The Source: Igor Hiller, Daily Nexus
The Dilemma: “I have a great roommate. He’s an extremely clean, respectful, and studious guy. There’s this one little thing, though, that I just can’t handle, and I have no idea what to do about it… My roommate has earphones he uses while doing homework that he thinks are completely soundproof, but they’re not and I can hear exactly what he’s listening to. He’s listening to porn. I’m talking hard-core moaning and screaming stuff… Please help.”
The Advice: “Your roommate is trying to be a good guy by wearing earphones, and that’s still not good enough for you. What’s the big deal? Let the guy listen to some porn. Put some music on or something, and everything will be fine.”
The Rebuttal: Igor doesn’t ask the obvious, which is: “Are you sure that’s porn?” (Incidentally, this would also make for a great Jeopardy! Audio Daily Double.) As a fan of both hip-hop and various forms of heavy metal, I can tell you that there’s quite a bit of crossover. It could be a sweaty Norwegian screaming unintelligible lyrics about dead babies or a DJ doing a heavy-handed sample from a porno. Whatever it is, not everyone can study with music in the background. Tell him his headphones are shit and he needs to turn the volume way down. There’s no need to mention what you’re hearing. The fact that he knows you can hear it will be embarrassment enough.
The Source: Ask Deanna, Canyon News
The Dilemma: “I loaned money to my girlfriend’s husband and now he won’t pay the money back. I did this personal favor without talking to my friend first. He is now telling me to stop harassing him or he’s going to accuse me of trying to sleep with him. I’ve been sending him e-mails to call along with text messages and I’ve called his cell phone. I thought I was doing the right thing by not mentioning the loan. How do I get my money without jeopardizing my friendship?”
The Advice: “It’s to your advantage to go ahead and write the money off unless you’re willing to bring drama in your life. If there’s no promissory note or paper trail indicating you loaned the money and it would be paid back, you’re stuck. You’re being blackmailed and it’s going to get worse. Tell your friend about the loan, stop looking for payment and whatever happens in their relationship is not your fault because you chose to be honest and have integrity. “
The Rebuttal: This advice isn’t half-bad, although I would definitely want to know the amount. Are we talking fifty dollars of integrity or $5,000? If it’s the latter, Ms. Money Loaner, you might want to keep pursuing it. You could have more power of persuasion once you get your best friend involved.
My main issue is with the advice columnist’s headshot. Holy Toledo. You’ve an attractive woman, Deanna M., but that JPG is fucking enormous. When your headshot takes up more real estate than your writing, you know there’s a problem.
The Source: Carl Alasko, Monterey Herald
The Dilemma: “My partner and I got married in a state where gay marriage is legal and we want to have a celebration and commitment ceremony here. My older brother has religious beliefs about gays, and while he hasn’t been obviously intolerant so far, he balked at attending our ceremony. He’s also launched a campaign in our family against our event, citing all kinds of religious reasons. This is upsetting and I’m not sure how to handle it.”
The Advice: “It’s always upsetting to be confronted with bias, bigotry, racism, sexism and any of the other affronts to loving relationships that people can devise… I believe it’s connected to some people requiring rigid discipline and rules in their lives. They cannot tolerate nuance, ambiguity and complexity. When they perceive something to be wrong, they need to punish it… Ignore [your brother] and celebrate your relationship. Congratulations.”
The Rebuttal: The bulk of this answer is a Free to Be You and Me-type treatise, and while I agree 100% with its content, I’m not so sure it’s going to help the reader resolve any of his problems. Dear Gay Groom, tell your brother that he can’t come to the wedding celebration unless he behaves himself and keeps his mouth closed. Tell the rest of your family the same as well. Remind them that you’re not asking them to swap out morals, just to put aside differences for a few hours. Failing that, tell them you already asked Jesus, and he said it was totally cool.
The Source: Dr. Alex Benzer, Tao of Dating
The Dilemma: Having trouble being irresistible to men? Do you posses that certain quality that assures a man that Date #1 will never turn into Date #2, but don’t know what it is you’re doing wrong?
The Advice: There are five ways to make yourself “resistible” to men, according to Dr. Alex. Here they are, in his given order:
1. Being career-obsessed
2. Being a ball-buster
3. Being bossy
3. Being overly argumentative (Yes, that’s a second number three.)
5. Being über-competitive
All of these are “masculine” qualities. Emphasizing “feminine” qualities such as “receptive” and “sensual,” as well as showing your date that you’re good with kids, is the way to go.
The Rebuttal: You know what makes a man irresistible to me? Knowing how to count. After that, coloring inside the lines and using utensils. But “annoying” — which is the first word I’d use for all of the above listed qualities — knows no gender; sorry to bust your pseudo-scientific bubble. Not to mention that showing a ton of enthusiasm for children on a first date is a great way to scare away even the mildest of commitment-phobes.