Amy Amy

Thursday, August 27, 2009 at 11:45pm

DEAR AMY: I have a question about carpooling etiquette. I share carpooling duties with three other women five days a week.

We alternate cars each day for the 45-minute drive, and so far it has saved us a lot of money on gas, and we appreciate the company during the drive.

That being said, one woman in our group always drives with the windows down when it's her turn to drive.

She says she does this to save gas.

I have a problem with this because it is summertime, and in our area it easily reaches the mid-90s in the afternoon, and the "wind-blown hair look" does not help us present a professional front.

This person is already saving three-quarters of the gas she would be buying if we weren't carpooling.

My other carpool partners agree that we should be able to ride in comfort.

How can we talk to her about this without offending her? What are the carpool etiquette rules? — Concerned Carpooler

DEAR CONCERNED: I heard this question tackled recently on one of my favorite radio shows, NPR's "Car Talk."

Depending on the age and model of the car, the drag created by having the windows down and all that hair flapping in the breeze will actually decrease the car's fuel efficiency more than if the AC were on.

If you feel you risk offending your carpool partner by bringing up this very simple issue of mutual comfort, then she is either way too sensitive or you are way too timid.

There are probably little changes you each could make to create a great long-term carpooling situation, but you'll never know until you discuss it openly.

For more tips on increasing fuel efficiency (including not accelerating up hills and getting rid of that roof rack you never use — who knew?) check

DEAR AMY: Recently, I told a friend of mine that I had a crush on a guy that we both knew well. I'll call him Tim.

A couple of weeks after I confessed this to my friend, Tim asked her to go out with him. She said yes, and they have been seeing each other for about a month.

I am not mad at my friend for saying yes in spite of knowing that I liked Tim, and I am very happy for both of them. However, I still really like him.

How can I express my feelings for Tim when he is dating my friend?

Would it be rude and inconsiderate of me to go out with him if or when he and my friend break up? — Jealous and Confused

DEAR JEALOUS: You can't call dibs on someone. You also can't express your crush for your friend's boyfriend while they're dating.

Well, you can do these things, but only if you are then prepared to get into a screeching scratch-fest on a reality show.

In real life, where friendships matter, you have to respect the friendship first and hope for the relationship later.

If and when your friend and Tim break up, you could then attempt to date him, but only with your friend's say-so. Otherwise, you're just poaching.

If they didn't develop a serious attachment, she should release both of you to pursue a relationship and be happy for you both.

DEAR AMY: I could relate to "Wondering Widower's" situation. He and his live-in partner are in their 60s, and he doesn't like introducing her as his girlfriend because that sounds too juvenile.

I have heard numerous people bemoan the fact that the English language doesn't have a suitable word for "adult boyfriend" and "adult girlfriend."

The title that my "adult boyfriend" and I use for each other is "commitmate."

We invented this term, believing that it accurately describes our role to each other.

I have no idea how new words spread into common usage, but I would love to see "commitmate" fill the word void that exists for unmarried adults in loving, committed, exclusive relationships. — Bob's Commitmate

DEAR COMMITMATE: To me, "commitmate" sounds like a product sold on a late-night infomercial, but let's put it out there and see if it sticks!

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