August 4, 2020

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Don't let social-distancing scofflaws irk you

DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I lost my cool when this person tried to push past me with his shopping cart, going the wrong way down a one-way aisle in a small store. I said, through my mask: "Can’t you see the arrows on the floor? You’re going the wrong way." And he said, "I’m in a hurry lady!" and kept right on pushing through.

I complained to the check-out person, as the other customer was going out the door with his bag of stuff. She said there was very little she could do with guys like him, and her eyes looked so tired. I decided to let it go, and thanked her for the work she was doing. What should I have done?

— Tried To Stop Him, South Winnipeg

Dear Tried to Stop Him: You needed to talk to the store manager quickly, as that man bulldozed his way around the store, but it can take time to hunt down a busy manager. In the check-out line, you can sometimes complain to the cashier about a rule-breaker, but they’re busy too. But here’s a little tip: If you get an aggressive shopper behind you, who’s pushing forward behind you, offer your place in the line, and move back to where they’re supposed to be. That will often net you a little more space to breathe.

There are going to be people who don’t obey the rules almost everywhere you go in this time of the coronavirus, which is why we still hear authorities say: "Stay home if you can." But people are tired of staying home, and since there are few social events, many are going shopping just to get out. The best thing you can do is choose places clearly set up for easy physical distancing. Some even have properly spaced chairs outside for people to wait, if they’re at their customer limit inside the store.

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I’m single again, and in my 40s. I’ve met three women online in the last few months, and then recently met each one for a chat at The Forks, socially distanced, of course. It felt really awkward and a bit cold, like you were just checking out the goods. Whatever warmth and beginning attraction I had felt online kind of melted, because we couldn’t even hold hands, kiss hello or be spontaneous with each other.

What if I wanted to try leaving the meeting-in-person part out, until after COVID-19 restrictions ease up? What do you say to someone who really wants to meet you in person, and you don’t want to take it that far?

— Turned off By Social Distancing, Transcona

Dear Turned Off: If the feeling for a new person is too warm to just be platonic friends, you could say you’re really interested and attracted. Then agree to get in touch for a "real date" for lunch or dinner as soon as the need for distancing is over. Explain your experience with socially distanced meetings.

Some women will think you’re just making excuses because you’re not interested, but those with good self-confidence might be just fine with the idea of having a date in the future.

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My wife and I are two career people who rarely saw each other enough — until we both started working from home. Suddenly we were both working and looking after the kids and dogs at the same time. My wife has developed a motherly nagging tone with me, as if I’m another one of the kids. I had a talk with her last night about her tone of voice and how it sets me off. She said nothing, except she also wanted to talk to me about some of my annoying habits.

This morning she was armed and ready. Her list of annoyances included my leaving underwear on the bedroom floor, driving off without telling her where I’m going (usually just the corner store), smoking cigars on the deck at night and not coming to bed until she’s asleep.

The truth is I’m sick to death of looking at her all day, tired of being nagged at and being expected to account for my every move. I don’t go to bed when she does because I don’t want to be intimate. I’m smoking cigars to get out of the house and because she doesn’t want sex with a guy who has cigar breath. There, it’s out! What now?

— Turned Off, Fort Garry

Dear Turned Off: You two have cases of cabin fever — way too much togetherness under the same roof. Both of you need to start getting outside and away from each other. Kids don’t need two babysitters all the time and you probably don’t have to work more than eight hours a day, so make up a chart and stop doing anything together you could do apart.

Set up a "tag team" system of working and child care, if you can. Somebody has to start getting supplies — alone. Somebody has to walk the dog — alone. Both of you need to get out and get exercise, and you don’t need to get it with each other. Bicycle, run or walk on your own. Take turns putting the kids to bed.

As for sex, being together every minute can cause people to nag, whine and grumble — and using a voice neither one finds a turn-on. It’s a common symptom of cabin fever. Getting away from your partner for periods during the day or evening usually helps rekindle passion and interest in each other. Good luck!

Please send your questions and comments to or Miss Lonelyhearts c/o the Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6.

Miss Lonelyhearts

Miss Lonelyhearts
Advice Columnist

Each year, the Free Press publishes more than 1,000 letters to Miss Lonelyhearts and her responses to the life and relationship questions that come her way.

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