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Margaret of Greenwich
The Margaret of Greenwich (R) Series
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Dear Margaret,

"My brother (19 and great looking) is a loser at picking up girls? What can I tell him?" Emily (New York City)

Dear Emily,

Advise your brother (1) To forget cutesy lines like “How tall are you?” even if this beats saying, “You have beautiful boobs.” (2) Women are shallow and first appearance counts. Dress neatly, be clean and courteous, and behave like a Boy Scout even if you were kicked out as a Cub. She also wants to hear that you can’t wait to get your first job and buy your first house. The best women want corn and commitment, not steak and flash. They intend to be home-makers, not whores.

Dear Margaret,

"What should you tell a lover who asks how many other lovers you had sex with? The truth, or what’s the best lie?" Marla (Salt Lake City)

Dear Marla,

Your question is probably the most feared except for “Have you been tested?” Most times the answer will be a lie. From men, because they don’t keep track, and from women, because they don’t want to seem a slut. If you’re thirty and have never married, the number will be higher (say, two partners a year for twelve years make twenty-four). But though being normal, such a number would seem slutty so your best response is, “I only count the best and including you that makes one.” If they insist on a more precise number, move on.

Dear Margaret.

"Will a man consider me a slut if we have sex on our first date?" Janelle (Dallas)

Dear Janelle,

That’s a hard one since it depends on your ages, what you know about him, and whether you’ve been drinking. If you’re both “old enough” and sober, and you’re sure that you can trust him, then (in my mind) it would be OK. Good reasons range from being horny to making it more likely that he’ll stick around. But it takes time to really know someone and, being naked and isolated, having sex makes you vulnerable. Before having sex, ask questions about himself and see if he listens when you share your feelings. There are better ways to learn about someone quickly than having sex. Yet, despite this, when the heart and glands battle the brain who can say which will win.

Dear Margaret,

“What’s the most important thing to be sure of before marrying someone?” Liz (London)

Dear Liz,

That’s a GREAT question. The most important thing to be sure of is that you know and like him. If your heart isn’t really in it, if you’re thinking of the divorce settlement before the bridal party, then he is NOT the guy for you. You’re just more entranced by the wedding than him.

 And it doesn’t matter even if you believe that it’s the right time because you’ve dated so long or because he’s a nice guy and wants to marry you. Especially, if when showering, you ask yourself: Why am I doing this?

Dear Margaret,

"If, after a first date, a man says, 'I'll call you,' what does he really mean?" (Ashley, California)

Dear Ashley,

It might mean either his intention to meet again, or his tactful way of brushing you off without saying, "We don't hit it off. Goodbye." If he hasn't called within a week and the date seemed to have gone well, he might be ill or out-of-town. So give him the benefit of the doubt and contact him. At the worst or if he doesn't respond, you know what to do: search for someone who deserves your love.

Dear Margaret,

"I'm 28 and unmarried. Should I worry?" (Elise, Atlanta)

Dear Elise,

That depends on whether you want to marry and how picky you are. Unmarried women tend either to not want to marry for a conscious or unconscious reason or be too picky. Like waiting for a man exactly their age who earns at least five times their salary and has exactly their interests. Look around, be flexible, and you'll find your dream. You might want to check the ratio of singles to married in different locales and consider moving. The world is a big place.

Dear Margaret,

"Is it normal to be nervous when a man asks you out?" (Emily, Iowa)

Dear Emily,

That depends. If you barely know him then you should be nervous, just as as you would be when meeting any stranger. The mind has a reptilian protective element engineered to keep you safe from threat, which a stranger could represent. But if you know him well, then your nervousness might indicate your hope for a close relationship, your vulnerability to him not liking you. But a relationship is a mutual decision and one that you must make too. Just keep in mind that it takes a long time to really know someone, and this holds true even after they are married.

