Friday, October 22, 2010

Aaron's Rotten Advice: October 22, 2010 ("The Weather Finally Matches My Disposition") Edition

DEAR AMY: I've known "Jared" for two years. We dated for about a year and then broke up because he wanted to date someone else.
We decided to remain friends. In fact, we are now roommates. He has since broken up with his girlfriend, but he is now in a long-distance relationship with an ex-girlfriend.

I know it's not healthy to be jealous, but I am. It kills me just to hear him say her name. I can tell that he is really into her, but I don't care. I still have strong feelings for him.

I keep telling myself that I should have been an actress because I'm doing such a great job of hiding my feelings and acting like I just want to be friends.
I go out, hoping to meet someone else, but I haven't met anyone yet.

If I tell him how I feel, I'm afraid it will ruin our friendship or things will be weird between us. I definitely don't want that to happen. On the other hand, I feel as if I'm just letting him go without a fight.

Should I tell him how I feel and hope for the best, or should I just leave well enough alone and keep quiet?



Good questions. Now I have a question for you: how many fingers am I holding up? (Here’s a hint: it’s one, but I won’t tell you which.)

You may be a great actress, but you'll never be a scientist. Your question proposes two possible courses of action, but I’d like to add a third: move out. And on your way out, be sure to stop at a shrink and have your head examined—I don’t know what made you stay friends with an ex-boyfriend (who essentially dumped you), not to mention move in with him. And in the meantime, he’s been through another ex. Obviously, this guy gets around faster than smallpox.

While you’re looking for a new place, be sure to wash your laundry separately.

DEAR ABBY: I recently gave birth to a beautiful, perfect baby girl, "Cassie." I also just returned to work. I would love to stay home, but I cannot afford to financially. I am lucky that my best friend, "Mary Ellen," doesn't have to work and has offered to care for my little 8-week-old bundle of joy.

My problem is, every day when I go to pick up Cassie, I must wait for Mary Ellen to say goodbye to her. She has started instructing me about how Cassie likes to sleep, be burped and held. While I appreciate her watching and caring for my little one, I am Cassie's mom and I know what she likes. The time I have with my daughter is precious. I just want to pick her up and go home.

How do I tell my friend it upsets me that she feels she should tell me about how to care for my own baby? I feel guilty and sad that I must work, and her comments make it worse. I know she's only trying to help. I don't want to hurt her feelings, but what can I do?



Wait, you’re getting free babysitting?! Shut the hell up and be grateful.

If it bothers you to hear her list of instructions, just pretend to listen with a smile on your sour puss, then ignore it and do whatever you usually do when you get home. (Minus the animal sacrifices and naked dancing in the meadow.)

DEAR ELLIE: My boyfriend of three years had trust issues from the start. He's been cheated on in previous relationships. I initially didn't tell him about my guy friends - just friends - as I was scared. (I should've told him regardless of what he thought).

He found out about my friends and I cut them off completely a year ago. Because of that we broke up for a while. I begged him to come back! I love him so much.

Now he thinks I'm talking to guys again. Even before, he'd go through my phone, check my phone bills for anything and he still does. It kills me, but I allow it to happen.

He looks through my private messages with my girlfriends. What can I do? I feel so low as a woman when he does these things. Will he ever trust me again?



Who the hell cares?? What, exactly, are you “hanging on” for—a schmuck who tries to control every aspect of your life and goes through your mail?

Frankly, there’s something seriously wrong with a guy who limits your contact with your friends—it’s one of the hallmarks of an abuser. You were better off when you were broken up.

No doubt he’ll get pissed off about something else very soon and move out again. When he does, change the locks and leave his stuff on the lawn outside.

DEAR MARGO: My experience has been that friendships are transitory and people don’t put in the work to maintain them. For this reason, my husband and I are pretty much loners. We have many acquaintances but few friends.

This year, while traveling abroad, we met a couple (30 years younger). My husband struck up a strong friendship with the woman, and her husband and I got along nicely. I was delighted my husband had made a friend. The age difference didn’t seem to matter, and we are all financially comfortable. We traveled together for about two weeks. Later, they came to visit us. We took them on a road trip through national parks. It was a great vacation, and they sent us generous thank-you gifts. Then they went on to set up a new home in Canada. We’ve both e-mailed the wife a couple of times since then, which was about a month ago. We are renting a two-bedroom condo in Canada next month, so yesterday my husband e-mailed to ask if they’d care to join us. Neither of them is looking for work yet, as they await the birth of their first baby, so we thought they’d have the time. Yesterday we got an e-mail back from her saying they could not make it, they are busy, and then the letter ended: "So please don’t expect me to keep in touch on a regular basis. That just won’t happen. Enjoy your boredom."

