Results filed under: “advice”

jesse
@ May 7, 2010


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["Dear Prudence" is published weekly on Slate.com. For the original article, click here.]

Dear Prudie,
I was raised by loving and supportive parents who are both nearing 50. Ours was the house where all my friends wanted to hang out. Until recently, I thought I had as close to perfect parents as possible. Before I left for college last fall, my parents said they had something personal to tell me that they didn't want me to find out by accident. It turns out when my mom was younger, she was a porn star, and pictures of her can still be found on several Web sites. They felt I was old enough to understand and that I should hear it from them. I'm still having trouble with this information. I don't love them any less, but I guess I'm still in shock and denial. I'm so nervous about coming home for the summer, because I still don't have a grip on my feelings, and I'm afraid that I'll do something that will ruin my relationship with my parents.



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jesse
@ February 18, 2010


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["Dear Margo" is written twice weekly at Yahoo.com. For the original column click here.]

Dear Margo OC,

My best friend since elementary school (I'll call her CJ) is married to a man I have never liked (I'll call him Phil). Even when they dated I considered Phil overbearing and foolish. I pleaded with her not to marry him, but she did. I agreed to be her maid of honor because I wanted to be a supportive friend. Fast-forward 27 years. Her marriage is, to put it bluntly, a complete disaster. She talks constantly about leaving Phil but won't actually do it. Phil hasn't worked in four years, even though they are strapped financially. CJ is the breadwinner, and Phil does absolutely nothing but eat, complain and watch TV. For seven years CJ has been having an affair with a married co-worker. She fantasizes about a life with this man. Her 16-year-old daughter goes to counseling and regularly has anxiety attacks, which I suspect are from living in a household where verbal abuse and hostility are the norm. A couple of months ago, during one of their heated arguments, Phil slapped CJ hard across the face, leaving a bruise. CJ also started using me as a "cover" for meetings with her male friend. That was the limit for me. I told her in no uncertain terms that I would not be a party to this mess. I have not heard from her since. Did I cross the line? Am I a bad friend?


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jesse
@ January 7, 2010


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["Dear Prudence" is published every Thursday on Slate.com. For the original article, click here.]

Dear Prudence,
I'm a new teacher at a private tutoring firm. We give one-on-one lessons to kids ages 13 to 18. I've twice had the experience of sitting at a table with a male student and seeing the student "adjust" himself. Both times, the student actually put his hand down his pants. The first time, I was so shocked I couldn't hide the expression on my face, and the 17-year-old asked what was wrong. I told him firmly but kindly that it was not appropriate to do that in public and that if he was ever uncomfortable, he should use the bathroom. The second time was with a 14-year-old student. I tried not to say anything, but then he started typing on my computer, so I had to say, "It's not appropriate to put your hands down your pants in public." He protested, "Well, it itches!" I replied that scratching there in public, especially going inside the pants, was still inappropriate. When he left, I broke out the Lysol and germ wipes. Did I handle this in an acceptable manner? What should I do if it happens again? And shouldn't teenage boys already know not to do this?

--Desperate for a Public Service Announcement to Teenage Boys





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jesse
@ September 25, 2009


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Dear OC,

I need you to analyze something for me. I originally started dating my boyfriend while he was still with another girl. His ex found out about us and broke it off with him, and now she's with some other guy. But now I'm starting to think that I shouldn't date someone who 1) doesn't want to have sex with me that often, 2) might be cheating on me all of the time, and 3) I have to go "LALALALALALALALA" in my head while he's talking about 90% of the time. Could you figure out why I'm still with this douche?



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jesse
@ August 27, 2009


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["Dear Prudence" is published weekly on Slate.com. For the original article, click here.]

Dear Prudie,
My girlfriend of six months has worn the same bra every day now for two weeks. I really wonder: Is this a normal thing for most women or a psychological issue? I feel it is a matter of hygiene, abnormal behavior, and also really gross.

--Dirty Laundry



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jesse
@ July 24, 2009


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["Dear Prudence" is published weekly on Slate.com. To read the original article, click here.]

Dear Prudence OC,
I've been happily married for more than 30 years, and I thought my husband and I had a truly loving relationship. My husband was recently hospitalized, and his boss asked me to carry my husband's cell phone so he could easily reach me for updates. My husband received a text message from a man saying that he was going to use him as a cover so he could visit another man in a neighboring town. This made me suspicious, so I looked in his wallet and found a visitor's pass to a gay men's health club. Then I found a gay porn DVD and Viagra in his gym bag. On his computer were gay Web sites. My husband had an excuse for everything. He said a man he works out with had given him the DVDs and the pass, and he didn't even know what they were. The Viagra was so he could be "ready" for me. He didn't know how the gay Web site cookies got on his computer. He said it was ridiculous that I could think he was gay after 30 great years together. I wanted to believe him. Last weekend, I came home unexpectedly and found him masturbating to gay porn. He said he wanted to see some porn, and this was the only thing he had because he didn't know where to get anything else. He thinks it's all no big deal. I'm devastated. I feel as if my whole marriage has been a sham, and I don't know what to do.

