(My heart goes out to this poor guy)
I have not told anyone this, but I am in love. I am 17 years old and a senior in high school. I have never had a problem talking to girls, except when it comes to this one. When I first saw her in the eighth grade, the first thought that came to my mind was, "I would marry that girl." I know that this just sounds like a crush, but the more I got to know her, the more I fell for her. Even though I have been out with plenty of other girls, I still can't get her off my mind. I feel nervous, shy, and unsure of myself when I see her. Though we say "Hi" to each other just about every day, I can't ever seem to get any further then that. I have lots of things going for me: I'm an athlete, do well in school, and have plenty of friends. I just can't find the words when I am around her. I just don't want to graduate this year, never see her again, move on with my life, and wonder "what if?"
—A Guy With a Girl Problem
Dear A Guy,
Every girl should be lucky enough to have a guy feel about her the way you do about this girl. And you're right—you can't let her get away without knowing whether she feels the same. It's possible that all these years, every time you've said "Hi," she senses the same spark but has had to conclude that you're really not interested in her because she's seen you go out with plenty of other girls. In my day, you actually had to screw up the courage to speak, either in person or on the phone, to the object of your desire. But your generation doesn't even have to do that. This MacArthur Foundation study has good things to say about how online communication allows teenagers to make romantic overtures that are so casual that no one gets embarrassed if the interest is not returned. It cites this successful opening e-mail gambit: "hey…hm. wut to say? iono lol/well I left you a comment…u sud feel SPECIAL haha." No, it's not "O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!" But it worked. And from your letter, it is clear you are capable of writing a message that's actually in English. So compose an e-mail—try asking what she thinks about something that happened in school, for instance. Then, after she answers you, and before the exchange peters out, make your move and ask her on a date. And maybe someday you will say to her, "Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night."