Enjoy your boredom? What does that mean? That we have no real life because we are retired? She is Canadian, he is German, and we are American. Perhaps this is some kind of foreign expression? We were really hurt by this curt dismissal. I fail to see why our efforts to keep in touch provoked this reaction.



Isn't it strange that you and your husband don't want to be friends with people your own age, because they won't take the trouble, yet you jump at the chance to be friends with people half your age? Hmmm...

Now to your question. I’ve never heard of rudeness being part of the normal Canadian lexicon unless the person communicating is, well, rude. Germans are a different matter, but in my experience, usually that’s just dirty talk, and then it’s only during “special occasions.”

No this is altogether another animal. As to her meaning, I think it’s pretty obvious—she doesn’t want you to write or email anymore. There could be lots of reasons: maybe she and her husband felt a bit smothered by your attention; maybe it’s the hormones from her pregnancy; or maybe she’s just a bitch. Either way, you can safely back away now.

Look on the bright side: this proves your theory that people are basically unfriendly. Isn’t it nice to have your suspicions vindicated?


How do you feel about a bride who has a bridal shower and a reception but a week later is not married? She and her groom have said vows and exchanged rings several times in different locations but have failed to get a license. They just haven't had time for that [expletive]. Her own words.
She uses the term married, and many people at the reception believed them to be married. She keeps saying that they will go and get married in the courthouse, but I'm beginning to doubt that.

I feel as though I have been taken advantage of for gifts. If she had just had a commitment ceremony and called it what it seems to be, I could respect that and not feel like the whole thing is a joke. I feel embarrassed for her. Am I just becoming an old prickly lady?



Why are you embarrassed? She’s clearly not. She sounds pretty brazen, in fact.

I always think that kind of chutzpah deserves a response in kind—you know, just to show you appreciate and respect it. So when she has a housewarming party (and you know she will), wrap up an empty box and give it to her. When she opens it, explain you didn’t get a gift because you were too busy and didn’t have time for that shit (I know the word, and am not afraid to use it).

Friday, October 15, 2010

Aaron's Rotten Advice: October 15, 2010 ("It's an Allergen Wonderland") Edition

DEAR AMY: I have a touchy situation regarding my neighbor and his house.
My neighbor works in another state and is not able to return home on a regular basis. He is in his early 60s. He has a very close friend who is around the same age. They have been friends since high school. The friend has a key to the house so that he can check on it occasionally.

Over an extended period of time, I have seen this friend bring a woman (not his wife) to the house. It is obvious that he is bringing her there for sexual reasons.

I don't know whether I should inform my neighbor of this activity. I am disgusted by the behavior on so many levels, but I'm also concerned that my neighbor probably has no idea what is going on in his house while he is away.

I guess the main reason that I'm so torn is the fact that they have been such close friends for so long.

Should I talk to my neighbor or keep my mouth shut and turn the other way?



Wrong—you are totally nosy, and it’s obvious you have no life. If you had, you would have been too busy living it to notice who was going into your neighbor’s house over this “extended period of time.”

And just what makes it so “obvious” that they’re going there for sex? Can you actually SEE their silhouettes moving up and down behind the window shade? Maybe she’s there to help him shampoo the rugs. Maybe she’s a botanist, and she’s there to check the plants while he dusts. Maybe she’s an expert on woodworm, and she comes along to make periodic inspections of the joists. In short, maybe it’s really none of your business.

But since you asked, I’d advise you to keep your trap shut. Unless you see the house on fire, stay out of it. Frankly, you won’t be endearing yourself to your absentee friend if you tell him that somebody he trusts is coming into his house with a tootsie to roll—especially if you have no proof. If it turns out you’re wrong, you’ll look like not only a nosy parker, but a jackass too.

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 23-year-old woman who has been helping to raise my three adorable godchildren over the last few years. Their mother is also 23. She became pregnant with her oldest when she was 15. She's a young single mother, unprepared for the full responsibility, so I have stepped in.

When they were babies, we would take turns rocking them all night. I take them to the doctor's when they are sick -- with or without their mom. I helped select which schools they attend. Through the years I have been there every day, waking them in the morning, taking them to school, putting them to bed, etc.