--Who Is He?



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jesse
@ July 21, 2009


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Was caught off guard today by this line item on a quote for a power boiler:

erection-advisors.JPG

I'm not sure whether to be offended that they think I need help, or touched that they care.


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jesse
@ July 14, 2009


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[Dear Sugar is published weekly on therumpus.net. For the original column, click here.]

Dear Sugar OC,

I am a thirty-something-year old woman who has been on the pill for awhile now. When I think about how much the pill has cost me over the years the number starts to upset me a little. Straight up: I think my current boyfriend should start sharing half the cost with me, but we rarely discuss money (in fact, the only costs we've split up until now are movie tickets and the price of dinner).What do you think? If you think it's a fair request, how do you think I should bring it up with him?

Thanks,
Dutch Girl


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jesse
@ July 2, 2009


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[Dear Prudence is published weekly on Slate.com. For the original article, click here.]

Dear Prudence OC,
I have been married for seven years, but I am still troubled by how to speak openly about masturbation with my spouse. I masturbate pretty much every morning after getting up and every evening before I go to bed, unless I think my wife and I will make love. The problem is that my wife sees my masturbation as a declaration that she does not please me, which is not true. I enjoy our lovemaking, and I'd prefer to make love to her as often as I masturbate; she's simply not interested in doing it that often. (Believe me, I've tried.) Moreover, she complains that I "take too long" and says she would be more willing if I were "normal" and didn't last so long. My wife also has suggested there is something wrong with me for wanting to make love or masturbate as often as I do. I accept that I'll never be able to make love to my wife as often as I would like, but how do I convey to her that masturbation is normal and that she shouldn't see it as evidence that she's inadequate?

--Illicit Self-Lover




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jesse
@ June 3, 2009


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["Dear Abby" is a syndicated column published weekly. For the original column, click here.]

DEAR  ABBY OC: After my wife had our sixth child, our love life fizzled out. But at age 80, we have suddenly discovered that we aren't THAT old!

How do we tactfully deflect kids and grandkids who enter without ringing the bell? I realize that lots of people would love to have this problem, but it's a problem all the same. -- BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN




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jesse
@ May 12, 2009


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["Dear Abby" is a syndicated column published weekly. For the original column, click here.]

My husband and I had a falling-out with his parents last October. We sent them an e-mail in December to let them know we have no desire to keep our children -- ages 5 and 6 -- from them. We feel it is important that they have a good relationship with their grandparents even though we don't.

My in-laws never responded and have made no attempt to see the children. They do send cards to them for holidays and birthdays, however.

While we accept that they want nothing to do with us, the kids keep asking why they don't get to see Nana and Papa anymore. We tell them that Nana and Papa love them very much, but are very busy. My in-laws live just 10 minutes away.

Abby, how do I continue to explain this situation to my children? They have done nothing wrong, and my heart breaks for them. -- DON'T BLAME THE KIDS


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jesse
@ April 28, 2009


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["What's Your Problem?" is published monthly in Atlantic Magazine.  For the original column, click here.]

My friends call me "Dorian Gray" because I don't seem to age. I'm 63, but I tend to attract men in their mid-to-late 40s or early 50s. I believe in "truth in packaging," and anyway, I don't believe that such an age gap bodes well for a long-term relationship. So on the first date, or first encounter, I bluntly tell potential swains that I'm too old for them. If they ask my age, I tell them the truth. This is an ethical necessity, right? Or is it their problem to figure it out? What do you suggest?
Anne, Monroe, N.Y.



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jesse
@ March 27, 2009


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["Dear Prudence" is published every Thursday on Slate.com.  For the original column, click here.]

Dear Prudence OC:
When I was 17, I got pregnant. My family was not supportive, and I did not want to raise a child on my own. I placed her for adoption but never forgot about her. Twenty-three years later, I got in touch with the lawyer who assisted with the adoption and shortly after got a phone call from my long-lost daughter. We talked for a while, then e-mailed a lot. The more contact we had, the more I didn't like her. She seemed very immature and bratty--she still lives with her parents and had a child last year, whom her parents are raising. Several months later, we met. Also at the meeting were her mom, her baby, my mom, and my daughter, who is five years younger then she. This girl is rude and disrespectful to her mom, yells at her baby, dresses like a slob, and was a brat the whole weekend. My mom said this is the way she was raised, and we should be tolerant. I am all for tolerance, but this kid is awful. Still, for her birthday I sent her a great gift. I called and asked if she received it, and her response was, "Yeah, it was nice." I had put a lot of thought, time, and money into this gift, and that's all I get. I feel nothing for this girl, even though I know she is my daughter. This makes me feel guilty. How could a mother not love her own child, even if she didn't raise her? She is in school to join my chosen profession, which I think she will suck at.

