Friday, October 17, 2008

Since You Asked--October 17, 2008

DEAR AMY: My nephew is getting married next year. I love him dearly, but I don't see it in my budget to go to his extravagant wedding.

This is my only nephew, and I feel obligated to go. But I also feel hurt that my nephew is ignoring my e-mails and only calls me once a year.

I know he is busy and has a fiancé and job, etc. But I have a life too and still contact my loved ones.

I can try my hardest and make sacrifices to go to his wedding.

Should I attend?

––CONFUSED AUNT


SYA SAYS:

You can’t afford it, he never calls you and he never returns your e-mails. What are you “confused” about?

If you feel really guilty, you can send him a card that he’ll ignore. (Just to be a bitch, you should put a time-sensitive gift card in there so it expires before he gets to it.)



DEAR ELLIE: My boyfriend of two years met me when I was in the process of leaving my fiance. We spent every day together. When he told me -- after the fact -- that he'd been a virgin, I was shocked. I'd already confided some details about my sexual past (four previous boyfriends) and wish I hadn't.

He's extremely sensitive about my other partners. He doesn't think that he can get over "my past" and during our worst fights, asks me how I could have "given it up to so many people." He's from a traditional, strict family. Mine is liberal.

We discuss breaking up because of this; he's reluctant to go to counseling. Is there any other solution?

--DESPERATE


SYA SAYS:

Golly, if there is, I can’t think of it. He waits until you’ve given him details about your previous relationships, shares none of his own history until after he’s had sex with you, he has sex with you, and now he’s having trouble getting past it?

Dump the douche. Frankly, you don’t want to marry into a family like his. As soon as you hit a rough patch, his mother will be right there reminding him that you weren’t a virgin when you were married—and you know damned well he’s not gonna tell her that he bumped nasties with you before the Happy Day.

But he did—and as you’re showing him the door, you might wanna remind him that now he’s damaged goods too, at least according to his Good Christian Family.

Oh, and one more thing: tell him he was lousy in bed.


DEAR ELLIE: I'm a widow, 60, and I joined classmates.com. An old boyfriend e-mailed and I responded with a summary of my life. He did the same, and indicated he'd like to continue contact. I said, "But YOU'RE MARRIED!" Ellie, I don't mess with married men.

I could choose to ignore his second e-mail, but I'd appreciate some guidelines. I'd hate to ruin or add stress to his marriage.

--TECHNOLOGY ETIQUETTE


SYA SAYS:

He said he’d like to “continue contact,” not “sniff your drawers.” Why do people even join classmates.com if they don’t want to reconnect with, you know, classmates? What’s the big deal? Or are you just getting a big kick out of playing Nell Fenwick and holding yourself up as some sort of unattainable paragon? A word to the wise, sweetie: no man wants to pick up your dropped handkerchief when it smells like mothballs.

Get over yourself.



DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have decided to sell our house and move south. We plan to purchase a mobile home. I asked our adult children what they thought of our decision.

One son made a quick trip home. Most of what he had to say pertained to issues from the past. One remark stung: He said that my husband and I had not showered or used deodorant on the day of my mother's funeral. True, we didn't shower that morning, but we had the night before. Because we depend on well water and had three extra people in the house, we wouldn't have had enough for all five of us to get a warm shower. We did use deodorant and cologne, and my husband put on aftershave.

We were crushed by our son's comment. I no longer wish to be an overnight guest in his home because I know they will be watching my every move. I would be preoccupied with worry about whether I have body odor. I love my son and our daughter-in-law, but the thought of being around them now makes me uncomfortable.

--NOT A SMELLY MOTHER


SYA SAYS:

What the hell does any of that have to do with your selling the house and buying a trailer down South? I would have pressed Sonny Boy on this point, and then mentioned that since you won’t be seeing him anymore after you move, the petty little prick won’t need to worry about your hygiene habits.



DEAR MISS MANNERS: My sister, early 60s, and a good friend, early 50s, recently suffered painful divorces from men they now abhor. My sister was married for 40 years and my friend for 15.

I spent a lot of time with these people and have many experiences. I am totally stumped how to avoid going into a minefield that I don't see every time I talk to them.

I have gotten many photos of my sister's first grandchild, and we've all played the who-does-he-look-like game. Apparently, I said the baby has an "attitude" like the ex-husband, Grandpa (a philanderer, etc.). Because the baby is 4 months old, it seems ridiculous that my sister would be upset that I was ascribing her ex-husband's negative personality traits to the baby. But she said I really hurt her feelings. Of course, I apologized and said that wasn't what I meant (obviously).

My friend thought she was married to a man who never divorced his second wife. They were "married" in a small ceremony, but he never filed their marriage license with the county. I understand she now refuses to refer to her relationship as a "marriage."
OK, but this sensitive feeling around words (relationship or marriage, this man was very sick), leaves me anxious about what, how and when to say things.

Do I just pretend, as these people do, that the past doesn't exist? I understand why they don't want to go there, but the past is where many of our experiences are. There were good times. I feel anxious about what and how to say things, and it is changing my relationship with these people in a negative way.

I never warmed to my friend's "husband," but I really loved my ex-brother-in-law. I still consider him family and hate the rigidity my sister is imposing on him when she is around. She battled twice with anorexia through her divorce, which took 10 years. And I am pretty certain she'll go into old age with this big dead zone called her 40 years with her ex-husband.

Do you have any wisdom regarding an attitude I can cultivate, inside my head, that will improve my time with these people whom I love a lot?

--CLUELESS CLARA


SYA SAYS:

“Apparently” you said the baby has an attitude like Grandpa’s? “Apparently?” You can’t remember? You don’t remember if you said a 4-month-old baby behaves like the man that his grandmother recently divorced, and might reasonably want NOT to be compared to her new grandson? Forgot all about it, did you?

Let me guess: you weren’t the valedictorian of your class, were you?

There’s no easy solution or procedure that will help you sidestep these sticky situations. There’s no need to “cultivate an attitude” about dealing with loved ones. You’ll just have to (*sigh, grumble*) think about other people’s feelings before you open your huge piehole. Oh, the horror.

Oh, and it’s all nice and good that you apologized to your sister, but tacking on that “obviously” at the end sort of defeats the purpose, don’t you think? When people are in a sensitive place, they can’t be expected to view your rather eccentric (read: shitty) sense of humor with cool, detached logic the way you seem to think you do, Cerebra.

Maybe you just shouldn’t speak at all. Believe me, the world will not miss the tinkling bell of your voice.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

These people should be able to read your reply to their namby-pamby letters. As always the replies were witty and pointed. The woman who has had four previous lovers was a real hoot. Her boyfriend was a virgin and he thought she was too. No wait, she told him she wasn't a virgin but he still went were 4 men had gone before but AFTER he was done he decided he didn't want to be hitting that anymore. Well, wasn't that just so big of him. Tell her to not worry about it I don't believe for one second that he was a virgin before her but it makes a nice story no matter how many times he tells it. ed

12:20 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

He was probably a "palm virgin." After he accused her of "giving it up to so many guys," my sympathy drained plum away. I hope she really does tell him he was a lousy lay. Because he probably was, and she was too polite to tell him so.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Johnny C said...

You answer to the classmates.com question is classic... It made me LOL all over the place...

11:06 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...

That WAS pretty bitchy of me, wasn't it? :-) But I read the way she phrased that: "But you're MARRIED!"

That just smacked of the old bait-n-switch. And Ellie's original answer actually supported this woman's attitude, which is further evidence to me that she needs to retire to the glue factory ASAP.

5:27 PM  
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