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Ms. Anthropy

An old joke goes: What does a lesbian bring with her on the second date? A U-Haul. For some reason, when women date women, commitments and promises often fly before the first date ends. Enter long-distance Internet girl: She and I e-mailed and phoned for months before she invited me to visit. When I did, we hit it off. We had really good sex all weekend, but also some good cuddly time together. It was about as good a weekend as I could ask for, and I left happy to know that she was eager for me to visit again. But, since then, every time I speak with her, the words "I love you" are on the tip of my tongue. Of course, for us to have a relationship, one of us would have to rent that dreaded U-Haul and truck it out to a different state. Should I tell her I love her and see what happens, or should I hold off?

--Torn

PEOPLE ARE annoying. All people. They smell bad, they make smacking noises when they chew, they say "nucular" instead of "nuclear." Some floss in public. Many use public places as forums to shout about where they itch and why: Recently, I was in the captive audience of a woman who found an airport lounge slumped with weary travelers the perfect place to have a high-decibel cellular conversation about her use of Monistat. I was dying to scream out, "Did you have an abortion, too!?" "Was it one-day or three-day Monistat!?" "How's your spastic colon!?"

With six billion annoying people crowding the planet, it's no surprise that most of the world spends much of their time feeling annoyed with the rest of the world; that is, with the temporary exception of people like you, who have fallen in "wuv." Falling in wuv is my term for that first blush of getting together with someone; that time when Hallmark clichés bob around you like ocean debris and tiny tsunamis of lust-dorphins course through your veins, making your blood a little too rich for your blood.

Falling in wuv (or love, for those who are having a hard time keeping their heads above the Hallmark) is different than loving someone. Falling in love is something that happens to you. Loving someone is something you choose to do. Falling in love is actually quite similar to being cracked on the head by a flowerpot falling off a ledge. You suffer, say...a slight concussion and some double vision. In your stupor, you take a little side trip on the white horse of optimism; a detour from your previously scheduled journey on the limping nag of reality.

Wipe that tulip off your forehead and listen up. As tempting as it is to line up your love affair behind the romantic immortals -- you know...Rhett and Scarlett...excuse me, Scarlett and Melanie, Betty and Veronica, Bess and George (George was the closet butchie in Nancy Drew); you'd best wait until you're a little more coherent to start spewing sonnets; say, six months down the road. In the mean time, just be. Visit, have fun together. By spring, you should know whether you love her enough to find her charming if and when she makes plaque excavation a public affair. If you do, and if she remains equally charmed by your annoying qualities, flip for who U-Hauls where.

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.