Sixth Senses, Approachability, and the Penniless Nomad Actors

by A Dude

My fiancee just returned from a three-week tour. He’s a musician and his band was on tour opening for a national act. We’ve been together for about two-and-a-half years, known each other for five. I’m also six months pregnant. He called me pretty much every day or night to check in and never went MIA. He’s never cheated on me in the past (that I know of), but I just have this feeling in my gut he did this time. I don’t know what it is, but I just can’t shake the feeling he did. It’s like a pregnant sixth sense is screaming at me ‘he’s a cheater!’ and I can’t shut it up. Our sex life hasn’t exactly been the hottest thing since I’ve gotten further along, but it’s not like he’s in a sex Sahara. The thing that really makes struggle to believe him is that he told me the rest of the guys in his band all cheated on their wives. While I’m not totally shocked, I was surprised they ALL did but him. Doesn’t the law of averages or something apply there? Like, I’m supposed to believe they all did but YOU didn’t? And why would he tell me that? To throw me off? Wow, I sound (and feel) crazy, but please dude, help me out because I would love to believe him and move on.

Just to review, this guy you’ve known for half a decade and love and trust completely, who is a rock star (awesome), who called you pretty much every night from the road like a lost puppy armed with a cell phone and opposable thumbs, whose child you are carrying, said he didn’t cheat on you and gave no indication that he did, but you don’t believe him.

Not to be combative, but that is, um, a tad crazy. (Your word choice, not mine.) I’m all about trusting women’s intuition/sixth sense, but it’s off this time. The fact he told you all his band members cheated is a good thing for you (if not their wives). Would he mention that fact if he had cheated on you? HELL NO. He would avoid the subject entirely. He probably told you because he thinks he deserves some credit for being the only one who didn’t cheat. This is totally how our dude brains work. And maybe he does. Just think about the poor guy, all alone drinking beer backstage by himself while his band buddies went Guns ‘n Roses on some groupies. Okay fine, maybe he doesn’t deserve any credit. But there’s no reason not to believe him. He loves you. He’s faithful. He’s wonderful.

So I’ve been approached by a dude I don’t know maybe twice in my life and never been asked for my number, and I have this friend, about my age, who basically gets picked up wherever she goes. I think we’re on the same level of attractiveness, although we look very different (she is petite with dark curly hair, and I’m tall and with light straight hair), so the most recent time she told me about a guy who asked her out at a conference, I started to wonder about my approachability. What makes women seem approachable to dudes? I know about flirting, on an objective level, touching someone’s arm and what not. But that kind of stuff doesn’t really come naturally to me. Should I just try to do it, even if it feels weird? Are there other ways of flirting? People tell me I’m friendly, but I guess not in a come-hither way? Just sort of in a “good to know you, from a distance” kind of way. I don’t know. But it makes me feel sort of insecure which then heightens the approachability problem and so on, vicious cycle. So what should I do? Any advice?

First thing first, I’m terribly intimidated by tallish girls. You get up around 5′ 10″ (my height) and I start thinking about whether you’re wearing heels, how I feel about my height compared to yours, whether I’m slouching, and it’s downhill from there. Then, I start talking to the petite curly haired brunette. But, enough about my weird insecurities.

Where do you go to meet guys? Loud, dark bars? Loud, dark bars are the worst. Change it up. Go to a bar with ample lights. Go to the park. Go for a walk. Go anywhere. But not a conference. We’ve all seen Up in the Air. That stuff turns out terribly.

Also: smile. Just lock a dude’s eyes and smile. That triggers some chemical deep within our brain that tells us you might want to talk to us.

Or hell, stop waiting to be approached and just go talk to a guy. It’s scary, sure, but dudes do it. All the time. And we get shut down. All the time. It happens. We move on. You will, too, assuming the guy doesn’t want anything to do with you. But I doubt that will happen. Reading way too much into 200 words, you seem cute, funny, and charming. Less come-hither looks, which obviously aren’t your strong suit, and more saying stuff like you “know about flirting, on an objective level.” I would laugh. If a guy doesn’t laugh, drop him. If he does, touch his arm. It will feel SO NATURAL.

If nothing else works, go to Stockholm. Everyone there is tall and beautiful. It’s terrifying.

How do I even begin. First, I am an actor. This means I am sort of a nomad. I go wherever someone is willing to pay me to dess up and speak words that aren’t my own in front of a bunch of strangers. Second, I am quite possibly in love with a man 15 years older than me — also an actor.

I am freaked, A Dude. Said Actor is not Robert De Niro, or George Clooney, or Johnny Depp. He is just an Actor, meaning, like me, that he’s a penniless nomad. UNlike me, however, he is penniless at the ripe age of 41. I am soon-to-be-26, and I have my eye on the prize in terms of somehow cobbling together enough savings to make a life for myself and my future children — ‘cuz yeah, I think about having babies and dogs and a house and shit. So, I’m penniless, but at 25 it doesn’t (YET) seem like a problem. At 41, it strikes me as a bit of a problem that said Actor — who says he is interested in having a family — hasn’t been spending time PREPARING for that future. On top of this, I’m an only child, and said Actor’s instability freaks the hell out of my parents, too. Plus, how do two actors/artists ever have a normal life together unless they’re Brangelina? (Okay, I know they’re a little supernormal, but, you know what I mean.)

