Tell Me fall clearance--today only!

Dear Carolyn:

Many wedding traditions I find outdated or sexist. One I dislike in particular is the bouquet and garter toss. These, of course, are my personal feelings and I encourage all brides and grooms to do whatever they want.

At a recent wedding, as always, I chose not to participate in the bouquet toss. My boyfriend threw a fit and said if I chose to attend a wedding, I had to participate in all the festivities no matter what my personal beliefs were. He demanded we leave if I wouldn't participate in the toss.

I ended up participating.

Do you think I have to, even if I don't want to?

--W.

In honor of your boyfriend, I'm going to stage a cookie toss.

No, you needn't participate in, nor be present for, the bouquet toss, the garter toss or any other toss you find distasteful--especially not a petty-little-fit toss. There are about 3 billion men out there; surely you can do better.

Carolyn:

How do I deal with friends--and even girlfriends!--who are addicted to their cell phones? As soon as it rings, they are off chatting away, while I nurse my coffee or stare out the window. Most of the time the conversation is so completely inconsequential.

--Virginia

Actually, the inconsequential element here is you--according to your friends, at least. If you want the rudeness to stop, start being the kind of person they'd never put in that position. Pointing out to the offender that you didn't come here to have coffee with her cell phone would be an excellent start.

Dear Carolyn:

I have what most people would not see as a problem. I am a 29-year-old man who had the chance to take some college courses just for fun. During the semester, I struck up a friendship with a student that turned into a romance.

She is not only the best-looking person I've ever dated, but probably one of the best-looking people I know. She (her family) is rich. And she is extremely affectionate and attentive.

So the problem is we are starting to get more serious now and, while I am really digging her, I don't know if my affections are for her or if I am just being swayed by the "trophy" mentality of dating a hot, rich, sexy 22-year-old.

--Can't Believe My Good Luck

If her looks hold up and the money grows, who cares.

Kidding.

But you do pose an interesting philosophical question: If she's alone in a forest, is she still a babe? Try the following experiment. Rent a movie, pick her up, order takeout, eat, watch the movie, take her home. Let no one witness this but you.

Still like her?

I suppose her looks could overpower you in private, too, though--so the best answer here is to keep digging her and see how long it lasts. She'll be young for a long time, but a weak character will get old fast.

Carolyn:

My quandary: Met girl at school (I'm 22, she's 21), started talking, then dating. Summer comes. Get more intimate (everything but sex). She gets the feeling we got too close really fast and, because of sour previous relationships, starts to pull away. Since the pulling, we have hooked up a few times (nothing major) and we talk nearly every day. My friends say to "act indifferent," like I don't like her, but my good heart knows this wasn't a passing thing. Suggestions?

--J.

Get new friends.

If nothing else, please, ignore anyone who advises you to "act" anything. I'd just go with the post-pulling flow, because you're both doing exactly what you should be: getting to know each other slowly, sweetly and clothed. Sounds promising.

Dear Carolyn:

I have been dating the same guy on-off for 10 years. For most of the time we lived in different cities, but two years ago we both moved to D.C. We have been living together for 14 months.

The idea was that after a year we'd get married. Well, things did not go that way, a lot of fights and arguments. But the question still hangs, and he can't seem to be able to give a straight answer. That's at the center of our arguments. I pack and let him think this through for the next couple of years, or what?

--Washington

Move out, and note whether the emotional wave that hits you--in time, as the shock wears off--is sadness or relief. I'll bet on Option 2.

Dear Carolyn:

I like to look at and occasionally purchase women's shoes for my own enjoyment. I'm a 29-year-old straight male and believe as long as I don't hurt anyone it's no one else's business! I often find girlfriends are more than willing to accommodate me . . .

So tell me, what do you think of this situation?

--Heel Lover

I think it's nice you have a hobby. Really. And if you have any deaccessioning planned in the future, I want in.

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 8 p.m. tomorrow or at noon Friday at washingtonpost.com/ liveonline.