Q: I'm an average-looking guy in my early 40s, with no hair on top, and a bit of pudge around the middle. My income is also average, and many people would consider my life boring. It appears that there are two kinds of women — those I am attracted to and those I can get. The women who are drawn to me are always damaged or seem all used up. They lack hope, discipline, and conviction. They don't care about beauty or the arts. They're most interested in what's on TV. These women are poor substitutes for the kind of woman who makes my heart pound — one with beauty, wisdom, kindness, understanding and a radiance that comes from healthy eating and moderate living. So what's the intelligent, responsible thing to do — keep trying for a woman who truly excites me? Admit that I don't have what it takes to attract the women I really want, then make do with those who are available to me? Or just resign myself to a solitary existence? —The most frustrated guy in the world
A: As a pickup line, "Hey, baby, wanna rub my paunch?" is unlikely to tear a hot young actress/model/spokeswaitress away from her boystud and send her careening into your arms. But, look to a woman who has what you have — no hair on top and a bit of pudge around the middle — and you might find yourself in business. Find some charm and turn it on, and you might even land a woman with hair. With or without hair, whenever the territory you're eyeing seems to require years of occupation by a team of therapists, keep out. Keep looking. If you regularly attend arts events and are constantly on the make (even in your sleep), you might, from time to time, run into one wise, happy, cultured woman who eats moderate portions of food. Just don't expect to stumble into her at every turn. And unless her resemblance to Heather Graham ends at being female, don't expect her to like you back. If, over time, you are unable find inspiration in less-than-supermodelicious packages, work on your own packaging: Grow hair, buy hair, wheatgrass away the pudge. It would help, too, to develop a valued talent, such as being very, very, very good in bed. A Ferrari wouldn't hurt either. Even with these efforts, and more, you may still end up alone. But, once you close the wounded duck shelter, at least you won't find yourself alone while sitting next to your significant other in front of the TV ... an alone that's significantly more lonely than sitting around by yourself with a bag of Cheetos, a bottle of pale ale and this month's editions of "Juggs" and "Art & Antiques."
Q: My girlfriend and I are just out of our teens. She wanted to rush into marriage and having kids, but I brushed it off, hoping it would pass ... and it did. About seven months ago, she told me that we are both young and should experience life a little more. She wanted to go out to bars and parties, meet guys, flirt and have sex. She told me I should do the same ... with girls, of course. I saw this as the beginning of the end and it has gotten worse. She kissed one of my friends right in front of me, and even went home with a guy when I was in the same bar. I just want us to be together again. I want her to come home and love me the way she did eight months ago, but all I see are thunderstorms. —Loyal boyfriend
A: Thunderstorms, nothing. It's raining cats and dogs and every pair of them needs to be separated with a garden hose. Your particular kitten doesn't want to play house. She just wants to play. There's absolutely nothing you can do or say to make her stop etching claw marks into her lipstick case (and every other available lipstick case in every drugstore for miles around). While this is very sad, you might count your blessings that she realized she wasn't wife and mommy material before you reserved the church, rented the hall, and slapped $20,000 down on Barbie's Dream House. Also on the sunny side (considering the enormous crash-and-burn rate of the marriages of people in their early 20s) this deluge has probably saved you thousands of dollars in payments on divorce lawyers' new yachts. At this point, you have a choice: Sit around all wet and weepy, counting the hunks floating by like driftwood, or call a monsoon a monsoon, pull out your hip-waders, and start making the trek to higher ground. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com
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