I am now being married and have slightly reduced my day-to-day role, although I am still in many ways the "other parent." I get criticized for this all the time. I am constantly being told, "They are not your children. You shouldn't be doing this." Even my future in-laws have said it.

I don't know how to respond. I love the children very much, as if they were my own. I can't let them suffer for their mother's numerous mistakes. I'd appreciate any advice you can give me.



I hate to say it, but your in-laws are kind of right, actually (probably for the last time ever)—you shouldn’t be this heavily involved in these kids’ care. Although you may love them as your own, they aren’t your own, as your friend will certainly waste no time telling you should a dispute ever arise over how they’re raised.

According to your letter (and by my math, admittedly not my best subject), she now has three children in eight years. I’m not quite sure how she can still be “unprepared”—where the hell does she think they come from??

If she’s still such a train-wreck after all this time, I don’t think a godparent is the answer—it might be time for social services or her extended family to get involved.

DEAR ELLIE: I love my wife of ten years and our children and never want to leave them. A year ago, a new female co-worker and I became immediate friends. She's in a four-year unmarried relationship. We shared common interests and both had lost a parent to the same illness. We were always together at lunches and breaks and I drove her home. We became emotionally involved. I didn't notice this till several co-workers thought we were having a sexual affair. It hit me that I needed to pull back.

We never slept together, nothing physical ever happened. I told her we needed to back away, as we were in danger of crossing a line I didn't want to cross.
She's now angry, acting like a woman scorned and making my life difficult. She's telling everyone that I'm a terrible person and she's thinking about telling my wife. I'm heartsick because I don't want to hurt my wife, and most women I know feel that emotional cheating is worse than physical.

Should I 'fess up to my wife or just hope that this co-worker doesn't carry off her threat?



Well, more fool you for letting this go on as long as it did before you wised up and realized what was starting to happen. But at least you stopped before it DID escalate.

On the way home to tell your wife the whole story, stop in and have a little chat with your HR director. They might have something to say to this woman about creating a “hostile work environment.”

DEAR MARGO: My fiancée and I are having a problem with her father. We are a lesbian couple and we’re included in family functions, which we attend regularly. We recently became engaged but still haven’t told her dad, a recent convert to Catholicism. We know that although he includes us as a couple and says he loves my fiancée no matter what, he also told her in the past that he would only pay for her wedding if she married a man.

Needless to say, we were expecting to pay for our own wedding and were gearing up to tell them about our engagement when we found out, via Facebook, that he is adamantly against gay marriage. (My girlfriend posted something on her wall saying how happy she was that Proposition 8 was ruled unconstitutional. Her dad, knowing she is gay, responded with, "Booo! It ain’t over yet!" on her page.) He then followed up with an e-mail stating she can cheer all she wants but she should know he is spending a lot of his savings fighting gay marriage, and he feels the "homosexual agenda" is at war with the Catholic Church. To top it off, she’s also adopted. Her adoptive mother — who was supportive of gay marriage — passed away six years ago and he only converted to Catholicism for his second wife.

My fiancée’s younger sister, the biological child, is straight, and had a dream wedding, which he paid for. He obviously favors the biological daughter, and there’s a huge difference in how he treats my fiancée, to the point of providing her sister a beach house, keeping her horses and doing nothing for my fiancée except continuing to include her in family functions.

Today was her 30th birthday dinner, at which her dad gave her a year’s worth of Bible Study classes at a Catholic church as a birthday present! Despite everything, my fiancée still wants an actual wedding and wants her dad to walk her down the aisle.



You need to throw a bucket of cold water on your sweetheart and wake her up, because her dream ain’t gonna come true.

Furthermore, you’re wrong about her father—he doesn’t "love her no matter what." He wants to turn her into something she’s not. There’s simply no other way to explain his birthday gift to her—who would try to foist “self-hate lessons” on their own kid??

As a baptized Catholic, I could say plenty of things about the gays’ "war” on the church (starting with the fact that it’s been the other way around in my experience—and don’t get me started on the priest sex abuse scandals, which most devout churchgoers never want to talk about—funny how that is), but I will simply settle for saying this: pay for your own wedding. Invite him if you want to, but don’t expect him to walk down the aisle with her. (If it were me, I'd sprinkle thumbtacks on the aisle, and tell him there's a time-share at the end of it, just to see how fast he runs.)

