["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.
Hey, remember how I was getting all that wacky email about Clark and his potential trip to Panama? Well, I've been tagged again, not about Clark this time. Oh no. It's about a Mormon song contest.
> Hey! Brynn (my granddaughter) has entered one of her songs in a contest and needs your votes! /> All you need to do is go to http://music.mormontimes.com/contest.php?nocache=1 /> to register your email, and then vote (once a day). The contest ends on Saturday--Listen to her great voice. /> /> Please send this to your family and friends-- we need all the help we can get! /> /> Thanks! /> Rhea
Hey The song in question is "Filling in the Gaps" by Brynn Bowthorpe. Go vote, Rhea will appreciate it.
["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.
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
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.
["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?
[The following note was forwarded to me OC tipper Daytrader from my fraternity's undergraduate e-mail list.]
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.
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.
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
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 :(
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.
[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.
In this instance, I've been asked for some advice on a rather delicate situation... please read below. I do plan on responding and chipping in my two cents as to what to do about Clark... OC readers, what would you tell Tiana, John and Susie to do in this situation?
[Uh... I guess if you actually want my advice, e-mail me here... ]
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
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.