Dear Kenneth Cole,

I just moved to Houston, and so far, I've had a hard time making friends. I tried hanging out in the coffee shops and going to the bars, but all the people I met seemed wrapped up in their own busy lives. I love the city, but I don't have anyone to enjoy it with. What's a lonely girl to do?

—Holed Up In Houston

Dear Holed Up,

Let there be shoes.     —Kenneth Cole

Dear Kenneth Cole,

I've had Lacy, my wirehaired fox terrier, for 11 years now. That means that she's 77 in dog years! I'm 63 myself and planning on retiring to Florida soon, but I worry that Lacy won't be able to handle the change. It's hard enough to leave my friends behind, much less my beloved pup. On the other hand, I don't want to be kept on a leash by Lacy. What should I do?

—Befuddled In Bedford

Dear Befuddled,

Self-confidence isn't made, it's worn.     —Kenneth Cole

Dear Kenneth Cole,

Last week, my wife Laura asked if I was interested in experimenting in the bedroom, and I said "sure." Now I think I made a mistake. I came home yesterday and found a box of risqué board games! How can I tell my sweetie that I'm not up for the games without hurting her feelings?

—In Over My Head In Indianapolis

Dear Over My Head,

After the storm comes the makeover.     —Kenneth Cole

Dear Kenneth Cole,

My son Jason applied for college this year, and the suspense is killing him. Jason is a great kid and a loving son, but to be honest, his grades could be better. There's a real chance that he might not get into any of his first-pick schools. Is there a way to lower his expectations while still showing him that I believe in him?

—Realistic In Redmond

Dear Realistic,

No one on their deathbed says they wish they'd spent more time in pleated pants.     —Kenneth Cole

Dear Kenneth Cole,

A few weeks ago, my boyfriend Ryan and I ended a nine-month relationship when we realized we weren't ready to get serious. The time apart was going well until I started to have dreams about him. I think my unconscious mind might be telling me to give it another shot. Are the dreams a wake-up call, or is getting back together a nightmare of an idea?

—Confused In Cambridge

Dear Confused,

Be genuine. Wear leather.     —Kenneth Cole

Dear Kenneth Cole,

My 28-year-old son Eli has been dating a wonderful girl for three years now, and the whole family is wondering when he's going to pop the question! I keep dropping hints and telling him stories about other happily married people his age. Today on the phone, I even told him the story of how his father proposed to me! I don't want to come right out and ask him, lest I seem pushy, but inquiring minds want to know!

—Pushing For Proposal In Pittsburgh

Dear Pushing,

Appearances may be deceiving. Work it.     —Kenneth Cole

Dear Kenneth Cole,

I dropped a broken radio off at the repair center, but when I went to pick it up, they claimed they didn't have it. I don't have any proof, but I think the counter girl stole it. I asked to see the manager, but he said he couldn't do anything about it. Here's my question: Do I have a right to be mad at the manager for something one of his employees did?

—Suitless In Sacramento

Dear Suitless,

To love and win is the best thing. To love and lose, the next best. After that, it's all shoes.     —Kenneth Cole

Dear Kenneth Cole,

My wife and I have been thinking about remodeling our bathroom, but the last time we renovated, it caused so many arguments that we almost split up! Looking back, we know the arguments were meaningless, but all the same, the whole experience was awful. Still, our bathroom could really use some work—maybe even one of those whirlpool bathtubs. Should we take the plunge and risk sending our marriage down the drain?

—Apprehensive In Appleton

Dear Apprehensive,

Every sweater happens for a reason.     —Kenneth Cole

Kenneth Cole is a syndicated columnist whose weekly advice column, Ask Kenneth Cole, appears in more than 250 newspapers nationwide.