Dear Margaret,

"I finally met a decent man (single, good job, attractive) but can't stomach how he eats. Do we have a chance?" (Marilyn, Ohio)

Dear Marilyn,

I'd be cautious. Part of loving is considering cute what others find obnoxious, and tolerating each other's hangups. This man fails on both counts. But, he might have been brought up in a less than genteel home so since everything else is OK about him I'd give him a chance. First, tell him how much you like him, and about one of your disliked habits (which everyone has). Then say how much his eating style grosses you out. He might be grateful and not angry. Possibly no one has told him and he might thank you, particularly if he cares for you too. This could be the start of a great relationship. And if he does blow up, you've learned quickly that he can't talk about things so consider yourself lucky and move on.

Dear Margaret,

"Why do some girls say they hate girls and have only male friends?" (Alison, Alabama)

Dear Alison,

"Guy girls" view all women as being rivals, even is she's a sixty-year-old nurse giving flu shots. These girls aren't to be envied. They may seem happy when things are going great with their boyfriend but what can they do when he dumps them? She  has no friends to cry to.

Dear Margaret,

"I want children but my boyfriend doesn't. What do you think?" (Claire, Idaho)

Dear Claire,

I'd worry about your relationship since whether to have children is a big issue for a couple. 'Yes' or 'no' for both is OK and possibly even 'maybe.' But if his attitude is definite, could you be happy with this decision down the road? Only you can decide.

Dear Margaret,

"Why do some women seem addicted to love?" (Ann, Ohio)

Dear Ann,

Some women fall in love repeatedly, going from one relationship to another. This is because they're not good at taking care of themselves when alone, which they hate. These women are strung out on love as strongly as if it were heroin. But both addictions are just temporary "highs."

Dear Margaret,

"When a girl says that her sex life is great, is it really?" (Darlene, Texas)

Dear Darlene,

No. Women who boast how great their sex life is are usually lying. Think about it. If your sex life was great, wouldn't you rather do it than talk about it. Most honest girls will tell you that they want sex more than they're getting it and are depressed, or that they're happily having sex once a week. Sex isn't an olympic sport no matter what some think.

Dear Margaret,

"Is it normal for a single woman to hate cooking?" (Terry, Wyoming)

Dear Terry,

Women have an odd relationship with food. They love to snack but hate what it does to their hips, and salads can't fill you like hot dogs. Women are supposed to live on berries and vegetables and yogurt and whole-grain bread but I know of no single woman who does.
Food can also make us feel incredibly guilty. It's just another thing that we do wrong besides not spending more time exercising and too much money on clothes that we don't need.
Moreover, it's painful to prepare a home-cooked meal for one. This, no matter now much time you spend shopping at the Farmer's Market for food that rots before you can eat it.
No, Terry, you're exceptionally normal and not crazy for hating cooking. But when you have a man over, just pretend like he expects.

Dear Margaret,

"Is it OK to flirt with someone that your friend is interested in?" (Lisa, Brooklyn)

Dear Lisa,

Destroying a friendship for a one-night stand isn't a good way to go. I would check your friend's level of interest in the boy first. If she really likes him, you should ask her to step aside. Even if you and the man do hit it off, remember that he's more likely to leave you eventually while a best female friend will be there for all your life.

Dear Margaret,

"How can I turn down a guy without hurting his feelings?" (Caroline, Alaska)

Dear Caroline,

There isn't any easy way since he'll feel hurt whatever you say. You can invent an imaginary fiancee or say that you're moving but it's hard to lie well unless you're an expert at doing so. An honest statement could be that you're not looking for a boyfriend at that (exact) moment. But be convincing so he won't become a near-stalker. Saying this would feel more comfortable than giving him a made-up phone number.

Dear Margaret,

"What's the truth about getting a Brazilian Wax?" (Ellen, Florida)

Dear Ellen,

That's a very good question. Most guys will say that they like the look but not be willing to risk it down there for themselves. Then there's the issue of you feeling comfortable looking like a ten-year-old. But, after deciding to have it done, you'll experience the following: lying on a bed in a small room, naked from the waist down; a woman's gloved fingers probing your hair with hot wax being spread nearly to your labia. Cloth is then pressed into the wax and yanked. The pain will be excruciating and repeated for more yanks. You'll feel relieved when it's over but anxiety when you see the droplets of blood. You'll have ingrown hairs for the next few weeks, and curse your boyfriend and society for what they ask women to tolerate. It's your decision.

