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Published: Thursday, 11/2/2000

Love is a four-letter word, too


Sweetest Day has come and gone. I think. At least I heard it's around this time of year. Who keeps track of that kind of thing when you're married?

As veterans of at least 10 Sweetest Days during our relationship, we are somewhat experts on the subject of crafting a loving, lasting relationship.

Honesty is always an important component of any relationship.

"That bald spot really is getting bigger on the top of your head,'' my wife, Lisa, said to me as I bent over to tie my shoe while we waited for the doctor to come in and examine our 4-month-old, Nicholas.

Recognizing that this had the potential to be one of those bonding-through-honesty moments, I responded in the only way I know how when someone has insulted my head of hair. I also didn't think it was appropriate for Nicholas, who has less hair than me, to get the impression that having little hair makes him less of a baby. My mother, however, would not approve of my response:

"Well, you know those six pounds you lost? They're back, and they've brought friends.'' So there.

Family therapists - at least the ones we've gone to - might cringe, but, hey, she started it. Never make fun of a man's retreating hair line.

But despite the occasional barb we throw each other's way, we make a concerted effort to use the word "love'' as often as we can. It's a four-letter word, but can build a relationship if used properly. And, I guess, it can start a fight if used improperly.

"You know, I would really love it if you put away your clothes, and I would really, really love it if you ever decided to make dinner occasionally,'' I said to my wife as she bounced Nicholas on her knee and restrained Gabrielle from choking the dog.

Her witty reply was something to the effect that she had been on her hands and knees scrubbing the floor, the baby was crying, the dog was barking, blah, blah, blah. My point was that after she finished scrubbing the floor, she probably still had time to make dinner.

It's not like I don't do anything for her or don't care for her - I do. I'm constantly trying to introduce her to new friends, which is why I found myself in a chat room recently.

"Look, honey. Mike sent you a message,'' I said to her as she finished making bottles for Nicholas - nothing for me, of course. He gets four square meals a day, and he's only known her for four months.


"Mike. He sent you an instant message."

"What are you doing?" she asked, already guessing that I was probably up to no good. "And who's Mike?"

"Mike. He's the guy that you just met online.''

I've only been in chat rooms a couple of times, but that's enough times to realize that nobody is going to talk to you unless you're a woman.

Therefore, I signed on as my wife, and, by golly, Mike came a knocking exactly 50 seconds later.


"What are you doing?" my wife screeched.

"Making friends. 'I'M 5'2'', 120 POUNDS, BROWN HAIR, BROWN EYES,' '' I typed.

The exchange went on for several more minutes, much to my delight. Mike really was a nice guy. And he seemed to like Lisa. He commented on how sweet she was.

Then, he hesitated, and punched in another response a minute later: "YOU SOUND CUTE. I'D LIKE TO ***.''

Eeks. Time to go.

We aren't friends with Mike anymore, and I'm not allowed in chat rooms.

So the lesson that you SHOULD take from two savvy veterans of Sweetest Days is this: Do as we say, not as we do.

And, be careful chatting with somebody named Lisa, who's about 5 foot, 2 inches, 120 pounds. You never know who you might really be talking to.

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