--What Should I Do About the Daughter I Never Wanted?




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jesse
@ March 3, 2009


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Meghan McCain has written an article for the Daily Beast titled "Looking For Mr. Far. Right." Please go, read that, and then come back and read my advice to her. Thanks to OC tipper Jim.

-----

Dear Looking,

You are full of shit.

There are exactly two things that are interesting about you. The first is that you are smoking, smoking hot. The second is that your last name is McCain. And guess what? You've had the same last name for years! You haven't magically turned into John McCain's daughter since the election. This isn't even the first time your dad ran for office. For years, you have been introducing yourself as Meghan McCain. For those same years, people have responded, "Oh, like John McCain?" Inevitably, the conversation has turned to politics. Hey, too bad what happened to your dad in 2000 with that whole secret black baby thing.  Hey, your dad is a real great guy, I'm all about campaign finance reform too. Hey, your dad must be retarded, because you are SPECIAL, baby.

But now, since the election, this has become a problem for you.  You just can't seem to put your finger on it. You can't stand those Obama supporters, but the real hard-line McCain supporters don't do it for you either.  Allow me to diagnose your problem in three easy steps:

1) You come from a political family, and politics are a part of everything you think, do, and say.
2) You can't stand Obama supporters because you are, as you admit, Looking for Mr. Far Right.
3) You can't stand those hard-line McCain supporters because you know they'll be thinking about him to become aroused instead of you.

There is a very simple solution for this: OPEN YOUR MOUTH. Your sexy, sexy mouth. Instead of writing a 2000 word column for the Daily Beast complaining, "Oh, how come these guys keep talking politics on my dates," why don't you try saying, "Hey, I know I'm John McCain's daughter and all, but I don't really want to get into politics tonight." Or something! Tell your dates! Don't tell the Daily Beast! The Daily Beast won't help you.

And try dating someone who isn't an incredibly creepy Republican hard-liner who wants to dress you up as your mom. I don't know where you found him.


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jesse
@ February 17, 2009


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["Since You Asked..." is published every Monday on Salon.com by Cary Tennis.  For the original columns, click here and here.]

Dear Cary OC,

I have been in a wonderful and loving relationship for the past four years and change, with its foreseeable share of ups and downs, small and large. Right now, it's in a relatively long-distance period -- my boyfriend and I are both students (he's in med school, I'm in grad school). We live three and a half hours away from each other, and see each other roughly two weekends per month during the school year. We both really enjoy our programs, our fellow students and each other. Due to the distance, our different programs, and the normal increase in comfort in the relationship that comes with being with someone for a long time, I maintain crushes on a few people, despite loving my boyfriend deeply. I assume the same holds for him, and I'm not too worried about that -- we take the relationship as it goes, it's worked well, and we're open to changes for better or worse. Here's the thing:

I talk in my sleep. Sometimes I have romantic and/or sexual dreams about different people I'm attracted to -- and I think that this is normal and OK -- and I'm worried about, uh, saying something out loud that I might fantasize about saying, knowing it wouldn't happen (certainly not now, anyway), and the possible reaction. Really, what do you say in that situation?

This is mostly a hypothetical question -- as far as I know, I haven't done it, and for all I know, he wouldn't have a problem with it. But I know that it's hard to be honest about things like that -- if I heard him talk in his sleep about something with another woman, I know I would feel hurt, even knowing that I might do it, and that I still love him too much to do anything outside of dream world. How do you explain the difference between dreaming -- what the mind does when you're asleep -- and conscious dreaming -- what I would love to do if there were no material/emotional/whatever constraints -- since saying, "I dreamed about sleeping with So-and-So" could easily be misinterpreted!

What do you think? I don't lose sleep over this, but I think about it often!


Sleep Talker


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jesse
@ January 5, 2009


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["Since You Asked..." is published every Monday on Salon.com by Cary Tennis.  For the original columns, click here and here.]

Dear Cary OC,

Several years ago, I did what a lot of people just dream about: I got to begin, and sustain, a career as a writer. I worked hard; I'd climbed out of a stifling marriage with a young child in tow and recognized that my midlife crisis wasn't going to be about a convertible or an ashram. It was never about the money (anyone who writes knows that already; note to everyone else: It can't be about the money), but I had responsibilities to my daughter that made total freedom to chase the dream ridiculous.

