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.”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love to see the neighbors face when she tells the guy next door about the friends liaisons and he replies, "I know that's why I gave him a key!"
In the next letter I wonder just how many good folks would agree to be a Godparent if it actually meant they'd have to take such a hands on approach?
In the Dear Ellie letter what's to tell? his co-workers already thought he was dipping his pen in company ink. What will she say they've become friends and he refused to get closer so she is throwing a hissy fit? He should tell his wife about the nut case and work then forget about it.
Your advice to the Lesbian couple was right on. I'd like her to return the anti-gay bible study info unopened and give him a Gay flag to proudly display for his birthday present. LOL. Ted

9:42 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...

I agree, but the best thing to do with someone like this is to wash their hands of least temporarily. Since he only recently converted to Catholicism to please his tootsie-pie, if the marriage goes south, he might decide to abandon it. (Few people CHOOSE Catholicism, then stay with it, if they weren't baptized into it. Those of us 'mos who WERE baptized into it frequently fall away...or at least do not attend regularly.)

1:08 PM  

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