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The end of daze and ’Tater nadir

Q: Five years ago, I found the hippie chick of my dreams practically passed out from the heat on a grassy knoll outside a concert. I nursed her back to health and became her closest friend and part-time sex partner. After she went away for a few months, I realized that I loved her. When she returned from her trip, she started spending all her free time hitting the bars with her older brother's friends. The only time I get to see her is at work. Although she assures me that she loves me, I feel as though I'm not needed anymore. I've asked her if we could get together and declare ourselves a couple, but she says that she doesn't want to be "claimed." Now she is "friends" with another guy and tells me that I cannot show her any affection when he is around. I just wish that she could tell me how she really feels because not telling me hurts deeper than any words. —Desperately Seeking Her Love

A: Although your hippie chicklet has yet to pawn her toe rings to advertise the bad news in between "Goddess Bless" and "Mean People Suck" on the rear bumper of the next space shuttle, she hasn't exactly been secretive about the way she feels. The communication problem here is yours. Some weekend, while you were sleeping, your ego must have sneaked out to Radio Shack and shoplifted a build-it-yourself force field. Your handy Tandy technology lets you hear "she loves me" loud and clear, while tuning out the rather unpalatable continuation of the sentence, "like a puppy." Unfortunately, your patchouli princess is too busy running after the wolves to scratch you behind the ears (or anywhere else you might have an itch), although she does make a showing whenever her presence in yours coincides with a biweekly paycheck. Your suggestion that you and she couple up went over like an offer of a barium enema: "Ooh ... don't mind if I ... don't." As a grand finale, you were cordially commanded to do your best impression of a eunuch whenever her new "friend" comes around. What exactly are you waiting for, a tie-dyed invitation begging you to evaporate? The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind (and just about everywhere else): The summer of love is way over.

Q: I have been seeing my boyfriend for seven years, and I'm sick to my stomach about it. We don't live together and he refuses to discuss marriage or commitment. We usually see each other only one weekend night and talk on the phone throughout the week. I love him, but I'm bothered that he isn't there for me emotionally, that he cannot get an erection and that he keeps me separate from his family and excludes me from all family gatherings. I have broken it off twice with him, hoping that he would make a commitment. What should I do, date this guy forever, when there is no light at the end of the tunnel? —Gloomy

A: I've always had a fondness for junk food, balanced by a fondness for having a butt not quite big enough to carry bus posters. One day, I was at the supermarket when a gleaming green can of "Amazing Taste/FAT FREE Pringles" caught my eye. "Take me home, baby," it power-flirted. I grabbed it and held it and wouldn't let it go, although the cashier managed to wrestle it from my hands just long enough to scan the price. Consumed with lust, I raced to my car and stripped the lid from my Pringles. After I'd mowed through about 10 chips, a fingernail-sized insignia on the bottom left of the can caught my eye: "Made with Olean brand fat-free cooking oil." Uh, oh. I twisted the can around, discovering what looked like a cigarette pack warning: "This product contains Olestra. Olestra may cause abdominal cramping and loose stools..." I'll put this as politely as possible: They were right. The morning after, I called the 1-800-Pringles hotline to complain. Their corporate spokesbunny suggested that I was "mistaken" that Pringles was the culprit, causing me to jam several fingers and bruise my forehead when I tried to dive into the phone and throttle her. Like the Pringles people, you need a lesson in labeling. Just because you've spent seven years trying to yank a commitment out of a man doesn't mean he's your boyfriend. Instead, call him what he is: A man you see from time to time who can't get it up and won't let you into his life. Since that doesn't work for you, you should do with Boyfriend Lite what I did with my can of Abdominal Agony/FAT FREE Pringles: Toss it and look for a replacement that doesn't send you sprinting for the porcelain throne. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com

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