Friday, September 03, 2010

Aaron's Rotten Advice--Sept. 3, 2010 ("Shorter Entry Means a Longer Weekend!") Edition

DEAR AMY: My 24-year-old son, the product of a broken marriage, used to only contact me when he needed money. He hasn't appreciated the sacrifices I've made to keep child support current and the fact that I set up a college fund for him at a young age because, he has he told me, "it's what you're supposed to do."

He squandered his first two years at college, resulting in only one year of college credit, quit college and got a job to pay off his credit card debt.

Last year, he decided to go back to school and has since used up his college fund, lying to me about how the funds were used.

I told him that when the money's gone, that's it — no more.

He never acknowledges Father's Day or my birthday but is quick to remind me of his birthday and Christmas.

Last Christmas, he wanted me to buy him a laptop. He said I could afford it easier than his mother because she has BMW payments to make.

I, weary of this lack of respect, have stopped calling him and he, me.

Now he is calling my brother and mother, wanting a family reunion, which would be an uncomfortable situation for me.

Should I be busy that day or should I go and make the best of it?



Well, strictly speaking, you haven’t been invited yet—only your brother and mother have. So you don’t have to make up your mind at all. I suspect that he’s only calling for this “reunion” to put the touch on them for some dough, since he’s already struck out with you.

I like how you refer to him as “the product of a broken marriage,” as if he were some kind of accident. Like, “Sorry, this is what happens when I eat too many burritos.” If this established the tone of your relationship back then, it’s not surprising that you don’t have a better one now.

Next time, skip the burritos.

DEAR ABBY: I have been married to my second husband, "Greg," for 3 1/2 years. Before we married, Greg took me out on dates, we had wonderful conversations and a satisfying sex life.

Now I spend every weekend cleaning, and when I clean the upstairs, Greg goes downstairs. If I clean downstairs, he goes upstairs. He says he loves me, but it seems we have become more like roommates than husband and wife.

Greg buys big-ticket items (big-screen TV and a computer, for example) without telling me. In fact, he never discusses anything with me. Do you think he married me only to cook and clean for him?

Before you suggest counseling, let me point out one more thing: Greg is a psychologist.



I wasn’t going to suggest counseling. I was going to suggest steel-toed boots and a kick up his ass. But thanks for the extra info—his psychologist’s training will come in handy when he tries to figure out why you kicked his ass.

If you do decide to get counseling, do NOT go to anybody he refers—it’s probably one of his drinking buddies or something. The “professions” stick together with shocking consistency (there is, after all, no honor among thieves).

In answer to your question as to whether he only married you for your domestic skills, I’d say, “Duh, gee, ya think?”

As to the TV and computer, wait until he goes to his Bob-Newhart-shrink’s office one day and sell that shit out from under him while he’s gone. Use the proceeds to hire a good divorce attorney.

And next time, just live in sin. A ring on a finger is a yoke around the neck (at least in this case).

DEAR MARGO: I am devastated. My girlfriend of five years, basically my wife, told me a few days ago that she wants a break. (I am also female.) She has been talking to a girl, "Laura," who found her on a social networking site — someone she’d met briefly when they were 14. She apparently always wondered what happened to Laura, and I had no problem with them catching up.

They’ve been texting (nothing more) for the past couple of months, and I had no reason to be jealous until she said she didn’t want to be dishonest and admitted she was thinking of cheating. She is intrigued by Laura and says she "has to scratch the itch." Laura would not agree to meet my girlfriend while she is still committed to me, hence the "break." But now Laura won’t see her at all because we are still living together. (We have no means of living separately.)

Laura says she is "in love with her and wants to be together forever." My girlfriend sees the game Laura is playing, but still can’t give it up. She says she wants to be with me forever, that there’s nothing wrong with our relationship, but she would "really like to mess around with Laura." What should I think of all this?



You should think about telling wifey-kins that you’ll be changing the locks if she starts playing Rug Doctor with “Laura.” Otherwise, that “itch” that she’s desperate to scratch could end up on you.

If she claims to know what this questionable woman is up to, and still “can’t give it up,” then she doesn’t sound too bright. At the very least, I’d send her to an occupational therapist.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My identical twin sister and I try very hard to pursue our own individuality, including dressing differently and having different hairstyles/colors.

However, it is hard for us to overcome our basic genetic makeup, and invariably, when we are out in public, someone will ask, "Are you two twins?" Usually this is a waitperson or salesperson, but sometimes we are actually stopped by complete strangers as we are walking through a restaurant.

We usually respond with a curt "Yes" and go on with our business, to avoid the inevitable follow-up questions. ("Who's older?" "Did you trick your boyfriends?" "Can your mother tell you apart?") We find this curiosity irrelevant, intrusive and somewhat embarrassing, as though we were a freak of nature.

It has also become quite tedious, as it happens several times during each of our outings.

I realize this ranks low on the spectrum of rude behavior, and I am resigned to having to tolerate it. It is a small price to pay for the wonderful and close relationship I share with my twin. I am only hoping Miss Manners would educate the general public in the common courtesy of not prying into the lives of complete strangers.

Failing that, perhaps you would share a snappy comeback to this tiresome query.



If people ask the question as a way to make conversation in the course of their job, like the wait staff and salespeople you mentioned, they’re obviously trying their best, and are entitled to the courtesy of a polite reply.

As far as the complete strangers who stop you with the more rude and intrusive questions, all bets are off. Tell them, “I’m only one person. You must be having a stroke and seeing double. Good luck with that.”