The Metro Masher, alas, is back. So is the tricky problem of what to do about him.

The masher zeroed in on Ginny Tomlin the day after Labor Day. She was sitting in a crowded subway car at about 5:15 p.m., heading home to Silver Spring from Dupont Circle, when he sat down beside her.

"I've never had this happen to me before," Ginny says, "but it was especially amazing on that day. It was about 95 degrees, I had just walked 10 blocks to the subway and I was sweating like a fountain. I was about as sexy as a piece of pineapple."

It didn't matter to the masher. As soon as he was seated beside Ginny, he wriggled around in his seat and brought his left leg flush against her right. This happens sometimes aboard public transportation, so Ginny didn't think anything of it at first. She simply wriggled as far away from him as she could and went back to reading, of all things, Bob Levey's Washington.

Then she felt his hand on her leg.

Ginny looked at the man. He smiled. And then his lips silently mouthed the words, "You're lovely."

Ginny immediately got up, brushed past the man (although he didn't exactly do everything he could to let her past), got off at the next station and hunted for a policeman. When she hadn't located one within a couple of minutes, she gave up -- and decided to call the guy whose column she'd been reading instead.

"The funny thing is, as incredible and as offensive as this was, my first instinct was not to make a scene," Ginny said. "I'm 35 years old, and it was almost as if I was telling myself what my mother used to tell me when I was six: 'Good girls don't scream or make a scene.' But if there was ever a reason to make a scene--!"

Metro police say that making a scene is the best thing you can do, especially when passengers are packed in like sardines.

Shout, scream, do whatever it takes to alert other passengers to the fact that you've just been fondled. Not only will your fellow riders become instant witnesses, but they may make it harder for the masher to turn and run if he tries to.

By the way, a policeman can always be summoned in seconds by a kiosk attendant. And don't think Metro will let mashers off with wrist slaps. In the seven years that the subway has been open, officials have never failed to file formal charges in sexual molestation cases where arrests were made.