So, how did it come about? I met a lovely man a couple of years after the divorce. We are compatible; my daughter adores him; he is kind. He, too, was at a crossroads in his working life, and together we navigated a direction for him to become financially stable. I financially supported him through that time (several years) in my previous soul-sucking-but-sound job. When that was accomplished, I took my turn. I couldn't have done it without him.

The problem? He too is an artist. He's very good. He too has dreams. He works at his stable, unionized job (no, not the auto industry), which has great benefits and a pension. He worked hard to get there; but it's not what he craves. My question? Do I owe him the same chance that I got? I don't earn enough for him to quit his job. And in this economic climate, that would be crazy, whether he was with me or not.

He doesn't complain and is proud of my accomplishments. I have encouraged him to work on his art in his down time -- which he instead uses to mostly watch TV or play games. I worry he's lost his ambition, while I'm recognizing mine. I work very hard in a very tight industry. I guess I don't know if he just doesn't have the ambition, or if I'm an albatross around his neck.

Do I have a debt here?



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jesse
@ December 19, 2008


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I woke up and found you creepin'
[tip-toe tip-toe]
Oh girl I know your secret
[you been dippin on me]
Got them McNuggets lovin
[you went to McDonalds]
It just ain't fair
Why can't you
Share your love with me


Nice song.  But you're still not getting any of my crispy, juicy McNuggets.

Girl you got a ten piece please don't be stin-jaaayyyyyyyyyy

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cuckold (n.) - A married man with an unfaithful wife.
cluck (n.) - The characteristic sound made by a hen (i.e. female chicken) when brooding or calling its chicks.

cluckold (n.) - A married man whose wife sneaks out on him to get some Chicken McNuggets and won't give him any.


She leaves in the middle of the night, in a rainstorm, without telling you where she is going.  Obviously you are concerned: I can see it in your deep, soulful eyes.  Then she gets back, and she's got McDonald's.   But did she get you any? No.  Did she even ask if you wanted any McNuggets? Obviously not, because it seems like you really, really want some.  But if she wasn't going to share, she at least could have eaten at the restaurant, or in the car.  She did not have to eat them in front of you, and not let you have any.  She did that because she is exerting her dominance over you. You are being cluckolded.

If I can offer a little unsolicited advice? Dump. That. Bitch.

Unless you are into that sort of thing.


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jesse
@ December 4, 2008


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["Dear Prudence" is published every Thursday on Slate.com.  For the original column, click here.]

Dear Prudence OC:
I work in a small company of about 30 employees. My co-workers and I don't know what to do about our boss. Our company is in serious financial trouble. I make up the entire accounts payable/receivable department, and if it hadn't been for a big check we received from a company that owed us, we wouldn't have been able to send out our last payroll checks. I'm really worried about our boss' suicide "jokes." She frequently will jokingly ask me or another of my co-workers for a gun or a knife. She even crawled onto the windowsill in my office and had her bottom half hanging out until I grabbed her and pulled her back in. I told her recently that I was not going to take these questions as jokes anymore and that the next time she mentioned a gun or knife, I was going to call the suicide hot line. Her response was to walk over to my phone and say sarcastically, "Sure, let's do it now! I'll dial, you talk." She later came back and said, "I hope you know I'm never serious about that." One co-worker suggested we try to convince her brother to admit her to a psychiatric ward. But unfortunately she is the sole decision-maker regarding practically everything we do, so without her, I don't even know how we'd be able to run on a day-to-day basis. What should I do?



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jesse
@ November 18, 2008


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[The following note was forwarded to me OC tipper Daytrader from my fraternity's undergraduate e-mail list.]

Brothers,

As most if not all of you already know, my girlfriend of two and a half years broke up with me recently.  She even more recently proceeded to get a new boyfriend.  For those of you who don't know, I'm kinda attached to this girl, and I need to do whatever it takes to win her back.  Namely: get involved in a fake Facebook relationship with an even hotter girl.

This is where you all come in.  I need a beautiful girl (preferably with larger breasts) to pretend to be involved with me on Facebook.  This includes several pictures indicating that we are "close," as well as the possible eventual changing of our Facebook relationship status.  If anyone knows of any girl who fits this description and would be willing to help a guy out (nothing physical actually needs to happen, though if she wants to get in character more, I'm all for it), please, let me know and get her in contact with me.

I'm counting on each of you to step up and whore out your most attractive friends for [me]. I know this is a lot to ask, but I don't ask for that much.  Thank you in advance for any assistance that you can render.

- Manbearpig

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I can already see the movie poster.  Ryan Gosling as Manbearpig, Rosario Dawson as the fake Facebook girlfriend, and maybe Live Tyler as his ex.  "You've Got Status Updates", coming to theaters near you this December.

