DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I met a crazy woman in my supermarket who kept sidling up to me in the produce department and complaining about the vegetables. Then she followed me to the meat section and told me which cuts of meat to buy. She was still behind me at the bakery, so I finally told her to shove off. Then she broke down crying, and said loudly, "Men are always picking on me when I try to be nice to them! Why are you hurting me?" A male clerk ran over and said, "Did you make this woman cry? She yelled, "Yes!" Then I said, "I don't know her and she's nuts and won't leave me alone." The guy seemed to believe me, and waved me off. She was messy, about my age (35) and smelled of liquor at 11:30 in the morning. What should I have done? -- Never Going Back There, Winnipeg
Dear Never: You were dealing with someone who was unbalanced; she may have been drinking, dealing with a bad hangover or maybe high. You can't expect appropriate behaviour from a person who's mentally troubled. Rather than telling her to shove off, you should have looked her in the eyes, and said kindly but firmly, "It feels like you're following me around the store and I'm finding it really uncomfortable, so I'm going to get going now." Then you should have quietly slipped over to store security and alerted them that this lady needed to be watched. Too much scary behaviour has gone on in public places lately to just ignore it and walk away.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I both love and hate my boss. She's a tyrant all right, but very sexy in the way she dresses and the way she looks -- and what a body. She bosses me, but she excites me, and I think she kind of comes on to me. I wrote a poem to her about how beautiful and sexy she is, and put it in her desk. She said, "Nice poem, Skippy!" in front of my co-workers, and never said anything else. I hate her for that, and my name's not Skippy. Should I mention it to her again? -- The Poet, Winnipeg
Dear Poet: Save your poems for the women your age who want to get them. This lady mentioned your poem in front of people and in a casual way, to let you know she wasn't treasuring it and it wasn't a secret between you. She may have hoped your co-workers would tease you and that would teach you a lesson. Calling you Skippy was meant to let you know she thought you were young and foolish. Ignore any sexual feelings you have for her from now on.