Dear Amy:

I am in my early thirties and newly divorced. I have never dated much because I married young. I never learned how to flirt or how to make small talk with men.

Thankfully, I am still pretty cute, I am well-educated, and I enjoy my work. I feel that I have a lot to offer, but I cannot even make eye contact with anyone I find attractive.

I work in a hospital, and I find a certain physician very attractive. He appears to be very kind, yet possibly very shy as well.

I am told that he is not married. I don't work closely with him, and I don't know anyone who might facilitate a meeting.

We don't seem to have any social gatherings that might lead to an introduction.

I am far too shy to just walk up and introduce myself. My hairdresser said to send flowers to him, but I think this might be a little threatening, although it might make his day.

Another girlfriend said to give long, sexy glances when I see him, but I simply cannot do that.

Do you agree with any of this advice, or do you have a better idea?

Interested Nurse

Don't send flowers. Too stalkerish.

Don't give long, sexy glances. Too "Desperate Housewives."

My favorite method to show interest in a guy usually involves carefully plotted approaches, followed by "spazzing" out, tripping and spilling the contents of my bag all over the floor. Only gentlemen who enjoy slapstick seem to appreciate these smooth moves.

You should do some reconnaissance, followed by a simple, clear, non-dorky "Hello."

First, "Google" the good doctor. He might have published an interesting paper or developed a specialty or procedure that you are also interested in.

You could send him a professional and innocuous e-mail related to this or another topic of mutual interest. Tell him who you are and that you work in "X" department. Ask a basic question at the end of your e-mail.

If he answers, you have the beginnings of a conversation.

Dear Amy:

This is about young people getting tattoos.

I am a church musician who accompanies many weddings. I see it over and over again -- the gal who, at 17, thought a tattoo was the coolest thing to do, but at 25 is walking down the aisle with a huge Band-Aid or layers of pancake makeup covering the spider web on her shoulder.

Dan in Pennsylvania

Many letters from the "inked" and "uninked" alike reflect this perspective.

Write to Amy Dickinson at or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

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