Oh, wait, you mean we aren't in a studio pitch meeting? This is a serious idea? Um. Wow.

Hey, let's take a minute to empathize with the loss of a girlfriend.  It is sad that you've been with her for two and a half years and it has ended.  It really is.  However: it isn't nearly as sad as your inability to accept that it is actually over.  Because it is.

How do I know? The new boyfriend is the key.  Girls don't pop out of long-term relationships and go right with a new guy, unless they are stone-cold bitches.  Either that or, in her mind, she's been out of the long-term relationship for awhile, and she was just trying to find the easiest way to extricate herself from what had been an unpleasant situation.  You may have just broken up with her, but she's been broken up with you for awhile.  She just didn't have the heart to tell you.  So take your pick: either you are going to make a fool out of yourself in front of everyone you know (well, more than you already have) only to go down in flames, OR you'll be successful, only to find out much later that she's actually a total bee-yotch that you were better off without.  Your choice.

Or maybe I'm looking at this the wrong way.  Are you actually hoping that you'll find a new girlfriend this way? No, no, I can't...it's almost too pathetic to even contemplate.

But with all that being said: don't let me discourage you from going the wacky sitcom route and creating a fake Facebook relationship.  Just make sure to add me as a friend first.  Because the only thing better than a car wreck is a car wreck that happens in slow motion.


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jesse
@ November 12, 2008


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[Looking for my advice? E-mail me here.]

Dear OC,

I don't know if this is considered a waste of your time and you may think that its very unimportant. Well anyways I'm in my tweens. I'm in middle school and I'm having some boy troubles. There is this guy I really like who is a year older then me and I've kinda been getting the hint that he likes me. He looks at me in class and does something funny or stupid then turns around to me to see if I'm looking. He ALWAYS says hi to me in the hallways and one time when we were in the auditorium for a pep rally (I'm one of the cheerleaders) I was walking past him when he said "Hi! i didnt know you were a cheerleader! You are awesome." He's been giving me little hints like that.

But then today I was in class and this girl comes up to me and says "Are you going out with somebody?" and I said no. Then she laughed and said, "Let me find you somebody," and she went over to where the boy I like was sitting.  She asked the boy I like if he liked me and he said no. Then she asked, "Do you think she's pretty?" I didn't hear what he said then because I was so embarrassed. Then I heard him say to her, "if I liked her I would have already asked her to go out with me. That's when my heart sank.

So please, I'm sorry if this is a waste of your time and you think its just silly boy troubles but i really like him and it really means a lot to me if you give me some advice. So do you think he likes me?

- unloveable :(

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Dear unloveable,

There were many things that struck me about your letter.  I have actually had some difficulty deciding where to start.  Should I answer your question, or should I answer all of my questions that were caused my your question.  For example:

Why are you reading this website? This website is not for kids.  There was a drawing of a penis on here once.  No, don't try to find it!!

Why can't you take some of that time spent worrying about boys and instead worry about the fact that you can barely communicate? I think I spent twice as much time deciphering and editing your letter to make it readable as you did typing it out.  Here's a sample:

i pretend like i dont see him but i see him in the corner of my eye. he ALWAYS says hi to me in the hallways and one time when we were in the auditorium for a prep rally (im one of the cheerleaders) i was walking past him when he said "hi $^%$^! i didnt know you were a cheerleader!" then i said "you didnt then laughed" and then he said"wow %&^%& you are awesome. you are just everything a cheerleader and all this stuff you are just awesome" then i laughed and said thank you.

You should write this boy some love notes just to practice your sentence structure.

And you are in your tweens, in middle school: why are you worried about boys? You are 11 or 12, right? Too soon! Turn off The Hills and step away from the TV! Put the Cosmogirl magazine down!  Keep this up and you're going to turn me into one of those crazy people that blames the media for the downfall of society.

(Well, unless you go to school in Hartford CT, then I guess its time to start a family.  You don't want to be the only girl without an ultrasound picture for show and tell!)

Okay, now I'll answer your question: yes, the boy likes you.  It is obvious to you, it is obvious to me, and it was obvious to the mean girl in class who decided to make sport of the situation.  But no, he will not say so. He will never, ever say so.  He was as embarrassed as you were, and now he can never, ever say he likes you because then it will be even more embarrassing.  Things will remain this way for some time.  You will be better off being a confident young woman instead of measuring your self worth based on the opinions of easily embarrassed teenage boys.  They are all very dumb.  Please make a note of it.




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jesse
@ November 7, 2008


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[Back by popular demand! Ask GirlShrink is published on perhaps the ugliest website I have ever seen.  And can you believe they charge for personal advice? Their advice is terrible!!  For the original column, click here.]

