DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I'm in deep trouble with my wife over a black lace thong she found in my sport bag when she was cleaning it out. She was adding it the kids' wash of stinky gym stuff. The thong, needless to say, was not hers. Nor was it mine. I am not a freak. They belonged to a woman I had a thing with at my sport in an empty change room at the end of a night. My wife is demanding an explanation and I am saying I have NO idea how they got in there. I actually don't. I suspect my sex partner put them in there to cause trouble as she is crazy about me, single and kind of reckless. It was never meant to be anything but sex, on my side. Now I don't know what to do, as I love my wife and my marriage. I told my wife, "Maybe one of the guys did it as a joke." She isn't buying that. Telling the truth is not an option. I'm wondering: what if I told her another guy got a pair of panties in his sports bag last week and there's a prankster in the group? -- In the Doghouse, Winnipeg
Dear Doghouse: Well, good luck in the big lie, fella. Your wife is onto you. If you think she's going to stop looking for evidence at this point, think again. She will have heard the false notes in your voice and be looking to get you to talk more about your story. The more you talk about the prankster, the more you sound like an idiot. Keep it going and she will check out the prank with one of the wives or girlfriends. She may even have seen a lawyer by now to figure out which way to proceed if there is any affair going on. Would it be better to confess this foolish sex thing in the bathroom than let her think it's a full-blown affair you're hiding? Ladies, please write in. Which would you prefer? Would an honest confession be the end of the marriage for you, or the beginning of an open marriage? Would you tell him it was now open on your side too?
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I sat down beside a good-looking young guy on the bus and we got to talking about the cold weather. My hands were red and freezing (not attractive) because I had forgotten my gloves at home and had to hold the stuff I was carrying. He was a very sweet young man (I'm 31) and he said the best way to warm skin is to wrap it in warm skin of a human being, so how would it be if he held my hands to warm them for a few minutes? He was such an engaging character, I let him! When they warmed up, he gave my hands back to me, like a gentleman. When he got off the bus, he touched my arm gently and wished me well. When will I see him again? He is never on that bus and I take it every morning to work hoping to see him. -- Wistful, Portage Bus
Dear Wistful: Don't spoil this for yourself by wondering why he doesn't come back again. That was a little vignette, meant to be a one-time thing -- fanciful types would say it was an angel. Whatever it is, enjoy the memory and let it restore your faith in people when you hear the constant kvetching about people these days and how they don't care about each other. It is surprising how much people DO care about each other in this city, without asking for anything in return.