DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I went out with this woman who took me back to her place and made me dinner. As we were watching a movie together, I suddenly became violently sick and threw up all over the sofa. Then I spent two hours in her bathroom. I was embarrassed because I didn't know her all that well, and didn't call her afterwards. Last week she called me out of the blue and asked, "How would you like to come over and puke at my place again tonight?" We started laughing. So, I suggested we go out for dinner at a restaurant so we could blame it on somebody else's cooking if I got sick again. We went out, and back to her place, and I got sick again. Do you think this is just a big case of nerves? That's what my mom thinks. I had a nervous stomach as a kid and threw up before every exam. If so, how do I get over it? I am 25. This girl is really special and she's willing to try a third time. -- Nervous Guy, Wolseley
Dear Nervous: This week, spend a lot of time on the phone getting used to each other so there's not so such a build up of nervousness and excitement. Explain about the nervous stomach and how you used to toss your cookies before exams, and say, "So now you know it isn't just you that make me want to vomit." Then eat an early lunch at home and go out in the mid-afternoon with no food involved and do something active to burn off nervous energy. And talk about it. Just like a person can't sneeze when asked to, it will be harder for you to throw up if you talk about it. Say funny things like, "Should I try to do it now?" Alternatively, you might also want to see a doctor to get a small amount of anti-anxiety medication to use only when needed -- like for first dates, exams or job interviews.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I met a strange man when I was out walking who had three dogs on leashes. I asked him why and he said, "I like company. Please sit down." We sat on a bench and watched the world go by, talking about life and love and philosophy and our different backgrounds. I felt quite close to him, with the dogs around us in the snow. Then he asked me to come home with him and make love -- just like that. And I went! Afterwards he was very sweet but said I could never come back for my "own heart's protection," and he called me a cab. What happened? -- Mysterious Lover, St. Boniface
Dear Mysterious: You may have met a married man whose wife was away, or a bisexual man who thought he would only break your heart, or he may know he is sick and dying. But listen, you did have a lovely time and you should try to frame it like a picture in your memories of this life. Don't pursue him now. Men generally tell you the hard truths about themselves before they get emotionally involved. He gave it to you in a sort of riddle, but the upshot was, "Thank you, but no more is possible."
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