DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My boyfriend and I have been together for seven months and are wanting to get married. We have been living together since early March, which has been going great. However, we are both born-again Christians and feel conflicted living in sin. We can't afford to live separately, as we are in our early to mid-20s and don't have a lot of money. We would very much like to buy a house in the next year, as the place we are renting is owned by a slum landlord, but we don't feel right doing so while not married, and we can't really afford to do either at the moment.
Quite a few people have thrown us the idea of having a courthouse wedding but we both come from large families who would be very hurt if we did that. An idea that my mother pitched to us was to have a wedding social and at the end of the night, before the raffle, hold a surprise wedding in front of everyone. She then said that we could use the proceeds of the social to put towards the house that we need and then in the summer have a private renewal of the vows ceremony/house-warming party at our new home for everyone who we would have invited to the wedding.
My boyfriend and I love the idea but we're concerned about how some people may react and we're also looking for ideas on how to pull off this "surprise" at the social. Any help would be greatly appreciated! -- Sneaky Bride, Winnipeg
Dear Sneaky: Roll this forward. The older relatives -- aunties, uncles, and grandparents -- don't go to the social because it's too loud and not their thing, or they go home too early. Then they hear you got married without them at the end of the night -- not nice. You are better to invite them all to a "secret family and friends" event and get married at your mom's house. It could even end up with the social being held that same night, with a repeat of vows.
Now let's talk about the house. You don't need everything right now. Tight money leads to tension with couples both young and old. Instead, go on an inexpensive but romantic honeymoon; it's a mistake to skip it for buying a house. You have plenty of time to do that. You could move to a nicer apartment instead, and have a romantic first year with enough money from the social to buy a new sofa. Go out together and enjoy the love and romance and still have a savings account with money in it. Once the babies come, the honeymoon atmosphere changes. Give your new marriage enough tension-free time to really jell, and buy that house later.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My annoying boyfriend has some crazy idea about making love in the back of his fancy pickup truck under the stars. I don't know why he's so set on this. He's a country-boy romantic, I guess, listens to country music every day, brings it up almost daily. I don't want to do anything in the back of a pickup truck. I am a Holiday Inn kind of girl from the city.
I wish summer were over so he'd get over this idea. I hate flies, mosquitoes, dirt, sand and stinky smells from stuff he hauls in the truck. I finally lost it last week and said, "No woman is going to go for this stupid idea!" And you know what he said back? "They have before." I was so mad I said, "Well, I might have been persuaded if you'd been nice, but this totally finishes that fantasy, buddy." He just put on his cowboy hat and walked away. Since then we have been scary polite. I do love him! What should I do? -- Nervous and Hurting, St. Vital
Dear Nervous: If you want to keep him, open this conversation again, before it gets so cold he walks. Say something like this, in an even voice: "You made a memory you can't forget with another woman or women, in the back of your truck and you want me to revive that memory. How would you like me to ask you to help me revive sexual memories from my love life before you?" He will scoff, but give him time. Men generally understand justice and fairness. Write back and report how that goes.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I have a nudist woman in my life who insists on swimming naked any time she swims. It doesn't matter where we are. If this is in front of company she will swim out, take off her suit, tie it to her wrist and swim. You can see her beautiful bare butt as she bobs in and out of the water doing different strokes.
She did this off the dock at my parents' house last weekend. My uncles found it fascinating from the pier. When one picked up his birder binoculars, I swiped them from him, and muttered an oath and a threat in his ear. He won't try that again. But how do I tell her she's being way too provocative in a non-nudist family? I need her to cover up at my parents' place. She won't hear of it. "It's natural," she says. "Loosen up. Pretty soon I'll have your mom swimming nude with me." I didn't need that visual. Please help! -- Conservative Guy, Lake of the Woods
Dear Conservative: You have a decision to make. Are you going to take her side, or the side you imagine your parents are on. (You could be wrong.) Are you going to admire this woman for the free spirit she is, or try to squelch that spirit? Which would make for a more fun life for you, and for her? It's not a small issue to decide. Devoted nudists often like their clothes off around the house too, if it's their preferred lifestyle. You can either learn to go with the flow and enjoy it, or let her find someone more compatible for her.
Please send your questions or comments c/o firstname.lastname@example.org or mail letters to Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, R2X 3B6.