A reader asks: He’s charming but cold — how do I win his heart?

In this Sunday series, readers ask Marie Antoinette for advice on love and life. To see your question in this space, write whatwouldmarieantoinettedo at gmail.com.

Dear Marie,

"Are you tired? Because you've been strolling through my mind all day," a lad likely is saying to a lady in "A Game of Hot Cockles," in an excerpt from the Fragonard painting. From SitesWithin.com

I’m a teen, almost a young adult.  I’ve never been in love. It happened for the first time to me in less then a month ago. He’s a…weird boy. He got the looks and he’s funny. Sometimes he’s egotistic and full of flaws, but I like all of his imperfections. I do everything, both in mental and physical way for him to like me, and sometimes it seems like he likes me too. But then, when he does those things with other girls, even my best friend, I feel jealous. I crave for his attention. Sometimes he acts cold, like he doesn’t care and sometimes, he loves me, I could swear. My mind tells me “Don’t” but my heart says “Go!” What should I do?

– First Love

Dear First Love,

We had these gentlemen in my day as well. Attractive, charming, the envy of every girl. They knew they held the gaze of every girl at court and did what they could to keep it — regardless of the consequences.

When the infamous Madame du Deffand fell for the witty and wellborn Horace Walpole, she wanted a partner not a dalliance and found him cold. In his case, he cared more about his friend’s reactions (she was 20 years his senior) than his own happiness. The two remained fond of each other, but Mme du Deffand was careful not to expect more than lively letters and friendship. (Which was all for the best, if you ask me. The gentleman was, as you say, not that into her.)

You care sincerely for this gentleman and if you value his friendship, you should nurture it and enjoy it. Smart charming friends are hard to find. His flirting is part of his charm, you know, and he likely does it for the fun and the positive attention he receives. However, if you suspect he flirts to lead a girl on, hang back. An honorable man would want to protect you from any type of harm — least of which that came from himself. He certainly would not make you the fool with other ladies if your heart was his desire.

Regardless, refocus your attentions away from studying his inexplicable behavior. If he wants your attention, and just yours, he’ll come looking for it. Even complicated boys uncomplicate themselves to be with a pretty girl. Be friendly (especially chaperone-friendly) but not flirty. If he pushes for romance, explain your intentions: that you’d like him for yourself, or not at all. If his intentions are not honorable, he will leave you alone. If he does not return your affections, and truly is your friend, he will tell you. Either way, he will leave you to give your heart to someone who knows better how to care for it.

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