DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I met a man at a curling bonspiel in the country and we were both instantly attracted to each other. "When we curled against each other, certain curling terms became more and more meaningful," he whispered to me at the end of a long night of partying. We had far too much to drink at the motel where everyone stayed, and he and I spent the night together. Everyone knew. Neither one of us are married, but we live in towns not too far away from each other.
He wants to keep seeing me. I think he's great. He says he is OK with dating me and my staying the night in his town, but the gossip mill around my town is savage. He says he'll endure the gossip in his town if I will put up with it in mine, but he says he won't go into hiding anywhere. If I'm not proud to be seen with him there will be no romance. Isn't he being too hard line about this? -- Private Person, Small Town Manitoba
Dear Private: He's stating his boundaries, but you want things your way. That in itself is telling. It's not all about you if you start dating! He's telling you he wants honesty, equality and pride in the relationship with him. He sounds like a good guy, but he's hearing you wanting things hidden, and you may not feel proud to introduce him around town. You're not inviting him into your world. Who comes out sounding like the better person?
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I wore stockings and a garter belt to a social under a fairly short skirt. When my boyfriend and I tried to get up from the table to dance, he slipped money into my garter like he was tipping a stripper. I could feel the money against my leg. I know he has had a long history of going to see "the peelers" with his buddies. I took the money out of my garter -- $20 -- and handed it to him in front of his friends. They laughed and he got red in the face.
I went and got my coat and boots, jumped in a cab and went home. I fully expected a phone call and an apology, but have not heard from him since. Now I'm getting worried. I was just trying to teach him a lesson: don't ever treat me like a stripper. -- Not a Cheap Stripper, Winnipeg
Dear Not a Stripper: Combining public humiliation with "a lesson" has backfired, as it always does. He won't be calling again. You should have taken his hand and walked him out to the hall, then you could have said, "I know you think this tip-in-the-garter trick was funny, but when you did that it felt like you were treating me like a stripper at a club. Here's your money back."
Then you might have had a discussion that set a higher tone for the relationship, or if he was rude or flippant, you could have gotten your coat and gone home. To be fair, you were wearing garters and a short skirt, so he might have thought he was playing along with a fantasy you initiated. Now you'll never know, unless you phone him. If he's not a keeper, just leave it alone. If he is basically a good guy, get on the phone and talk to him. Texting won't do for this.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: This week I was a victim to a very lonely night and called up an old boyfriend. He came over and we drank the rest of my bottle of wine and one thing led to another and soon we were in the bedroom.
While he helped me make it through the night, we were both confused and awkward in the morning. Nothing had changed. I still drink every day and do stupid impulsive things. He's still just plain stupid, but it's better than being alone. I just really need somebody right now. Should I see him for a few months? It would be selfish of me, I know, but he says he'd be happy to keep seeing me. God, I am so unhappy! -- Lonely Lady, Fort Rouge
Dear Lonely: The bottom line in your life is unhappiness, caused by loneliness, alcoholism and other factors. Alcohol is a depressant, and you're getting lots of it on a daily basis. It's the last thing in the world you need. This is the time to face up to your drinking problem. Your first move should be a call to the Addictions Foundation Manitoba (204-944-6200) to go in for an assessment. You may need rehab to get off the alcohol, or you may not.
At Alcoholics Anonymous meetings you will meet people who are happy to drink coffee and talk and gain strength from each other. Although most people don't talk about this aspect, AA also ends up being a unique kind of social club. Many people make good friends. This could be the best thing that's happened to you in a long time.
As for the ex-boyfriend, don't use this poor man, even if he's willing. He obviously cares much more than you do, and you have both been down this hurtful path together before. You already know it heads for the ditch. He answered your booty call because he couldn't help it. Let him go and call the AFM instead.
Please send your questions or comments c/o firstname.lastname@example.org or mail letters to Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6