Dear Dr. Date,I …


Dear Dr. Date,
I have two main issues about which I request your advice. The first issue deals with the fact that I am divorced. I realize the number of people who are divorced is extremely high in today’s society. However, I am extremely young to be divorced, at least in the minds of other people, and sometimes my own. I am happier now than I have ever been, though, and life is great … but somehow, I seem to start feeling guilty whenever a conversation leads to discussion on my divorce. I usually don’t talk about that issue until I know the people are open enough to knowing me without being judgmental. Still, I am in my prime years for dating (it’s been a while since the separation and divorce), and yet I can’t help but think the fact that I am divorced will turn off many of the men I wish to date. Who would want to date a divorced woman if the greater percentage of women my age were never married?! My label as a divorced woman sometimes makes me feel “impure,” and people must wonder what is “wrong with me” that I am not married anymore.
The second issue deals with a special man. I’m quite sure this man is interested. I know I need to go slowly with him, as his best friend let me know, but how does a woman take it slow with a man? What kinds of things should she do and not do? Also, this man and I see each other pretty much only at night after both of us study. How can I get him to spend time with me between the hours of 6 a.m. and 11 p.m.? How do I proceed to “court” him and yet not be too straightforward?
— Ms. Anonymous

Just yesterday, I ran a letter from a man trying to “court” a divorced woman. It was my contention that he wasn’t being straightforward enough. Constantly, I’m amazed that people feel they need to hide how they feel about other people. I’m going to have to blame television once again for this one. The characters on TV are so oversimplified that a fourth grader could pick up on every thought, emotion and intention. Real people like you are not as easy to read. Dating and pre-date courting is also twice as complex as watching TV because, unlike the latter, you actually have to take part in complicated activities such as talking and flirting.
Here is what you shouldn’t do: Ask him to marry you; talk about having kids, houses or a B&B in the country; or plan any part of your shared future.
Here is what you should do: Ask him on a date.