I wasn’t going to say Jane Austen! I find her deeply, deeply depressing. Maybe you feel the same. If you want to read a genteel English novel where the perpetual “friend” gets the upper hand, try The Tortoise and the Hare, by Elizabeth Jenkins. (Jenkins also wrote a biography of Austen, but you can skip that.) You might get a vicarious kick out of Dawn Powell’s 1942 satire of New York media people, A Time to Be Born. Another tale of a friend triumphant. It sounds, though, as if you may be in the market for a seduction manual. I’ve never read one that rang true, sorry to say. Instead it seems to me one should probably read dirty books—starting with something outrageous and perverse, like Bataille’s Story of the Eye—if only because these books, the really dirty ones, give a person courage when she (or he) feels unsexed. They may help you acknowledge your awkward or forbidden feelings toward those guys, even at the risk of rejection. If you’re fed up, as you say, it’s time to act!