IN THE PAINT Listen: Lately I’ve begun realizing that my relationship is as stale as 7-day-old toast. I’m completely bored by everything my boyfriend does, says, and is. I still love him but I find myself flirting with other guys all the time. Sometimes even in front of him. He’s never said anything about it so I don’t know if he realizes I don’t talk to him that way anymore. Recently, though, he asked me to move in with him. I have a nagging feeling it wasn't an entirely amorous question because my lease is up soon and we both live in expensive one-bedroom apartments. I told him to give me some time to think about it. What I’m wondering is, do you think moving in together could possibly bring some spice to our lives? I’m not sure I could live with the boredom otherwise. Signed, Please Pass the Salt Okay, Salty If by spice you mean that kind that goes along with fighting all the time and hating each other’s guts, I would say, by all means, yes, move in together it will solve everything. But I’m guessing you mean the other, cable television type of spice and that seems a little less likely. Here’s the thing. If you’re bored now, I’m not sure how moving in together is going to solve that. It seems to me you’ll be around each other more and if you’re bored of it now, more of the same old, same old isn’t going to help. Imagine if, for a few hours every day, you had to watch paint dry. Sounds bad, doesn’t it? Now imagine if you had to watch that paint dry all day long -- you’d go insane. I’ve always been a proponent of the if-you’ve-got-a-good-thing-going-you-don’t-need-to-go-ruin-it-just-because-it-isn’t-new school of thought. However, with relationships you have trade-offs. For instance, your boyfriend isn’t all shiny and new like whoever it is you’re flirting with; at the same time, that guy you’re flirting with doesn’t know or care about you like your boyfriend does. So you could break up with the old guy out right, just say to hell with it, and find someone that excites you. The last thing you want to do is get stuck in something that doesn’t make you happy. And since you’re calling him your boyfriend, I’m assuming that you aren’t married and they are no kids involved. So go. On the other hand, you can stay and build on the relationship, work through this tiredness you’re feeling with him. I’m not sure --as I haven’t had one that didn’t -- but I think all relationships get stale after a little while. If you make a habit of running as soon as your new guy stops entertaining you 24/7, you’re going to spend a lot of time on the road. Listen: Do nice guys ever finish first? I’m sort of a quiet guy and I’m wondering why I can’t catch a break. I’m a bank manager with a nice income, pretty good style (I think) and I am not ugly (in fact, most women say I have really great hair). I’m also polite and courteous; I pull out chairs; I open doors; I bring flowers AND candy. But inevitably, the woman I’m interested in will say the dreaded f- word: friend. “I just want to be friends.” Or, “I didn’t realize you wanted to date me, I thought we were just friends.” There have been times when I’ve wanted to throw courtesy out the window and scream, “Do any of your other friends bring you flowers every time they see you?” Do I need to revert back to my inner cave man to get a date who’s interested? Should I grunt and beat my chest? Not bring them flowers? What do I need to do? All my “friends” are killing me. Signed, Just a Friend Okay, Friend: It’s the eternal question: Why do women want the man on the Harley when they can have the man in the Honda Accord? It’s not a bad-looking car, you’ll never get wet if it’s starts to rain unexpectedly, and it’s pretty reliable. The Harley, on the other hand, it’s loud and dirty ... and, oh, it’s exciting. (Excitement seems to be the theme for today, doesn’t it? Hmm.) Unfortunately, Friend, I can’t really tell you exactly why girls like the bad boy. I want to tell you, but I just don’t know. Maybe it’s the excitement of being with someone who doesn’t follow the rules, but lives on his own terms. Or maybe it’s some biological thing about the challenge of the hunt. With good guys like yourself, it’s easy to see you’re enamored. Bor-ing. Bad boys don’t call when they say they’re going to and they never bring flowers, so the girl has to work to ensnare them into her web. Like I said, I can’t really explain it. When I attempt to try, it just sounds weak. Maybe it’s just that the bad boy is damn sexy. Who knows? So, your little problem ... should you grunt and beat your chest? I would say no. Go ahead and be yourself, but ... just not too much. It’s a sad fact that people play games. I think we all hate that, but ... if you don’t play games and everyone else does, you’ll lose out. Try not to pin your heart to your sleeve so fast; go ahead and be polite and be courteous, but don’t let her step all over you (it’ll make you seem needy and no one wants someone needy. Besides, she can buy a doormat from Target). Here’s the other thing I would say: when you ask a girl out, make sure she knows it’s a date, especially if you have been friends for a while. Don’t beat around the bush with a let’s-hang-out-tonight or a let’s-meet-up-for-drinks. Those are things we say to our friends, dreaded or no. On the other hand, don’t go overboard with a cheesy pickup line like You-must-be-tired-you’ve-been-running-through-my-mind-all-day, either. Just say something in between the two extremes, maybe: “I was hoping the two of us could have a nice, quiet dinner at Paulette’s.” There’s no ambiguity there. It’s obvious that you’re interested in her as more than a friend, but it doesn’t scream I-want-to-have-sex-with-you-now. And if you go to Paulette’s and she says something about just being friends, split the check. Friends go Dutch. (Care to respond? Write mailonthefly@aol.com.)

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