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Stalking on air

I asked a guy out and we went salsa dancing last night. Afterward, he gave me a quick kiss goodbye on the lips. Does the fact that it was on the lips mean he likes me and wants a second date? Would he have kissed me there if he didn't really like me? I'd like to see him again, but know he's dating other women. I texted him today, saying I had fun, and hoped we'd stay in touch. I haven't heard from him yet, but this is his sleep time, as he gets home from work around 8 a.m. What should I do if I don't hear from him? I'm thinking of showing up Tuesday at salsa when I know he goes. Antsy

Sex and the City by any other name is just as off-putting to men; yes, even Sex and the Prehistoric Countryside, which pretty much describes your approach to seduction: a woman pursuing a man with all the subtlety of a hungry velociraptor after a small woodland animal.

People often write me to say things "should" be different; for example, that men should get to perch cross-legged on barstools batting their eyelashes while women buy them drinks and ask them deep questions like "Are you from Tennessee? Because you're the only 10 I see!" Well, there's what "should be" and what works.

In the Stone Age, when we evolved the psychology we're still working off today (upgrading our hard-wiring can take thousands of generations), sex was a low-cost endeavor for a guy. He burned a few calories, gave up a little sperm, and was on his way. For a woman, it could mean nine months dragging herself across the savanna on swollen ankles until she ended up with a hungry, crying, wetting thing maybe a million years before disposable diapers. As a result, women became the choosier sex, and men evolved to place a higher value on choosier women. So, when you find "he's just not that into you," there's a good chance it started with "you're way too into him."

That's probably what led you to dissect his goodnight kiss like a high school lab frog: "Does the fact that it was on the lips mean he likes me and wants a second date?" Maybe. Or maybe he was drunk and missed your cheek, or maybe it was a cry for help in an unusual manner. After one date, you're not only obsessing over the kiss, you've mapped out when he eats, sleeps and checks messages. And this on top of asking him out, a risky move for a woman. Your job is to flirt and see if a guy shows interest. If he doesn't, don't be showing up at salsa night and trying to form a conga line with the other women he's dating.

There's a good chance you do this stuff because you're one of those women who takes the bus stop approach to life: standing around waiting for a man to come complete you. Eventually, you get tired of waiting all incomplete, and you start hunting 'em down. Unfortunately, you aren't likely to get a guy one you'd want, anyway until you get a life beyond guys.

If you aren't motivated to become somebody for the sake of it, do the beautifully shallow thing and become somebody for the sake of becoming somebody's girlfriend. The more interesting you are, the more focused you'll be on your own life, and the more attractive you'll be to men. In time, you should find yourself seeing a man, and not just from the back, as he's running for his life.

Getting the hangover of it

I'm a bartender at a nightclub. A woman came in who blew me away. I asked her out, but due to scheduling conflicts, I agreed to meet her and her friends at a local bar. When I arrived, she was gone. Her friend said she had too much to drink and went home. Saturday, we had plans, but she said she'd been drinking since 2 p.m., and was going out with her ex the following night. Exasperated, I said, "Hope you have fun." She replied, "I won't." I told her to at least stick with the choice she's made, and that was that. What happened here? Frustrated

Have you been drinking? Being a bartender who can't recognize a drunk is like working in a hardware store and being perplexed at the sight of a Phillips-head screwdriver. She's actually behaving perfectly for a drunk: tanked in the afternoon, passed out when she's supposed to be out with you, and suddenly remembering she's still dating her ex. Getting all harumphy with her makes about as much sense as yelling at flies buzzing the garbage: "Vermin! Stick with the choice you've made!" They will. And, the next morning, they probably won't remember you, either.

Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail adviceamy@aol.com (advicegoddess.com).

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