Hi Carolyn!

I'm having a MAJOR problem with a new guy. I recently started dating "Dave" -- intelligent, charming, the whole bit. Dave has been a friend of mine for a while; the only reason I put off dating him until now is this one eensy-teensy flaw: He smells. Not in a sour European type of way, but you know how houses sometimes have a "smell"? His is just very, very (very) strong. I borrowed a T-shirt once and I smelled like Dave until my next shower. I can't tell if it's more due to not showering or not doing laundry (probably a combination of both -- we're in college), but it's really starting to bug me. Our circle of friends has ignored it because he really is a great guy in every other respect (unfortunately, he's not such a great guy that hearing this won't hurt his feelings). I should broach the subject, not only for my own sake but for his. My only question is, HOW?????

-- Connecticut

Laundry dates? Candlelight showers? Three times a day?

You're right. This is major.

Of course, there's always the Anonymous Soap-Sending Solution everyone always thinks of but, far as I know, never actually does -- I assume (I hope) that's because no one wants to be the one responsible for rendering the overripe recipient too mortified ever to leave his room again.

But as Hunter S. Thompson once said, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro": my husband, Nick the Deranged, has leapt into the breach with the ultimate ablution solution. Send everybody soap. In your (unsigned) note, just say "one of you needs this." That way, no one gets singled out.

Not bad for an insane person -- so I sought his sage counsel on a direct approach, too. He recommends front-loading it with flattery. "I'm about to pay you a tremendous compliment: I can think of only one thing about you that bothers me, and it's easy to correct." Then drop the stink bomb.

It'll land more gently if it's about laundry alone, and not the bounding BO -- "Your clothes get pretty grungy" is a singing telegram compared with "You're pretty rank." If it works the way I suspect, the whole truth would be gratuitous anyway. Tell a guy to do laundry, and how could he not think, "Whoa. I gotta smell."

Dear Carolyn:

Thank you for your response to the woman who "ratted" on her cheating college roommate. I have a friend who stole approximately $10,000 from the charitable organization that he works for. At first I thought I should inform the managers of the charity, since my friend will certainly not confess. Now I know that if an injustice has occurred it's better if I as a member of society keep my nose out of it. Thanks, Carolyn.

-- Minnesota

No no, thank you -- for the opportunity to slam people like you again. It's absolutely stunning, the speed with which people sell out their friends, flawed as those friends may be. Two wrongs don't make a righteous.

If my friend stole money from a charity, I would inform him that I knew about it, and give him the opportunity to turn himself in before I did it for him.

Hi Carolyn:

I've been with my girlfriend for nearly two years. My problem seems to be common: She detests my friends, and expects me to give them all up for her. I've had most of these close friends for 10 years, and they have helped me through many hard times. She says that by not giving them up, I am acting like a teenager. She said she would do the same for me but, Carolyn, she has few friends or close people in her life. I don't even see my friends very often, perhaps once or twice a week. I spend 90 percent of my spare time with her. I feel smothered, and when I've tried to create space in the past, I have been met with resentment.

-- Maryland

Head for the hills! AAAAA!

She doesn't detest your friends -- she detests that you have friends, because that means she doesn't get your attention 24-7.

And friends are just the beginning. Eventually she'll resent your job, then your family, then, perish the thought, your kids. She'll nag you to spend less time with them and more with her!her!her! And when you resist, she'll aim her resentment at them, and when you continue to resist, she'll stop giving you phone messages and try other freaky means to turn you against them.

You probably think I'm off my nut, but I'm not exaggerating here. You know how I know? Because the friends and families of people like you are writing to me daily, asking how they can rid their loved ones of these personality-sucking love parasites. Get out. Now.

Write to Tell Me About It, Style Plus, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or tellme@washpost.com, and join Carolyn's live discussion at noon today or at 8 p.m. Monday on The Post's Web site, www.washingtonpost.com