Dear Lila Pearl,
How can I find out if a girl is available or not without actually having to ask her, "So, do you have a boyfriend?" I wanna be subtle, you know, and not seem like a desperate loser. I've already been shot down a couple times, and I'm hoping the next time will be different.
Generally speaking, people are as available as they want to be, depending on who's asking. If you ask a lady out for a meal and she fails to mention her boyfriend by the time the evening has ended, it's safe to assume she is either a) single, b) an unfaithful bitch, or c) ambiguously involved with someone who may or may not disappear if she became interested in someone else. All three are workable options, though LP recommends you avoid a choice b-er. Desperation is never sexy, but subtlety is often overrated (particularly in the case that the person receiving said subtle attentions fails to notice). You seem nice, so Lila Pearl will prophesize for you: You need a Luckdragon, Aw Geez, and although these rare and magical creatures are hard to find in sooty times as these, LP thinks you may.
Dear Lila Pearl,
Two distant acquaintances of ours must be having spiritually impoverished sex, from the look of it. Normally, our impulse would be to let them eat their soggy bread, but we'd prefer they know. Our motives are clearly murky. We don't want them to be having good sex, but we'd like them to know that they are having vacant sex. What words do you have for us?
Pointedly From The Pulpit
How to tell your distant acquaintances that they're having vacant sex? First thought: If they're so distant, how do you know the sex is bad? Laying that whim aside, let's assume they are, in fact, having unfulfilling sex. Well, either the couple knows or they don't. If they already know the sex is empty (and chances are, if the sex really is spiritually impoverished and this couple is worth their salt, they'd have figured it out already) and you tell them it iswell, no new news there. You come off as boring and weird. If they don't know that the sex is bad, well, so much the worse (or better?) for them, but your task then becomes one of convincing the couple that their sex is bad. At which point you may seriously want to consider if (and why) it's worth the trouble.
Since you don't seem overly fond of the couple in question, why not spend your energy quietly chortling to yourself at their misfortune? As one of LP's favorite teachers once explained to her, "I mean, let's face it, sometimes bad things happen to bad people, and we're glad." If you're trying to explain to this couple that there are other options out there, LP recommends "show, don't tell." Why not fuck them silly and then watch the expressions of post-coital realization dance across their faces?
All in all, LP strongly recommends you consider dropping the entire endeavor and getting a life. Says Anonymous, "I spent years and years trying to explain to one of my exes that her new guy sucked hard (but not in the good way, if you know what I mean). She never believed me. Actually, she married him. Recently I've taken up tai chi and feel much better." May that be a light to you in dark places when all other lights go out.
Dearest Lila Pearl,
Boy, am I in a bad way. To say that I need your help is an understatement. Let me lay it out for you: I've been friends with "Caitlin" for over half a year now, and I've always been very attracted to her. However, she has a very, very long relationship going with her boyfriendwho, despite attending a different school, is quite a presence in her life. Now, I'd be willing to accept the fact that she's unattainable and just keep pining in solitude, if I didn't feel like she was flirting with me constantly. She's very affectionate and often quite suggestive (which is not, from my experience, typical for her), and a few times I've come dangerously close to making my move. Of course, out of respect for her relationship, I don't feel like I'm in any position to be making the first move, but I can't quite get a read on whether "Caitlin" is actually into me or if she's just being a tease. So, Lila, pray tell: Where do the rules of decency dictate that I draw the line? Should I just sit and wait for her to make her move, even if I'm afraid she's too shy? Or should I go ahead and put myself out there to see how she responds? I don't want to ruin our friendship, but I don't want to miss a chance to turn it into something more. I'm in a real pickle here, Lila. I need you now more than ever.
With ambiguous affection,
Once Smitten, Twice Shy
Sounds to Lila Pearl as though your lady is quite as confused as you are. You need to decide first if she's worth the wait; then you need to wait for her issues to sort themselves out. If you can find a way to express your devotion without applying pressure or urgency, do it, but rules of decency dictate that she should make the first move. Patience, darling, patience. This is an issue of Time. Be tender.
Think on the Mad Hatter's sad case: "We [Time and I] quarreled last Marchjust before he went mad, you know' (pointing with his teaspoon at the March Hare) And ever since that,' the Hatter went on in a mournful tone, he won't do a thing I ask! It's always six o'clock now.'" Or think of the poor Narnians, stuck in endless winteralways winter but never Christmas. Time is a tricky, tricky beast. LP urges both you and your lady to have moonlike patience as you wait for the ambiguity to pass.
That said, on a more personal note, Lila Pearl did once spend eight or nine tragic months waiting for a man to dump his lady, and bottom line? Those months were not well spent. Better be damn sure your lady is worth the trouble.