Am I shallow in having concerns about my financial stability with this guy? I feel like a wicked princess in a fairytale who marries for money rather than love. I love this dude, even beyond the wrinkles and the decidedly NOT 25-year-old body he has — I love him. Everyone who knows him adores him. He’s sexy to me. He’s intelligent. He makes me laugh. He’s devoted to me. We collaborate well as artists, and we drive each other nuts in a very sexy Kate-and-Petruchio kind of way. But his financial instability makes me question what he’ll be like as a life partner, and it highlights our age difference.

Then, of course, there’s a bunch of other age-related stuff . . . our friends are from two totally different generations, he’ll die far before me, he’ll be 70 when I’m 55 . . . whoa, A Dude. Could this ever possibly work unless he were, like, Hugh Heffner? Is this doomed and should I look for a nice 32-year-old who teaches art to elementary school kids? That sounds kinda sexy. Oh, did I mention that he’s pretty much ready to commit to me for the rest of his life and at soon-to-be-26 I am definitely not ready for that? Yeah, that too. OK, A Dude, SOLVE IT!

How do I even begin? Two actors can absolutely have a normal life together, though I would not hold up Brangelina as my ideal. But yes, there are plenty of working actors who make it work. You two can be totally fine.

The money thing: yeah, it’s concerning he doesn’t have any savings, but not a dealbreaker. Money comes and goes, writes the broke freelance writer. He could get a job on Broadway tomorrow. (It happened to a friend of mine. He got fired almost immediately afterward, but that’s beside the point.) He could learn from your financial wherewithal. He could work other jobs. He can start saving. (Note: 32-year-old teachers are also poor.)

The bigger issue here is whether you should be with him at all. I’ll just come out and say it: I don’t think so. I don’t doubt you love him, but you’re looking for outs. You throw up issue after issue. And there are plenty of them. Money. Family. Age. Maturity levels (yours: high. His: less so). It’s like you have this romantic narrative in your head that you want to work, but isn’t going to. The last part about commitment is the kicker. Get out, lady; you’re not ready and it doesn’t sound like he’s the right one anyway.

I was offered my dream job this summer in a small mid-western town, and my boyfriend of five years and I decided I should take it. I had to move there quickly, and the boyfriend had to stay behind for six weeks for work.

My second weekend in town, I went out drinking with some new friends and met a guy at a bar, who was also new to town, and he tagged along with my group. We got drunk and … I slept with him. I felt awkward and awful, as I’d never done the P-in-V with anyone other than my boyfriend. In the next week or two, I casually e-mailed the guy twice to try and be friends (I was stupid and thought, hey, we can be cool about this. No one needs to know), but he knew I had a boyfriend and didn’t want anything to do with me. Fair enough. I didn’t say anything to my boyfriend because it was a one time thing in years and I didn’t want to hurt him, especially since he’d just given up everything to come out here. A few weeks later, my boyfriend moved out here and it’s been wonderful for six months. I’ve had no further interest in straying. When I see the guy around town, I avoid him. It’s all good.

BUT, that guy is now dating the intern at my office. She’s a cool girl, but I’m careful to keep my distance when I run into them EVERYWHERE (it’s a small town). They’re getting more serious, and I worry it means he’ll be joining her for office functions, happy hours etc.

I don’t believe he’s said anything, and that’s great with me. But is this inevitably going to blow up in my face? Should I tell my bf about the one-night-stand I neglected to mention six months ago? Do I need to tell the intern? Is it okay if I leave well enough alone and hope for the best?

So here’s the thing: telling him about it now, six months after the fact, is essentially transferring the guilt you feel about seeing this guy everywhere on to your boyfriend, who’s going to be forced to sit calmly at company picnics and whatnot while trying not to murder the guy who had sex with his girlfriend.

It also seems like the only reason you’d be telling him now is because you started to see this guy more, not because you a) felt guilty about cheating on your boyfriend or b) some explanation that doesn’t revolve around making yourself feel better. If I were the guy and I realized why you were telling me, I would be, justifiably, more pissed about your timing and reasoning for telling me than you cheating on me. Anger on top of anger. Mistakes like one-night stands happen and can be forgiven; telling him now to make your life easier is harder to stomach.

So, reluctantly, I’d say if you’ve held out this long without telling him, don’t do it now.

Don’t tell the intern. She doesn’t need to deal with your problems (unless she was dating the guy at the time).

The lesson here, as always, is if you find the perfect job in a small mid-western town (congrats, btw! In this economy!), don’t go out drinking with friends and have a one-night stand with someone who will eventually start dating an intern in your office. A problem as old as time.

Previously: Brolessness.

A Dude is one of several rotating dudes who know everything. Do you have any questions for A Dude? (300 word max, please.)

Photo by areashot, via Shutterstock