Puzzled in a Pub

Dear Reid,

I work in a pub part time at the moment, and I am having trouble with the men I associate with there. Firstly, there’s Holden. Holden is gorgeous and we get on really well. I really like him. We were getting quite close and flirting a lot — exchanging massages and stuff like that. Then I went on holiday for three weeks. Just as I came back, Holden left. By the time he returned, I hadn’t seen him for five weeks. And when I saw him, he absolutely blanked me. He wouldn’t talk to me at all.

Then there’s Banky. He is, of course, Holden’s best friend. We also get on really well, and he is always flirting with me. But, Banky has a girlfriend of two years who also works with us. At the moment she is on holiday, and Banky sent me a text message saying the following: “You are being taken to court for being sexy and fit as f**k. Your punishment is to have hot and steamy sex with me for three hours. How do you plead?”

I do like Banky, but I still really like Holden. I know I could get Banky if I wanted. If anything did happen with him, though, I know nothing could ever happen with Holden. I like Holden more, but he won’t even talk to me! What do I do!

Signed,

Puzzled in a Pub

I know how you feel. Your experiences are quite common among the pub workers of Great Britain and all her colonies. Before you read on, you had better pour yourself a spot of tea, take off your tweed jacket, and, for god’s sake, brush your teeth. Some floss wouldn’t hurt either. Right-o, are we ready then?

What we have here is a classic “love triangle.” While I have coined this innovative term myself, it is simply meant to represent a situation of romantic confusion, generally involving three parties. Likewise, it is possible to apply the same principles to larger groups. For example: the “love quadrilateral”, involving four romantically confused individuals; the “love octagon”, involving eight; and the “love dodecahedron”, involving twelve. As you can imagine, the “love triangle” is by far the most common of these occurrences.

In your case, I think it is safe to ignore Banky’s girlfriend. As she is on holiday (that’s vacation to the Yankees out there), she can easily be lifted out of the equation. Clearly, Banky has already taken this step for us, through his subtly suggestive, yet intriguingly provocative, profession of attraction to you. So, that leaves you, Holden, and Banky, as the three corners of our triangle.

Love Triangle
Generally, the way a “love triangle” works is thus: Party A is interested in Party B, but Party B does not outwardly show signs of interest in Party A. Meanwhile, Party C has an overt interest in Party A, though Party A could usually give a shit, having already professed an obsession with Party B. In the most interesting of cases, it usually turns out that Party B is actually interested in Party C, therefore completing all sides of the triangle. To apply: You, Ms. Puzzled, are Party A, Holden is Party B, and Banky is Party C. Good. Now that we understand the structure of the problem, we can move on to a solution.

And, where better to look for conflict resolution skills than to those bastions of peace and harmony across the Channel? That’s right, France. The French, always eager to avoid a fight, have mastered the art of peacekeeping when dealing with romantic entanglements among three or more pub (or, in their case, bistro) workers. The term, I believe, is “menage a trois”. In English, we call it the “threesome”. It is a time-honored, kid-tested, mother-approved method for resolving matters of love in the workplace.

It’s so clear that this simple act will bring the three of you together, enriching your lives and fulfilling my — er, your — fantasies, in a way that most people only, well, fantasize about. Through this act, Banky will realize that he is actually gay and has been in love with Holden this whole time, Holden will find out once and for all how irresistible you are, and you’ll probably learn that they’re both a couple of drunken wankers who could never satisfy you emotionally in a real relationship, or physically even in possession of a lifetime supply of herbal Viagra. But, at least you’ll know. Please write back with all the details (photos welcome).

Editor’s Note: Names have been changed to those of characters from “Chasing Amy” to protect the identities of those involved, and to pay due homage to Oscar-snubbed writer-director Kevin Smith.

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