Sometimes the pain is hers. Sometimes the pain is his. Sometimes there isn't any pain, but that's comedy, not romance.

The wonder of it all, of course, is that we continue to go on with it, even in this town which thinks little of lightweights and lunacies that can't be legislated. Administrations change, races are lost, but it's still the same old story and her are a few of them. Changes have been made in the names and identifying details of the participants .

The blond with the long legs was of a certain age and at a certain place in time hardly foreign to many Washington women. She was Dating a Married Man.

She was a prime candidate for a character in the Big Washington Novel that never gets written. She lived in an apartment filled with pictures of herself and as many celebrities as she could muster to her side while photographers clicked away at Washington affairs.

She had a few standard dinners-for-two, lemon chicken being a favorite. She preferred Moet-Chandon and naturally assumed her male friends did, too. Let's see... there were the California lobbyist and the presidential aide and the congressman whose wife, ho hum, didn't understand him.

Her stock in trade was humor, not tears. Tears were reserved for 2 in the morning. After a few years of being this fantastic friend of the career junkies, even the tears stopped.

And so, she had the perfect answer, as she sipped her Jack Daniels and twirled a piece of hair on her finger, when she was asked the awful question. What, a female friend asked, would she do if a married boyfriend had, of all things, a heart attack?

"I've got it all figured out," she said. "I'd simply drag him to the elevator -- and push the 'L' button." CAPTION: Illustration, "William, do you have the courage to love?" Drawing by Koren, Copyright (c) 1977, The New Yorker Magazine Inc.