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Putting on the Grits

I have a fantastic new girlfriend. I could really see having a future with her. She says she feels the same. There's just one problem: She's in a rock group, and they're recording an album. I know her music means a lot to her, but I worry that her career will overtake our relationship. Am I wrong to feel this way? What can I do to keep the relationship alive? --Worried Boyfriend

Hollywood is just crammed with aspiring movie idols and rock legends. They're called waitresses. If every one of them made it big overnight, the hostess at the Polo Lounge would take Steven Spielberg and David Geffen to their table, then tell them, "When you're ready, go help yourself to whatever's still left in the fridge." Sooner or later, all the moguls would starve to death.

Sure, your girlfriend might leave you for some rock stud if she makes it big -- just as she might leave you for some busboy or parking attendant if she makes it small. There's really no telling what her future holds -- except that it's unlikely to be you if you sit around quaking with fear that you're going to get the silver stiletto-heeled boot. Instead, turn to the wisdom of the underappreciated, late-20th-century philosopher, Cyndi Lauper: "Girls just want to have fun."

OK, so Cyndi's no Kierkegaard, but she's right. Sure, it's tempting to grab your girlfriend's ankle and hang on with the death grip you'd use to save yourself from going over Niagara Falls. You really couldn't do anything dumber. And why go to the trouble? Just have a good time with her today, and there's a very good chance she'll agree to whatever good time you're proposing for tomorrow. No, this is not your cue to start memorizing The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Fun. Actually, there's nothing quite as unfun as a guy working overtime at being fun. Luckily, your girlfriend already seems to find you at least amusing -- unless she's only with you for your material merits; perhaps your stunning, 1992 primer-gray Hyundai with the duct-taped back bumper?

Now, don't be too quick to pat yourself on the back for being a one-man Disneyland. It's actually the two of you, having fun together, right then and there -- not huddling together to ponder the philosophical implications of the fun you might have in years to come. In other words, stop worrying about your future as a couple, and you might come to have one. Just move into the moment, do a lot of living while you're there, and hire an expert to remove the stains from the walls and the rugs.

There is one bit of future-think you might sneak into your in-the-moment fun -- how worried you are about the hernia you'll get from lugging around piles of her platinum records. (Outlandishly unrealistic votes of confidence are most convincing when disguised as medical issues.) Of course, your real worry, right now, is the hernia you're sure to get from pushing the entire band in their 1972 VW tour bus after their transmission falls out -- again. While you're supporting her ambitions, cultivate a few of your own. (A little something to live for in case she ditches you.) As a fringe benefit, you're more likely to be of extended interest to her if you have plans for your own future -- beyond picturing yourself weeping uncontrollably as Spielberg and Geffen fight to the death for the last piece of leftover roast chicken -- when and if Hollywood suddenly goes all stars/no slaves.

An Unfair to Remember

My boyfriend messed around with a girl when we broke up briefly a while back. Yesterday, I found a letter from her, dated five days ago, that said stuff like: "I had fun the other night," "I love you, too," and "Do you want to be with me or with her?" I packed his things and kicked him out. Every time I call he acts like nothing's wrong, so I yell at him. Now he won't answer my calls. What can I do?--Crushed

Look down at your feet. Do you notice a boyfriend throwing himself at them, begging for forgiveness? If not, this girl's "I love you, too" probably didn't come in response to his "You've got a big green thing stuck between your teeth." Lucky for him, he had that letter to do his dirty work. Where did you find it, accidentally taped to your mirror?

Unfortunately, redialing him until your fingers bleed won't make him realize he's made a terrible mistake. You might, however, come to that conclusion about yourself -- and avoid repeating it in the future. Just take your eyes off your feet and look back at what you least want to see: all the neon signs screaming "bad boyfriend risk" long before he left you a breakup note penned by an unwitting third party.

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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