Dear GirlShrink OC,
I have been in this "sort of" relationship for about 18 months with a man I adore. While not a perfect man, he is perfect for me. He still says he wants to keep things "without a title" because he doesn't want to hurt or disappoint me. He says that he is only seeing and sleeping with me. What else do I need to do? Why won't this man love me? Why doesn't he want me?
-R.T.


First of all: Girlshrink answers too many fucking letters in a single column.  I don't have all goddamn day, so: everyone gets three sentences.

Your boyfriend is a cliche, but at least he is open and honest about it.  Without more details about you I cannot evaluate why he doesn't love you, although the mind swims at all the possibilities.  If you require commitment, then dump him.

-----


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jesse
@ September 28, 2008


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[Uh... I guess if you actually want my advice, e-mail me here... ]

[?!??]


Dear OC,

I'm an early twenty-something guy, and I've been with my girlfriend for 2 years now.  On the surface, everything seems fine, only I find myself wondering whether this is really the relationship for me. I get the impression that you have a successful relationship with your wife Suzi, and I was wondering: how did you know that she was the "best" for you? And how do you make the differences in your personality work?

- Confused in California

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Dear Confused...

Uh... so you actually want my advice? You've read my previous columns, right? I'm kind of a dick to everyone who I give advice to.  Also lots of people I don't give advice to.  You still want my advice? Very well!

I struggled with this question at first.  I was thinking of how to address the question of how I knew Suzi was "best" for me, because I never really thought of it like that.  I wanted to come up with a way to say that Suzi wasn't "best" without making it sound like I settled for her, because that isn't what I mean.  What I mean is that I didn't approach my relationships by trying to maximize the girl potential, but rather find someone I could be happy with, blah blah fucking blah blah, right?

Suzi took a look at this question, thought for 5 seconds, and gave me the correct answer: "He's afraid of commitment."

Forehead slap, right? Of course that's the answer.  20-something guy, in a serious relationship, possibly for the first time, starts wondering if this is the "best" girl he can get... you are afraid of commitment! So now that you have your answer, see if that changes the way you think about your relationship.  

Also? That's why Suzi is the best.


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jesse
@ September 18, 2008


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[Dear Margo is published on Thursday and Fridays on Yahoo! news.  For the original columns, click here and here.]

Dear Margo OC,

This is a new problem for me, but it may be more common than I realize. I have been in a great relationship for a year and a half. We're both very happy. In fact, my problem is not with him. Before we started dating, I was involved in an on-again, off-again relationship with a manipulative, controlling, possessive man. Although it never got physical, he had every sign of an abuser. When we finally broke up for good, he essentially had another woman lined up and ready to go. (We're talking the next day!) That made the breakup a lot easier to take because it was immediately clear that he hadn't cared for me as much as he had professed. I feel like I dodged a bullet. However, two years later, I'm still looking for his car and trying to glean every little morsel of gossip about him I can find. I don't know where my head is with this mild obsession. My questions: Why am I so interested in what this toxic person is up to after what he put me through and why do I even care? What do I do to cut the strings and forget about him?  --- WANTING TO FEEL APATHETIC

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Dear Pathetic,

I truly struggled with answering this question.  I mean, isn't this the classic "girls like bad boys" cliché?  How could I, your ever humble advice columnist, hope to solve a dilemma that has troubled relations between men and women for all of time?

Inspiration came from an unexpected source. Pathetic, do you watch "The Hills"? The Suze watches it, and, despite my best efforts, I can tell you lots and lots about it.  There is a character on the show named Audrina (yes, The Hills is a "reality" show, so Audrina is technically a real person, but trust me: they are all playing characters).  Audrina has an on again, off again boyfriend named Justin Bobby. Justin Bobby, much like your ex, is a classic douchebag.  He has no discernible job or skills, doesn't shave, rides around on a motorcycle and is a complete dick to Audrina.  You would think that Audrina, being a quite attractive young woman who isn't shy about posing for nude photographs on the internets, would not have any difficulty landing a suitor who isn't a complete douchebag, and yet, Audrina continues to be enamored with Justin Bobby and his douchebaggery.

After having the chance to observe Audrina, who finds herself trapped in a relationship much like the one you were in, I feel I know what your problem is.  You see, Audrina is an idiot.  She is dumb.  She is shallow and stupid and pathetic.  My guess is that you, Pathetic, are also stupid. 

Okay, so we've answered the "Why" of your question, but now for the "What": what can you do to forget about him? It seems clear that the answer is "stop being an idiot".  But if it were only so easy, right? Much like a soft, doughy couch potato, your brain needs exercise.  Your brain may never be the mental equivalent of Mr. Universe, but you can certainly do a sit-up or two.  My suggestion? Try working the Sunday New York Times crossword.  Take a couple of hours, have some reference books at hand, and work your way through it. 

