DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I met a handsome, wealthy-looking man buying Christmas presents in a lingerie store for his wife and he didn't know what to buy her. He said to me quietly the clerks had been kind of rude and unhelpful, so he was at a loss what to get her. I asked him what size his wife wore and he said, "She's built exactly like you." I ended up trying on some outfits for him and he spent a lot of money on his wife -- you should have seen his credit cards. Then he asked to take me for a thank-you coffee, which turned into martinis and appetizers. Then he asked me for my phone number. That made me sober up -- I'm not that kind of woman. I didn't give it to him, and I went off to do more Christmas shopping in the mall. Imagine my surprise when I passed by the lingerie store and he seemed to be trying to return the merchandise we had bought together for his wife. Did I get scammed? -- Usually Not a Dummy
Dear Dummy: Scammed? You bet. Your first clue? Clerks in lingerie stores are not rude to men with big credit cards coming in to buy lingerie for their wives. Second? Asking you to model lingerie for him was incredibly nervy. What were you thinking? Your third? Every silly activity that came after stepping out of the lingerie store. By getting you to go drinking with him afterwards -- knowing he was married -- he thought he had an easy catch on the line. Good thing you had a shred of sense left and ducked out at the last minute. Get your radar up, honey. Be aware of what's going on. Rudolf didn't wear those antlers for nothing.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: Eight months ago I conceived a baby with my boyfriend and we are living together now. It is his greatest wish that we get married before the baby comes and I want to wait until I am slimmed back down and looking like a bride. I love him and all, but we are fighting over this because he insists the baby not be born out of wedlock. -- Not Important To Me, Winnipeg
Dear Not Important: Get married twice and make both of you happy. Sneak off and get married in a civic ceremony, wildly pregnant, and then deliver your baby. Once you've slimmed back down, have a wedding with a fancy dress and all the trimmings to make yourself happy. So often a conflict can be solved by giving both people what they want. It's the art of the deal, where both people feel they got more than they expected. Deal making is infinitely preferable to taking turns not getting your own way, or compromising on everything so nothing is ever quite what you wanted.
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