Friday, October 16, 2009

Unwanted Advice: October 16, 2009 Edition

DEAR AMY: My husband and I have been going through some issues of resolving an emotional affair and rebuilding our marriage.

He has been calling me "Dear" when we end a phone conversation and when we say good night.

I was feeling very special until I overheard him say this word of endearment to a female co-worker twice in a phone conversation while I was sitting there.

I felt hurt. I thought that word was for me alone, but now I know that he calls other women "Dear." I need to tell him. He may say I am being silly, but when you are trying to rebuild your marriage, shouldn't words of endearment only be spoken to your loved one and not to others?



Geez, can you ski down these mountains you’re making out of molehills??

I would say that calling a co-worker “dear” is arguably a breach of professional etiquette, depending on how well they know each other, but that’s about it. It’s not the same as checking into a motel as “Mr. and Mrs. John Smith.” Unless he’s got his hands (among other things) somewhere they shouldn’t be, you need to get your panties unbunched. If you’re working on rebuilding a marriage, you should concentrate on the major issues and not throw away energy on minutiae like this.

DEAR AMY: I am in my late 20s and had to move home to my parents' house because of a lack of money. .

I have a part-time job and am working on starting my own business, so I am busy.

I've always had issues with men, especially with my father, but, recently, at home I have caught my father watching porn and at times "pleasuring" himself in the living room, while my mom is in bed in the next room.

This not only makes me uncomfortable but also angry that a married man (my dad) has to do this when his wife (my mom) is in the next room.

I have never uttered a word about it to either of them. If I could move out I would, but for now I'm stuck being uncomfortable and angry.

Any advice?



Yeah—hit the bricks. If you can’t live with it (and I don’t know many people who could), then you must find a way to get your own place, even if it means living in an efficiency (studio) for a while or getting a roommate.

Ask for more hours at work so you can pay rent somewhere else. As far as “starting your own business,” that can wait: the world can do without more web designers or dog-walkers for the time being.

DEAR ABBY: The other day my kids asked me why I'm always so angry. I didn't know how to respond. I'm angry that they think their dad is "wonderful" because he plays with them all day (he's not working), takes them to get fast food (instead of cooking something healthy), and because he's their coach (he is having an emotional affair with one of the parents).

I assign chores to the kids because things never get done when I ask my husband to do them. If I remind them "It's trash day" or "Don't forget to vacuum the living room," my husband steps in and says, "I'll do it for you, Billy/Jane," which makes me the bad guy. I know if I ask for a divorce, the kids will want to live with him.
How do I explain this to them? And what do I tell my friends when they ask what a pretty, fit, successful woman like me is doing with an overweight, unemployed, lazy man like him? He's more personable than I am, but the stress of being the sole breadwinner has taken its toll on me.



When did this “emotional affair” crap start??? Was it when people who’d let months of righteous indignation build up had nowhere to direct it, so they decided to level it against the opposite-sex friendships of their henpecked spouses?

Let’s forget that for a minute. It’s clear you think yourself at least a cut above your “overweight, unemployed, lazy” husband, and there’s a good chance he’s picked up on that, but you need to stick to the issues here. Tell him plainly: no more fast food, and he has to pick up some of the slack around the house—no compromises. Let the whole family know that you, too, would be more “personable” and less angry if you didn’t have to shoulder the burden of housekeeping alone. Those are pretty reasonable requests.

What is not reasonable is to keep reminding him how “pretty and fit” you are and imply that you could do better than him. Get off your high horse before you chafe your pretty thighs. Maybe then he won’t seek solace from one of the other parents. And when your “friends” have the audacity to comment on the disparity between you two, just keep reminding yourself (and them) that Father Time will intervene and make things equal soon enough. Ask them how they and their husbands look compared to 10 years ago.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Occasionally, the rules of etiquette conflict with my religious and moral convictions. When this happens, is there a way I can signal this to new acquaintances?

What I’m looking for is something along the lines of: “I recognize that my behavior in this instance isn’t polite, and may even be rude, but I’m committed to it for moral reasons. I apologize for any offense, but I’m not going to change this behavior. Should this be unacceptable to you, please feel free to sever our acquaintance now,” though preferably in condensed and less awkward form.

If some examples would be helpful, by far the most common is that I am committed to honesty and plain speaking, so I refuse to engage in the social dance of offering help expecting to be denied. Others include the social precedence of women qua women, and some of the titles and conventions used in addressing people (e. g. I’m not Mr. Sandler, simply Oliver Sandler).


I don’t know when “son-of-a-bitchery” became a tenet of morality. And most religions demand that their followers be pushy and pious, rather than simply rude. So you’ve got me stumped on this one.

Furthermore, the fact that you’ve chosen to write to an etiquette column for advice on how to be rude suggests to me that you’re proud of your crappy personality. So why bother worrying what others think? The best advice I can offer is to just be yourself—I have a hunch that eventually, you won’t be approached by new acquaintances at all, and the problem will be solved.

DEAR MARGO: I am 31, and my brother is 28. Our parents divorced five years ago. Our father is remarried to a woman with a 12-year-old daughter, "Leigh." She is not especially bright, but she isn't a hopeless nitwit.

Our dad, however, is quite cruel to her. He calls her "Brain Damage" to her face (which Leigh thinks is a joke), writes e-mails to us about stupid things she does and rolls his eyes when she says something dumb. He's also rather abrupt when talking to her. I'm not sure how much Leigh picks up on yet, but I'm certain she'll figure it out sooner or later. She is a good kid who doesn't give anyone much trouble.

I really love my dad and am not sure how to approach him with this. I've tried speaking with him about it, but it doesn't do any good. I'm afraid if I do talk to him more seriously, he'll continue to do it when we're not around. He was an excellent dad to my brother and me; we never saw this side of him.



Since you say he was an excellent dad to you and your brother, I wonder what’s happened to change him. He seems to have scattered a few of his marbles. Maybe he’s the one who’s “brain damaged.” Get him checked out by a physician—maybe a few months in a nice, clean little place with rubber sheets will bring him around.

DEAR ELLIE: I’ve been together with my boyfriend for close to four years and we’ve always had a good sexual relationship until the last year. He was living overseas for over a year and we had survived the “long distance relationship;” he came back a few times and I had gone overseas to visit him, and everything was great.

Since he returned to stay, he’s been having performance issues that he initially said was caused by stress. Now he says that he has no sex drive. We’ve almost come to a complete stop in our sexual relationship. I know that he loves me deeply and everything else in our relationship is great but this is starting to tear us apart.

He’s still very loving in every other way but he doesn’t think that this is a big issue. He thinks I’m putting too much value on this matter. I know that there’s no one else in the picture and it’s not because of any change in body image. The more I talk about it the more frustrated I seem to make him.



When he was overseas, was he living in England? I’ll bet he was. Try putting in a “Carry On” film—I understand those have unexplained aphrodisiac qualities.

Friday, October 02, 2009

The Joans CD Review

We have our very first CD review (second paragraph), courtesy of Gregg Shapiro. He writes for the Windy City Free Press, along with several other syndicated publications across the country. This appeared in the Bay Area Reporter, a San Francisco area paper.