Norma, I'm afraid to install it

Norma Knows

Dear Norma,

There's something that's been confusing me. What's this "ask him out to coffee" thing? What the hell does that mean? Is there something special about coffee? I mean, caffeine is a drug, right? But it's not as if you're getting someone drunk, you're just getting them wired and shaky. Norma, isn't "do you want to go out for coffee sometime" just an artsy, sophisticated way of saying, "I want you?" Not Jivin' to Java in Leverett Dear Jivin'

Of course it is, dear. But just wait--in a few years, you'll be asking if he wants to go out for a drink. Then he'll get f--ed up, pass out and you'll have to help him home. Be happy that caffeine only gives the shakes. Also, there's something to be said for "artsy and sophisticated"; it's really just a modern way of dealing with politesse (for more on what that means see Miss Manners. I don't know anything about it.). Dear Norma,

I've been wondering this for a while, and I wasn't going to write in to you, because that seems lame, but none of my totally cool friends could help me answer this one, so I figured I'd try writing you as a last resort. I was at a party and I ran into this woman whom I'm interested in. We talked and it seemed like she was interested in me, but I didn't know. We danced for a bit and then I left the party. My question is: how do you get together with someone at a party? What do you say to let the other person know you're interested?   Desperate in Quincy Dear Desperate,

Thanks for the compliment and hah, hah, hah. You don't meet people at parties. You meet people when you spend every waking hour at an extracurricular activity and eventually get so delirious you decide you might as well spend every sleeping hour together as well, figuring it won't make that much difference.

But it is a well-known fact that some people do meet each other at parties. How about "Good party, huh? Want to go to coffee sometime?" or "This party sucks. Let's go someplace and take all our clothes off." Those options always worked for me. For more great one-liners check out my 1991 book entitled Norma Tells All--I'm from Dunster and Other Great One-liners, availible for $24.99 at your local bookstore. Dear Norma,


I have a rather large problem. I'm a sophomore living with the same people I lived with freshman year, except for one girl who's floated into our rooming group. She seems like a nice person except for the fact that she's always insisting that we shouldn't flush the toilet and that we have to recycle absolutely everything. I'm environmentally conscious but she's taking things too far.

But the biggest problem with her "share and care" thing is that she likes to borrow everyone else's clothes, especially mine. I was bothered when she borrowed my best sweater and left it in a heap on the common room floor, but now she's started borrowing my underwear too. I think that's disgusting and I've asked her nicely to stop, but she continues to do it. What should I do?   Annoyed and frustrated Dear Annoyed,

Well, you've finally got Norma stumped. I used to do the same thing myself and it took 10 long years of intensive therapy to get over it. Be understanding. Ask her if she's considered seeing someone about the problem. And if you've got the cash, buy new underwear. Dear Norma,

I've had System 7.1 sitting in a box in my room and I'm afraid to install it on my computer. What do you reccomend I should do?   Unsure in DeWolfe Dear Unsure,

Of course, it depends on what speed processor and how much memory you have in your computer. There is a required minimum of 2Mb RAM, but only someone who's never heard of Microsoft would use it with less than 4 Mb RAM, especially if you want to take full advantage of system 7 features. As 7.1 is an odd release, you should feel fairly secure that Apple has fixed most of the problems of the earlier model.