["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.
As an unmarried woman 63 years of age, why are you so worried about a
long-term relationship? That's like a death row inmate turning down a
bowl of ice cream for their last meal because they are lactose
Anyway: You are halfway there. Instead of telling these, uh, "swains"
that you are too old for them, let them know how old you are, and then
let them decide if they want to dust that off or not. Or you could just call them "swains", which will allow them to figure out for themselves you were born sometime during the 18th Century.
Is life after college really as monotonous and depressing as it looks?
Only for douchebags who see being a drunken, immature asshole with no
real responsibilities in life as the zenith of human existence.
I have just realized fully, after seven years, that I am married to a
racist. He's used the "N word" a number of times over the years, and we
always fought about it. But he has always claimed to be directing the
slur toward somebody "acting" like one, and not toward people of color
generally. Well, I recently learned how he truly feels. He voted for
McCain and I voted for Obama. He said, "Looks like we have an 'N' for
president." I was saddened and disgusted by his remark. I don't believe
I can live with anyone who thinks like this, and I'm planning to get a
divorce. This is not the only reason, but it's certainly the icing on
the cake. Do you think we can change racists' minds?
Name withheld, Virginia Beach, Va.
These people have been indoctrinated, usually by parents or other
authority figures, from a very young age, and it is very difficult to
make people with opinions like these change their minds once they reach
adulthood. Oops, I thought we were talking about evangelical
Christians. Uh, I guess that all more or less applies to racists too.
Now, Name withheld, I have a question for you: Since you were okay with
him directing the 'N' word at those people who he thought were just
acting like big ole 'N's, isn't it possible that he thought Obama was
just being a giant 'N' when he said that? And would that make it okay
if he did? Because you let that excuse slide before.
I've always felt that my sense of humor has suffered because I'm not
part of an inherently funny ethnic or religious group. My best friend
is Jewish and Italian (a veritable font of humor), and my wife is
Catholic (also good for laughs). But I was raised Presbyterian. How do
I mine my psyche for better party repartee?
Kevin, Williamsville, N.Y.
Hey, did you hear the one about the Catholic church and the army of
pedophiles? THEY ALL GOT MADE INTO PRIESTS!!! God, Catholics are SO
HILARIOUS. If you liked that joke, by the way, its because I'm Jewish,
which, as EVERYBODY knows, is such an inherently funny religious group.
That's why there are so many funny Holocaust jokes!
Also: if you want to be funnier, you should stop using words like repartee.