DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I wish to be delicate about this as I realize this is a family newspaper. My new husband absolutely LIVES to fish! It is his greatest pleasure, other than loving me. Eating pickerel ranks right up there as one of the most delicious experiences in life. You can imagine my chagrin when he started calling me his "Little Pickerel." I shut that right down fast! "But it's a love name" he says. I told him I didn't want to be associated with anything fishy and that if he was ever again tempted to call me Little Pickerel he should bite off his own tongue. Am I being too harsh? -- Nobody's Pickerel, Gimli
Dear Not Amused: Look at his intention -- nothing nasty or smarmy there. As a woman you are sensitive to this association. After years of TV brainwashing, it may have bad connotations for you. For him, it obviously does not. He meant it sweetly. Pickerel is sweet tasting fish with no smell to it. How about you apologize for being so hard on him and explain why you are super sensitive? He will soon find another love name, more to your taste. Being punished unjustly is a distancer in a relationship and you want to stay close with your new husband.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My fiancé calls me nicknames which are affectionate insults, like Lefty (my left breast is larger than my right) and Gnarly (because I have gnarly toes). I used to be a model. I am known to be beautiful. Why does he use these insulting names on me? I pretend to not mind, but it hurts my feelings. He thinks he's very cute and funny and I don't want to burst is bubble, but it's sure bursting mine. What should I do? -- No More Names! St. Vital
Dear No More: He sees you as a perfect, beautiful woman and thinks it's humorous for you to have a pseudo-ugly nickname. If you were ugly and insecure, then he might try to build you up with prettier nicknames. Tell him you don't like hurtful nicknames that have to do with looks, but you'd welcome something that refers to how much he loves you like "darling." He may find this confusing and you might have to explain as you would to a boy in junior high who can't see the pain he's causing by teasing.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: OK, here's the fight going on at our house. Real ugly! My live-in comes home from the late shift at 2-2:30 a.m. and he wants lovin.' I go to bed at about midnight and I'm in a deep sleep. If he wakes me I feel nauseated at first. I tell him to "wait until morning" and he does. I'm willing to play in the morning before my work -- but he's still really tired. Last night he made a crack about women being available at 2 a.m. after the bars close and I just lost it. I said, "I can't tell you what to do, but I can tell you what I will do about this threat. You go and pick up a skank if you want, but drop off your key afterwards. I'll send your clothes out to the lawn where you can pick them up." He tried to pretend he was just kidding, but I know he wasn't. I know his past. Should I break up with him right now, or try to figure out if and when he's picked some woman up? -- Wanting to be Safe, North End
Dear Wanting: So what is his background? What taboos have been broken and what actions does he not find too disgusting, as long as he doesn't get caught? If he's been known to pick up hookers, and he's issued this warning, you'd hate to look back on this time and say "I wouldn't have AIDS now if I'd listened." It's not like you're depriving the man of sex, but he can't expect you to wake from a deep sleep and be "into it." You could make up for lost times on the weekend by building in a regular time for sex and affection. But then there's still the trust issue the rest of the week. If you want to be 100 per cent sure, you know what you have to do. The threat-making alone would turn most women off.
Questions or comments? Write Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6 or email firstname.lastname@example.org