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Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 12:01 am

MP3’s a crowd

 I’ve been dating a girl for two months, and I go back and forth from thinking the relationship has legs to wanting to end it. I just had a birthday, and she got me a new iPod Touch with my name engraved on the back. I told her it was too extravagant, but she insisted I keep it. For some reason, I now want to break up with her even more, but I feel guilty about ending it after she got me this pricey gift.  –iClod

Desperation is always so sexy – like Abraham Lincoln in a lime-green mankini.

There is a natural order to things. The tennis ball does not chase the dog. (Imagine how freaked your dog would be if it did.) It also tends to go over poorly when women overtly pursue men. Males evolved to be the chasers of our species (and most other species) – to do the wooing and gift giving. Females evolved to be the choosier sex, to give men the squint-eye and wait for them to prove they are “providers.” When a woman turns the tables and does the wooing, like by giving a man an expensive present right out of the gate, the man tends to suspect there’s something wrong with her. If he wasn’t already ambivalent, he’ll likely get ambivalent. (Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Give a man you just started dating an iPod and you’ll be fishing for a new boyfriend.)

What you need to figure out is whether your “lemme outta here” feelings are about her or the fact that she got you what may seem like an iShackle. (“Hey, honey … here’s the present you’d get if we had a serious relationship – so now give me the serious relationship.”) Give this a week or two and consider whether her gift was desperation-driven or whether she maybe just got into shopping mode and, oops, went a little wild at the mall.

If you decide that your initial reaction – wanting out – is where you really stand, don’t be delayed by the price of the gift. The right time to break up is as soon as you know it’s over. If you stay with her, you might gently confide that what works best for you in a relationship is taking things slowly. We long for what’s slightly out of reach, not what’s hanging all over us raining small appliances: “I know you like music, so I’m giving you an iPod.” Your impulse: “And I know you like shoes, so I’m giving you the boot.”

©2014, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or email ( Weekly radio show: Order Amy Alkon’s new book, “Good Manners For Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck” (St. Martin’s Press, June 3, 2014).


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Friday Sept. 20th