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The Source: Lisa Earle McLeod, The Huffington Post
The Dilemma: You want to make your wife/girlfriend/mistress happy but chocolates and pink cubic zirconium aren't cutting it.
The Advice: Enter Lisa Earle McLeod, with "The One Simple Thing That Makes Every Woman Happy," an open letter to men:
"There's one thing almost all [women] want from [men], and it's the exact same thing you want from us… Women want men to care. We don't want you to merely be willing to engage in the activities that are important to us, we want you to want to… Here's the bottom line: women want men to be happy, and we desperately want participating in your family to be the thing that puts a big ole' smile on your face."
The Rebuttal: Lisa, have you ever seen The Break-Up? It's mostly drivel, but there's one line that resonates: Aniston and Vaughn's characters are arguing over household chores. Aniston says, "I don't want you to do the dishes, I want you to WANT to do the dishes." Vaughn replies, "Why would I want to do dishes?!" Truth: sometimes we're the giving and mature partner, other times we're the spoiled adolescent. Until picking out a box spring is as fun as getting drunk with your best friend and eating nachos, expecting one-hundred-percent cheerful compliance is unfair. That applies whether you're from Mars, Venus, or Planet Gaystar.
The Source: Steve Lewis, BlackBook Magazine
The Dilemma: "My wife of three years — conservative, incredibly sexy, Catholic — just asked me to agree to and arrange a threesome as her birthday gift. I never saw this coming, but I'm obviously intrigued and thrilled. How on earth do I choose a woman who's right for this? And how do I propose the scenario to our new 'friend'?"
The Advice: "The timing is your problem. You must cash in your trifecta ticket on a specific date, and that can sometimes be difficult… You must be hit on from time to time by other women… When that little gal moves in, suggest the threesome scenario… Make sure you have a smokin' photo of your wife in your wallet. They always ask to see one."
The Rebuttal: Arranging a first-time threesome to fall on the exact date of someone's birthday? Why don't you try something easier, like a War on Drugs or the Olympic Games? Keep your timing flexible and leave the dirty Sears portrait-studio shot in the back of your pants. For all she knows, the woman in the picture is some woman you're stalking at your office or an image you ripped out of a magazine. You're the one who has to prove himself right now, not your wife. Keep it light and flirty versus heavy-handed and creepy and you'll do A-okay.
The Source: Lynn Coady, Group Therapy, The Globe and Mail
The Dilemma: "I have lived with my common-law husband for twenty-six years and his mother has never approved of me… She's now in her eighties, living in a retirement home out of town. When my partner returned from a visit, he told me his mother had cut me out of a photograph of us that I gave her years ago… Now only his half is displayed, in a frame that also has a photo of his siblings and his brother-in-law. My partner agrees this is over-the-top and says he'll have a word with her. I appreciate his support, but I think I should speak to her myself. Any advice?"
The Advice: "Your husband should've spoken up about the mangled photo, but he was likely too surprised to know how to react. Now that it's had time to sink in, however, neither of you should let it go… I'm not talking about some kind of finger-wagging shame session, but simply acknowledging that your mother-in-law has fired a salvo. Let her know you felt it, and while you won't be firing back, you refuse to duck and cover."
The Rebuttal: This woman has had close to three decades to change her mind. Clearly she's not going to. She lives in a retirement home, not your guest room, and if the past twenty-six years is any proof, she's more of an annoyance than a direct threat to your marriage. Ignore Coady's advice to confront and listen to wise-but-questionably-named commenter Fluvial Sediment: "She cut you out of the picture because she only wants to have pics of loved ones around her in her dotage and she doesn't love you… Buy yourself an ice cream cone and phone up someone who does like you… Don't sweat the stuff you can't change."
The Dilemma: "I just want to go out and dance with my friends, but every time we go to The Thirsty Turtle, random dudes there seriously harass us and won't leave us alone. It really ruins a night out with my friends. How can I avoid that when I go to Turtle?"
The Advice: "The best preemptive thing to do is avoid making eye contact with anyone. If this fails to keep them at bay, you might have to whip out the big guns. Little things can work well, like saying you have to go outside to smoke a cigarette, go to the bar to get a cup of water, or go to the bathroom to throw up. Most guys understand this just means you aren't going to hook up with them."
The Rebuttal: Wait, back up a sec. What's this with "little things"? Didn't you just say to "whip out the big guns"? Fake bathroom and beverage trips are Nerf darts. Bringing out the real artillery means looking someone dead in the eye and saying, "Leave me alone or I'm getting the bouncer." If you're really serious about being preemptive, try going to a bar that doesn't have "Dirty Shirleys" and two-dollar "BJ Shooters" among the advertised specials. The quality of crowd generally follows that of the venue.