Friday, September 26, 2008

Since You Asked - September 26, 2008

(NOTE: I didn't have time to be picky this week...I'm getting ready to go to San Francisco, so I was in kind of a hurry!)

DEAR ABBY: I just got off the phone with a friend who makes me envious. "Sally" is a nice person with a great attitude. She married an intelligent, confident man who has become successful and has always been crazy about her. She lives in a beautiful home and has never had to work. She has a close and loving family who travels all over the world together, celebrating every occasion.

When she finishes telling me about her wonderful life, she then asks about mine. But, Abby, I just can't bring myself to tell her about my boring job, my unsuccessful husband, my parents who fight constantly and my average children. So I lie and say that everything is "fine," and after I hang up I feel like a miserable failure.

Sally is one of my dearest friends, and I would hate to end the friendship, but every conversation with her makes me feel worse. What should I do?



There are three possibilities here:

a. She’s exaggerating.
b. She’s not telling you everything.
c. She’s rehearsing a Geritol commercial.

Whatever the case, your life sounds pretty normal. Hers sounds like the stuff TV-movies are made of, a lá “Fatal Vision” or “Wife, Mother, Murderer.” Everything is just hunky-dory until one night, there are ambulances and fire trucks all over the street in front of their house when somebody finally flips out.

(I’m not saying that we should gloat if this happens—but who am I to judge if you decide to?)

DEAR MARGO: I am a gay male, single five years and ready for something serious again. My last relationship was not very good, but I made the effort until I could no longer handle the stress of an alcoholic compulsive gambler.

Last weekend I met a really nice guy who is about a year older than me (I am 46). Although he is not really my type, I like the attention he gives me and I really like how nice he is. I am willing to explore the possibilities here. The problem is that 45 minutes into our first conversation, he started talking about "when we move in together," "our relationship," "our future," etc. He is already making plans, tells me he loves me, wants me to spend the night, can't wait to meet my friends and family and for me to meet his. I have known him for only a few days and feel a bit smothered. I told him to slow down because we don't really know each other, and that I will not spend the night until I know him a lot better. The last two conversations left me very concerned because they involved him telling me what is going to happen or what to do.

I know that relationships benefit from a certain amount of allowing yourself to be controlled by your significant other, but I feel this is out of line this early into things, and my first inclination is to cut and run. These control issues and his neediness seem to be huge red flags. So the question is: Do I heed my inner voice that is telling me to end this, or do I see where this goes first?



Where did you meet this guy, exactly? The Glenn Close Fan Club, in the “I Will Not Be Ignored” section? Well, at least you still have the alarm bells going off that tell you when things are moving too fast. Unfortunately, we live in a world of instant gratification: microwave meals, speed dating, online ads and Internet porn. Who needs the complications of dating and emotional relationships when they can just whack off to their computer and heat up a burrito afterwards? This makes for a society of shallow, bitter singles who can’t understand why their world is full of strangers.

But it also leads some people to the other extreme: the ones who see a spark of kindred spirit and latch on like barnacles, claiming marriage after five minutes. The problem with “seeing where it goes” is that we don’t control where it goes—it takes us along for an unpleasant ride to places we’re not prepared to be with people we don’t know well. Also, if we let them control the pace, it sets a bad precedent of making them think they can control the entire relationship.

I think you need to listen to your Little Voice and break this off now—but be prepared that this “nice guy” will start mean-mouthing you behind your back. Hell hath no fury, etc.—but that’s when you’ll know you made the right decision.

DEAR ABBY: Is it me, or do others agree that it's tacky to announce to anyone within earshot how much money someone has spent on an item? I have a friend who brags constantly about the amount she spends on clothing and other things. I also suspect that she inflates the actual figures most of the time. How would you respond to a statement such as, "This new shirt I bought cost me $200"?



“Boy, did you get ripped off.”

DEAR AMY: Several years ago, my father started inviting a co-worker, "Jerry," over to help restore an antique car. Since then the frequency of Jerry's visits has increased.

Jerry (who is single and in his 40s) is strange. He hardly talks, and when he does his conversation is off-topic and bizarre. His stare makes my skin crawl. Unfortunately, when I visit, I can't avoid him. He's at my parents' house morning, noon and night.

I told my mother that as a young woman, I am extremely uncomfortable around Jerry and that I didn't appreciate that he and my parents had become a package deal.

My parents (who are in their 60s) heavily rely on him for everything from computer help to assistance with yardwork.

Amy, as uncomfortable as Jerry makes me, I do not believe that he would take advantage of my parents. In fact, he does help them a great deal. However, I cannot stand the fact that every visit home now includes an omnipresent, creepy stranger. My mother feels sorry for Jerry and thinks he's "misunderstood."

In my angrier moments, I want to tell my parents that if Jerry is there I won't visit. But I also feel guilty for banishing a person whom they think of as a friend and who is a help when I'm gone.



If this guy is one of your father’s co-workers and they’ve known him for years, then he’s not a “stranger,” is he? If he’s a stranger to you, that’s probably because you’ve kept him at arm’s length, Lady Nevershit. Sometimes, people give off strange or awkward non-verbal signals, but that doesn’t make them “creepy,” any more than your haughty attitude makes you Imelda Marcos. You said yourself you don’t think he’d take advantage of your parents, and he helps them out a lot. They're not that old, but they've been around longer than you, so they can probably trust their own judgment more than yours.

And so what if he’s in his 40s and still single? So am I, and people like you make me glad of it.

If you don’t like his being around so often, maybe you could find a way to help out with some of the tasks that he assists with. But don’t expect them to cut him out of their life—he’s their friend, whether you like it or not. That's one of the perks of being older--you get to pick your own friends without your family horning in.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope you have time to enjoy San Francisco. I think the Gay area is called Castro. I'll never go there so be sure and take pictures and be ready to tell of your adventure.
Is that Gay guy desperate much? The guy he met is not his type and is a controlling bitch. He asks should I run? Yes, set a new land speed record but expect him to follow so make it plain that Sara Palin has a better chance of becoming your lover than he does.
The next one was right on so very tacky to tell how much everything costs. I had an Aunt that used to irk my Mom to know end by asking, "how much did you pay for that?" When I bought my house she asked me how much it cost so I said, "can you keep a secret? So can I!"

The last one seems like the girl is afraid that her parents friend might be, might be, G-A-Y! How horrible!

Don't leave your heart in that hilly town by the sea with the Gold painted bridge.

11:46 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...

I love your response to the house question!! With your permission, I shall borrow it...

No worries on leaving my Tony Bennett Ticker in San Francisco. I fully expect to fall in love with it, but have never wanted to live there (it's just TOO pretty for me--I belong here in the flatlands).

5:29 PM  

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