Susan Deitz

DEAR SUSAN: If someone were to break up with me by saying he is serious about someone else, I would think he had been cheating on me -- and feel like a fool for not figuring it out. That just adds insult to injury. There are plenty of things you can say that are honest but not cruel.

From the "Single File" blog

DEAR BLOGGER: Haven't you known someone who -- in the name of honesty -- has proceeded to say way too much without noticing how deeply the words cut? (I always wonder about those people's motives and whether -- somewhere deep inside -- they know they're inflicting pain.) Hey there, well-meaning people, it's true that honesty is the best policy, but it's also true that you can edit your honesty; you don't have to say everything. I bet you've heard goodbyes from lovers who have told you about all your negatives -- all in the name of honesty. I agree with you; I'd rather be spared that tell-all honesty. It's brutal.

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DEAR SUSAN: When I was growing up, women were respected more than they are today. I was taught to treat a woman like a lady, someone to respect and cherish. I don't think women are treated that way today because they sleep around more than they did back then. Or maybe they always have slept around but it's just more overt now.

From the "Single File" blog

DEAR BLOGGER: Whoa! Let's slow things down and let your words settle. Getting the pulse of your words, I would say you're complaining that women don't know how to handle their sexuality wisely because the pill made sex possible without pregnancy, leading to immorality, and that "freedom" puts them in a different class, engendering much less respect from men. Somehow you want a return to the good old days, when women were more cautious and ladylike and dependent on the man for birth control. Now, with that onus lifted, you are saying that the fair sex has "graduated" to a more independent -- but much less beguiling -- figure in society.

My response -- should you care to consider it -- is that the two points must be considered separately. To my way of thinking, it's a great move forward that women are in control of their own bodies, but some of them (as with men) are so intoxicated by sexual freedom that they overplay their hand. Those are the unfeminine feminists intent on making the male apologetic and guilty, which in turn reduces their own charms. How to handle their independence is a challenge some women have yet to meet.