Saturday, February 27, 2010

Aaron's Rotten Advice: February 27, 2010 Edition ("Yeah, It's Late--So Bite Me!")

DEAR AMY: In an effort to build team spirit, our office had a group outing. My friend, an administrative assistant in the firm, had a meltdown, cried and panicked about the group activity we were going to do.

Seeming to come to her aid, an elderly male principal in the firm calmed her down and offered to go for a walk in lieu of the outing. He then proceeded to persuade her to be his guest and visit the local women's art museum.

Rather than view the paintings, he spent the entire time ogling my friend's behind. Every time she looked at him, his eyes were on her backside. She told me it was creepy and made her feel very uncomfortable.

When they rejoined the group, this man's face was so full of lust that he was dripping in it. As her friend, I've recommended she report this sexual harassment to the human resource office. But she's afraid this man, given his position in the firm, will retaliate. He is still ogling her behind whenever he thinks no one is looking.

Should I report what I know? How can I help my friend?



What kind of group outing in D.C. could inspire that kind of panic? Were you visiting Nancy Pelosi’s office to give her a group pedicure or something? In any case, if the firm’s principal is that elderly, he might be senile, and what you took for lust could well have been the effort of remembering where he left his nitroglycerine tablets that morning. He’ll eventually forget what he was looking at, anyway, although it may trigger an association that causes him to ask where he can get a ham sandwich for lunch.

In the meantime, tell your friend to put a sign on her backside that says “If you can read this, you’re standing too close.” If he actually puts his mitts on her rumble seat, she should clock him one square on the jaw. The others will think he just fell, and she should allow them to think so—if he’s seen as accident-prone, they’ll likely encourage an earlier retirement.

DEAR ABBY: I love my wife very much. I like giving her back rubs, massaging her feet, cuddling and kissing her. In return she does the same — to her dog, “Barkley.”

Barkley is the only one who benefits from her affections. The dog does nothing for me except allow me to pick up his droppings. What am I missing?



Sounds to me like you’re missing a very important pair of something. I won’t tell you what, because I think you can guess (unless you’re missing a brain, too).

First off, you stop picking up the dog’s shit. That’s right—leave the minefield where it is. Once your wife steps barefoot in some of that, I guarantee you’ll have her attention, and you won’t be massaging those taters again for a while.

And no more backrubs, kissing or cuddling either. It’s clear she doesn’t appreciate it, and you should find someone who does. Let the dog lick her face and walk on her back.

P.S. Did she name the dog? I assume so--the name "Barkley" could only come from the brain of a simpleton. Love has clearly made you blind--scrape the scales from your eyes now.

DEAR ELLIE: My brother-in-law and his wife both began dating others post-divorce; their young sons had a hard time with it. A year ago, we were expecting our first child and my brother in-law began seriously dating a woman no one in the family liked.

He talked about moving away, getting married and having more children. Meanwhile, his children were acting out, expressing anger, etc.

I felt compelled to call his girlfriend: I left her a voice-mail message indicating that her relationship with my brother in-law was hurting the rest of the family, that his children hadn’t yet adjusted to the divorce and it would be best if she left the situation. My husband and in-laws also felt this way but no one else would speak up.

It probably wasn't my place to speak directly to this woman, but I was angry because her actions were hurting people that I care about and taking away from the joy of preparing for my first child.

They’re no longer together, however my limited relationship with my brother-in-law is now non-existent and my husband and he have limited contact. I’m upset that we can't move forward and that my brother-in-law’s made no effort to see his one and only nephew.

I’ve attempted to mend bridges. For my husband’s sake, I’d like to make this situation better but I’m sure that my brother in-law doesn’t see how his actions affected every member of the family.



Then he’s in good company: apparently, you don’t see how your actions have affected your family. You’re quite right—it was not your place to speak to your brother-in-law’s girlfriend. He and his ex-wife had both chosen to date others after their divorce—that was their business, and it was brazen and pushy of you to meddle in his life without even talking to him.

Kids are never thrilled when their parents divorce, much less start dating again, but they do get used to it, and most even learn to like their new stepparents. It’s a shame that your BIL’s first girlfriend out of the gate should have been unlikable, but given time, she might have come around to your family and vice versa. Or else the relationship might have dissolved itself eventually. As it is, unfortunately, she’ll always be remembered now as The Girlfriend You Drove Away, which can only elevate her to martyrdom in your BIL’s eyes. Maybe if you’d approached it differently, you or your husband could have had a gentle word with his brother about making sure potential new partners were nice to his kids. Now that you’ve pissed him off, that bridge is burnt.

Just drop it now and leave ill enough alone. There’s nothing worse than somebody who adds insult to injury by “trying to mend fences” only “for someone else’s sake.” It sends the message that he’s expected to meet you halfway when you’re only going there with half an ass. He’s angry with you and rightly so. Suck it up. Sanctimonious hosebeast.