----

Dear Margo OC,

I'm at a loss as to how to deal with my husband's behavior. He's never been an animal person, and I get that, so when our family pet suddenly died I knew he wouldn't mourn much. What shocked me was his blatant disregard for my grief. I flat-out told him I needed some comfort, I'm in tears, and he said, "I'm not in a comforting mood." Basically, he left me alone to deal with the vet, the remains and the children. I tried writing him a letter saying that I know he does not understand my grief, but as my husband I expect him to be there when I need him. He ignored my letter and appears to think that if he ignores this it will go away. Is there any hope or any way that he'll see that while we won't always agree on something, sometimes I'm going to need his support anyway? Or should I just find another support system? --- STILL QUITE SAD

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Dear Quite,

It is one thing to not be an animal person, and another to ignore your wife when she is grieving, however foolish you think that grief may be.  There is nothing further you can do regarding your husband other than go back in time and not marry an asshole.

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Dear Margo OC

When I married "Phil" two years ago, I was in heaven. It was the culmination of several wonderful years of living together. But at the time we were married, my husband was unemployed. He'd had a not-so-rewarding experience in his last position and wanted to take some time to reevaluate his path in life and his spiritual purpose. Being the supportive wife and knowing he had substantial savings, I said fine, take the time you need. Now, two and a half years later, the savings are gone and there is no motivation on Phil's part to get a job. He says he cannot spend his life being "miserable" in a 9-to-5 job seeing how disappointed I am in my current job, and he feels "something big" is coming up spiritually. Now my savings, the money I had put away for a house, has dwindled by the thousands in an effort to maintain some semblance of the life we once enjoyed. Phil meditates all morning, then walks around town or goes to lunch with his friends while I work to pay the bills. I have no sex drive anymore, which is taking another toll on our relationship. He says that if I feel that disappointed in him I should divorce him, but wishes I would stick with him through this "tough time." I feel that he is not fulfilling his obligations as a husband, either financially or emotionally. I feel more depressed and alone than ever before, but do I have the right to tell Phil to give up his spiritual quest because I don't have the money to support him anymore? --- DIRECTIONLESS

----

Dear Directionless,

I suggest you have a spiritual awakening of your own: you are a mark, and you have married a con man.  If not a con man, then at least a very selfish person who has put his own happiness above your own.  You said it yourself: he has seen how disappointed you are with your current job, but rather than make any attempt to take some of your burden off, he uses it as a further excuse to "meditate" (which I interpret as alternately watching porn and Maury paternity test results while you are at work) and otherwise neglect his duties to your marriage and to you.

DTMFA.  Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go "meditate."

----

Dear Margo OC,  

I have been in a long-term relationship with a man (over eight years). I've always wanted to get married, and he has always been unclear about his intentions. This man has been verbally abusive, non-supportive and very selfish. A month ago I moved out of our house and into my own apartment. Now he wants to get married, claiming to see the error of his ways. We've been seeing a counselor, both individually and as a couple. I love this man; however, I have a lot of wounds that need to be healed before I can be engaged to him. How can I forgive him and love again? How do I trust him to not go back to his old ways? How do you know that you love someone and are not just feeling a strong sense of need for them?  --- AMBIVALENT

----

Dear Ambivalent,

You might want to try the Sunday Times Crossword, too.




----------
jesse
@ August 28, 2008


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6
["Dear Prudence" is published every Thursday on Slate.com.  For the original column, click here.]

Dear Prudence OC,
When I married my wife, our wedding vows sure didn't cover this. In 2005, she and I were both arrested for shoplifting for drug money (obviously, we both had drug problems) and were given probation. I took that opportunity to clean up my act. Now I've been sober for three years and have put my life back into some semblance of order. It hasn't been as easy for her. She has continued to indulge in this behavior (she told me very candidly she didn't want to stop) and managed to get arrested again on a shoplifting charge a year and a half ago. I thought that would be her wakeup call, but I guess not. On our eighth wedding anniversary, my wife was arrested for felony shoplifting again! She is looking at a minimum of one to five years in prison. Her probation has been violated this time, so if I bail her out, she'll be immediately rearrested. I am confused as to what to do now. Should I wait for her or start consulting divorce lawyers? Would it be wrong to start seeing people while she's locked up? I love my wife deeply, but five years is a long time, and by the time she gets out we'll both be almost 40.

-Needs Help


Dear Needy,

It seems to me that your mind is made up.  The options you present are consulting divorce lawyers, or just skipping that part and going right to the dating (it's not like she's going to walk in on you while you are with someone else, amirite?)

