Thoughts on how to ""say no to someone with whom you do want to sleep,"" and other lesser matters, packed in a lot of excelsior. There's no gainsaying that people nowadays have trouble getting ""from point A in courtship to point B,"" that many bounce ""from unhappy relationship to unhappy relationship,"" that most still dream of ""falling in love""; there's no harm, and could be some good, in going over the pitfalls and promising moves. So, though Merser doesn't have anything dramatically new to say (and does linger on familiar, Annie Hall terrain), she's on the side of the relax/be-considerate angels, with a smidgin of forethought thrown in. To the vast majority of women who can't ask a man for a date outright, she mentions lunch as an opening--and notes that the shy woman who disarmingly says good-bye to everyone at a party may find some also-shy man asking for her number. The first date arranged, dinner is the best bet--though who pays sounds here like pocket-calculator time. Arriving at sleeping-over, the text firms up--with pointers on the little things that do matter (like making the other feel at home) and forthright attention to such delicate topics as STDs (""if you'd feel safer using a condom, blame it on the unreliability of whatever other birth control is around"") or a man's impotence. (He must speak up--tactfully; but it can be the occasion for extra-closeness.) On into ""the practical day-to-day details of running a romance,"" there's a mix again of airing problems (""Nearly everyone has a complaint about how he or she was treated vis-Ã -vis a lover's friends""), citing felicitous solutions, and proferring some ""rules."" No breakthroughs, but no guarantees either--and a stress that's altogether apt: ""Doesn't a love that ends still count as a legitimate love?