Chat at 1 p.m.
I got home last night just in time to watch the episode of "The Simpsons" where Homer charges people to do their break-ups for them. Well-timed, considering yesterday's letter. He says, "We dispose of your relationships humanely thanks to our patented TenderDump system. We'll be there in 30 minutes, or your next break-up is freeee!"
TenderDump. I like.
Q: Hey Meredith,
I'm sure you get this all the time, but this is my shining moment to say it too: love your blog, read it everyday, can’t get enough. Okay, now that that's out of the way, on to my problem.
So I've been dating this new guy for about a month. He's a friend of a friend and we actually met on a set-up. I liked him right away on the first date – he's very easy to talk to and likes to talk, which is a big plus for me. We've been out a few times, cuddled during a movie, have shared our first kiss, and have had a night in watching TV. I think we’re at a point where the nerves of someone new have definitely worn off. And generally, I really like him. He’s super nice, very into music, and very open about everything he's feeling. (He has told me he's into me on a couple of different occasions – which, I have to say, is a new thing for me. I'd venture to say it's even a turn off. And a bit scary. I'm used to a more mystery, but then again those "mysterious" starts usually end in heartbreak. So I'm trying to give this guy a shot.) I also get the impression that he’s very sensitive.
The thing that irks me though -- and bear with me because it’s hard to describe over the internet -- is that he has this habit of talking in a baby voice. It's not all the time -- just at key moments: when he first answers the phone (just with me, not with other people), at the end of the conversation, at the end of the date, before he’s about to kiss me, etc. And by baby voice, I don't mean "hewo my wittle wady" or anything like that. No. It's almost like this diminutive, higher-pitched, trying-to-be-cutesy voice that literally makes my skin crawl. And I've been tempted to say something to him about it, but I feel bad. I would never want someone to change for me. But I also can’t tell if this is actually him being HIM or it's just some strange tick because he’s nervous and trying to be cute. It is not cute. Help.
– Not your babysitter, Somerville
A: NYB, one of two things is happening here. You either really hate the baby voice and need to tell him that it makes you feel icky, or you're just not feeling it with him and you're using the baby voice as an excuse to take a step back.
My fear is that it's No. 2. Because really, when you're super into a new person, your instinct is to think dumb things are cute, not the other way around.
I have a male friend who dated a fantastic woman years ago. She was gorgeous, smart, and intelligent. But my friend, who has never been a shallow person, kept telling me that her ears were too big. I was shocked. Eventually, he broke up with her. Years later he would admit that it wasn't the ears (no surprise there) it was just that he wasn't falling for her and couldn't come up with a good reason why. For whatever reason, he started fixating on one little thing. It was as if he needed a reason to justify why he didn't like her enough, so he invented one. Had he really liked her, those ears would have looked perfect.
If you see potential with this guy and want to get to know him better, you can tell him that the voice irritates you. It will hurt him, for sure. He's sensitive. And no one wants to hear that they sound like an idiot. But you can make up for it by telling him what you do like. Be generous with compliments.
But if the baby voice thing is your version of the big ear situation, take a step back. How much do you really like him when he's talking like a grown-up? That's the real question.
Readers? How do you tell someone new that they do something that irritates you? Is cute talk so bad? Is this really about the talk? Is it time for her to TenderDump? Talk.
Recent blog posts
Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.