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March 30, 2006 Edition

Dear Max,

Recently I was reacquainted with a person from the past. A few years back the two of us had a great email rapport and seemed to share a similar sense of humor. We went on a few dates but nothing ever really came of it. We tried to meet up last Friday night but it just wasn’t happening. However, on Sunday I get an email asking me how my “date” was Saturday night. My question is should I be concerned? I was on a date Saturday, however I don’t believe this person had anyway of knowing. Nor was it something I was hiding. Why would they ask me? Would they not assume it placed me in an awkward position? Isn’t that peculiar? Also, is it creepy of me to be semi-covert in an effort to unravel this mystery?

Kind & Genuine Guy

Dear K&GG,

Your question is really 17 questions, so we’ll just address the ones that offer the best opportunity for humorous double-entendres. Getting reacquainted with people from the past usually isn’t pleasant, despite what psychics and Shirley Maclaine would have you believe. They mostly just follow you around whining about how outrageous the price of everything has become. Also beware of e-mail rapport, even of the “great” variety. I was playing licky-face back and forth via IM for months with “HotHaunches1295.” Turned out to be a sweaty, 10-year-old bulldog. And it was a *guy* no less. But you have given me two strong clues about the bubbling cauldron of passion between you and your possessive-pain-in-the-ass-in-waiting: “nothing ever really came of it” and “it just wasn’t happening.” Why worry about the reaction of someone who means so little to you? Things aren’t working with her, so you can’t date anyone else? There’s a term for that – marriage. You need to consider the tone – is it possible she was just funnin’? But some say there’s always truth in kidding. In which case, you should tell her it sure beat the hell out of Friday. By the way, when you Ask Max, you abandon all hope of being covert, semi or otherwise. We got more hits than George Michael – and *way* fewer indecency misdemeanors.

Dear Max:

How long do you give someone to return a phone call or emails before you stop considering them a friend?

Burned and Unreturned

Dear B&U,

I think to fully answer your query, we need to define “friend.” You can’t define something as elaborate and complicated as friendship with a single designation. Like an onion, which by the way you should never eat because they taste terrible and are poisonous for canines, a friendship has many layers. In fact, that’s most often why a man makes friends with a woman – to layer. But I think you have to accept people as they are and not as you wish they were. Judging by your nom de plume, I think you are talking about someone at the outer edges of planet friendship — like the *peel* of the onion. You’re not supposed to get all teary-eyed until you hit the deeper layers. But nobody is perfect. You just have to decide if they give you enough joy (or treats) to warrant their sometimes rude habit of not returning a call, or email. Or not playing fetch enough. If it’s not balanced, forget them and move on to the people who *do* give you enough treats to deal with their bad habits. My mom gets annoyed when I sniff around instead of doing my business on cold mornings and she yells at me when I chew through the trash (unfair—finders keepers). But she gives me treats, makes up songs about me, and throws my toys till her arm goes numb. In the end, the good far outweighs the bad. Even though she *never* returns my emails either.

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