DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My new live-in boyfriend told me that in his last family situation he gave the family bird away without asking anyone. He said he was tired of its constant chirping so he gave it to a friend. I said, "Which of your friends? Tell me! I know, your friends and no one has a bird." He wouldn't tell me. I feel like asking him to move out right now. I don't trust him all of a sudden. I'm not sure it's even safe to leave him with my kids, for some reason, never mind the dog. What do you think? -- Scared, Downtown
Dear Scared: Let me put it this way: It's sounds unlikely he gave the bird to anybody, but suddenly it wasn't around to chirp. This guy is a heartless creep and should be out of your house for everyone's sake. He told you that story for a reason -- a warning that he is the king of your house now, and a cruel one. He should not be near your kids or you. Get large friends and your family to help remove him, if he won't go willingly, and be aware he could cause trouble afterwards. An extra male in the house, like a younger brother or a grown nephew can help keep a jerk away. Extra women don't seem to scare them much. And get some counselling over your inability to judge a man's integrity before you pair up with another one, and move him in with your children.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I don't really like my stepfather, because he's not into sports like I am. He doesn't talk to me much either. My mom said I have to buy him a Christmas gift and I said, "Why?" She has given me the money to do it anyway. The only gift I can think of is a book on how to be a better stepfather. He's nice to my mom. What should I get him, if I decide I want to please my mother? -- Big Hassle, West End
Dear Hassle: When giving an obligatory gift, limit the time spent thinking and shopping. Just do it out of politeness and to make Christmas go smoothly with your momma. Buy your stepdad a book that goes with an interest or hobby he does have, outside of sports. Your best bet is to ask the advisers at bookstores for a popular new book on the topic. You're in the store, you're out, it's done. You wrap your gifts together with mom, or use a gift bag and tissue from the dollar store. Twenty minutes to find the book, five minutes to wrap it. Got the picture? The catch is you must do both yourself, so it doesn't look like a "mom fix."
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I went shopping and this woman who was behind in the line was busy telling her husband what a shmuck he was. After five minutes of her belittling him for all to hear, I turned around and said, "I can't stand listening to you speak to your husband like this. Please move to another line." She dragged her husband off and came back with the store manager who started berating me for telling this woman to move lines. I just dropped all the groceries in my arms on the floor and left. When my sister heard this, she was appalled at my behaviour and she thinks I'm losing it. I just want people to be nice to each other in public. What's wrong with that? -- Jeesh! Fort Garry
Dear Jeesh: When we weigh the behaviours of the two parties -- you and the mean-mouthed wife -- we have her bullying and then 1) your ordering her out of the line 2) your dropping the groceries all over the floor and huffing out the door of the store. Your bad acting slightly outweighs hers. It's time you sat down and had a big think. Maybe you need to find time to reduce your stress and relax. The normal way to have handled this would have been to give them a meaningful look and then changed lines yourself.
Questions or comments? Write Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Wpg, R2X 3B6, or email email@example.com