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Stage Play

Emily Flake

By Mink Stole | Posted 3/9/2005

I hope you can give me some advice on a little situation I have. Over this past summer, I went out on a few dates with a boy named Ryan. We were starting to grow close, but we cooled off after he said he was going to be ďtoo busy with school stuffĒ to have a boyfriend. After that, I rarely saw or spoke to him. Then I was cast in my collegeís production of a play called Bent, and the first night of rehearsals guess who walked in as part of the castóRyan! Well, Iím sure you can imagine how awkward I felt. Rehearsals have been continuing, and the other night the whole cast went out to a nightclub to celebrate a cast memberís birthday. Ryan and I danced together most of the night, and it brought up all these old feelings I have for him that I thought were in the past. I donít know if I should try and get over him or sit him down and tell him how I feel. What could I do to ease my mind?

Wondering Willie

Youíre caught in that olí vortex of pain and pleasure, pleasure and pain, WW, one moment thrilled and relieved that youíre destined to see him every single night for the playís whole wonderful run and the next devastatingly aware that every single night you could be suffering the torments of unrequited passion. OK, so thatís mildly overblown, but hey, if we actors canít indulge in a teensy bit of melodrama on occasion, who can?

I once worked with someone whoíd broken my heart, and the worst of it was trying not to let it affect either my performance or the rest of the company, which meant forgoing the comfort of an on-set confidante, but which was vital for protecting my pride as well as the production. Iím not sure that Ryan actually broke your heart, but he ended something you would have continued, and thatís close enough. It will probably be impossible not to be constantly aware of him, so youíll have to endure that, but unless youíre willing to risk rejection while youíre still working together, it would be better to wait until the play closes before initiating any you-should-know-how-I-feel confrontation, if then. In the meantime, be friendly, but not too eager, and observe how he acts around you. If heís merely cordial, start working toward getting over him. But, in light of his past willingness to walk away, if heís especially attentive or flirtatious, you may consider that an invitation to a conversation about his future intentions.


Iím 21, a senior in college with a high grade-point average. I plan to earn an MBA and eventually work in international banking, but my folks treat me like I have no sense. I still live at home, because they want me to and itís cheaper, but it makes a real relationship impossible. Theyíre convinced that any romantic involvement before Iíve graduated would be disastrous. They havenít said so, but theyíre afraid Iíll get pregnant and have to quit school and throw away my future. Iím the first person in my family to go to college, and theyíve scrimped all my life to pay for it, so thereís pressure on me to make good. The problem is Iím in love. I met Harry last year when he was a senior, and weíve had a sort of secret relationship since then. My parents know weíre friends, but they donít know how deeply we care for each other. I thought it would be easier if we kept our relationship under wraps, but the secrecy has finally gotten to Harry. He knows my family is important to me, but he says he is tired of being my guilty secret and is too old to be sneaking out on dates. Heís right, of course, but I donít want to upset my parents. I donít want to lose him either.

Nowhere to Turn

Our parents are the best and the worst things that ever happen to most of us, NTT, and yours are no exception. And in your case, all the sacrifices theyíve made for you can make even your tiniest complaint seem the hugest ingratitude. Your worst fear is that your parents would want you to give Harry up. But because Harry says heís leaving you if you donít tell them, youíve got nothing to lose by coming clean. Donít expect them to celebrate the fact that youíve been lying to them, but if you can honestly reassure them that youíve no plans to quit school, and are determined to let nothing stand in the way of your career, overcoming their objections is possible. Tell them you mean no disrespect, but since youíve managed to keep a relationship going for a year and kept up your studies, youíve proved you can manage both. Tell them you donít want to lie to them anymore and neither does Harry. Tell them you appreciate everything theyíre doing for you, but that learning about love is part of your education, and you want your whole life to be successful, not just your work life. Then, just to be sure you donít get unexpectedly sidetracked, if you are having sex, always make it safe.

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