DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My girlfriend is 19, has her own place and has a "girlfriend" of her own -- not a buddy. It's a 23-year-old friend who comes over on Saturday nights. They sleep together after an evening of watching movies, dyeing their hair crazy colours and doing their nails, like girls do. "There's only one bed," my girlfriend pointed out to me. "We drink a lot of wine, so she can't drive home safely." I know they are doing stuff in bed.
Last weekend they invited me over for dinner for the first time. There were a lot of glances exchanged and drinking toasts with the wine. I felt hopeful I'd be dessert. I am a 21-year-old virgin and badly want to change that. No such luck! They played dirty-word Scrabble with me and then, to my surprise, kicked me out. "Time for you to go," they said. I noticed they were holding hands together behind their bodies as they pushed me with their outside arms out the door. I'm confused. What did they want with me? -- Just a Dumb Guy, Wolseley
Dear Guy: Run from these two! They're toying with you, and not in a nice way. In part, they were flaunting the sexual relationship they have together in front of you. The older "friend" probably wanted you to see what they had, and to let you know she was more important to your girlfriend than you are. Frankly, they're both being mean to you -- teasing you and pushing you out. The threesome might happen yet, and if it does, you'll feel more unhappy afterwards than you do now. They will have to discard you much more unkindly then to show you that you are nothing to them emotionally and they are still a unit. You don't need that as your first sexual experience.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My mom calls my dad Stupid Idiot and he calls her Stupid Gambler. Both names are true, but my younger sister and I hate to hear it. They have us in tears when they fight, which is all the time. The name-calling has more swear words I can't mention, plus shouting and crying. My sister and I escape to our room in the basement and close the door, where I installed a lock for us.
We need to get away from our parents and don't want either one coming downstairs after they have been drinking and fighting to tell us what they hate about the other. I do all the cooking and cleaning for everyone, and we both have part-time jobs. Today I lost it and told them I was moving out to our aunt's house a few blocks away and mom started crying. "How can I live with him alone?" she said. I shouted: "You should be apart from each other then!" I started packing my clothes.
"I have no money without him," she cried. I said, "You have a job, but you gamble all your money away. So stop!" She said she couldn't. An hour ago my sister called from our high school to tell me she is moving with me to our aunt's house, so now we're both leaving, and I'm full of guilt and pity for my mother. My aunt is a nurse with a good career. What can I do about my parents so they won't hate me? -- Running Away From Home, Winnipeg
Dear Running: Your parents will never hate you and they need this shock. They've been using you girls as a buffer between them in a never-ending battle, which is no way to treat a kid. Now they will both feel the consequences for the first time: they will have lost the kids they were not protecting and caring for. It's not your fault. They will now finally have to face each other without the kids in between.
What else can you do for them? Give your parents the numbers for Gamblers Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous on the kitchen table, with a note that says, "Please get help. I am tired of being the parent. I'm going to study hard, have a career and look after myself." Then go to your aunt's and start an easier, happier, safer life with a future. You don't have to be the substitute mother any more.