Dear Pink Lady: Advice for Knoxville's Lovers From Our Soluble Solutions Columnist

Because all advice goes down easier with a drink (even a nonalcoholic one). Especially when it's picked at random from our columnist's extensive collection of community cookbooks.

Every other week in Metro Pulse, Soluble Solutions gives advice to the those who request it.

Send your quandaries to solutions@metropulse.com.

Dear Pink Lady,

My girlfriend wants to hang out with me all the time. I love her, but there are times when I need solitude, and I can't seem to explain it to her so that she understands. I like to sleep alone sometimes, unfettered by someone's tossing and turning. I like to be by myself to read and think, to be lost in thought without someone asking what I'm doing.

Any time I've brought this up to her she takes it very personally. I say, "Don't you like being alone sometimes?" and she says she doesn't. As far as she's concerned, if neither of us are working, we should be together. We are together already quite a bit, four nights a week at least. That's a lot, right?

What the hell do I do?

—Thoughtfully Thoughtless

Dear Thoughtless,

Whether four nights a week is a lot together depends on many things—the status of your relationship, how long you've been dating, and, most importantly, whether you and your loved one think it's a lot. If you've just started seeing each other, then yes, four nights a week is quite a bit. But if you've been together a long time, it's not unreasonable for one party to think four nights a week together is three too few.

However, if you don't feel the same way—which you clearly don't—then you need to have a serious talk about what you both want. If dating for years and seeing each other four nights a week is all you want, then you need to make that clear to your partner. If she wants something else, like marriage, she will have to decide if she's willing to wait and see if you change your mind down the road.

But it's also possible you can find a compromise—alone-time together, as it were. Would your sweetie be content to come over to your house and watch TV while you read? Would you be fine sharing a bed at the end of the night if it meant having the whole evening to do your own thing? There is no right or wrong answer, there's just what you need, and what she needs. If your needs don't mesh, and you both can't find a way to meet in the middle, then you might need to make up a pitcher of "Border Buttermilk" as you split yourselves back into two.

Cheers,

The Pink Lady

Border Buttermilk

1 6-oz can frozen pink lemonade concentrate

1 can tequila

Place ingredients in an electric blender and fill with ice. Blend until slushy. Serve in stemmed glasses. Garnish with a sprig of mint if desired. Serves 6 to 8.

Dear Pink Lady,

I've always heard that "the little things" are the key to a good relationship. But what if every time you try to do "the little things," it blows up in your face because your partner, while loving and supporting, is also meticulous and detail-oriented and gets upset if things aren't 100 percent perfect? Does the effort matter, or is this a case where it's better to just not frustrate one's partner because the doing is worse than the not doing?

—Here to Help

Dear Helpless,

There are many keys to a good relationship—love, patience, and having sex on a somewhat regular basis spring to mind immediately—but "the little things" do go a long way toward keeping love alive and helping create a groundswell of patience. But if you're partnered with a control freak, it is possible those little things might be better taken care of by the Type A personality—if that's what she wants.

It's also possible you aren't making quite enough of an effort. Does she want the towels hung up and folded a certain way, while you're just hanging them up? Or is she refolding the towels you folded perfectly in line with the way she wants? If the situation is the former, then some give on your part—it won't kill you to fold the towel in thirds, instead of halving it—might go far with your lady. But if the case is the latter, then you're stuck with her perfectionist self.

The most important thing is that you both feel happy with the way things are going. If she prefers to do all the little things herself, then let her, while making sure you still offer to help once in a while. But if she's unhappy with your lack of perfection while expecting you to do certain things, a serious talk is in order. Whip up a batch of "French 75's" to show you do care about the details, and then try to find a way to compromise. If that fails, then therapy may be in order—perfectionist fault-finding can be highly damaging to relationships.

Cheers,

The Pink Lady

French 75's

Large chunk of ice

4 1/4 oz. brandy

1 fifth Sauterne

1 fifth Champagne

1 10-oz. bottle carbonated water

1 oz. Curaçao*

Combine ingredients in the order listed and chill. Serves 15 to 20.

*If unable to get Curaçao, soak grated orange rind in 1 ounce Cointreau or Triple sec for 24 hours, then substitute.

