The Source: Philip Galanes, Social Q’s, New York Times
The Dilemma: “My brother and sister-in-law were married shotgun a year ago. They have a beautiful baby, and the marriage seems happy. But my sister-in-law keeps trying to claim that they didn’t know she was pregnant until after their engagement. At every family event, she brings it up. How do I assure her that I support their marriage and don’t care about the rest? “
The Advice: “Be direct. Next time she starts rewriting history, just say: ‘It sounds like you’re embarrassed about getting pregnant before you were married. But no one else thinks about it. Honest! We’re all too busy worrying about the things that embarrass us. So take it easy on yourself, O.K.?'”
The Rebuttal: Fab advice, Phil. Next time I see my friend with the receding hairline I’m going to tell him, “Just so you know, there’s nothing weird about a thirty-five-year-old man wearing a baseball cap to a funeral. Your secret’s safe with me, Señor Baldo!” There’s something to be said for acknowledging the awkward, but there’s more to be said for graciously tolerating benign delusions. This truth-fudging isn’t hurting anyone, except perhaps their kid. Even then, it’s none of your business.
The Source: Tracy Cabot, Ask Dr. Tracy
The Dilemma: “I’m a twenty-eight-year-old acupuncturist. I recently met, online, a guy I am actually attracted to (a rarity for me). He’s got so much going for him: he’s twenty-nine, a doctor, a sculptor, a cook, an athlete…not to mention his awesome body and obviously nimble mind. It’s too early to speak much to his character, but there is a certain poorly concealed cockiness… A few dates in, he pushed me farther than I wanted to go sexually. I made it clear where my limits were, but he blew right past them to the point where I couldn’t stop him without ruining everything… Is it nuts to even pursue a relationship with this guy?”
The Advice: “You are a grownup, not a teenager. Holding out on sex when you really want it is silly at your age. You really can’t expect a twenty-nine-year-old guy to not push for sex. That’s what guys do… As for his cockiness, good grief, he’s an artist, a doctor, a cook and an athlete. No wonder he’s cocky. He’s got it all… You haven’t done any damage yet, but you will if you keep withholding sex. With all he’s got going for him, he’s sure to find someone who will give him everything he wants and sex too.”
The Rebuttal: You know who else is cocky? Date rapists. Not making any accusations, but alarm bells are there for a reason. You say catch, I say jackass. Do yourself a huge favor and step out of the imaginary line of women waiting outside his door and into a therapist’s office. The fact that you’re still contemplating a relationship with this kind of a person speaks to deeper issues.
The Source: Amy Alkon, Advice Goddess
The Dilemma: “I’d appreciate if you’d introduce me to a lady between thirty-five and sixty-five for friendship and more. I’m forty-eight, six-feet tall, 220 pounds. I’m an artist, writer, and musician. I’m currently in prison, but I’m not guilty, so I expect to get out of here soon.”
The Advice: “I guess you’re asking me to post a personals ad for you: ‘Enjoyed long walks on the beach; now enjoying short walks between electrified fences.’ Sure, the incarcerated man has his merits: there’s no wondering where he is at night or worrying he’ll run off with another woman (at least not for another ten to twenty). Of course, a woman who goes for a man behind bars almost always has something seriously wrong with her.”
The Rebuttal: You know who needs more mockery and stereotyping? Prisoners. It’s not like a good chunk of them are there for non-violent drug offenses, or like the criminal justice system disproportionately goes after the socio-economically disadvantaged and/or people of color. How dare this guy want to find a girlfriend! He should stick to working in the prison chicken-processing plant for four-cents an hour and suffer along with the rest of the convicts.
The Source: Michael Alvear, The Sexorcist
The Dilemma: “It’s hard for me to climax during sex, so I recently looked into sex toys to revamp my sex life with my boyfriend. Anytime I mention them or show him the things I bought — mainly for myself, but some for both of us — he goes ape-shit… His uptight attitude toward them is ruining our sex life and starting to affect our relationship. It’s annoying because I brought it up with him before I bought the toys and he was like, ‘If you want them, that’s fine.’ Help!”
The Advice: “Skip the sensitive crap and give him a warning: if your yawns get any bigger, they’re going to name a hurricane after them… Knowing that the best way to a man’s heart is through his eyes, you need to put on a show. You can’t go wrong by giving men a chance to WOW, YOU MEAN I GET TO WATCH?!!!! Or by appealing to their discriminating sense of CAN YOU DO THAT THING WITH YOUR TONGUE AGAIN? Or his selfless desire to DON’T MOVE, I NEED MORE LUBE!”
The Rebuttal: If someone doesn’t like it when you do something in private, why on earth would it ever be a good idea to do it in front of them? Of course, there’s nothing wrong with offering, and Alvear’s crazy scam just might work. However, she should give her guy a heads up before she puts on a show. Based on prior history, there’s a strong chance he won’t appreciate the performance. It’s not like karaoke — you want someone to be into it if you’re going to make yourself that vulnerable. Otherwise, you’ll put up walls and be less uninhibited the next go-’round in the sack, and that’s never good.