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Talk To The Hand

I like this adorable guy friend of a friend. He's single, smart, straight, and fun. He invited me to join him and his co-workers for drinks at 6:15 p.m. Eventually, he and I were the only ones left. I was going to go home, but he asked me to dinner, then after-dinner drinks, and he finally took me to a little park where we sat on a bench and talked until 3:15 a.m. I kept waiting for him to touch me, kiss me...something! Nothing happened. Finally, he drove me home. At my place, there was that good night moment in the car: He turned to me, reached over...and shook my hand! Arrrrrggh! Okay, so I didn't expect the evening to end between the sheets, but a nip of lip would have been nice. Way back in high school, there was all this emphasis on girls learning to say no. What do we have to do now -- learn how to beg?

--Shaken, Not Stirred

HE SHOOK YOUR HAND GOOD NIGHT?! This guy needs to get his priorities in order: Is he looking for a girlfriend or a vote? Presumably, you're confused because your nine-hour conversation with him went beyond campaign promises, political strategy, and the meaning of "compassionate conservatism" ("We feel your pain, but we ain't gonna do jack about it").

It should be safe to assume that a guy who extends cocktail hour into a date-athalon will make a move on you -- a move he doesn't use in bidding farewell to his paunchy old boss. It should be safe, but it isn't.

Perhaps there's some perfectly reasonable explanation for this guy's slight of hand. I have no idea what it might be, but if I twirl around until I hallucinate, maybe it will come to me. But first, allow me to present an unreasonable explanation: The lingering presence of other women. Unreasonable women. These women fall into two categories: those whose need for maintenance rivals that of the International Space Station, and those with the uncanny ability to drop the term "the patriarchy" into any sentence, including a request for the local weather.

Such women might be long gone from a guy's day-to-day existence, but their lessons are like acid reflux. The moment the guy contemplates even kissing a new girl, his old life in the land of high-maintenance flashes before his eyes and stops him cold. (Those pesky abstinence advocates have their strategy all wrong: Just make a guy listen to a few 20-page dissertations on "Why Don't You Love Me?" and premarital sex will seem a little less fun than a deluxe colonoscopy.)

If a high-maintenance woman didn't get to your right-hand man, it was probably one of those "wymyn" with legs furrier than a toilet seat cover. Modeling themselves on uber-victim Andrea Dworkin, they specialize in lecturing lost boys about what women want: men who model their sexual aggression on that of a petunia. (They neglect to mention that it's only "wymyn" like them who want men like that.)

As with land that's over-farmed, misguided men can be reclaimed over time. If you still want this Palm Pilot, hang out with him often enough to show him who you are (and who you are not). Eventually, he might find himself in the position to heat up the men's locker room...and not just by accidentally igniting a cloud of Desenex.

Copyright ©2001, Amy Alkon, from her syndicated column, Ask The Advice Goddess, which appears in 60 papers across the U.S. and Canada. All rights reserved.