On teen crushes, photo insecurities and great sock heists – Chicago Tribune

On teen crushes, photo insecurities and great sock heists – Chicago Tribune


“Ask Anna” is a sex column. Because of the nature of the topic, some columns contain language some readers may find graphic.

Dear Anna,

OMG, my crush just slid into my DMs and we’ve been chatting nonstop for the past week! I’m sooo into him, but I don’t know if he feels the same way. How do I know if he’s interested in me or just being friendly? Should I make a move or wait for him to make a move? — Seriously Over Stimulated

Dear SOS,

First of all, congrats on getting your crush’s attention and hitting it off so well! When you’re a teenager, which I’m presuming you are, it’s pretty much the most exciting thing ever.

Per your question, it can be pretty difficult to tell if someone is just being friendly or if they’re interested in you romantically, especially online.

One way to gauge their interest is to pay attention to the way they “talk” to you in these messages. Are they using flirty emojis or dropping hints about wanting to hang out in person? Do they seem genuinely interested in getting to know you on a deeper level, or are they just making small talk? These could be signs that they’re interested in you romantically.

But the only bona fide (bone-a-fide?) way of knowing whether someone’s into you is to make a move. I know, scary! But the reward is usually worth the risk. Plus, you don’t need to, like, hire a lute player to serenade him or place a trail of rose petals from his locker to yours. (Though major romance points if you do go that route!)

If you’re feeling brave, try asking your crush out on a casual one-on-one hang, like grabbing coffee or going for a walk. This will give you a chance to get to know each other a little better in person and see if there’s a spark.

But if you’re not ready to make a move yet, that’s totally OK too. You can always continue chatting with him and getting to know him, and see if things escalate (that is, see if he builds up the courage to make a move).

Dear Anna,

My partner (29F) keeps stealing my (33F) socks! I don’t know what to do — every time I do laundry, half of my socks are missing. I don’t know if she just legitimately doesn’t know which socks are hers or if she just doesn’t think it matters, but I know they’re not just getting lost in the wash. My feet are cold! How do I get my partner to stop taking my socks without starting a fight? — Dire Effects For Every Evolving Thing


Congratulations on the greatest advice question ever written. You’ve completely imploded the expression “cold feet” and have brought to light an issue (queer people stealing each other’s clothes to the irritation of their partners) that almost never gets its due diligence.

As an avid clothes-stealer, I apologize on behalf of our kind. Sometimes I steal my partner’s clothes because I’m bored with what I have and hers are shiny and novel by comparison. Sometimes it’s laziness. Sometimes I want to feel close to her and wearing her things makes me feel special and insider-y (literally).

First, try having a lighthearted conversation with your partner about her sock habits and find out what her intentions are (if any). Maybe she doesn’t even realize she’s taking your socks or thinks it’s a harmless habit. You could make a joke about starting a sock-sharing system or suggest buying matching socks to avoid confusion.

If that doesn’t work, you could try labeling your socks with your initials or a specific color so that they’re easier to identify. This way, your partner will know that those socks belong to you and are not up for grabs.

Also, socks do end up lost in the wash, even when nobody is attempting great sock heists. If the issue is just that your partner doesn’t have enough to begin with and resorts to stealing yours out of necessity, then go sock shopping together. You can even get passive aggressive ones that say “thief” on them to remind her of her inexcusable transgressions. I kid.

Remember that the most important thing is to approach the issue with a sense of humor and open communication. Try not to get too worked up over a few missing socks — in the grand scheme of things, it’s a small problem that can be easily solved with a bit of teamwork and compromise.

Dear Anna,

My boyfriend frequently comments on the physical attractiveness of other women, including celebrities and people on Instagram, and it’s really starting to hurt my feelings. I feel like it’s disrespectful, especially because I don’t make similar comments about men in front of him. Do you think I’m overreacting, or is it reasonable to expect my boyfriend to be more considerate of my feelings? — Photo Insecurities Coming Strong

Dear PICS,

It depends. Have you told him to knock off the comments and he does it anyway? Or have you not mentioned it to him and are silently simmering every time he drools over Cate Blanchett? If it’s the former, then yeah, that’s a dick move, and it would behoove you to bring it up again, more vehemently this time. If it’s the latter, then tell him you don’t like it. Give him a chance to change his behavior.

But also, you’re letting your insecurity get the best of you and escalate a situation that’s, on the surface at least, pretty benign. Hot people are everywhere! They’re (often) not a threat to your relationship. The trouble usually comes from our own inner garbage angel, which is the little hater voice inside of us that tells us we’re not good enough. When you hear your boyfriend say, “That person is hot!” your garbage angel is like, “You’re not as hot as her, therefore you’re worthless and soon your bf will leave you for Janelle Monae.”

When none of that is remotely true!

You might find that you can quell the garbage angel by intentionally not comparing yourself to whatever photoshopped, glammed-up person’s pic is on social media. You might also try having fun with it. Rating celebrities’ hotness is practically our job as Americans. A job we don’t get paid for but one we take seriously nonetheless. “Yeah, Cate is looking super babely in that photo. But if we’re having a celebrity threesome, I’d prefer Kristen Stewart.”

Easier said than done, I know, but with practice it gets easier. Plus, he’s not the only one who should be having the fun. The next time he points out some hottie on Insta, you should feel entitled to do the same. If he gets butthurt about it, then maybe he’ll keep future photos to himself next time.

Anna Pulley is a syndicated Tribune Content Agency columnist answering reader questions about love, sex and dating. Send your questions via email (anonymity guaranteed) to [email protected], sign up for her infrequent (yet amazing) newsletter or check out her books!