DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I'm a Christmas puppy. This year my family is all going away, but I have to stay home and work. I know I'm not a child at 22, but it seems so unfair they're all going and I will be in the hospital working. My aunt has invited me over for a big family dinner (which I can make for a few hours) but I feel embarrassed to be the orphan of my family -- the only one there. How can I make this a happy occasion instead of feeling lost and lonely? -- Feeling Sorry For Myself
Dear Sorry: Set up phone calls and Skyping with your family over a two-day period, as most hotels have to offer Internet if they're going to attract travellers. Maybe you can even provide the equipment and do the Skyping at your auntie's house so you'll not be all alone afterwards, and likely have a big weep. Look around you right now and see who else is alone this Christmas at your work -- foreign students, people from other provinces. You're by no means alone. Start asking people about Christmas plans now, and you'll be amazed how many people would love to have buddies to celebrate with, and you can plan something together, between shifts at somebody's house or at the hospital.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: OK, my husband just came home with some ridiculous stuff he bought at a sex shop, without me there. I wouldn't mind wearing some of it, but frankly, it doesn't fit and it's not returnable. I haven't been a medium -- except in his eyes -- since I was first married to him. As for the games and vibrating stuff, it feels a little much. I know he's trying to spice up our marriage, which is admittedly pretty dull in the bedroom with the kids crawling into the bed all the time. How do I handle this? -- Unsexy Mom, Fort Richmond
Dear Unsexy: Your husband is trying to tell you something with a bagful of hints. He signed on to be a lover and a daddy to the children you share. He still wants you, and that's good. If the kids are big enough to walk into your bedroom, they're big enough to walk back to their beds with you holding their hands and soothing them back to sleep there. Letting everybody crawl into the family bed is a bad nightly habit if you want a good sex life, though it can be fine on a weekend morning. Your bedroom doesn't need to have a completely open-door policy -- kids can knock. But, if it makes you really nervous not to hear the kids' littlest peeps, at least hang curtains around the bed so they don't immediately see everything you and your mate are doing, and you have time to bring it back to PG-13 before they try to crawl up on the bed. Hint: High beds are a good idea to prevent surprises from little ones.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I'm 14 and I like this guy who's gorgeous and 16. I don't just like him. I like-like him. Is there another word for that? My friend says "lerv," which I think is just stupid. Do you know a better thing to say? -- Wordless Girl, North End
Dear Wordless: "I have a crush on so-and-so" covers it perfectly. You aren't going out with him, and probably don't know him very well, but you feel all excited and goofy inside when you see him and you're very interested in everything about him. You can have a crush on a guy without his even knowing you do. Committing yourself to saying "like-like" or "sorta love" isn't necessary. Right now you're describing a situation, not declaring a degree of caring, since you don't know him well and aren't involved yet.
Questions or comments? Write Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press 1355 Mountain Ave. Wpg R2X 3B6 or email email@example.com