And make yourselves scarce at the family functions. There’s no need for you to attend as second-class citizens while he heaps praise on his biological baby doll. Finally, your fiancé needs to send her father a nice long note expressing her feelings, then stop contact, including Facebook. If he really does “love her no matter what,” maybe he’ll realize what his words and deeds are costing him.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a junior in high school, and I try to follow the rules of etiquette (though I have often found them lacking in certain situations, such as when a boy decides that they want to carry you like a sack of potatoes to your next class), but I have noticed in the past that my teachers who are there to teach us do not follow the same rules.

Perhaps it is just me, but I find comments (by teachers) to the effect of “Didn’t you just go?” to be unconscionable when asking discreetly to use the restroom.
Not only do I find the behavior of a teacher commenting on students’ bodily functions insulting, but in doing so the teacher brings the class’ attention to a question that I am trying to ask discreetly. And for the record, if I had just gone I would not be asking.



Maybe you wouldn’t, but plenty of other kids would. And they wouldn’t be using the restroom, they’d be goofing off somewhere. That’s why the teachers ask these things. I’m not going to ask who tries to carry you like a sack of potatoes, or how, exactly, you breach etiquette when this happens. Leave me my illusions.

It seems, however, that the teachers should remember who “just went” if they’re paying attention, and I agree that they’re drawing attention to something that’s not for public consumption. So the next time they ask, “Didn’t you just go?” just say, “No, but I’d be happy to do it in front of you right now if you won’t let me go to the restroom.”

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Isn't It Grand (Dragon)?

Thank heavens we have aristocratic Senate candidate Mark Kirk (R) to monitor "vulnerable" electoral precincts (also known as "neighborhoods he won't give a shit about after the election") to make sure the commoners are just eating their own cake and not stealing it away from the starving Winnetkans.

Click here to listen to the dulcet tones of the North Shore Nanny as he describes his "voter integrity" squads. Too bad we can't arm them with toothbrushes--we could send them out to fight the Cavity Creeps once the election is over.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Aaron's Rotten Advice: October 8, 2010 Edition

Yes, I'm back from one of my sporadic, life-dictated absences...of course, I always hate to miss a few weeks, but I had lots of stuff I had to do during September, not the least (or most fun) of which was cleaning out the storage shed with my mom's remaining effects. But I rescued some really cool rugs, some Nancy Sinatra CDs, some great DVDs, my grandparents' old liquor cabinet, and an old Morris chair (which I still have to make room for).

But all that's beside the point--feast your eyes on this week's crop of hapless advice-seekers. They didn't know they were asking me, but I could tell they needed it...

DEAR AMY: Over the course of three months, my wife of 16 years called a male "friend" more than 2,500 times and sent him more than 6,000 text messages.

The calls were made at all times of the day (with three calls being between 2 and 4 a.m. one night when she was spending the night with a girlfriend).
The texts occurred all through the day and night.

When I confronted her she became very defensive and claimed this was just a really good friend she had known for a long time. She says that there is nothing wrong with what she's doing.

My wife now has a device with Internet access that allows her to text without any record of whom she is texting. Am I stupid, ignorant or wrong to have suspicions — or correct in thinking this is an affair?



A combination of the above. If you really think she spent the night with a “girlfriend,” I’d have to go with numbers one and two. Although why she would spend all night texting him during The Deed, I don’t know—perhaps he’s hearing-impaired.

DEAR ABBY: A friend of mine, "Barbie," volunteered to be the maid of honor in my wedding. She didn't attend any of the dress fittings because she doesn't have a car. She volunteered to throw a bridal shower despite having no money, and asked my fiance to contribute. After he told Barbie he was "tapped out" (because of the wedding bills), she suggested he return some of the gifts he had bought me!

Two days before the shower, I learned she had selected a dress more suited to a stripper pole than a church wedding ceremony. At that point, my fiance decided to remove her from the bridal party.

Barbie feels slighted and doesn't understand why we made the day about "us" and not her. She's genuinely hurt that we didn't "consider her financial position." (We didn't ask for her help in the first place.)

Would you please lend your vast wisdom and insight to this matter?



Gee, clever signature, Trixie. Love the fake name you gave your friend, too. Please don’t ever get a job writing greeting cards.

OK, on to your question. Yes, the fault is partly “Barbie’s” (Jesus, is that really the best you could come up with??)—she should not have volunteered to take this project on if she was financially unprepared to do so. And for her to suggest to your fiancé that he return some of your gifts was just off-the-charts stupid and thoughtless. But what did you expect? Hello—the bitch doesn’t have a car! What did you think she was going to do, ride a bike and drag your wedding cake behind her in a Radio Flyer wagon??

