The queen of mean 

Q: In my past relationships, all my boyfriends treated me like dirt and I put up with it. In my current relationship, my boyfriend of eight months is the victim. I treat him terribly. I'm hurtful, mean, negative and selfish. I tell him how he compares to my exes. He doesn't deserve this. He is sexy, sweet, caring — everything I want in a man. I should be making him feel on top of the world, which is how he makes me feel. I do love him very much. I just don't seem able to show it. If I were him, I would dump me and move on. Still, that's not what I want him to do. Losing him is my worst fear. He's a sweetheart, and deserves a princess. Instead, he's got me — the witch. How can I mend my evil ways? —Mean and Meaner

A: Why spread the love when you can spread the displaced rage? When someone steps on your foot, wait a week and kick an old lady in the shins. The next time your waitress forgets your Coke, lob mashed potatoes at the busboy. And when some flake in a SUV runs you off the road (without interrupting her conference call), speed home and scream obscenities at your neighbor's parked car. Do save a few undeserved harsh words for your kickball in boyfriend's clothing. Unlike you and the boyfriends who came before him, he doesn't think you deserve to be treated like something somebody should wipe off the bottom of their shoe. In your eyes, this qualifies him for turd-hood, which includes frequent peeks at the ugly hairball made of all your undigested old boyfriends, plus other exciting fringe detriments. Nice. Keep up the good work and you might scare him off before he wises up and scampers away of his own accord. Either way, you won't have to have a real relationship — the kind where you eventually let the other person in on exactly how cracker-crumb-sized you sometimes feel. The big mystery is why he's still around. Maybe he's always wanted a girl just like mean old Mom. (Some guys do get off on a nice, stern reprimand.) Perhaps this is his star-turn as a doormat. Or, maybe he's crossing his fingers that you'll retire your broom sometime soon, or at least trade it in for something with four doors and a couple of air bags. Forget his reasons. You've got work to do. First on the agenda is renovating your self-image, which is hovering around "hate-me-I-suck." Unfortunately, nobody makes a fast-acting self-loathing remover, so you're going to have to sand it off one day at a time. In the mean time, inform your boyfriend of your intention to pull your fangs and file down your claws, and ask him to remind you when they're in need of a trim. Finally, start getting nice the same way you got mean and meaner: By behaving that way repeatedly. This requires that you put your yapper on five-second delay, and follow my top two rules of the road for relationships: 1. When something's on your mind, reveal it right away. 2. Always act and speak to the other person with love. Put these two together, and you should find yourself cheerfully revealing grievances galore without reducing the alleged aggriever to a small handful of charred ground meat ... and yet another in a long line of displaced ex-boyfriends.

Single and feeling bad that you aren't dating quite as much as you should be? Read on.

Telephonics for dummies: "I'm out to dinner with this woman. She had just finished spilling her guts about her difficult relationship with her father, and I was opening up to her about my dad. I was feeling good ... an intimacy was developing ... when her butt started ringing. She whirled around, grabbed her cell phone, and started making a date with another guy. She even left the restaurant to get a better connection. A month later, out of the blue, she called and left the message, 'It's me ... just wanted to say hi. OK, bye.' Bye is right. I ignored the call."

Eat, drink, and be scary: "My date took me to a classy Italian restaurant where we were seated at a small table between two other couples. At one point, he commented on how good everybody's food looked, then reached over and ate off their plates uninvited. Needless to say, I went home alone."

Diplomatic corpse: "I was on a first date with a handsome, interesting foreign guy. Over drinks, he asked me about my job. Well, I worked for the immigration service then, and I told him about this guy we had deported the week before. My date got very quiet, then said, 'That was my dad.' Short date."

Can you top these? Scare me with your story. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com

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