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All Is Not Sauced

I had Sunday brunch plans with a guy I've been dating for a couple weeks. It turned out he'd had too much to drink at a wedding the night before, and he called me hours after he was supposed to be at my place to pick me up. He did apologize for sleeping in, and later e-mailed to apologize again, but the damage was done: I'd been stood up! I like him, but I told him he showed a lack of respect for my feelings and my time, and I asked how he planned to make it up to me. Should I give him a second chance? If so, under what conditions?--Dissed Off

What do you do while unconscious? Cane chairs? Regrout your bathroom? Make replicas of washed-up TV stars out of vegetable peel? Unfortunately, driving to a date while unconscious is frowned on by societies everywhere -- even in Italy, where traffic signs function as suggestions.

Of course, this is a moot point, since the man you've been dating appears incapable of adhering to a schedule while sprawled facedown in a pool of drool in front of his door. Sadly, your brunch appointment just wasn't the cold blast in the face from the garden hose he needed to get to your place on time. Still, maybe you shouldn't be so quick to read lack of consciousness as lack of respect. There's standing somebody up -- intentionally flashing them the big "whatever!" about plans you had -- and misunderstanding somebody up: wanting to come and meaning to come but being utterly incapable of doing so (say, because you haven't finished using your face to take a permanent impression of your Astroturf welcome mat).

The guy got tanked; he slept in; he's sorry. Not only that, he said so twice -- the second time, in writing. What do you want, a signed proclamation of apology from Kofi Annan? What matters now is figuring out whether his night of champagne dialysis was a one-time, wedding-celebratory binge ("'Til death do us party, man!"), or whether he starts his day by brushing his teeth with beer. That's something you'll have to figure out over time -- that is, if he isn't opposed to spending it with a woman who accepts apologies with all the graciousness of Scarlett O'Hara with a bad case of PMS.

Sure, maybe he was unwise to schedule a date at the butt crack of dawn the day after a big party. But, what does this say about him? Sometimes, he's a poor planner? Wooo, there's a major character flaw! Unless men you date wear long white robes with big white wings on the back, chances are, they're human, and prone to making mistakes. Accepting this might help you avoid ditching somebody you shouldn't.

A woman I was hiring to give me French lessons stood me up, not once, but twice, before I ever saw her face. Each time, she called to apologize, and I could tell from the distress in her voice that she didn't take no-showing lightly, or make a habit of it (naturally, I had to be the exception). Four years later, I speak French like a native (of Cleveland, although that isn't her fault), and she's one of my closest friends -- and, it turns out, somebody who'd cut through a burning building to keep an appointment. I'm not advising you to be a pushover, but to apply common sense when deciding whether somebody's doing you dirt -- starting with changing your definition of being stood up to include the caveat that the guilty party has to be capable of standing at the time.

The Naked and the Brain-Dead

I asked my boyfriend of two years about his last girlfriend, and whether they had a lot of sex, and he answered, "Yeah, I guess we did." I know it's my fault for asking, but now it's in my head, and it hurts. How can I put this behind me?--Sex-cruciating

Are you a girlfriend or a historian? Assuming you aren't getting paid for your jolly jaunts into the past, why not focus on getting naked with your boyfriend in the present? If you aren't obsessing about his ex-girlfriend the whole time, chances are his mind won't wander in her direction either. When his ex does jump into your head, don't just sit there and stare at her. Force your thoughts onto something else, anything else, until she fades away. If you must replay dirty pictures in your mind, at least cast yourself as the star. For future reference: Forgetting is good; never knowing is better. For now, remember that your boyfriend's spent the past two years with you, not her, and probably not by accident. You can obsess over lots of things that will sow seeds of discontent in your relationship, but why? Discontent will spring up on its own. You needn't dump Miracle-Gro on it.

Copyright 2004, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com)

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