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A girl and her dud-muffin

Q: My boyfriend and I are in our early 20s. I am practical about things while he is more laid-back, and it's causing arguments. He only works part time. He says he wants to be a UPS driver so he can make more money, but he doesn't have the license for it because he hasn't gotten it together to take the test. His motto is "don't rush me." He is also in a band. When he gets his paycheck, he buys things for the band and doesn't have any cash for the rest of the week. I am always the one paying for food. My father warns that I will be supporting him for the rest of our lives. On a positive note, my boyfriend has been my emotional support system for two years. Still, I am not sure if I want to marry a guy who doesn't have much motivation, especially since I will be making $40,000 after I get my bachelor’s degree. —Pragmatic

A: Every now and then, the average cow must wish it were a bicycle ... cruising the open roads, streamers flying, far from the looming shadow of the slaughterhouse. Sadly, it cannot escape its essential cowness. A cow by any other name will never be a Schwinn. Although the odds on your boyfriend becoming a grownup at some point are better than those for a cow becoming a bicycle, they aren't much better. Chances are, your boyfriend will always be what he is now — a large child who shaves. This will leave you in the same position you're in right now — that of full-time mom and roadie. Unfortunately, trying to heave Musician Boy's lazy butt off the couch doesn't pay anywhere near as well as rolling some rock star's drums off the stage. In return, you do get "emotional support" — then again, that's something you can get from a boyfriend who earns a living ... once you ditch the one who doesn't. Your immediate problem is the uneven distribution of wealth — yours — to the conglomerate that owns your local supermarket. As a temporary solution, you could make your boy-child work for his weekly beer-and-salami allowance — mow the lawn, wash the baseboards, polish the stainless steel. Then again, you might just leave the refrigerator empty for a week. Go out alone or with friends when you get hungry, and let him gnaw on his guitar pick. In the long run, father knows best. If you'd like a partner who pulls his own weight, you're liking the wrong guy. Right now, slackermusicianboy might look kinda cute, wandering around in torn overalls with Metallica CD's hanging out of his back pocket, scavenging ham sandwiches while he puts what money he earns into his band. But, once you and he hit your early 40s, you'll find yourself hard-pressed to dredge up even crumbs of cuteness from this kind of thing ... especially if you're still financing it.

Q: After my wife bailed, and I was rejected in a half-dozen efforts I made to find a new mate, I came up with a dating policy, which I call "My Rule Of One." I will allow myself only one rejection from a girl. After one, I take a walk. Is this a wise policy? —One man, one vote

A: Get lost. (Heh, heh ... just kidding.) If you're like movie studs Jude Law, and Taye Diggs, you often find yourself fending off the unwanted advances of strange women. If you're like most regular guys, you often find yourself fending off the advance of unwanted hairs in strange places. Assuming that being harassed by beautiful fans while you're trying to stand around looking incognito isn't a big problem for you; your Rule Of One is one dumb idea. There are two reasons women will refuse to go out with you:

• They're busy doing something that precludes them from being with you.

• They'd like to be busy doing something that precludes them from being with you.

You won't know which reason it is without giving a girl a bit more of a chance. This doesn't mean lying down and letting her wipe her spiked heels all over your hairy back, but revising your Rule Of One to a Rule Of Three. If, on your third attempt, a girl doesn't say yes or at least attempt to redirect your invitation to another day, consider yourself rejected. Instead of playing it safe, ask out a lot of women and give them all a few chances to say yes. This won't decrease the foot traffic on your ego, but it will increase your Odds Of One — the odds that one or more women will go out on one or more dates with you.

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