Dear Pink Lady,

I was in a relationship for almost a year, and it ended a few months ago. I've been trying to get out there and meet new people, but nothing seems to be working. I'm sick of bars, and I don't go to church. I tried some outdoorsy things, but everyone there was already married. I've gone on dates with guys I met online—really nice, interesting guys, I should add—but nothing seems right. I just end up at home feeling more alone than before. Is it possible to even meet single men in Knoxville, or should I just give up and try to get used to the fact that I'll be alone forever?

—All the Single Ladies

Dear Single,

There are worse fates than being single forever—being unhappily married, for one—so look at this time alone as a blessing, not a curse. Now's the time you can do all the things your ex hated, whether it's going to his least favorite restaurant or playing that CD by that band he hates over and over again. There are single men in Knoxville, I swear, and if you keep putting yourself out there, you will meet one with whom you click.

However, it's possible that you aren't meeting anyone because you don't really want to. If you just got out of a relationship, maybe you shouldn't push yourself to get back in another one. If going on dates is making you unhappy, then what you really need to do is stay home and embrace the cliché of your single life. Spend the next few weeks sitting on your couch feeling sorry for yourself, eating Lean Cuisine frozen dinners, watching Lifetime movies, and drinking "Tawhiri Busters" made with the crummiest possible rum. I guarantee you that after a month, you'll be so sick of your life that you'll feel compelled to make positive changes—and nothing's sexier to a man than a sunny disposition.

Cheers,

The Pink Lady

Tawhiri Buster

Carbonated grapefruit drink or Fresca brand diet drink

1 jigger light rum

Fill a tall glass with ice; add rum and grapefruit drink. Stir. Serves 1.

Dear Pink Lady,

My husband and I have a couple that we spend time with, with whom our lives are pretty intertwined. However, the wife of the couple is allergic to alcohol and yet drinks, and this leads her to amorously assail anyone in her vicinity once she's passed the point of no return, which is three to four drinks in.

How does one politely deal with this?

—Not a Swinger

Dear Swinging,

Have you heard of "Drynuary," in which people, in order to start the new year on the right foot, take the entire month of January off from drinking? Perhaps February might be a good month to implement a similar break from the booze for you and your husband. When your friends next come around, you can offer them a "Hot Apricot Drink" and suggest they join you in your fast. Even if they don't, they likely won't feel compelled to drink three drinks in front of you—abstainers can make for awkward company.

Of course, this will only solve your problem for a month. It sounds as if your friend could have a drinking problem, in which case expressing your concerns to her husband is your best bet. But if you feel that you can't escape socializing with these friends without alcohol, your best option is to laugh off her carousing caresses—and maybe move your chairs just a little farther apart.

Cheers,

The Pink Lady

Hot Apricot Drink

1 c. water

2 Tbs. sugar

4 whole cloves

1 3-inch cinnamon stick

1 12-oz. can apricot nectar

2 Tbs. lemon juice

Boil the first 4 ingredients for 5 minutes and then strain. Add apricot nectar and lemon juice; heat and serve. Serves 4.

Dear Pink Lady,

Knoxville can be sooo incredibly small, even smaller in the gay community. I see my ex around town often. He either pretends like I don't exist or sasses me. I was his first boyfriend—perhaps he just doesn't know how to handle a breakup?

I really don't want to let this guy run me out of town because I have so many great friends that I love here. I am generally always friends with my exes; however, it's been wildly different with this ex. How can I navigate this breakup which is so, so long over? I have moved on and I think he has, but the tension he creates in social places is absurd. I wish I wouldn't let his actions bother me, but it just doesn't feel good to be treated rudely in social situations with mutual friends around. Any ideas or approaches to creating calm in this shitstorm?

—Scruffy Little City Exes

Dear Ex,

If your ex has moved on, it would make sense that he would ignore you—if you aren't friends, there's no reason for him to talk to you. But the fact that he still "sasses" you shows that he hasn't moved on, not entirely.

This, however, is no reason for you to leave town! Bad breakups happen all the time, and not everyone is mature enough to stay cordial after. Your best bet is simply to ignore him—all the time, 100 percent of the time, no matter what he does. Yes, it's hard to turn one's head away when someone says something rude, but choosing to not respond to his sass really is the best way to handle things. Once your ex sees he can no longer provoke a reaction from you—because that's what this is all about, not being able to let go—he'll begin to leave you alone.

