Friday, March 20, 2009

Aaron's Unwanted Advice (3/20/09)

DEAR AMY: My husband and I haven't even been married a year, but already people are starting to ask, "Are you pregnant yet?"

My husband and I don't want to have children. Whenever I tell people that we aren't planning to have any kids, they seem to make it their personal mission to persuade me to have a baby, or assure me that this is only a phase and I will change my mind. How do we avoid these conversations?

We will be deflecting these questions for the next 50 childless years. Help!



Sadly, that’s part of the Brave New Society we live in. There is no such thing as a personal choice, because people are so used to the reality TV-perpetuated illusion of a communal society that they believe all of us are just a-hankerin’ after their “coaching.” In their own eyes, they’re all Simon, Paula, Janice, Tyra and all the other Botox injections rolled into one now, and the whole world is their desperate, eager contestant. Must be some thin air up in them clouds.

The best way to handle these buttinskies is to tell them firmly and gently, “My husband and I don’t want children.” If they persist, tell them that you’ll be delighted to have children—as long as they’ll raise them. It’s almost worth it to catch the haunted look on their normally bovine faces.

Family is another matter—they tend to be more hardcore, so they’ll require tougher handling. If they start in, tell them it’s your decision and it’s not for discussion. If they persist, tell them if they ask again you’ll get your tubes tied.

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, "Josh," won't leave me alone. We have been living together for almost a year, and he is the ultimate overprotector. When I start to leave the house to run errands or anything, he stops me and asks, "Where do you think you're going?" When I tell him, he will then follow me to the location.

I love Josh and would never want to hurt his feelings, but I think he's a little too worried about me. I'm an adult, and I can take care of myself. Is Josh being too overprotective, or am I just crazy?



No, he is. What you describe is not “protective,” sweetheart—we call it “possessive,” and it can escalate until it becomes “abusive” and he ends up keeping you prisoner in that house. Start saving for your own apartment.

In the meantime, you can let him follow you into the bathroom next time and proceed to spend a roll of pennies right in front of him. That ought to fix his little wagon.

DEAR MARGO: I have been dating this guy for a year now, living with him for nine months, and there have been discussions about marriage. I see a grand future for us, as he has a stable job, my parents and friends love him, and he is supportive of whatever I want to do for my own future.

The problem is that one day, while discussing our future, he mentioned that he had a mental list of the things he wants to see in me before popping the question. He asked me if I wanted to know what was on the list, but I said, "No, thank you." My reasoning was that in my haste to get a ring I might subconsciously do or become all the things he wants, temporarily. I am who I am.

My guess would be that the things on the list aren’t major personality changes — more akin to picking up a little more around the apartment. But now I find myself constantly thinking about the stupid list. I just wish he would never have mentioned it. How do I forget about this and get on with my wonderful life with him?



Conditional partnership doesn’t sound so “grand” to me, and that’s what this sounds like. Frankly, if someone told me he had a “list” of suggestions for me, I’d make one very brief (and crude) suggestion to him.

But maybe that’s just me.

The next time you’re having one of your “discussions” with Mr. McDreamy, you should casually ask him when his self-improvement courses begin, then tell him you’ll give him a head start because he’s going to need it. As you said, you are what you are, and if this guy has a problem with that, he can go fly a tampon kite.

(Kudos to you for telling him “no” when he asked if you wanted to hear his list. That should put things nicely in perspective and let him know what you think of his ultimatums—hopefully, he’s smart enough not to bring it up again.)

DEAR ELLIE: I'm madly in love with my boyfriend of two years; we've talked marriage. Things were once great, though six months ago things got shaky. Today I jokingly said I won a lottery but would give him only $400. He knew it was a lie, but got upset with me. He changed his number and won't give me it.

I'm hurt, and stressed. Though he doesn't want me, I still want him.



Why? He took offense at a harmless comment (assuming that he knew you were joking) and wasted no time in cutting off contact with you on the same day. What would happen if you were married and you did something really bad—say, accidentally spilling juice on the floor? Would he clean out his half of the closet and move to Europe without telling you? What a cuckoo.

Frankly, he sounds like a vindictive pussy. You’re well rid of him.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: A calling card fell out of my copy of a 1905 edition of Edith Wharton’s “The House of Mirth” when I cut one of the many uncut pages (the better to read). The card measures roughly 2 by 3 inches and has the name “Miss Wallace” in the center, “125 East Twenty-Fourth Street” on the bottom right corner, and “Fridays” on the bottom left corner.

I was able to determine that the address on the card is now St. Francis Residence, a shelter for the homeless mentally ill described as a “reconverted 100-room SRO hotel.” The current structure was built around 1910. It might have been an apartment building or an office building in 1910. In 1905, it is possible that the address belonged to a private residence.

Does the word Fridays indicate that Miss Wallace was prepared to accept visitors on that day? Or does it indicate that Miss Wallace was a professional of some kind whose services were available on Fridays? I have not been able to find any information on the early 20th-century conventions for listing days at home on calling cards, but I am confident that you are well versed in such matters.


What are you smoking, and where can I get some??


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I didn't know better I'd almost think you were making these letters up. Except I have read some similar to them myself. The one I enjoyed most was the lady who has been living with the guy for 9 months and hopes she can become marriage material according to a private list he has. I would ask her if she could make up a list of things he needs to become before she agreed to marry him. To that last person: Miss Wallace regrets she's unable to lunch today (even if it is Friday) ed

2:32 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

That's why I was so encouraged by the girl who said "no" when her Henry Higgins boyfriend asked if she wanted to see his "list." I would've said, "No, and who the hell do you think you are?" But she's young and wants to be married, for whatever Godawful reason, so I guess she's better off being brief and diplomatic...

1:24 PM  

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