First of all, I have turned off the comments thing because of the abomination of spamification lately. I have zero technical ability, so can’t understand how to make that Type Pad Key thing work, and just reading about MT’s spam filtering thing made my brain go “La la la, what’s for dinner?” I am, after all, a girl who can’t program her VCR (remember them?). So you’ll have to email me:, if you can help this helpless (and possibly hopeless) girl. Note to Harry: I know you’re holding out on me, which a fellow hooligan should never do.

And now, for the question of the week. It’s such a good one that I’m going to have to call in a panel of experts to help. Any girl over the age of 16 will have valuable advice and insights, so email me & I’ll pass it on. Extra points if you have technical advice AND dating advice.

Why do I bother dating or think about dating, when men come from a whole different plane of existence? Why do I freak myself out about dating, instead of just going with the flow and not stressing?

– Kathleen

Dear Kathleen,

You don’t freak yourself out about dating, society does. Everywhere a girl looks, there are articles on how it’s more likely to be struck by lightning than get married over the age of 35, books like “The Rules” (how I loved it when the author got divorced), and fashion magazines with airbrushed, nipped’n’tucked fake women*. We are supposed to want to be the fake women, and fear being unmarried. Really, have things changed much since the days of Jane Austen (other than plastic surgery)?

The very name “spinster” compared to “bachelor” tells a girl that being single is undesirable for a woman, unless she’s in some bachelor’s pad. Why isn’t there a fabulous word for the fabulous single girl? I know Bridget Jones tried to foist “singleton” on us, but it just doesn’t have that ring of carefree irresponsibility. As a linguist, you’d think I could come up with something good. Is “freegirl” too Lynyrd Skynyrd?

I’ve been married, and I’ve been single. If you’re single, you can see your friends any time you want. You don’t have to apologize or explain. You won’t alienate them by forcing them to wear hideous bridesmaid dresses. No-one expects you to reproduce, or explain why you haven’t. Everything in your apartment is the way you like it, and the way you left it. It’s all your way, all the time. What’s not to love?

On the other hand, loneliness sucks, and we’ve been trained to believe in the soul mate (one of the worst self-esteem destroyers of the new millennium) and that having a man makes a woman whole, or more worthy than she is on her own. I have to say that I have had my fair share of masculine attention over the years, and never more so than when I’ve given up on them, generally and personally. It really does seem that once you’ve decided you don’t need them, they get all interested.

So my advice is to try not to stress on it. With your boundless freedom, do what interests you and what makes you happy. You don’t need some guy to validate your existence. My guess is that if you’re strong and happy and unconcerned about what guys think, they’ll find you as irresistible as you truly are. And if worse comes to worse, you’ll be happy by yourself and being yourself.

*Apparently, we now need to worry about what we look like everywhere. Used to be, men were so happy to be invited to the party, they didn’t notice the decor.