Dear Amy:

A mutual friend introduced me to a wonderful woman. I'm 57 and she's a couple of years older.

We met for dinner and talked for three hours. A few days later, I asked her out for appetizers and a movie. Again, we talked for three hours. When I took her home, I asked if I could kiss her. We kissed, briefly, and then she said that she wanted to be honest with me. She said there was no "chemistry."

We seem to have a lot in common, and she said she enjoyed my company.

When asked if I could call her again or if I should just leave her alone, she said, "One never has enough friends."

While bells and whistles didn't go off for me either, I am attracted to her and believe that chemistry isn't out of the question.

Does there have to be "chemistry" very early in a relationship, or can it come gradually?

I'm willing to have a platonic relationship and see if something develops, and -- if nothing does -- to continue to be friends.

While we have this platonic relationship, is it okay for me to continue to meet other women?

I'm basically a one-woman kind of guy and would feel uncomfortable if she saw me out with another woman, even though we're just friends.

This whole dating thing is new territory for both of us.

Wondering in the Midwest Chemistry is important, to be sure, but attraction and chemistry can grow. Do yourself a favor and watch "When Harry Met Sally" for a quick chemistry lesson.

Dating definitely takes practice. Unfortunately, in the current dating climate (fueled by the Internet), people tend to cycle through potential dates at the rate of a hamster's heartbeat. You should do everything possible to maximize your contact with other people by joining organizations and following your interests (meeting people is hard work, but fun, too).

My sense is that you should move along and not spend too much time trying to advance a friendship that she sounds tepid about. Seeing you out and about with another woman might kick-start her "chemistry" a little.

Dear Amy:

I am writing in response to "Concerned About Construction," a designer who didn't want neighbors to show up to tour his home construction. I disagree with your advice to him that he should discourage these tours. I am a builder, and this is how other builders and I develop our client base. I am always happy to take people on construction house tours.

Savvy BuilderMany respondents agree with you -- that this person should welcome Lookie Lous. "Concerned" felt that acquaintances were trying to get free advice rather than hire him for his construction expertise. However, you make an excellent point -- that a savvy businessperson can transform inquiries into clients.

Dear Amy:

I recently moved into an apartment. Two weeks later, a family moved into the apartment next door.

While I consider myself tolerant in most cases, I'm having difficulties with this family. They have two dogs that not only bark at every coming and going but also bark for hours on end, even at times when people are home.

In addition, their daughter tends to scream obscenities, screaming about how she hates her parents, then turning up her television as retribution. They hammer after 10 p.m., slam doors and commit other loud annoyances every day.

My parents believe this is just part of normal apartment living, and that I have to accept it. I tend to think a line needs to be drawn.

At what point is this intolerable? Should management be contacted about these issues? While I accept the occasional fight or dog barking (I have a dog, too), I feel trapped in an unacceptable living situation.

These people have lived in apartments before, so it's not as if they don't understand close quarters.

Fed Up and SleepyI declare this situation officially intolerable and give you permission to contact building management immediately. You should have notified management from the start -- otherwise, how will management know? Your neighbors could be violating their lease.

You seem to believe that your neighbors should know better than to disturb you because they have lived in apartments before. But this is your life. Your sleep and well-being are your responsibility. Now, don't you want to do something about it?

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

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