Perhaps you were on hand a few days ago when I published a classic Washington story of tempest between the sexes.

A 25-year-old D.C. public relations account executive had been wined and dined for two months by a 33-year-old Bethesda stockbroker. When the broker tried to "close the deal," the P.R. woman said she wasn't ready for that sort of thing yet.

So the broker dumped the P.R. woman like a rock. She could live with that at first. But it got tougher as time went by. She had liked the guy -- and thought he had liked her. She wondered if the relationship could (or should) be rekindled.

I replied that this sleeping dog should stay asleep. The broker had failed to notice that the woman was a human being, I said. I advised her to forget him.

Many female readers applauded my advice. But not a single man responded until Dennis McCann of Gaithersburg broke the drought. Here is his thoughtful male viewpoint about "closing the deal."

"Was her criterion for liking him based solely upon his ability to provide her with a newly procured thrill each time they met?" Dennis wrote.

"How many times did she suggest activities that were more plebeian {than fancy meals}? Did she ever indicate at any time that her company was something to be shared instead of purchased?

"Yes, any man who desires to 'close the deal' after providing entertainment is clearly a jerk who should be forgotten. However, a woman who bases her friendship upon a man's ability to provide her with excitement she will not obtain herself is no better.

"This account executive reminds me of the women who will sneeringly condemn the 'nice men' as being too tame for them. Yet they will constantly ask, 'What ever happened to all the good men?'

"A relationship should be based upon a person's desire to be with the other person. Maybe after her 'champagne by the monuments,' this account executive can ask herself if that is all she really wanted."

I can't say for sure whether Dennis has accurately nailed the motives of the account executive. But there is a solid general ring of truth to what he says.

I hear constantly about (and from) Washington women who treat 1987 as if it were the Middle Ages. They sit alone in their condos, watching Cosby and waiting for a knight to spirit them off to exciting concerts and exciting restaurants. It's as if their lives can only be validated by a man -- and the man can prove his seriousness only by blowing large wads of cash on them.

One woman called me the other day to announce that she is through with Mr. Formerly Right.

"Why?" I inquired, in the full blush of innocence.

"Because he wouldn't take me anywhere except McDonald's," the woman said.

"But what about the guy as a person?" I asked.

"Listen, Bob, if he won't spend any money on me, I think I've just found out what I need to know about him as a person," the woman said.

I realize that one woman's bizarre judgment proves nothing. But if there is even one woman like this -- a princess who thinks men are there to hurl banquets at her -- you've got to wonder if women have really come a long way, baby.

The truth, ladies, is that Washington men can't and shouldn't be evaluated by their willingness to pick up steep checks. The truth is also that Washington men don't think about "closing the deal" every second of every day.

A young male friend came to see me last Wednesday. He is 28, eligible, presentable. He had a two-part problem. Part One: He wanted to call it quits with his current girlfriend. Part Two: He wanted to start dating a woman with whom he works.

We discussed the situation for 35 minutes. Not once did we discuss the sexual implications.

No snickers. No anatomical analyses. No tall tales of past conquests. It was just Father Time Levey giving his young pal the benefit of whatever wisdom Levey acquired in his distant days as a single.

My friend's main concern was not whether he would have sex in the next five minutes. His main concern was that, by splitting with his current girlfriend, he would be breaking the young lady's heart.

"What if she cries?" he asked. And he didn't mean that the way some men do. He wasn't saying that a woman's tears would be a frightening, onerous burden. He was genuinely worried about causing pain to an innocent, unsuspecting person.

As for the prospective new girlfriend, my pal said he was too shy to ask her out. He didn't know how to make the initial approach, and didn't know whether to do it in the office. But he knew this: He wasn't going to make any approach until he had broken things off with the current girlfriend. "I don't do things that way," he said.

Does that sound like a swashbuckling, sex-crazed swordsman to you? It sounds to me like a Washington man with as many frailties and doubts as any Washington woman.

The problem in this town is not feeling women vs. unfeeling men. The problem is not McDonald's vs. Mel Krupin's. The problem is that each sex keeps assailing the motives of the other, when the motives of both sexes are decent, and the same.