Splash Gordon 

Q: My boyfriend of nine years (we’ve lived together for two years) often isn't the neatest when he urinates. He frequently leaves droplets on the ceramic lip of the toilet and tracks down the outer sides of the bowl. I think this is gross and completely uncalled-for. When I confronted him about his incredible breach of civility, he said, "If I were a puppy you would think it was cute." I told him that if he were a puppy the animal rights people would put me in jail because I would torture and kill him. I've tried everything — withholding sex and telling our friends about it; but he'll shape up for a little while and that's it. Is this just a Y-chromosome thing? Is he marking territory like a wild uncouth animal? What can I do? —Pee-eeved

A: It's nice that you have a hobby, even though it is crawling around the bowl looking for evidence of man's excretory inferiority. But, if you've resorted to withholding sex and trying to publicly humiliate your aim-less one, your problem isn't one that can be solved by installing French maid software on his hard drive or attaching Yosemite Sam splash guards around the bowl. Were he a broad-based civility-breacher, you'd have more of a case. But, you aren't complaining that he shouts "Yo, food broad" to flag down the waitress, pinches your mother's rump, or pulls small bugs out of his hair and eats them. He's simply got a little schwing in his stream. Annoying? Way. Icky? Uh-huh. Still, your seething response says that you're tea-leaf-reading the tracks down the bowl all wrong. Your puppy isn't lifting his leg lamely because he lacks concern for you or your needs. In fact, it sounds as if he made an effort to improve his aim whenever your nagging (or his humiliation and humplessness) reached a fever pitch. Tragically, he lacks your bowl-centricism; so, in the long run, he's unable to retain either his water or the notion that he'd better shoot straight ... or else. You, on the other hand, lack his sense of humor and the notion that maybe your energy would be better spent on world hunger, world peace, or spreading the gas and life-saving rumor that people who drive cruise-ship-sized SUVs probably have small penises. Despite my disdain for any woman who uses sex as a weapon, potential solutions to your problem keep trickling into my head. Here goes: Build him his own bathroom, complete with a porcelain throne the size of a lap pool. Erect an outhouse in the backyard. Hire a live-in maid. Live separately.

Suggest that he swab down the bowl after use and fall on the floor and pretend to have seizures when he forgets. Refuse to feed him anything other than dry toast (a little variation on your preferred forms of boyfriend-torture). And finally ... you could dump him and drag a bulls-eye off to the local bar so you can test-drive any man who claims that he can score a three-point shot without grazing the rim. As you can see, you're a woman with options — one who needn't suffer even one more day with the urinary Jackson Pollock. Then again, if toilet training is the only area your man falls short in ... well, let's just say you'd be wise to uncross your legs, start bragging to his friends about his accomplishments, and relax your iron grip on the bowl.

Q: I have a male friend who has terrible table manners, and I mean terrible. He talks with his mouth full, uses his hands when silverware would be appropriate, and blows his nose while we are eating. I'd hate to exclude him when my friends and I eat out, but everyone feels this way about him. When I make indirect references to his table manners, he doesn't seem to get it. I don't want to hurt his feelings. Short of telling him directly, what can I do to get him to clean up his act? —Boored Silly

A: Subtle hints, like throwing fistfuls of salad at him whenever he starts pushing peas around his plate with his snout, will leave you and your friends thumbing through the paper in search of restaurants that lack electricity. Somebody's got to tell him. That's the bad news. The good news is that it doesn't have to be you. Well, not really. An anonymous note will get your message across while conserving his dignity and preserving your friendship. Either write one yourself, or turn to CoWorkerHints.com. For $9.95, they'll send a kind but comprehensive anonymous letter (marked personal and confidential on the envelope). They cover a wide range of offenses, from bad breath and body odor to "Interrupts Others' Work With Small Talk" and "Nose and Ear Hair, Men." My personal favorite is "Facial Hair, Women" — the perfect pre-Christmas gift for girls who need to be told that it's time to take a machete to the mustache. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com

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