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Given his rocky childhood, perhaps it's not all that surprising that LaBeouf seeks stability in his romantic life—albeit with a few high-profile exceptions. He calls himself a "serial monogamist" and says he's never had any interest in bedding movie extras or fans, despite the array of opportunities afforded an A-list star. It's "below my dignity," he says. "It's not me. I'd feel disgusted with myself. It takes a certain mentality to be able to pay a hooker and stay hard, if you know what I mean."

LaBeouf and Carey Mulligan, his Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps costar, dated for more than a year before mutually ending their relationship last October. "I still love her," he says. "I think she's a fucking awesome person and an incredible actress. We're still pals. I wouldn't take any of it back, and I don't think she would either. It just ran its course."

He met his current girlfriend, Karolyn Pho, a student and stylist, at a restaurant. Though he made a careful study of Neil Strauss' pick-up-artist bible The Game and can recite several "approaches" from memory, he says he never really uses that sort of technique. Instead, true to form, he favors a strategy of brutal honesty. "I just saw her, thought she was attractive, and told her so. Just straight. I put it on the table, and either it works or it doesn't."

They've been together for seven months. The two of them do a lot of cocooning. They see Groundlings and Second City shows, hit the museums, cook, watch movies, and hang out with LaBeouf's one-eyed English bulldog, Brando. "It's a pretty mundane, domestic, docile, lame, sort of not-that-exciting existence," he says. It suits him fine.

For the first time in a while, he has nothing concrete lined up and a lot of blank days on his calendar. "That's the new, very hard challenge, man," he says. "I'm a call-sheet junkie. I love being on set. So the hardest thing for me is dealing with all this idle time. That's when I get into trouble." Sounds like it could get ugly, I tell him. LaBeouf drains his beer and stands to leave. "Or beautiful," he says with a smile.

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