You can pick up a heroin addiction, drop out of high school, rob a bank or decide to write the great American novel financing yourself on your credit cards. You can go to rehab, get your GED, get parole, and pay off those cards. A modern man doesn’t turn up his nose at a woman with some sexual experience who might have learned a trick or two from previous lovers about what men REALLY like, or more likely, she learned how to FIND OUT, but the majority of men would like to see a NEW sign on her uterus. When a man picks a wife, he wants to know he won’t be competing with some random babydaddy who was there before him. A great wife and mother places the needs and happiness of her husband and children ABOVE her own needs, and in doing so, finds her greatest happiness. But a woman who makes YOU the center of her life is going to be a great wife. Oh, that’s the story she’ll spin for you, because really, what women is going to sit there and say “I’m an unbearably controlling and irrational cunt who made my husband’s life such hell he decided he would rather be a weekend Dad than spend one more second with me”. What kind of delusional self-image does a woman have, if she can fall for a con artist with a gambling habit that would shame Charlie Sheen?

Sometimes the answer is more nuanced than normal or requires cutting through a Gordian knot of related issues.

But, occasionally, I’ll get a letter from a reader that requires a deeper and more thorough dive than the usual request for advice.

You might not be the FIRST man she blames all her problems on, but you sure as hell can be NEXT. On the whole, give single and divorced mothers a pass. Little girls long for daddies as much as little boys. The children of single mothers have already been wounded so deeply by the lack of a father.

And for the love of god, if you decide to give one a spin, STAY AWAY FROM THE CHILD. To give them some hope that it might be YOU, and then leave them is unspeakably cruel. You can’t save those little innocents, but you can save them from hurting even more.

But attraction and compatibility are physical components, too, and they are impossible to determine until you meet in person.

There are a multitude of signals and signs that dictate who we are and aren’t attracted to – many of which we aren’t consciously aware of.

When we see people in person, we process those signs and signals so quickly that we don’t realize that we’ve gone through a checklist. Your attitude literally bleeds into everything you do, in ways that you don’t think about.

We just know “Yes, I’m attracted to that person” or “No, I’m not”. An amazing actor can pull this off for a little while. It affects how you talk to people, the way you perceive the world and how you interact with it. And like Binary Sunset, this is a theme that’s going to be recurring throughout your letter.

If you ever find yourself referring to a woman whose husband died on a battlefield as a single mother, you should immediately pour Tabasco sauce into your eyes, because you deserve to weep all the tears I’m certain she has.

Having a child out of wedlock is pretty much the number one thing you can do to fuck up your life. Never, ever assume a divorced woman is some innocent blushing maid cruelly abused by some terrible man. What kind of insecurities plague a woman who thinks getting married to a drug addict is good idea?

And despite spending the last 11 years trying to find a girlfriend, I haven’t had a single one, and – to add insult to injury – I’m still a virgin! Of those, I felt the vast majority went well – I do have social skills after all – and I expressed interest in a second date for 17 or 18 of the women…