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LoveFAQ is a weekly advice column for geeks, by geeks about love, life and maxing out your romance meter. Got questions for LoveFAQs? Send them to advice@escapistmag.com.

Dear Love FAQ,

Recently I got fired, and I haven’t found work since. I’m broke most of the time, but I don’t want to wait to date. So what’s a good first date for nearly no money?

– Out of Gil

Dear Out of Gil,

The point of a first date is to get to know each other, right? So conversation is key, not how much you spend. In fact, expensive bells and whistles can actually work to your disadvantage, as they suggest you’re trying to distract your date, rather than get to know her better.

So skip the high-priced dinners or concerts. Think cheaper. Scour your local alt-weekly paper for listings to free events in your city: You might stumble upon something like an art walk or a festival, or even an outdoor movie screening.

Or if that’s a bust, take her on an active date: Go for a walk downtown or at a museum, or a bike ride in a nearby park. Once the weather gets colder, think ice rinks or even sledding.

When in doubt, a home-cooked meal is always a good bet. If you absolutely must visit an establishment where you will be expected to shell out cash, invite her to dessert and coffee at a fancy restaurant. Or meet up at the nearest coffee house – you can’t get much cheaper than a good strong cup of joe.

Your imagination’s the limit here, and I’m sure our readers will chime in on the forums to provide plenty more examples. Just remember: On a first date, it’s not what you do that matters. It’s who you’re with.

Dear LoveFAQ,

I’m the nice guy. You know, the one that would gladly go without a coat in the pouring rain — in the middle of the night — if it meant someone else could be dry.

This sort of thing always attracts romantic attention from the ladies, which is rather unfortunate because I’m gay. It isn’t even like I’m closeted. But I’m always so blind to their affection that I can’t see it until it’s staring me in the face.

By the time I notice, letting them down becomes heartbreaking for both of us, because nobody wants to cause that kind of pain. At least your standard breakup implies that there was a relationship and all the fun that comes with it.

So my question to you is this: How can I circumvent this sort of situation, or otherwise talk to them and let them down gently? This’d definitely be something useful in the future.

Thanks,
Doctor-Donna-Friend

Dear Doctor-Donna,

For the moment, let’s assume that you haven’t just presumed your sexual orientation is common knowledge, and that you’ve explicitly told the women you’ve befriended that you prefer men. (You might want to refresh their memories on that point anyway, because it seems the message has gotten a little hazy.)

You may not be closeted, but it does sound as if you’re sending mixed signals. There is such a thing as being too nice.

Small kindnesses are one thing, but when someone bends over backward to help us, we tend to assume that person wants something from us in return. It’s not gross cynicism or evidence of the degradation of polite society – it’s just sexual shorthand, a you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-rake-my-nails-along-yours mating dance that has served humans well for many millennia.

I’m not saying you need to suddenly transform into a Level 70 jackass. But if you’re not interested in women, stop being so eager to wrap your clothing around them at all hours of the night. Instead, keep your coat on and start talking a little more freely about that cute guy in payroll. They’ll get the hint soon enough.

Dear Love FAQ,

I’m a college student and recently single. I ended it, so I’m not really heartbroken. I still have fun, I hang out with friends, have deep philosophical conversations about the Prime Directive. But one thing I haven’t done since I broke off my relationship is have sex. Which I really, really miss. Like, a lot.

I’d love to find the geek girl of my dreams, but I have college, a part time job, and an indie game team I’m trying to contribute on so I don’t have time to dedicate to a serious relationship, nor the energy to deal with the potential drama. Just a reliable source of orgasm-exchange is all I’m pining for.

I’m not really an Adonis; I have horrid acne, and it’s worse when naked. So I don’t think I’m likely to meet the standards of the kind of women who’d be down with some no-strings-boning, and are also STD free like myself. My ex was but she was emotionally attached. Circumstance seems to be putting my goal, the way I wish it, out of my reach.

So I guess my question is what would be the best way to form a fuck-buddy arrangement, or am I doomed to go wanting until I find the time to commit?

Signed,
ISO Isabela

I can’t believe I even have to tell a college student this, but masturbate. Frequently.

In my experience, fuck buddies aren’t cultivated so much as found, and usually then only when you aren’t looking. Appearance rarely matters, but desperation certainly never aided the search.

If you’re brave enough, you could trawl Craigslist or online dating services for others like you looking for no-strings flings. But frankly, I think you’re better off saving yourself the heartburn and just forgetting about the fuck buddy. It’s too much effort for a connection you wouldn’t have the spare time to cultivate anyway, and there’s far too much risk of feelings getting involved, especially since you’re on the rebound. When you’re this fresh out of a relationship, it’s not the worst thing in the world to be alone and horny for awhile.

Keep your eyes peeled, of course, but for now, you’re probably better off just keeping it clean and contenting yourself five-fingered Rosie until your life slows down.

Disclaimer: LoveFAQ is written by Lara Crigger, who is by no means a trained psychiatrist or therapist or even a middle school guidance counselor – just a smart gal who wants to help out her fellow geek. LoveFAQ is meant for entertainment purposes only, so don’t take it as a substitute for professional advice. If you have real problems, consult your physician.

Got a burning question (or a question about burning) for LoveFAQ? Send your emails to advice@escapistmag.com. All submissions are confidential and anonymous.

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