** The names of all women in this piece have been changed due to the fact that they would “bitch-slap” me for outing them as having ever dated me.

I need comedy in my life. It’s my survival mechanism.

People will do whatever it takes to get what they need. Some people need drugs. They get it. Some people need the church. They get it.

Some people need to do drugs to go to church. They get it. In an earlier column, I wrote about the fact that every woman I date seems to marry the next man that she dates after me. It was a bit of an exaggeration, because some of the women I date marry the next woman they see after me. I’ve brought more women to a lesbian lifestyle than k.d. lang.

Honestly, I didn’t expect the overwhelming response that I got from readers concerning my historic lack of success with the ladies. OK, it was only about a dozen people, but then, I am easily overwhelmed. Here’s a sampling.

I heard from an old girlfriend, “Becky,” who pointed out that she did not marry the next guy after me … they were only engaged and then she came to her good senses and has remained single ever since. I most happily heard from a girl, “Amber,” that I suppose I dated. Amber was the first girl that I had any romantic feelings for since my divorce, seven years earlier.

Amber was and is just adorable. Athletic, funny, thoughtful, concerned, spiritual, maybe a tad self-absorbed, but adorable. Did I mention that she is adorable? Not only is Amber adorable, she also has an adorable child. Together, Amber and child are adorable to the seventh power. Amber smelled of incense, flowers, baby powder, and yoga mats. A powerful aphrodisiac.

Amber is also the only girl that I have ever kissed and literally made cry.

I met Amber at her job in a local book store. I pretended to be a reader. I came by often. Too often for the taste of the manager, who started posting signs such as “loiterers will be shot,” “please do not hump the employees,” and “please no masturbating in the bathrooms.”

Anyway, Amber and I started hanging out after work and one night while on her couch I could sense her utter exhaustion and lack of hope for her future and I went for “it.” I kissed her hands, I kissed her shoulders, I kissed the nape of her neck. She did not kiss me back. However, I had been married, so I had gotten used to doing most of the “work” and took this as a natural pattern.

While Amber had not kissed me, she was sighing pleasurably and I took this as a sign to continue. However, while kissing her neck, she began to weep. I simply thought this meant I was a damn good kisser. Then she began to cry. I could not spin crying as a positive. And it completely broke my concentration.

Amber had previously explained that she and her old boyfriend were “broken up” or perhaps she had said they “were on a break.” Either way, I took this to mean that she was no longer with her boyfriend or I certainly would not have been kissing her.

Gent that I am, I realized that my affectionate kisses had burst the dam of feelings that she still had for her not-quite-ex-boyfriend. And that was the last I saw of Amber. Affectionate thoughts remained but phone calls, drop-bys, and stalking “left the building.”

Then last week, on a machine that I call my “computer,” I got a sweet e-mail from Amber, asking how I was, what had changed in my little universe, and how we should get together to talk.

I wrote back that I always thought highly of her, still do, and would love to see her. I suggested that she give me an e-mail with her phone number.

That e-mail with phone number from Amber has yet to come. It’s been a couple of weeks. I guess she wasn’t all that anxious to see me. Or perhaps she is still in tears from my sweet e-mail.

I remember in my extreme youth, I used to be upset by a woman’s rejection. At this point, I consider it natural like raindrops falling down, rainbows being colorful, or Danny Bonaduce being a selfish, self-absorbed no-talent.

Anyway, it sure appears that my inability to please a woman continues.

I don’t know if I have the energy to date again, but I know I will. I need the comedy.