DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I harbour a secret passion for an activity that is not generally discussed with friends or family. I consider myself a "closet nudist" or naturist. Years ago I discovered the exhilaration and sense of freedom of a nude beach and have visited Manitoba's nude beaches whenever possible. I'm truly in love with the experience. My wife doesn't share my passion for naturism and condemns the subject, so my visits are secret. I go alone, simply to enjoy the wonderful experience of spending a day in the sun as nature created us -- hard to explain the sensations to anyone who has not experienced a nude beach. Despite what most people think, it is the most non-sexual experience ever. All shapes and sizes of people enjoy the "lifestyle" and it is truly a non-judgmental experience. Never before have I felt such an inclusive environment. It is far more relaxed and laid-back than any "clothed" beach. I don't want to forgo my visits, yet I feel ashamed at hiding this from my wife. I know she'd disapprove and want me to stop going. Am I being too selfish to try and hang on to this pleasure for myself? -- Closet Nudist, Winnipeg Area
Dear Nudist: You have one life on Earth. In this life, your wife has a right to expect faithfulness, but she doesn't have the right to dictate everything you do. Tell her naturism is what you love on sunny afternoons in the warm weather. Invite her to come along every time you go, briefly and cheerfully. She refuses again? Just say pleasantly, "OK then, I'm off for a day in the sun. See you later." She is going to hit the roof over this, at least at first, but there may be some relief for her, too. What do you tell her when you disappear for these afternoons? Maybe she's been turning a blind eye to what she thinks is an affair. It's time to be honest. Let her know who you are, and what you do and extend an invitation, even if she spits at it. One day she may actually come with you, out of curiosity.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My husband is a drinker and a tightwad, but I have figured out a way to come out on top. When he drinks, he also gambles on the VLTs. When he comes home from the bar and passes out, I steal money out of his wallet and, if he notices anything strange, I tell him he lost it at the VLTs and doesn't remember. That's plausible and he buys it. I'm $50 to $150 richer and go shopping for the day. He shakes his head and wonders if he should quit going to the bar. The one thing that might make him quit drinking is losing money. Our bank accounts are now separate and everything we own is in my name. You see, there are ways to work things out so everybody wins. -- Tips From a Smart Lady, Elmwood
Dear Tips: Everybody has a different take on what makes them happy, and your method seems to be working for you. However, stealing money for happiness probably isn't your first preference. Consider using some of that money to talk to a counsellor about what you want to do with the rest of your life, rather than living from week to week, making do with an alcoholic and a gambler. Someday you may want a better solution for yourself.