Dear Miss Emily:

I know a guy in my sophomore English class who is a little silly and sometimes childish, but really sweet deep down.  However, he's somewhat difficult to decipher; one minute he's super kind and gentlemanly, another, he acts as if we're just really best buddies.  One time, he had pleaded to the teacher to give me an extra day to complete an in-class project, because I had worked really hard on it. Other times, he's a complete joke, but in the end he knows when enough is enough. In the past, he has given comments about how I was like his ex because we were both so fun to talk to and, just recently, he had recounted, while looking quite seriously at me, how he used to act silly just to make the girl he liked laugh (which he's been doing recently, also). He makes an effort to be more of a gentleman when I ask him to, and a few friends have said that he seemed to be a bit tense and insulting (in a joking manner) around my other guy friends. Yes, he compliments me once in a while; yes, he looks abashed when I scold him for something or other (or when I get upset); yes, he did get a little touchy when I jokingly said that Pisces (me) and Gemini (him) aren't supposed to get along. (You aren't going to believe some stupid stars and let them tell you who you should like or not like).  Is he just being a good friend, or can there possibly be something more. Does he like me in a not-so-platonic way? And how can I ask him if he likes me, without actually doing any asking (i.e. not straight-forward verbally)?

-------------------Miss Emily's advice--------------

He sounds like a character from the movie "Superbad."  And believe me, these characters are based on truth, not fiction!  He's a pretty complex guy, and I can see the attraction you have for him, because despite his "silly" side, he's fairly honest about it, and is open to suppressing his hair-trigger funnybone. Some people are funny at the expense of others, because it's developed over time as an defense mechanism to protect hidden insecurities. This may be an element of his goofy side and, as you said, is often childish and off-putting.  But you see that he's really a cool person, he's bright, and you want to see where things can go with him.  Short of telling him "Hey, let's go out, together, or asking him point blank, "Do you like me more than a friend, your only other options are to:  invite him to a group gathering -- party, etc., wait until the gods deem this a match made in heaven and they set the ball in motion; expect him to make the first move. This state of inertia is frustrating.  But only you can decide how capable you are taking the risk to change it.  In fairness to him, you two might have this in common:  neither of you have the courage to take it to the next level.