Dear Carolyn:

I'm dating a woman who, every time we go out, orders way more food than she can possibly eat and then gets a doggie bag. I hope I'm not out of line here, but am I responsible for feeding her for an entire week after the date? Saturday after an appetizer, which she didn't finish, she takes one bite out of her main course and says she can't eat any more. I felt like saying, good, more for me--I'm going to take that home this time. It's really starting to bother me. How do I tell her gently, "Order what you want, but eat what you order"?


You don't. Oh my no.

Sorry, Churly, but when you invite someone on a dinner date, you stipulate the first part: Your date gets what she wants. If she wants to eat it, play with it or stuff it in her little squirrel cheeks for later, that's her prerogative.

And if you never want to date moochers or salad-pickers again, that's yours.

But come on, it's not like she wanted the caviar, the lobster, the champagne, the dessert that arrives on fire and a hand-rolled cigar. When "way more food" consists of an appetizer and then, gasp, an entree! she can hardly be accused of stockpiling--especially since most American restaurant portions are sized to sate a moose.

She may have a case against you, though, for being a tad cheap.

Hi Carolyn:

My 10-year-old sister has met someone on the Internet with whom she writes often. The fact that he is 30 worries me. He has told her he lives in England and has children close to her age, but you never know how much is true.

I don't believe it is healthy for a girl to communicate with someone that old. I've read some of his letters, which all seem very tactful, and even written him myself informing him of my sister's age, which does not seem to bother him. Am I right to be worried?


Young meets old can be a healthy exception to the American rule of absurd fixation on age (says the Under-30-Crowd adviser, absurdly). My husband and I are proud to call our 11- and 15-year-old neighbors our friends.

But young meets old on the Internet? There are no rules there, and that's scary. If your parents don't know about this pen pal, your sister needs to inform them. Today. If she won't, do it for her. An adult on-site has to make this call.

Dear Carolyn:

I have a friend, "Corey." She and her husband keep separate apartments. The other day I went over to hang out with them, but when I arrived they were both partaking in illegal chemicals. (Which I want no part of, and I am made to feel uncomfortable because I decline.) After two hours, Corey tells her husband, "Ted," that she and I are going over to her apartment. Instead, as we get into my car, she says, "That thing about us going to my place is a little joke. Could you drop me off at 'Brian's' house instead?" Brian is her little 19-year-old boy toy whom she is "meant to be" with. I was livid, but of course did not say anything. I just don't know what to do.


Oh, of course. I mean, what could you possibly have said?

"I refuse to be your accomplice"?

"I won't do this to Ted"?

"Since when is lying to your husband a joke"?

"I was kidding, too, when I said I'd go anywhere with you"?

"Get out of my car, you drug-addled slut"?

What a garish display of integrity that would have been. Right up there with turning around and going home when the "chemicals" appeared--

Oh, wait, that part never happened.

Here's what did happen: You sat there like a lump, therefore condoning Corey's drug use, and then you drove like a lump, therefore condoning Corey's skanking around. Surely, you can do better than that. Remove the lump and tell Corey her behavior is unacceptable, and when she's ready to admit her life is a shambles, you'll be there to help. If you're in any position to: You're the one playing doormat to a drug-pushing, people-using, lying piece of work.

Dear Carolyn:

I've been with my boyfriend for 3 1/2 years. He says he loves me but keeps going out with his friends on drinking binges and stays out late and won't call. We have two beautiful kids and I don't want them to lose their father. We were planning to get married, but things changed. I can't do it myself anymore. What should I do?

--Confused in Indiana

If your boyfriend chooses his binges over his family, he is already lost--and you need a Plan B. But not by yourself. Call Al-Anon (1-888-425-2666) and get some help, please. Those kids take priority, and your trial-and-error time is up.

Write to Tell Me About It, Style Plus, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or, and join Carolyn's live discussion at 8 p.m. tomorrow or at noon Friday at liveonline.