So, was she still shoplifting to finance her drug habit? Did she do these drugs in the house? While you were around? I'm just sort of confused.  If someone I lived with was doing drugs in the house, I'd like to think I would have done more than shrug my shoulders, wait for her to get arrested, and then start dating other women.  Whatever - if you are looking for a rubber stamp to divorce your wife, go for it.  I bet you are a real catch.

----

Dear Prudence OC,
My husband and I have recently begun taking classes in order to join the Catholic Church. We have met many kind and friendly people in our parish, but one couple in particular has made us feel very uncomfortable. They are very "huggy" in an over-the-top way. We have tried turning hugs into handshakes and standing back when they hover over us, but they don't seem to be taking the hint. Alarm bells are starting to go off, as the wife patted my husband's rear end at a recent luncheon and the husband stood so uncomfortably close to me that I had to keep backing away from him. We are in our 40s and this couple is in their 70s! They are long-standing church members and we are newcomers, so we don't want to be rude or make a fuss. She is my church sponsor but hasn't once made any effort to help lead me on my spiritual journey. This whole issue is making us want to throw in the towel and find another church. How do we tactfully bring these issues up with our priest without sounding like we are complaining or trying to rat out geriatric philanderers?

-Church Newbies


Holy shit, you have to take classes to join the Catholic Church? You'd think that the pedophilia and social backwardness would have been enough of a barrier to entry without a goddamn class to take.  Anyway: you've made quite a leap from hugging and the occasional ass-pat to geriatric philanderers.  Is this a church thing? Is a hearty handshake with eye contact considered second base to you people?

I would suggest chilling the fuck out.  And, as a side note: if you need advice on how to deal with someone's inappropriate touching, isn't a Catholic priest the last person you would want to ask?

----

Dear Prudence OC,
I am a first-time mother of a 6-week-old baby. Last night, when I went to watch a movie on our home computer, something much saucier came up on the screen--porn. I went to our browser history and found that my husband had been looking at porn quite regularly for weeks. I confronted him, and he admitted to four weeks' worth--when our baby was only 2 weeks old! He apologized and said that he was embarrassed and knew it was wrong. I'm shocked, disgusted, and feel betrayed. I'm up with the baby all night, and he's having a party downstairs. But maybe I should just chalk it up to "boys will be boys" behavior. Having just had a child, our intimacy is, of course, compromised, but it's not going to get much better after this discovery. Do we need counseling, or do I need to chill out?

-Mother of a Newborn Against Porn

Dear MNAP,

If you looked at my browser history I bet your head would explode!   Your husband is a liar, natch.  He has not suddenly discovered the world of online pornography in the last 4 weeks.  By any chance, is that how far back your browser history goes? It's not a coincidence - he's just only copping to whatever porno you can prove.

Side note: I think the exclamation "--when our baby was only 2 weeks old!" is my favorite part of any letter I have answered to date.  Why is this detail pertinent? Do you think that, when your husband was looking at pornography while there was such a young child in the house, his perverted brainwaves were radiating outwards and infecting the still-developing brain of your child?

Back to the issue: I'll give you the same advice I gave to the last letter - Chill. The. Fuck. Out.  Chillthefuckout. You've been pregnant for 9 months, and then the baby has been there for 6 weeks.  During that time you've probably let him see you naked, what, 3 times? Maybe?

Have you seen the show Generation: Kill? You should watch it.  These guys are out in the desert, getting shot at, sleeping 4 hours a night if they are lucky, and do you know what they do with their free time? They have sing-alongs and jerk it.  It's called a combat jack. And that's it.  That is all guys care about.  Your husband? He's been in the desert of baby, getting shot at with your pregnant craziness for the last 9 months.  All he wants to do is have a sing-along and a combat jack.  Don't take that away from him.  Hey, at least he's not out chasing skirts, amirite?

----

Dear Prudie OC,
My mother and I were involved in a car accident about a month ago. Mom was seriously injured and fractured her ribs. She is at home recovering, and I have been working from home to look after her. We have no other family nearby. Friends and acquaintances have been kind enough to visit often to cheer us up as well as offer help and support. However, I am unsure how much I am expected to entertain these visitors given the circumstances. Prior to the accident, if anyone unexpectedly arrived at my home at lunch- or dinnertime, I would have offered them a meal and served drinks and snacks. I haven't been doing that, and I feel guilty that I am unable to entertain and feed visitors who have to come to show their support. Am I rude if I don't offer lunch or dinner to visitors who arrive around mealtime?

--Guilty Hostess

Dear Hostess,

Sorry, I'm not answering this question until you make me a sandwich.

Okay, fine, you get advice, but only a little.  If you aren't eating, then it isn't rude.  If your are fixing dinner for yourself or your mom, ask them if they'd like some. Also: don't send questions like this to Prudence.  Send them to Miss Manners.  She's the best.



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