OTHER PEOPLE'S PROBLEMS 

OTHER PEOPLE'S PROBLEMS

Listen: I was wondering if you could help me with something. Since you're a woman, maybe you could give me a woman's point of view. I really can't talk about this with my friends so maybe you could help. Basically this is it: After the death of her parents last year, my long-term girlfriend got, well, a little chubby. Since then, she has been working hard to get her figure back to where it used to be and is starting to look really fucking fabulous. Here’s the deal: Before she lost her figure, she liked to wear miniskirts but stopped when she gained weight. Now she’s wearing them again, but the only difference is she doesn’t wear panties anymore. She says it makes her feel sexy not to wear them. That’s fine with me, but when we go out she lets men look under her dress. She tries to do it discreetly, but it is pretty obvious to me that she is letting them get a good look. We love each other, and if doing that makes her feel more sexy then it is okay as long as she still comes home with me, but do you think it’s something I should be worried about? Signed, A Bit Muffed Okay: There is something to be said for the thrill of lingerie, whether it’s because it’s lacy or sexy or just not there at all. And there is something to be said about a woman who has, from the sound of it, rediscovered her own sex appeal. Wanting to flaunt it is nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing to be worried about. My question is: Does she know that you know she’s sharing her goodies with the entire neighborhood? Or does she think you think you’re the only one with the recipe? I only ask because, yes, sometimes women are conniving (not because they’re women, just because they’re people) and they want their boyfriends to see other guys checking them out, if only to reaffirm how attractive they are. This could be the case here. She knew she got a little, well, thicker, and now she’s trying to prove to you that she’s attractive. The solution could be as simple as taking her in your arms and telling her how great she looks. But ... there’s always a but, you know ... once I happened to be in California during a rather blustery spring. And, as it happened, one of those blusters blew a woman’s skirt up and exposed, well, everything. Because this young lady wasn’t wearing underpants either. I’m not sure if she was feeling sexy or not, and, granted, I was young and the city streets were rough, but my first and still-lingering thought was “That woman is a prostitute.” Now, I’m not saying your girlfriend is a prostitute or even wants to be with someone else. However, clothes send signals; you better believe that the lack thereof sends a pretty loud signal itself, one that doesn’t always say NOT AVAILABLE. Here’s the other thing: I’m not a man; I’m not really sure I understand how this whole scenario works (in terms of the when, where, and how mechanics) but I’m not sure everyone wants a snatch of snatch. And I’m pretty sure there are laws against this sort of thing. Let’s say, just for the sake of argument, that your girlfriend was male and was going around in public wearing a big trenchcoat before exposing herself -- however discreetly -- to others. Would you have even needed to write me? Probably not. The community outcry would have taken care of the problem. So a woman’s point of view? It doesn’t matter how sexy she feels; she needs to keep it in her pants. Listen: I'm writing in hopes that you can help me with a particular relationship dilemma that I'm having. I've been involved in a long-distance, somewhat romantic relationship with a girl. This girl happens to be involved with another individual in her hometown. We agreed that if we met someone we found interesting and attractive in our respective hometowns we would allow ourselves to pursue a relationship with them. Obviously, she has taken this option. I had resigned not to consider the possibility of pursuing another relationship, convinced that there would not be another in the world that I found stimulating, interesting, attractive, etc. I recently met a girl who I immediately found interesting, stimulating, etc. and felt very comfortable around. I assured myself and the out-of-town girl that although I spent quite a bit of time with the in-town girl and had a great time when I was with her, I was only looking for a friend. Yet the more time that I've spent with the in-town girl, the more attracted to her I've become. I get excited when I see her name on the Caller ID and disappointed when it's not her number. I wanted to tell her how beautiful she was the other night but was afraid of the potential consequences ... because what really complicates this situation is that these two girls are friends. I feel like the in-town girl might have feelings for me, but it's difficult to tell. I'm quite monogamous, so I'm not looking to have a romantic relationship with both girls or anything freaky like that. I just didn't expect that I would be so attracted to the in-town girl. I usually immediately develop a romantic relationship with a girl and then become friends with her, not the other way around, so this is a new one on me. I want to tell the in-town girl how I feel about her, and I want to tell the out-of-town girl that I want to pursue a relationship with the in-town girl. Should I reveal my feelings for the in-town girl and risk losing two friends? Or should I play it safe and keep two good friends? Signed, Off Track Okay: This seems to me to be another classic example of the love triangle Archie, Betty, and Veronica-style. Except that Veronica doesn’t live in Riverdale but somewhere else ... far, far away? Or close, close by? Let’s pretend, just for the sake of argument, that Veronica lives in rival Sunnydale, a mere jaunt away from you, Archie. In that case I would say tread carefully; I don’t know that many women, or men for that matter, who feel completely comfortable going out with their friends’ exes. Especially so soon after a break-up. The safest option for everybody would be to hold off and wait until things become less ... well, recent. Give yourself time to lick your wounds, deepen your friendship with Betty so she doesn’t become Rebound-Girl, and then make your move when you can’t even remember what’s-her-name’s name. If what you’re feeling is real, it won’t go away while you wait. However, it sounds as if Veronica lives a little farther away than Sunnydale. Which alleviates some discomfort, because you and Betty can go to school or parties or whatever and not have to worry about running into her. What concerns me, because something always does, is why you would have to assure Veronica that you and Betty are just friends if she (Veronica) is off running around with Reggie. Before you do anything, you need to make sure that you’re ready for a relationship with someone other than Veronica ... that you’re not biding your time until she comes back to you or showing her that someone else -- a friend, even -- wants to be with you. Having said that, let’s assume you’re seriously into Betty. Veronica is a thing of the past and you want to declare your feelings without hurting anyone or being hurt yourself. This is what I call a death-defying circus act, so I wish you good luck. You say you think in-town girl (or Betty, as I like to call her) is interested in you, too, but you can’t tell. My guess is: She’s confused. If she does like you, she probably doesn’t want to say anything because of the exact same reasons you don’t want to say anything. But it’s almost worse for her. If she’s friends with Veronica, and the two of them talk, which friends happen to do, and you keep assuring Veronica the two of you are just friends ... well, I think you see where I’m going. Even if poor Betty likes you, she’s not going to voice it because she knows -- via Veronica -- that her feelings won’t be returned. So the onus here rests upon you. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Whenever I ask myself the question: Do I want to be friends or more with this person, I almost always pick the friendlier of the two options. Because there’s kissing involved and I like kissing. So I say go for it. Honestly, I wouldn’t worry about losing two good friends. Unlike our friends Archie, Betty, and Veronica, I’m banking on the fact that you are all adults and will be able to handle yourselves. Just be straightforward with both of your Riverdale friends and everything should work out fine. And, by the way, being friends first can be very good, so it might just be worth it. (Gotta problem? Wanna make it my business? Write cashiola@memphisflyer.com.)

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