DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I turned my head at a stop light and spotted this gorgeous guy in the next car. He stared right back. We started off down Pembina Highway and I laughingly gave him the "Let's race" sign from my old car. We worked it so we hit some more lights together and he made a sign for the word "drink" and pointed at the Pony Corral down the way. We went in and had a great time talking. At the end of the drinks and food, he kissed my cheek and said, "I'd like to call you once I'm free." I said "What? You mean you're married?" and he said "No, but I'm engaged and I can see it's a mistake. You've helped make that clear to me." Then he asked for my phone number and he left. Is he a jerk or a good guy? -- Stunned By The Ending, Winnipeg
Dear Stunned: He's a little of both. He was a jerk for chasing you down when he's already engaged, and then flirting with you at the bar for a long time before telling you that's as far as it goes. How would you like to be his fiancée, waiting for his call that day? What he's realizing is he needs to be free, not that he's necessarily crazy about you. Once he does get free, he may call you, or not. But even if he does, he won't be looking to be tied down again for quite some time. It may have been a narrow escape. Did you ask him the wedding date? This is wedding season, you know.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I really love my big brother who's 10 years older. He and his wife asked me to come live with them in their basement. A big problem has started brewing. Now they are acting more like my parents and I am 21 already. I don't come home every night, and why should I? I'm single with lots of friends and sometimes we go out drinking and I stay over, or I go see a sex buddy and stay the night. My house mates are secretly waiting up for me to see if I come home safely. My younger sister told me this, which she heard through our mom. Should I move out? It might hurt their feelings, since they invited me to come, but I don't want to start behaving like a teenager and observing house rules again. -- Been There, Done That, St. Boniface
Dear Been There: At this point, your brother and his wife are very tired and a little annoyed. Whatever hurt feelings they might have when you are packing, will be gone after experiencing a night or two of normal sleep again. Just make a solid arrangement before you tell them, and make the move amicably. If you are paying them rent, and they need the money, you should give them a month's notice, so they can replace you with another house mate, and the income for the mortgage. Your line should be, "It's been nice staying with you, but I keep pretty crazy hours and I need the feeling of total freedom."
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I took my very new boyfriend (of three weeks) home for Sunday dinner and it was embarrassing because he has terrible table manners and my parents were looking at each other as if to say, "Where did this guy come from -- the bush?" I don't know why I'd never noticed it before but it was rude the way he talked while he was eating, and you could see the salad going around in his mouth. He parked his elbows on the table and didn't say please or thank you. The worst move? He stood up and reached across the table to get a pitcher of water. I guess we've only had take-out together and I never noticed. Am I coming off seeming really petty? Should I be teaching him? If I break it off with him, do I tell him the truth -- that he eats like a pig? I'm not in love or anything. -- Eighteen And Well Brought Up, Winnipeg
Dear Well Brought Up: Criticizing someone's table manners is as awkward and unwelcome as correcting their English. If this guy has boorish manners, and yours are quite refined, you are going to find him less and less attractive anyway. Look, there's no need to be the one to reform this guy. You're young and there are single people everywhere. Why not back off the new relationship and let someone else deal with it and be the resented one? You can find someone with better manners than that pretty easily.
Please email your problems for Miss Lonelyhearts to email@example.com or send letters to 1355 Mountain Ave. R2X 3B6.