DEAR MARGO: My relationship with my husband has changed over something stupid that never should have happened. We’ve been married for six years. He’s been friends with "Josh" for many years longer than he has known me. Josh is married to "Marcie." The men’s relationship revolves around exercise and fitness and watching boxing and martial arts matches, mostly without wives (fine with me). Josh and Marcie are both in the fitness business, and once, at our house, she asked me whether I exercised. I said I go to aerobics and dance classes. She invited me to work out at her studio. I thought she was making a gesture of friendship.

When I arrived at the studio, she did an evaluation and then proceeded to rip me apart. I am 5-foot-7 and weigh 156 pounds. I could lose a few pounds, but I’m naturally very curvy. She told me I have almost no muscle, and that if I don’t do something about it, I will end up a frail old woman who can’t get out of a chair. She recommended a chiropractor for my neck (I didn’t know I had a neck problem) and a doctor for hormone therapy for my obvious estrogen imbalance. She assessed me at a BMI of 38, which is dangerously obese. She criticized my aerobics and dance classes as being harmful and out of touch with the latest in exercise science. When I got home, I was in tears. My husband asked what she said, and I told him. He said, "Are you sure you’re not just shooting the messenger?"

I now see that he thinks so highly of Josh and Marcie’s professional opinion that this has changed how he sees me! He isn’t as affectionate and is now picking at what I eat. ("Are you sure you need a second helping of that salad?") He’s made remarks that suggest he assumed we’d grow old gracefully together but now believes he’s going to have an invalid on his hands, which is absurd. Out of desperation, I went to a weight-loss physician, who assessed me at a BMI of 25 and said I need to lose 20 pounds. When I told my husband that, he lightened up a little, but his changed opinion of me didn’t budge.



Your husband isn’t too bright, is he? While you’re shooting messengers, save a slug or two for him. Gym bunnies are the absolute worst, because they make their whole existence about idealizing their own bodies, and by extension, others’ too. They can’t accept that people’s shapes change as they get older. It will happen to him, too, someday, and deep down I suspect he knows it and it just kills him. Hee hee hee.

Listen to what your doctor says, and just keep doing what works for you. “Marcie” is clearly trying to appeal to your sense of fear so you’ll rely on her for your salvation. It was an easy mistake for the uninitiated, but now you know how the system operates: the friendly offer she made was the 21st Century version of what we call the “pigeon drop.” It’s done in the New Millennium way—people too cheap to print flyers or buy ads in the paper start canvassing casual social settings, where unsuspecting people relax enough for these hucksters to go to work on them. From now on, you’ll know better.

Tell your husband that if he isn’t careful, the only “invalid” in the marriage will be him. And if he has a problem with the way you look, you can take your sexy, curvaceous self somewhere else, and he can make up a third in Josh and Marcie’s bed. Then they can all bruise each other with their hipbones and roll around in celery to their heart’s content.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Please explain the correct way to seat couples during dinner parties. I was recently at a family event where couples were asked to sit at separate tables. This announcement drew complaints and derision from some who were offended by being told what to do (and forced to deal with their in-laws without backup).

I think it is a wonderful idea and have since read that during formal state dinners at the White House, this tradition is maintained. Could you lend some guidance on how to entertain in the future with these same couples in mind?



A seating arrangement? At a family gathering? Where in Boston do you live?

I would never think of telling people at a casual family gathering (because that’s the only kind my family have—we gather to enjoy ourselves) where to sit, so if you think it’s such a wonderful idea, I guess you’re on your own for this one. Here’s an idea, though: start by using chairs.

There. I helped. Ta-dah.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mind if I use the term "Sanctimonious hosebeast" when writing to my relatives who feel that they are far superior to an old Gay geezer such as myself? In regard to the Miss Manners letter one would wonder if the idea for seating couples at seperate tables is so that they might be forced to talk about something other than each other. The only problem I see is that few couples know how to carry a conversation without using the words I and us.
Better late than never for this much needed advice.
Please tell me if you can why they changed the name of what used to be called the Sears Tower? Have a great weekend. Ted aka Ed

1:38 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

I can understand seating arrangements at a formal dinner party, but at one where it's only family, hopefully people should know each other well enough that they can sit where they want. If not, they ain't much of a family.

Willis Tower is (now) so called because of the English company that leased three floors of the building and acquired the naming rights as part of the lease. People will never call it that, though...we're pretty brand loyal in Chicago. I still say "Comiskey Park" instead of "U.S. Cellular Field"--and I've never even been there.

11:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Aaron, it will always be the Sears Tower to me. I guess it could have been worse, I mean K-Mart tower?
With my family I would like to see someone just try to make them sit at assigned areas. At the last family reunion I attended my mom and her aunt got in an argument over a table that my mom had already claimed for us. Mom says this year she is bringing her own table. I can't wait. Ed

12:22 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Thank heavens my family gets along well! Although it hasn't always been so--we've had "in-law" elements over the years that made Christmas interesting. Mostly among the grown-ups. We kids just sat back with the Chex mix and allowed ourselves to be entertained...

1:20 PM  

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