Village Voice ``Problem Lady'' Heimel (Sex Tips for Girls, 1983) splices together short, fast takes on love, lovelessness, and life in big, bad New York City. In the most interesting of the 45 pieces reprinted here from the Voice, Playboy, and Vogue, Heimel lets it slip that N.Y.C. is beginning to scare her. And it's not merely that bridge-and- tunnel people are ruining the atmosphere at Nell's or that importers from Long Island and Nebraska are dressing in black, the cherished outlaw-artist color of the city. Now that ``nobody but college kids goes to nightclubs,'' Heimel is letting herself feel real fear: ``Every day I'm afraid I'm going to die hideously and be mentioned in the New York Post,'' she writes in a piece that mirrors the kind of surreal and apocalyptic small talk that New Yorkers dish out to each other on particularly bad days. ``I'm convulsed with fear and grief over the children who have been shot accidentally in drug-related gunplay.'' Heimel is also afraid of ``the New Coldness,'' the passionless careerism of the twentysomething generation. She is sick of co-dependency and sick of men who ask women out on dates only to go home with someone else. Despite her near-obsessive fear of not finding a decent man in this hellishly strange city, Heimel is still the cleareyed, let's-be-real ``Problem Lady,'' still tolerant of her impractical and idealistic friends. In short, she's now able to marry her head and her heart, showing us that she's a little sadder and wiser but still-crazy-after-all-these-years. A little wan, a little thin and repetitive in places, but still good downtown-Manhattan wit.