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Courting Trouble : Her Side : He says, 'I'll call you--and doesn't until three weeks later. She says, 'Pick me up at 7'--and isn't ready until 9. Tactical errors in the Game of Love? You betcha--which brings us to today's lesson: The Mistakes Men an Women Make When They Go Courtin'.

March 23, 1994|STEPHANIE MILLER | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES; Miller is a talk show host on KFI 640

Familiarity breeds contempt: Most men move into that inevitable part of the relationship way too early. You know, that "Hygiene Takes a Holiday" part when really cheap cologne replaces bathing, and they feel free to burp and scratch at random. Not to mention cut their toenails in your bed, impaling you with those little flying missiles.

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Dating faux pas: OK, ready guys? Listen carefully. The Sports Illustrated blooper tape and a Hungry Man dinner that you make us cook . . . is not a good date. Anything that somehow includes us doing your laundry . . . is not a good date. Taking us to see any movie where more than 10 guys get kicked in the head or the "F-word" is said more than 150 times . . . is not a good date. Basically, any movie that has a man in it who has arms bigger than my waist.

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Memory lapses: Some men forget plans entirely or forget to call (or wait two weeks to call--do you know how long this is in Girl Time? Roughly 40 years). Or sometimes they just forget little things, such as birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine's Day, other wives, children in other states, their prison records. . . .

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Fear of commitment: When a guy mentions before the appetizers are served on your first date that he's not interested in marriage or kids, that's a tiny warning sign. When a guy considers leaving a pair of socks at your house a major commitment, that's another little ringy-dingy. When he drops that ever-so-special, "I need my space," run for the hills. That's Guy Language for "I'm going to start trawling for other women now, OK, honey?"

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Trawling for other women: Oh, sure, it starts with that cute little swivel-neck motion--the one that resembles the Garfield in your car window--when there's any attractive woman within 100 yards. But it's only a matter of time before you find another woman's Barbie-sized lingerie in your bed. I call it the Billy Joel Complex. He wrote, "I Love You Just the Way You Are" for his first wife, then dumped her for Christie Brinkley. Thank you, Piano Man.

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Cheapness: You know the drill. You get him a leather jacket for his birthday, he gets you a Ronco nose hair trimmer.

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Bad opening lines: "I'm hung like a yak" is, contrary to popular belief, not a good one. Neither is: "Hey, baby, I'm going to find your G-spot!" Whenever a guy says that to me, I'm always tempted to respond: "What are you, Lewis and Clark? I don't think so, Skippy." I mean, you know how men will never stop to ask for directions anywhere.

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Criticizing a woman's clothes or body: OK, guys, this will be the most important advice you ever get. Ready? There is no other answer but 'No' to the time-honored Girl Question: "Honey, do I look fat in this dress?"

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Things to avoid talking about for more than two hours straight on the first date: Yourself (fascinating as it may be to you), your mother, your car, any sport, any old girlfriend, your date's resemblance to your dead wife.

Sometimes I feel like a relationship flight attendant: "Will you be checking that baggage or is that a carry-on? Should there be a sudden change of affection during the flight, your record albums and furniture will drop from the overhead compartment. . . . Please grasp them and get out."

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Size does matter: When it comes to egos, we like them smaller. Why is it that you're never happy until we sound like a cross between Lassie, the Exorcist and Curly of the Three Stooges, when what we normally feel like yelling is simply: "Ow, you're on my hair!"

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