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Remembrance Of Cheese Grated Past

My boyfriend is ready to give up on our relationship because I lied to him about something really dumb: He wanted me to get rid of some things, like pictures of any guys or anything that would remind me of the past. I told him that I had already thrown the stuff out. But, I actually did it the very next morning. He says he can't believe anything I say anymore. We were going to get engaged; now, the thing I wanted most--to spend my life with him--isn't going to happen. How can I convince him that I will never lie to him again?

--Heartbroken Liar

AT CHRISTIE's recent auction of Marilyn Monroe's belongings, Marilyn's plastic Kleenex box cover and matching plastic cup raked in a tidy $6,325. Her colander, cheese grater and a few other kitchen utensils scored an even tidier $25,300. Her sofa (with a broken leg) went for $9,200. On the surface, this event was merely an obscenely-overpriced garage sale. But, to the savvy investor, it was a clarion call to get in on the ground floor of the high-yield investment of the future: Celebrity Snot. That's right, friends. Get your hot little hands on Jack Nicholson's used Kleenex, put it up for sale on Amazon Auctions or E-Bay, and you could be mere boogers away from a new yacht!

Looking even further into the future...yesterday's ex-boyfriend could be tomorrow's Jack Nicholson. You never know. But, that's just the commercial reason to hold onto the stuff of past relationships. On a more personal level, getting rid of it represents revising yourself and your dirty, dirty past and becoming a cardboard cutout of The Sainted Wife. As Dalma Heyn writes in her insightful book, "Marriage Shock: The Transformation Of Women Into Wives," "Isn't this the man she's supposed to be letting into her innermost heart and soul? And doesn't he have a sexual past, as rich and tumultuous as hers?" (Of course, I am perhaps unfairly leaping to the conclusion that your romantic souvenirs were packed away in some shoebox somewhere; not on display in Lucite cases complete with little engraved brass plaques, reading "Petrified remains of ham sandwich eaten by Billy on our first date" or "What's left of the bra Kevin tore off of me that night we almost burned a hole in the back seat of his Chevy.")

You might, with consistent truth-telling over time, convince your boyfriend that your forked tongue has been stitched back into one piece. But, if you continue digging a hole in who you really are in an effort to appease him, you'll eventually end up a mere anthill of your present self. Quick! Run after the garbageperson and see if he'll take the contents of some future celebrity's trash can in trade for your prom photos. In the meantime, I'll have a little one-on-one with the guys...

Do the math, boys. If all of you are having all this sex, you aren't doing it with The Uni-Slut. Girls Just Want To Have Fun, too...and we do. Take us, past and all, or take a hike. If you find the past threatening, go up the mountain and flagellate yourself until you're man enough to have a relationship with a real woman instead of your sainted fantasy of one. If you're really looking for something to put on an altar, buy yourself some dead celebrity's cheese grater or used snot rag and be done with it.

Copyright ©2000, Amy Alkon, from her syndicated column, Ask The Advice Goddess, which appears in 60 papers across the U.S. and Canada. All rights reserved.