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A familiar mess.

My girlfriend and I have been arguing over the stupidest shit lately—things like a sock on the floor or an extra dish in the sink. She keeps saying I expect her to act like my maid. I tell her that I don't care if there is an extra dish in the sink, the random condom wrapper by the end table, or some crusty undies lying around for an extra second. We are both very busy, but she is home far more often than I, as she works from our apartment. I tend to believe a lot of the mess is hers—especially in the sink. (But hopefully not any of those condom wrappers!)

Also, she leaves her crap all over the bathroom, so every time I open the medicine cabinet to reach for an essential—like toothpaste—a shower of old moisturizer jars; never-used, three-year-old hair-care products; depilatory lotions that would burn a layer of skin off a rhino; and stubby, almost completely used-up eyeliner pencils come tumbling down on me, forcing me to lean over to retrieve them. Being a very tall guy, I then inevitably bang my head on the open medicine cabinet door on the way up. This results in me jumping up and down and screaming unrecognizable curses and exclamations much like Fred Flintstone after he stubs his toe. We live in a small apartment, and space is always an issue, but why does it always seem my messes are far more important to deal with than hers are? Please help.

El Grande Greco

Hmm. You know, this scenario sounds very familiar. In fact, almost a little too familiar. Sort of like it might've been composed on my computer while I was off, oh, I don't know . . . performing my morning moisturizing routine or heating up some oatmeal and then leaving my oat-crusted bowl in the sink. But as I haven't figured out how to check the IP address on this particular e-mail program, I'm just going to have to assume it's from an anonymous reader and not my live-in paramour.

No offense, dude, but this is obviously all you. Your girlfriend sounds like a peach. So what if she has a large collection of past-their-prime lady products. Are you saying they're nonessentials? Don't you want her to have every element of pretty at her disposal? Do you think her hair comes out of the shower with that sheen? Do you think her skin is just naturally scented with tuberose and coconut? And howzabout them eyes? That little stub of eyeliner goes a long way, bub.

My advice to you is gifts, gifts, and more gifts. Yes, buying her affection may seem tawdry and cynical, but I'll bet if you sprang for a fancy new tub of moisturizer, she'd throw the grotty old one away. And since you're such a fancy-pants working man, maybe you should spring for a maid. While you're at it, you should thank whichever higher power you subscribe to for the fact that the arguments you're having are over minor bullshit like falling cosmetics and not anything major (like the fact that you never clean the goddamned sink after you shave!!!). Ahem.

Reminder: It's your turn to help me! Surely you have a dating horror story or 10. Tell me about the most mortifying, ego-deflating dating experience you ever had. Did she hit on your brother? Or maybe he "forgot" his wallet and then threw up in your car.

Then again, perhaps you were the bad date. Perhaps you showed up drunk. Or wouldn't quit talking about your ex. I want to hear all about it. And if it's hideous enough, you win a prize! (OK, just a copy of my upcoming book, but how often is bad behavior rewarded?) Send your submissions to or check in at

Dating dilemmas? Write Dategirl at or c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western Ave., Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.

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