In any event, it’s over and done now, so just let it go. Or you could do what most upwardly-mobile young people do when somebody upsets their standards of material impropriety: complain about it to anybody who will listen until you find a sympathetic pair of ears.

Good luck with that.

DEAR ELLIE: My boyfriend of 18 months and I are late-40s. I'm divorced, with joint custody of my sons. My boyfriend's been divorced for ten years with sole custody of daughters, ages late-teens to 21. His ex-wife abandoned them (an affair, plus problems with drugs and alcohol).

His daughters constantly call when we're out on a date. They fight to sit beside him. One often sits on his lap.

His ex-wife attends family functions, birthdays, holidays, Christmas, with them. Last Christmas I insisted he come to my house. But his phone didn't stop ringing.

During a family vacation together, one daughter locked herself in our room and wouldn't let us in all day. Sometimes I think his devotion is unhealthy.

I've voiced concerns (one daughter comes into his bed when she has a bad dream) but he becomes defensive.

Will things change when they get older or is he using the women in his life to block a deeper relationship?



Have you ever seen “Chinatown?” Rent it. Watch it. I don’t think age is the issue here. How much older do you expect them to get before they stop sleeping with him and sitting in his lap?!

You’ve already talked with him about this, and if he refuses to do anything about it, I think it’s time you walked away and left him to his daughters and their Electra complex.

DEAR MARGO: Like many others, the recession has taken a toll on our family. My husband has been a functioning alcoholic for years, and despite my objections, he leapt at the opportunity for early retirement two years ago and now spends his days watching television, drinking and criticizing everything I do. Once he retired, he decided I would continue working and we would live off my income for the next 10 years to avoid tapping into the retirement fund.

Well, I lost my job a year ago and have not been able to find a new one. At the urging of former colleagues, I started a new business. It is finally starting to generate some revenue, but we are still dependent upon my husband’s retirement income. Consequently, he participates in every business decision and points out how everything I touch will fail. Please be aware that I have advanced degrees and have held positions as COO and CFO.

I am so depressed that I can barely get out of bed in the morning. I want nothing more than to leave him and live alone. I should have done this years ago, but instead relied on a heavy work schedule and limited vacations to minimize our time together. Now I feel like a prisoner. The one family member who has seen his dark side tells me I should suck it up because it’s hard to live alone at my age (I am in my early 50s). I just can’t bear any more criticism and "humor" at my expense.

During a call with a potential client, I asked what more I could do to get his business. My husband piped up and said, "You could lose 50 pounds and have sex with the board of directors." Yes, the client heard. I was beyond mortified. How can I live in this environment until I can become self-supporting again?



Your husband is a soaking schmuck, and you need to walk. Wait until you get your business up and running if you want to be self-sufficient. Otherwise, I do believe he’s legally required to hand over half his retirement to you in the divorce settlement.

Yes, that’s right, divorce—tell him to go and hang by his peter. Before you go, make sure he’s well-supplied with beer—drop a case right in his lap. Hard.

Early 50s is not that old where I’m from, and while it’s never easy to make that kind of adjustment, I think in your case it’s going to feel like a long, wonderful vacation after what you’ve lived with. Think how giddy you’ll feel once you wake up every day and realize that it’s permanent—no more ass-hubby! Furthermore, I think your expenses will be a lot smaller once you cut that dead weight loose. And let’s see how long he can stretch his half of the retirement fund on Old Style and TV dinners.

I doubt he’ll have an easy time finding another partner. Most women aren’t eager to hook up with a lazy, smart-ass, beer-drinking slob—he might have to trawl the parking lot of the “Jerry Springer Show.”


My husband's oldest friend (a female) told us last week that she planned to come to visit us. On many previous occasions, I have invited her and her husband to stay with us overnight.

However, since their last visit, she committed (in my opinion) a grievous social faux pas by telling a woman of our mutual acquaintance that my husband appeared to be planning to get a divorce. This led to the woman's inviting my husband to her home for dinner and other socializing, unfortunately more than once.
Do you think I should be chastised for not inviting her to stay at my home on this latest trip?



On the contrary: I would chastise you if you did offer this harpie room and board. Tell her to go hang upside down somewhere else.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Chillin' with Bandit the Doggie

A short video of me and my aunt and uncle's dog Bandit, from my visit home a few weeks ago. He doesn't "chill" as much as other dogs...