Posted: Wednesday July 5, 2006 10:09AM; Updated: Wednesday July 5, 2006 10:09AM
Jeff Francoeur is a hit with the ladies.
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Submit a comment or question for Jenn.
Jenn, was that you I saw at the Braves-Red Sox game on June 17 at Turner Field? Are you a baseball fan, and if so, which lucky team do you support? -- Jeff, Atlanta
Yes, I was in Atlanta to witness the brutal beating that was handed to my beloved Braves by the Red Sox. It seemed there were way more Sox fans than Braves fans at Turner. Regardless, I have always been a Braves girl at heart. They were the closest thing I had to a "home" team, before Tampa got the Devil Rays (whom I also cheer for). I even took in a game at the Trop the other day when my Braves came to town. That was a tough one because I love both teams. So rather than betray either side, I came up with the next best solution: I just cheered for Jeff (Francoeur, not the question submitter).
I'm 43 years old, in good shape, and have been dating a woman who is 26. We are not communicating in areas besides sports. We met at the gym and both like sports (USC, Lakers, Angels). How would you suggest we bridge the age gap? -- Daniel, Huntington Beach, Calif.
It's hard dating someone in another age bracket because you are in different stages of life. But if you want to see if you two have chemistry outside of sports, go on dates that aren't sports-related and will provide opportunities for the two of you to get to know each other better. If, at the end of the night, there isn't any magic, then you have a decision to make. I may not be a math expert, but if the greatest common denominator of your relationship is sports, it may be time to configure a new equation; otherwise, you're basically dating a guy friend -- with boobs. After all, you can talk sports with your guys and have the added bonus of not having to shower, pay for dinner or open doors. But the goodnight kiss, of course, is out of the picture.
Do you have any advice on how to change a platonic friendship into a romantic relationship? I've become close friends with a girl who shares a lot of my interests (including sports), and the more I think about it, the more I'd like to date her. Any suggestions? -- Harold, Vancouver, B.C.
We all have been there: the dreaded "friends" zone. It's like the penalty box of dating, except you never get out. Once a girl sees you as the "best friend," you become this non-sexual entity in their eyes -- like a brother.
To avoid falling further into this category, you should take these necessary precautions: Always schedule a dinner date, never lunch. If you go to lunch, you might as well go with her to the mall later because that is what friends do. The restaurant choice is also critical. You can start off with more of a hang-out place, like a pub or café, but the object is to take it to the next level, so try a restaurant that doesn't involve the phrase "would you like fries with that?" Movies are good too, because you can start off with comedies and gradually work your way into more romantic-comedy situations (When Harry Met Sally or Just Friends are perfect examples). Another thing you want to do is gradually build personal contact. Hugs are for friends, so maybe try a kiss on the cheek. But don't just go for the kill -- make sure the advance in personal contact is welcome, or else things could get awkward.
Regardless of your tactics, the point is to make these changes and watch for feedback. Since you have been friends, odds are you know her personality and behavior quite well, so watch for signs, either that she is comfortable with these changes or that you are simply weirding her out. Odds are neither of you really wants to risk ruining the friendship, but why not give it a shot? If the feelings are there, the changes will occur naturally.
In your last mailbag, you discussed dating your best friend's sister. What about your sister's best friend? -- Allan, Sacramento
I asked the best source I know about this one: my sister. She brought up a few good points. While she wouldn't outright object to me dating a friend of hers, she did raise concerns that her friend would spend less time with her while spending all of his time with me. As long as he was able to divide his time equally, though, she didn't see it being a problem. Also, if/when the fallout between her friend and me occurred, she said she would feel awkward spending time with him, or having him over, because there would always be underlying tension there.
So basically, the advice is universal: Dating and sister's friends should stay off limits. It's better to be safe than sorry.