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Advice Goddess

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The guy I'm dating is a high school graduate with a manual labor job. I have a master's and a corporate career, and I'll eventually make several times his salary. He's a great guy, and does stuff like spontaneously buying me flowers at the farmers market and calling just to say goodnight. We talk sports, which I love, and he shares his work gossip, but I can't talk to him the way I talk to my egghead friends. I use five-dollar words (my natural speech after years of schooling), and I can tell he sometimes has no idea what I just said. My friends seem put off by him and question whether we've got enough in common. I'm more concerned with how he feels around them (going silent, fumbling words, getting grumpy). Is it reasonable to give up this sweet, attentive man for somebody married to his work, but who can match wits with anyone, any time? Opposites Attract

Opposites might attract, but then they start talking. You say tomayto, he says tomahto, and you throw in a side order of antidisestablishmentarianism. (Man is from Mars, Woman is from Encyclopedia Britannica.)

It's amazing how you can be in a man's arms and over his head at the very same time. In a way, this is a case of terrible timing. If you'd both been around during the Oklahoma Land Rush, he would've been a much wiser choice of boyfriend than some pointyhead who'd just read the collected works of Charles Darwin. But here you are in 2008, probably all cozy in some starter condo, feeling the constant grate of his intellectual incompatibility, especially at those smart-people clambakes you're always attending.

Perhaps out of concern you're in an impaired state huffing from the hormonal spray can, dizzy from the sudden flurry of romantic goods and services the jury of your peers has taken a break from rereading Newton in the original Latin to weigh in on your relationship. Meanwhile, your boyfriend's pleading his case the best he can. No, he might not know the meaning of nihilistic, but couldya make do with two dozen peach roses?

While people will tell you money can't buy happiness, if you make lots more than he does, you might end up feeling pretty miserable. There was this theory that women only wanted rich, powerful men because they couldn't get money or power themselves. Studies by evolutionary psychologist David Buss and others actually show that rich, successful women tend to go for even richer, more successful men. Most hilariously, when researchers interviewed high-powered feminist leaders in the late '70s, these women nattered on about how the right man for them would be some "very rich" or "brilliant" or "genius" guy who'd leave large tips after buying them lavish dinners.

Yours isn't an either/or scenario cold, distant Rhodes Scholar or cuddly, attentive road worker. While there's no such thing as "the one," with attention to your needs and patience in the search process, you could find "the .89" or even "the .966." Strip away the farmers market flowers and the nighty-night calls, and decide whether what's left is enough. Do you need a guy who can hold his own with your friends? Do you get enough smartypants talk to come home to "How 'bout them Mets?" As a woman who uses five-dollar words, can you be satisfied with a man who only has $2.75 or so to play around with? Most importantly, do you admire him? And will you when he stretches his hand skyward and promises you the stars ... without the faintest idea that he's actually offering you a passing satellite?

Movie of the weak

I really clicked with a woman I met. We like the same music, movies, etc. She has a boyfriend who only calls her for sex. Her friends think she should dump the jerk. She agreed to, to be with me, but then he started leaving her notes and flowers. Her therapist, without meeting me, advised her against dating me because she always falls for the wrong guy (I just learned she's been married five times). She says we're through. Will I be stepping into a minefield if I try to get her back? Mooning

Will you be stepping into a minefield? Not exactly. In a minefield, there's some small chance you'll make it across with the testicles you started with. What's that? She's been married five times? The more negative intel you get, the more determined you are: "Ditch that boyfriend, baby, and make me your sloppy sixth!" Never underestimate the benefits of holding out for an emotionally healthy partner. This chick is not only extremely unstable, she probably has a hard time responding to "More coffee, Ma'am?" without consulting her friends, her therapist, her horoscope and the Ouija board. But hey, she too loved Batman.

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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