Friday, December 18, 2009

Aaron's Unwanted Advice: Dec. 18, 2009 ("Ho-fucking-Ho") Edition

DEAR MARGO: By his choice, my father-in-law, "Herman," has had little to do with my wonderful family. He is a negative, toxic individual whom I don’t trust, given his manipulative and abusive behavior.

When his wife finally moved out some years ago, Herman did as he had long ago threatened: He cut off contact with his son (but not his daughter). He seems to have a particular dislike for me, most likely because I don’t play along with his unacceptable, hurtful conduct. Happily, our family has a very close relationship with my parents, who lovingly dote on their grandchildren.

My children are now in fourth and first grades, and they’ve met Herman only once or twice that they can remember. I personally see little to be gained by reaching out to Herman, but I’m concerned my husband and/or children may have later regrets if he kicks the bucket. My husband says he doesn’t care; my son is now asking questions about his grandfather. Just how honest should I be with my son? And is it truly best to let nasty sleeping dogs lie?



Yep. Let ‘em lie ‘til they die. You said yourself that “Herman’s” exile is self-imposed. He made his choice without regard to anyone else’s feelings, and your husband seems to recognize that, so I wouldn’t worry about later regrets. As far as your son, just tell him that “Herman’s a Hermit.”

DEAR ABBY: My husband's sister, "Mia," is a lesbian who came out to her family 10 years ago. Her parents disowned her. We were just out of high school, and for years we had no idea why. We were not allowed to invite Mia to our wedding or to have any contact with her.

Several years later, she began trying to repair their relationship, despite the fact that she's forbidden to talk about her life or bring her partner anywhere near them. This was when we learned what had happened, and we were appalled at how Mia had been treated.

When she comes to town for holidays, she stays with us. Because of this, my in-laws treat us like "sinners" just as they do her, and we're caught in the middle.
We have tried explaining to these family members that they are entitled to their position and we're entitled to ours; that Mia is family and deserves respect and kindness. They call us liberal freaks with no moral values and say we should stand up to her and not let her "manipulate" us. My husband and I are tired of the drama we get at holiday time. Not only do they usually pick a fight with Mia while she's here, but they also won't speak to us for two weeks afterward. The last two times she came, Mia has either had to cut her trip short or has been reduced to tears by the harsh words from family members.

If you wonder why Mia even bothers coming home, it's because she wants to maintain contact with us and she loves her nieces and nephews. How do we handle these people, or do we just give up?



The second one. These people sound horrible, and I wouldn’t want to “handle” them with hazmat gloves. And you're the "odd ones?" I think not.

They have some nerve calling anyone else “freaks.” Do they shoot wolves out of a helicopter, too?? In some ways, Mia is assuming her own risk, knowing what these people are like and how they’re going to treat her, but it says a lot about her character and her attachment to you and your family that she continues to brave it.

Frankly, she sounds like the “keeper” here, and the in-laws sound like dangerous nuts. I’d treat them exactly as they treat Mia—cut them off completely. It will be uncomfortable, but you’re better off not exposing your kids to their “family values.” Besides, you already made enough concessions to their snake-charming religion when you excluded your husband’s sister from your wedding.

The Bible also says not to judge, lest we be judged ourselves. Have they forgotten this? Never fear—they’ll be reminded someday. In the meantime, enjoy the company of your sister-in-law and leave your in-laws to roll around the aisles at their leisure.

DEAR AMY: My mother has suddenly turned against drinking by anybody at any time, even though we are not from a family with a history of drinking issues.

I know mom is on lots of medication after numerous surgeries, and I also know there was an incident in the family regarding a niece who has a drinking problem.

I am hosting a 60th birthday party for myself. Even though my niece won't be attending, my mother will not go if there is one glass of alcohol served.

I am still in shock over this.

The party is for January, and I am already booking the restaurant and a violinist. I will find a hotel room for my parents so they have a quiet, private space before and after the party.

Do you have any idea how I should handle this?

If they refuse to come, it will hurt me so much, but should I change my party to fit in with her new rule?



Hell no. It’s your birthday and your party, and at 60 years old, I think you’ve earned the right to celebrate however you want. Explain this to your mother and tell her that nobody will be allowed to drink and drive and everybody will behave responsibly, but you will not teetotal for this event, because it’s a party and it’s a milestone. Tell her that Jesus turned water into wine, so even he must have thought it was OK.

If all else fails, look at it this way: your mother’s got to be over 80 years old. Even if she tries to knock the glass out of your hand, you can easily overpower her. Don’t sweat it.

DEAR ELLIE: My marriage fell apart and within weeks I met a woman unhappy in her marriage. Things started out with fantastic sex, no commitment, no emotions.
However, we came to love each other and talked of moving in together. But I knew she’d probably never leave her husband and we’d split painfully. Recently, she told her husband everything ... about me and the other men she’d previously cheated with.

The next day, she called to say they've decided to work on things, though she claims they've been only roommates for the last 3-4 years.

We went from constant daily contact, to nothing. She was perfect in every way, except that she was married. I don't think any new woman I meet will compare to her.



They certainly won’t, if you insist on comparing them to her. I have a question, though: hadn’t you guys already split up? So why the hell did she call you later and tell you that she and the hubby are “working on things?”

Whatever else she may be, she’s either terrible at reading a calendar or has a piss-poor memory. Either way, if this is the love of your life, you ain’t got much of a life. Move on.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My relatives are angry with me for not distributing a list of what I want them to give me for Christmas!

I understand that picking the perfect gift is not a challenge relished by everyone, and that "wish lists" and gift registries have become de rigueur, but somehow the whole thing feels to me like it's just gone too far!

If I'm going to tell you what to buy for me, you might as well give me money so I can buy it myself. In fact, let's just exchange money.
Come to think of it, how about we all go out and buy things we like for ourselves, and then show off our new purchases on Christmas morning? It seems that's what gift-giving has devolved into.

Any attempt to discuss this issue always results in hurt feelings and an insistence that I'm "hard to buy for." What can I do?


It’s actually pretty common practice to give a list of things you want for Christmas, and frankly you come off like a spoiled diva. If it’s too much trouble to make a list, just ask for a muzzle next Christmas, and then please wear it.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Joans and The Handcuffs-"Happy Xmas/War Is Over"-Flesh Hungry Dog Show, Dec. 4, 2009

The Joans and The Handcuffs showstopper finale at the Flesh Hungry Dog Show at Jackhammer Chicago, Friday, December 4.

Sorry my Yoko sounds more like Edith Bunker--my voice was starting to give out (laryngitis). But doesn't Chloe look cute in her little dress? And doesn't David look all Christmasy in his Santa-esque housecoat?