally find one that really lasts.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm currently having a "problem" that I just can't figure out myself,and it's driving me crazy! I'm a bisexual 22 year old female,and I think i'm actually falling in love with another woman that I work with,but the thing is I don't know what I really am feeling for her. I don't even know her since i've only spoken to her very breifly a few times,but I always think about her alot and never can wait to see her again. One day after I finished talking to her,some over whelming feeling came over me and since then I feel very differently. Now i'm thinking of all these things that I want to do and say to her,but I have absolutely no idea of what to do or say to her. I want to get to know her,but i'm also afraid of looking obvious and scaring her away. This may not be a one way street though,because I kind of think that she might like me too. It's the way she looks at me and talks to me sometimes that makes me wonder if i'm not the only one feeling this way. So what in the world do I do now?

Please help! Thanks alot.

Dear Scared,

No wonder you're scared. It's always tricky for a gay or bi woman to make a move on another woman she's attracted to. There could be a big uproar if you make a move on the wrong woman and she gets insulted. So take it slow, no matter how overwhelming your feelings are.

This isn't a new problem you're having. Somehow gay women are less "out" and less flamboyant -- even shy about their preferences. It's been going on for years, and women do have one solution: the look. The look is a special sort of sideways glance women give each other that says, "yes, I'm interested and I find you attractive." If you've never been given "the look," or don't know what it is, go to a gay all woman bar and observe the other women.

You'll soon see that they communicate easily with looks. Then you'll know what to look for in the woman at work.

There are also other ways to explore her sexual preferences without actually coming on to her. Find ways to get close as a girlfriend first. Go shopping, have lunch, go for drinks after work. Ask her what she likes to do and where she likes to go. Whether she has a boyfriend? If so, how does she feel about him? -- that's really the way to get to know her. Then you'll have a better idea of whether she'd be interested in a relationship with you.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm a 21yr. old young man working at a student part-time job at a high-tech facility. One day I saw this woman at work who's age is almost difficult to assess. I would guess that she is in her late 20's to early 30's.

Now, the first time I saw and made eye contact with this woman I had feelings that I've never had before. The moment seemed unreal, it was euphoric. I was looking at her, and she was grinning a beautiful grin back at me. I was instantly extremely attracted to this divine woman and felt foolish for it because of our age difference. When I've seen her around the work facility I've been unable to stop myself looking at her and enjoying her beauty.

Now, here's the kicker: she looks back. When she walks past my work station, she gives me grin that's mischievous, wonderful and sincere at the same time. Obviously she has seen the way that I look at her and understood that she has a powerful effect on me. What I don't know is how to act on these interactions; what does she want me to to? If we were nearer in age then I would simply talk to her and ask her out but we are around 10yrs. apart in age! I'm a college student with a part-time job and she's a professional!

She is obviously at least flattered that she has this effect on me but I don't know if she wants to leave our interactions at just some innocent flirting or if she wants me to come over and talk to her and maybe even ask her out.

What is really stopping me from going to her office and talking to her or asking her out is finding that she isn't as interested as I thought she was or as much as I am in her but that she'll find it humorous and tell her coworkers of my interest to her, thus making me look foolish in front of the people who I interact with everyday on the job. I don't get the feeling that she is that kind of person but I'm very cautious and would hate to humiliate myself by asking out an "older woman" and then being snickered at for it.

So.. what should I do? I simply do not know what to do here. The most logical and safe thing to do would be to stop thinking about talking to her but my feelings are so strong, in this way, I feel that they may propel me to her office door against my will!

I'm asking you as a mature woman if you think that she wants to be talked to or if she just wanted to flirt a little. Do you think that she has taken this lightly or do you think that she takes this seriously just as I do? I know that I am asking a lot for you to tell give me an idea of how this woman feels, but that just means that I would appreciate any advice that you can give to me all the more.

-Uncertain, Indecisive

Dear Uncertain,

It sounds to me like you're about to get lucky. There's nothing wrong with an older woman having a relationship with a younger guy, and frankly, you have little to lose here except your job - but then you're only employed part-time anyway.

If you consider this a career, not just a job, then take your flirtations elsewhere and don't fool around where you work no matter what. But if this is just a summer job with no particular future, you might as well continue flirting.

Of course, flirting can lead to other things, and that's the problem. If you were to have an affair with her and it ends badly, then you have to face her at work each day. That could become uncomfortable, but again, the summer's almost over.

Don't worry about being made fun of if you ask her out. She'll probably be flattered. If not, your youth is your excuse :) Start by asking her advice about your career over coffee. Believe me, if she wants you, she'll let you know by carrying the flirtation further and further. Actually, she may gobble up a tender young morsel like you and then spit you out when she's done. That's the other potential problem -- an older professional woman who's flirting with a younger guy probably isn't thinking about a long term relationship, merely a sexual fling.

This gal could be your own "Mrs. Robinson," if you're old enough to remember the movie. If not, rent "The Graduate," with Dustin Hoffman.

In short, you could do worse, but don't imagine this will be a forever thing.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

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