In the meantime, there's no reason why you shouldn't make sure you won't run into your ex by having friends over to your place for an evening of drinks made with "Coffee Liqueur." Sometimes avoidance is the tastiest policy.

Cheers,

The Pink Lady

Coffee Liqueur

1 qt. water

2 1/2 c. sugar

3 Tbs. instant coffee

1 tsp. vanilla

2 1/2 c. vodka

Bring water, sugar, and coffee to a boil; barely simmer for three hours. Add vanilla and vodka; mix. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Keeps indefinitely. Makes about 1 fifth.

Dear Pink Lady,

My four-year relationship with "Hal" has ended, but we still talk sometimes. We started out as BFFs at 19, and after the long relationship I still feel like he's still my best friend—just not "with benefits."

Our breakup was sad and a long time coming. In the "big conversation" we agreed we loved each other dearly but we didn't get along as lovers. We seemed more like best friends, so we still keep our weekly TV nights and all that. Very little has changed except that now we have two apartments to hang out in all the time.

But I'm going to start seeing people soon. I get asked out a lot and want to go, but I keep thinking of how it will hurt Hal's feelings. It's really hard to tell how our new relationship is different from the old one, honestly. Everything is all the same except for the obligation of sex, which had really fizzled out a year ago.

I am at a total loss. How do I broach the subject? And if I do it and he takes it poorly, I really can't stand the thought of losing my best friend!

—BFF****ed

Dear BFF,

When a relationship doesn't end badly, it can be hard to let go, but let go we must. If Hal really is your best friend, don't you want him to start dating, too? Surely he's missing the physical side of things just like you are.

The next time you plan to watch TV together, mix up some "Sangria." After the Dutch courage of a glass or two, tell Hal the truth—that it's time for you both to start acting like you're broken up. It's unlikely that this scenario won't have crossed his mind, which means he may take it better than you think he will. However, that doesn't mean there won't be painful scenes in the future, and dealing with those is part of growing up. It's possible that you and Hal will remain best friends after an awkward several months, but it's equally possible you'll grow apart as you both fall in love with new partners. But if you both act with the maturity you've exhibited thus far, you are unlikely to look back on each other with anything but fond memories.

Cheers,

The Pink Lady

Sangria

Sangria crossed the Atlantic with the Spanish to Mexico. Fruity and refreshing, it is widely served, the perfect beginning for a Mexican "fiesta"!

6 oranges, sliced

3 lemons, sliced

1 lime, sliced

1 cup sugar

1/2 pint brandy

1 gallon dry red wine

Arrange the lemons, limes, and oranges in the bottom of a very large pitcher or crock. Sprinkle sugar over fruit. (More sugar may be added if oranges are sour.) Add the brandy and allow to sit at least one hour. Add wine, stir well, and allow to sit 30 minutes. Serve over ice in stemmed glasses. Makes 18 cups.

Dear Pink Lady,

I am a jilted political spouse. Her campaign is now her passion. My polling member stays drooped, as she solicits door-to-door. While early voting starts soon, she says I cannot touch her ballot box before Election Day on March 6!

Should I do a Gingrich and ask for an open marriage? Please give me your solution to my relationship dilemma, where she tells me that my cold showers are the price of her adoring electorate!

—Ultimate Political Spouse

Dear Politico,

It seems unlikely that a month of solid campaigning would prevent one's spouse from having sex. Are you sure she's not already opening up your marriage without telling you?

However, if you're sure her campaigning isn't really an excuse for an affair, there's no reason you both shouldn't be able to compromise a little. Tell your wife you'll support her new ardor until March if she'll only consent to bed you occasionally.

This can best be accomplished while making some "Tequila Brandy." The leftover tequila at the beginning of the process will need to be drunk immediately, and what makes women randier than shots of tequila? But then you'll have to wait a whole 10 days before the liqueur is set, which will surely only make the next drink that much sweeter, while giving your wife a little more time to campaign.

Cheers,

The Pink Lady

Tequila Brandy

1 fifth tequila

1 c. sugar

Rind of one orange

Remove 1 cup tequila from the bottle. Add sugar and orange ring, cut into long strips, to the remaining tequila in the bottle. Shake until sugar is dissolved. After 10 days, remove orange peel, and you have a delicious after-dinner liqueur.

This issue's recipes are all from Fiesta: Favorite Recipes of South Texas (Junior League of Corpus Christi, 1973).