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August 24, 1998   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Dear Breakup Girl,

I am Sunk, with a capital S, and Smitten too. I have a huge crush, and I am a bit worried that there's all sorts of danger signs flashing that I'm willfully ignoring. I am in my early 30's, haven't been with anyone for 3 years or so, since my heart was broken. I cried for 2 years over the Man Who Broke My Heart, but I let time pass, I behaved well, I didn't do dumb things, etc. In the year or so since I stopped crying, I've had 2 interests, both of which ended badly, before anything ever happened. (One had a girlfriend and one was over email in any case.) For the last 7 or 8 months, since the demise of possibility #2, I've been fine on my own. (Actually, I've been fine on my own since I stopped crying over the Heart Breaker.) I've been extremely cautious and all that. I have work I like, friends, a Life.

But, now I also have this huge crush on a goofy poet I met at the community garden. Our plots are near each other, and we began to chat, as gardening neighbors do (friendly places, community gardens, a fact you might want to pass on to your other readers). Within a week or so, our conversations about carrots and bok choy progressed onto the demise of his marriage, my formerly broken heart, etc. Amazing how much personal information can get exchanged while weeding and watering. Our conversations are going swimmingly, we're both clearly having a great time, and I even convinced him to weed his carrots. Yesterday Looks were exchanged. You know the kind of Looks I mean. I'm giddy in a way I haven't been in ages.

BUT he is relatively recently divorced. The marriage was brief and disastrous, as he tells it. The end of it seems to have wrecked him. She still lives in town, and it sounds like they just don't like each other at all. (The Man Who Broke My Heart left me to go back to his ex, so the Poet hating his ex seems preferable.) I think it's been over for a year or a little more, and while he is on the way back up (as far as I can tell), it still clearly weighs on him.

But I am still totally smitten. I can't help it. He makes me giddy. My Life Counselor (friend 20 years older who always gives advice which I then ignore, and then, at least sometimes, regret ignoring) said I should pretend he is a girl for at least 2 years if not 3 or 4. Meanwhile, I want to kiss him now. How dumb would this be? I mean, we are both grown up--he is older than me. On the one hand, I don't want to get caught in someone else's divorce trauma. On the other, I don't often find kindred spirits in this way. Is there some middle ground between doing something dumb and waiting 2 years? Clearly, my inclination is to do something dumb, sooner rather than later, but I just can't decide how dumb it really is. What's your opinion, BG? I should say that he is certainly aware of his own difficulties, is in therapy, is a former counselor himself. I mean, on the whole, we are two aware people.

I have no desire to turn into a quivering wreck or to ruin the equilibrium I have now. I'm not looking for Torment. I want to let this go where it goes, but I also know that I am okay as I am. I haven't been Looking (for a guy) which is why this is so pleasing and surprising and so damn giddy making.

Okay, BG, now I'm starting to ramble, so I'll stop here and let you work your magic.

-- Giddy in the Garden

Dear Giddy,

Wow, your guys' gardens must be the best-kept in the whole community. I can hear it now: "You're back!?" "Yeah, well, my gardening book says that tomatoes ripen best when you spray them 6 times a day." "Really? Mine too."

Anyway, I can totally see why you're concerned, and it's good to be cautious. But if you ask me, this whole thing sounds Beatrix-Potter-level adorable. Remember what I told Handyman: everyone's last relationship was a doozy. But now, you both have Lives -- hobbies, even. You, GG, have perspective, a clue about danger signs, that good ol' fashioned giddy feeling. He has: a therapist, a full year between him and his disaster, weeded carrots. You also both have good reason to take things slow. But unless there's something you're not telling me -- like that he's growing BRUSSELS SPROUTS -- I'd say you two might as well go ahead and schedule an all-garden-vegetable dinner together.

Breakup Girl



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