Everything you need to know

**Dear Janet,

I’m graduating this year, and my boyfriend, who I’ve been dating for about a year, has a year left. Immediately after graduation I’ll be starting the summer session of my grad school (about an eight-hour drive from here). We haven’t talked about what’s going to happen between us, mostly because I don’t know what I want. He’s made comments in the past about “when we have kids” and stuff like that, just joking around, but I have no idea how he really feels. I don’t know if staying with him is something I want, or if it’s just the easiest thing to do.

—Seriously Tired of Really Extreme Sensitive Stalemate

Dear STRESS,**

The end of senior year is tough going. Honestly, I think life would be better served if people worried a little less about labels and spent more time appreciating their time together. That being said, sometimes everybody needs the stability of a label.

So, what do you do? Do you stay with what you know and love, or give him up for something new? I can’t tell you that. Just think about the drive to grad school. Think about how you’ll feel if you’ve broken up with him, and think about how you’ll feel if you haven’t. For now, that’s all you have to decide. You’re not determining your entire future here. If you stay together and it doesn’t work, well, that’s life! Remember: You don’t know what he wants yet. You need to figure out why you’re feeling so ambivalent, because that’s what I’m getting from your letter.

We’re getting to that age where people are starting to put their chips on the table: moving in together, jointly owning pets, and getting married. I’m not saying that you have to do any of these things, now or ever, with this guy or anybody. But if this is a guy with whom you’d consider a year-long long-distance relationship, is this a guy you love? Is this a guy you’d possibly be willing to move to cities for? Is this a guy you might possibly want to move in with/own pets with/etc.? Just some food for thought.


Dear Janet,

What’s the sexiest instrument? I’m thinking of picking one up, but any one of them takes years to learn, and I want to make sure I get the most bang for my buck, so to speak.

—Bass, Axe, Shred, Sax?

Dear BASS,**

There are a couple layers to your question, so I’ll tackle the surface issue first. What is the sexiest instrument? There isn’t one. There’s no doubt that there are some insidiously unsexy instruments (the tuba, accordion, and kazoo fall into this category), but almost every instrument, if you own it, can be made sexy. Even if you pick a more unconventional instrument for a rock band (fiddle, banjo, lead piano), if you run with it and don’t look back — if you jump in feet first — it’ll be sexy.

But something tells me that you weren’t thinking of taking up the banjo. I’m guessing you meant more in the vein of drums, guitar or bass, right? The basic three? They’re good choices.

Quick disclaimer: I don’t want to discourage you — I just want to tell you that learning an instrument is actually quite hard, and if the hope of some tail is all that’s propelling your studies, you may not ever get to a point where you’re good enough to actually attract anyone of the opposite gender. And then you’ll be out all that money and time with only the calluses on your fingers to show for it.

That being said, I think you should go for it. Personally, when I read your question I thought about it and decided that I think bass players are the sexiest. Then again, I realized a couple minutes later that I’ve had long-term relationships with drummers and guitarists, so who knows. I think it just means that people who can play their instruments well are sexy. Just throw your heart into it.