DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I met a gorgeous man when I was standing at a plant nursery door that was all decorated for Christmas. He was waiting for his daughter and he wasn't wearing a ring. I got the sense he was a divorced dad on an outing with his teenage daughter. She came along and looked vaguely annoyed. He asked me my name and introduced her. She dragged him off to the car quickly. Before he left, he slipped me his card and said, "Call me if you're free." I called him the next day and we went for coffee that evening. We had a long chat and he never mentioned a wife or girlfriend, nor did he say the word "ex-wife." I didn't know what words to use to ask, so here I am feeling a crazy crush on this guy who's about 40 and I still don't know if he's single or divorced or what. What do you think? -- Desiring Him, Island Lakes
Dear Desiring: Gadzooks. What did you talk about all night and not get into marital status? He asked you to call him if you were "free," but that was ambiguous. Free to see a single guy? Morally free to squeeze in an affair? Free to do what? Most guys are more forthcoming, so a best guess is he has a big reason not to be upfront.
Call him up and say: "I'd like to ask you out for dinner and drinks if you're free in the sense of not being married or living with anybody or seeing anyone steadily. I can tell you I am free and single these days, are you?" He will have to answer that honest question. If he dissembles, you say goodbye and hang up. If he's still married, wish him the best, and run away. Don't stay on the phone to let him sweet talk you into something your body would be quite willing to do. Then take your crush energy and look for somebody else who is free to reciprocate and have fun with you and not break your little heart over Christmas.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: There have been a lot of breakups and new mates and family complications in my family over the last 15 years. I'm thinking of having a "Kids of All Ages" Christmas party out at my acreage and also inviting old mates and new mates and their new partners (also two cousins my age who have come out of the closet). I'm thinking 30 people could show up. I know some of them will be surprised to meet up with each other, but it might break up old fights. So many years have passed and so many people haven't talked to each other and innocent young cousins who would like each other don't even know each other. Why can't we all be friends now? What do you think? We have animals in the barn, too. It could be a blast if people can get over themselves. -- The Peacemaker, North of Winnipeg
Dear Peacemaker: Make this party so much fun and so appealing for the children that everybody would want to come and say they "did it for the kids." Farm animals, a sleigh ride, games, prizes and fireworks after a buffet dinner are all excellent draws to the party. Send an old-fashioned card as an invitation with a note that says, "We're inviting the whole family to a night for the kids -- and for everyone to relax, get reacquainted and let the past fade in frivolity."
Send a recent photo holding some of the cute animals. List all the stuff you're going to do be doing. Most people won't be able to resist. After all, the "kid" in everybody will enjoy this special party. You might consider having it between Christmas and New Year's so it won't compete with the many other pre-Christmas parties. You're in it to win it for everyone. Good on ya!
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