Dear Margaret,

"My boyfriend wants to know why girls bitch so much. Are we bitches?" (Heather, Greenwich)

Dear Heather,

Girls don't bitch because they're unhappy. They bitch because it's fun. Griping is how we get rid of our frustrations without having to do anything about them. Now, some girls are whiners but the typical girl who bitches isn't a bitch. Nor does she want to use energy to change something. She's content, not miserable, and happy to be a girl.

Dear Margaret,

"What's the biggest lie that women tell women?" (Clarissa, Vermont)
Dear Clarissa,

Probably what they say about about their sex life, in trying to keep a fake front. If  a woman brags that she has sex with her boyfriend every night, the other women will say the same to not seem inadequate. But this won't happen with good friends since they don't lie about such things. Would you really want to have sex for hours as some women declare? Most honest women will say that they want more sex and would you lie about this?

Dear Margaret,

"What's the best technique for lying to your boyfriend?" (Amy, Chicago)

Dear Amy,

To lie effectively, you must believe in the lie. Practice what you'll say and keep it as close to the truth as possible.So if you'll state that you were in a particular restuarant, be sure that you know its atmosphere. Having said this, and apart from the occasional essential white lie ("You look great!"), lying is best avoided. Mostly because if they're needed in your relationship, your boyfriend is a loser and you'd best move on.

Dear Margaret,

"Do women ever admit to being happy?" (Dana, Illinois)

Dear Dana,

Only rarely will a woman say that her life turned out exactly as she dreamed, even if they are happy. Most women have times when they wonder what it would be like doing whatever: teaching English in Rio, or living in an Arizona-Utah border commune with a gorgeous husband and three sister-wives. While some do make a big change, the rest of us conclude that we're doing what is right for us though maybe not for every woman.

Dear Margaret,

"A guy has suggested that we be friends with benefits. Does this ever work?" (Melanie, Kansas)

Dear Melanie,

Not really, or at least not for women. It's like trying to fix your washing machine by watching YouTube which is a good idea in theory but one that hardly ever works out. Women tend to develop strong feelings after having sex. This might be a genetic joke tied to having babies that men don't have. So be his "friend" if you must but be warned: you'll quickly view the "friendship" differently than him!

Dear Margaret,

"What is the biggest danger to a relationship?" (Mia, Washington, D.C.)

Dear Mia,

The biggest danger to a relationship is the girl's best friend. Every single woman has the equivalent of a guy's best buddy, the person that they confide in when they're unsure about a relationship. The women exchange complaints about their guys and one will say, "Why are you going with him since you can do better." And, feeling depressed, this is exactly what the other girl wants to hear at that moment. She has now been encouraged to end her relationship, the problem being that if a woman is unsure about a relationship she won't tell everything, only what is upsetting her. So the advice that she receives might not be the best and her relationship would have continued except for this. Or the friend might be ruthless and lonely and want someone to continue going out partying with. So beware!

Dear Margaret,

"I'm totally different from my boyfriend. Do we have a chance?" (Trudy, Austin)

Dear Trudy,

I once knew a couple that were like oil and water. He came from a small town and she came from a big city. Each hates the books that the other reads, they eat different foods, and like different music and movies. They even sleep differently. But they survive by compromising and accepting that each has to do their own thing. They don't have many friends or go out much, but are content with each other. They'd never win on "The Newlywed Game" but could any couple want more?

Dear Margaret: What depressed me most about dating:

    "I asked my rabbi how to find a good husband and he only replied, 'That's a very good question.'" (Toni, #Idaho)

    "I'm twenty-four and seeking a religious husband. My photos and ads on personal sites usually got fifteen to twenty responses but when I added that I expected us to attend church I didn't get any." (Hillary, #Houston).

    "She told me that she liked men to take charge but whenever I made plans, she ordered me to stop being a dictator." (Byron, #Chicago)



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