Here's the skinny

I'm screwed. I've been single for a loooong time. I have a great life that I enjoy very much—amazing friends; the occasional dalliance with the smellier, hairier sex; a career that seems to be on, at least, a semi-upward trajectory—in short, no shortage of fun. Now suddenly, unexpectedly, I find myself involved with this guy who calls himself my boyfriend. I like him; he likes me. We talk on the phone a couple times a day, e-mail each other constantly, and have dates that are like the ones you see in the movies (only weirder and better). He's hands down the funniest man I've ever met. He's completely charming, smart, goofy (very), affectionate, cute, supportive. Good for me, right? Well, yeah . . . I guess.

How do people do this? It's so scary! I realize that because I'm paid to offer advice on the subject of human relationships, I should have a better handle on my own, but I don't. I can run other people's love lives with one eye closed, but when it comes to mine, I don't have a clue! Am I really supposed to take my battered little heart out of cold storage and let some joker run with it? That's crazy talk, yet that's what I seem to be doing. Oy! And we've been seeing each other for only a month! I vacillate between being sure that it's not going to last another second and there's a horrible breakup lurking at every turn to being absolutely certain that he's the one I'm going to marry! Talk about your mood swings. All this is compounded by the fact that we haven't even had sex yet and I'm going to Spain for two weeks, during which time he'll probably meet someone skinnier, smarter, and prettier, and then I'll really be screwed! Aaaargh!

Now, that I've gotten that out of my system. . . .

Dear Dategirl,

My husband is too fat. I am 10 weeks pregnant, and he seems to be gaining weight at a much steadier clip than I am.

When we first hooked up, he was a lean, sexy thing, with discernible ab muscles (OK, never a six-pack, but at least a four). Those muscles are nowhere to be found, and his neck seems to be disappearing as well.

Granted, I am ultrasensitive to the weight thing right now, so weight gain in others, especially those whom I often see naked, is probably far more noticeable. Aside from aesthetics and truth in advertising—this is not what I married—I worry about his health. He's 10 years older than me, and I want him not only to be around but to be fit enough to play with our kid. Is there a nice way to tell him? Am I evil for even thinking about this?

Also, he seems to have given up on shaving his sideburns. They have reached Neil Young-like proportions. I know that the pregnancy hormones are causing me to be bugged by him more than usual, but I also feel like he has gotten way too comfortable in this relationship. Help!

—Pregnant by a Porker

As for the sideburns, puh-lease! That's nothing a little carefully applied hot wax in the dead of the night won't fix.

But as for the rest, oh my! Being in a new relationship and also being extremely self-conscious about the extra poundage I've been trying to shed (which new man has definitely noticed), this question pushes a lot of my own buttons. The thing is there's really no nice way to tell someone they're fat. You can couch it in the worried-about-their-health bullshit, but really, an extra 20 around the midsection isn't going to bring the Grim Reaper a-knocking any sooner. Admit it, you just don't want some fat shit for a husband. And that's perfectly understandable. But as you're going to be piling on the pounds rather quickly for the next few months, I'd ignore his weight gain for the duration of the pregnancy. Though I've never been knocked up myself, expert testimony says you're going to start feeling plenty unattractive around month six or seven. Do you really want your husband to start working out and getting all buff while you're busy blowing up like some exotic fish? Didn't think so.

However, after you give birth to Jumbo's Junior, you are perfectly entitled to put both of you on a fascistic diet and fitness regimen. If he dares try to protest, you can just point out that you forced something the size of a basketball through a hole that's generally as wide as a pencil lead (to my less female-plumbing savvy readers, we're talking cervix here) to give him a child. If he continues to whine, ask him if he has any idea what the male equivalent of an episiotomy might be. He'll jump on that treadmill, pronto.

Female troubles? Write or Dategirl, c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western, Ste. 300, Seattle WA 98104.

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