GIVE AND TAKE(BACK) Listen: My girlfriend wanted me to go on vacation with her this summer. Now she's acting all wacked out, talking about how we're practically engaged and dropping hints about the kind of diamond she wants. I agreed to go to the beach for a week, not marry her. On top of everything, she's decided that I'm paying for the entire trip because I'm the guy. What the hell? Signed, Reluctant Okay: As always, I really don't know. Have you given her any indication that the two of you will be married? Such as, perhaps, saying: I want to marry you as soon as possible? Or, when you're my wife, we'll ....? Ideas don't just come from no where. I'm not saying the idea came from you necessarily; I'm just saying. Maybe she's got it into her head that only people who are truly, truly in love go on vacation together (an idea she needs to be divested of since it's totally not true). Who knows? What I will say, is that if you're not going to marry her sometime soon or buy her that canary diamond she's interested in, you need to let her know that. This is one of these holes that if you dig it too deep, you're going to be trapped in a pit with a tiger. Better stop now while it's still shallow and you can still escape with both your legs. But about you paying because you're the guy? Well, that just ain't right. Unless you make a bazillion dollars more than she does (I think the latest statistics I saw said that a woman makes 7' cents for every dollar that a man earns, but you know, whatever ... just because dry cleaning costs us more, as do our clothes and makeup, haircuts, birth control ... I better stop; I'm starting to change my mind) or have taken on the role on "Sugar Daddy” in this particular film, she should share the cost of vacationing with you. Now, how you're going to let her know this -- you're on your own (This is like one of those pits we were talking about). I just hope you get to keep your legs. You'll need them for waterskiing. Listen: This loser I was dating just broke up with me. Now I'm leaving town and he wants his furniture back. Can I just take it with me? I'm going to need it when I get there. I want to make sure he doesn't get it, too. Signed, Keeping the Couch Okay: I can't see any reason why you should have to give it back. I mean, morally, you probably should, but if he can't prove that it's his and he's not the type to go to the cops or shoot you over it ... And if it's not going to fill you with sad memories of your break-up or induce psychotic episodes over what a tool you were for dating him, I say, why not? Load up the truck. BUT. If it is going to make you crazy or he is crazy, you can always just leave it on the side of the road for someone to come pick up (if it's nice stuff, I think it takes five minutes, tops). The possibilities of what could happen are endless ... it could all get wet and moldy, or animals could nest in it or maybe he would see it on the side of the road and try to load it -- by himself -- into the back of his car, throwing his back out in the process. See, I think you should get new furniture whenever you can -- it's such a hassle to move and re-decorating is so much fun. Unless you really love the color scheme, I'd leave it. The best idea ... if you really don't want him to have it (love hurts, doesn't it?) is to call the Salvation Army. Sometimes they'll do pickups and then you know it goes towards a good cause. Just an idea. And, whatever you do, don't set it on fire.


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