Monday, November 30, 2009

The short bits

As usual, find your originals here:

I just found out my unemployed fiance has been having gay sex so he's cheating on me: Can you save this? Why would you want to even if you could? Cut your losses and run out of there. Don't forget to make him pay child support when he finally gets a job!

My mom insists all her broke kids do secret Santa: Secretly agree to do what my brother and I do. Everyone participate by putting $20 in an envelope. Everyone participates and gets the $20 they gave away. Mom will balk, but this is the way to out passive aggressive the passive aggressive.

My husband's 12-y-o kid he has never met tried to friend him: 12-y-os aren't allowed to have FB accounts! Report her to the FB cops! But really, contact with the MOTHER about what happened would be the best way to go about this. Your husband needs to have a little talk with her. Not you or the kid, the mother, who will decide what to do.

My aunt never shuts up about her hateful politics and I want her to be civil: Slip her a roofie in her coffee. No? Okay, tell her she can talk about reindeer, toys and dry winter skin this Christmas and that is it, she doesn't get to ruin Christmas. Do this before Christmas. Then when she visits, slip a roofie in her coffee.

My husband has alcohol issues and I need a drink once in a while: Dude needs therapy, both to deal with his alleged fears of your dying in the gutter, yellow kangaroo in hand, and his being a control freak. If he won't go, you go to start.

My sister hates me because I don't want to fly out and stay at a hotel for her kid's first birthday: I can't even fathom such people. Kids that age have no memory for that sort of thing. You're in the right. Apologize, but don't be held hostage by her insanity.

Our parents want to imprint their hoarding disorder on our baby: Tell both that they need to cut back, and that anything you don't like is going to Goodwill anyway. It's your baby, and you'll do what you want. Do it now, while the baby can't see you regift its toys.

My MIL is coming to my son's two-year b-day for him and his pals and it will cramp my style: You're having THREE parties for a 2-y-o? OMG I am SO not understanding that. One for his pals?! To do what? Drool and fall down? How much of this is for the kid? Will you be doing this every year? Your husband needs to tell mom "No." And sister, you don't need to be going to such extremes in partying for this kid in the future unless you want a party animal/brat for a teenager!

We were "mostly careful," but I want her to abort: Dude, if you don't WRAP IT UP each and every time, YOU are the one not being careful enough. This is out of your hands. However, and I'm channelling Bortimus Prime's Machiavellian Advice here, if you become suddenly incredibly non-supportive you may find that the abortion you want will look better and better in her eyes. You, not so much, but you're young and can find some other girl, right?

Locavore hates gift of out-of-season apples: You're within your rights to disdain the carbon footprint, but why not call the company up and just stop the shipments?

My wife nitpicks my childcare skills: Do what Prudie says, and then say, "Plus you're screwing up the kids doing that in front of them, and undermining me, and someday they'll manipulate me to their side and it'll be (# of children plus dad) against one."

My wingnut brother is asking me for state senate campaign money: Do NOT give him money or you will never hear the end of it. Astronaut is the donor in this family, and his phone rings a bajillion times a day from campaigns, PACs and charities. Plus you think he's a freak, so don't!

GWM: You are so right, bucko.

I hate "gifting:" This is the nature of the English language. Roll with it, even though it is clunky and unnecessary.

It's called parenting: Yeah, but his wife is treating him like an incompetant babysitter, so why not take on the language of the miffed?

Got Girlfriend Pregnant defender: I'm also going to add that we can't be sure it was a "whole lotta sex."

1 in 8 ppl on Food Stamps: Damn, that's a lot. If you can afford to bitch about NZ apples, you can afford carbon credit offsets, no?

Friday, November 27, 2009

From My LOLcats

Dir Proody,

I iz in heet! But mai boifren, he no want to mate wif me no moar. He say Ceiling Cat watchin' us, tell him to stop mating wif me. But I WANT.

Whut I do nao?

-- Hot poosy

Dir Hot,

U fynd a new boifren, wun who not listen to alleged cats in ceiling.

Dir Proody,

I wurk wif a byooteeful leddicat! She yung and sweet as Fancy Feast. But she snort laik a Pug when she nervuss, which is a lotta teh tyme. Hao I tell her to stop sounding laik dawg?

-- Ticks R Bad

Dir Ticks,

U shaym her. Tell her, "U sound laik Pug! U shut up nao!" She will be too nervuss to ever speek again.

Dir Proody,

Mai daddicat he so sad! Lose his job becuz his boss eevil! EEVIL! Kreechur sent from Basement Cat fur shure! Daddicat absolootlee, positivelee had to qwit his job. Nao he pore. Pore, pore daddicat, alwais sufferin' frum the eevils of other cats.

So he ritin' a resume nao, an he sai he want me pretend to be hiz old boss. This not sound so good. But I am good kitteh. I do this for heem?

-- Good Kitteh

Dir Kitteh,

Okai, furst thing I think is, hao callz u miss not be immeedeeatly notissed as not boss's number when ur voicemail kikz in? Or duz ur daddicat think having Mr. Cat Jr. as a past boss will fly? Whut kynd of dumb sitcom iz this??? R U cat, or r u peepul?

Daddicat shud have Thunderdome-style match wif all other appli-cats fur the job. If he come owt alive and triumfant, he get job.

Hao u think I gots to be Proody?

Dir Proody,

Mai naybors, they be fighting all the time! Screaming, yowling and crashing of things coming through walls at all hours of teh nite! Also, they haz a kitteh!

If I call coppicats, will the mean tomcat next door hurt us?

-- Scaredy cat

Dir Scaredy,

Call teh coppicats. I kno, I kno, we are cat, we fight. But family cats shud get along! (see here, starting on bottom of p 95) Coppicats be coming wif ther spraybottles, mayking heem behave, and that a gud thing.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

From My Orbit

As usual, original letters can be found here.

LW#1: Okay, first thing I think of when someone's behavior changes dramatically and they attribute it to God is mental illness. So you may want to get that checked out.

I understand you are looking for a rational argument to persuade him to boink you, but when God enters the picture, you are not able to get one over through reason. God is about faith, and often a person's concept of God comes down somewhere between the way they were raised and how they view themselves. That is, you can't talk back at this God character. Especially for someone who has had an intense religious experience like being saved, and uses that as the basis of his faith.

In the meantime, you're living in a place with a guy who is taking away something you consider crucial to the relationship your have and your own health. For a few minutes, stop thinking about him and start thinking about yourself. Is he (or He) going to declare new unilateral rules for you in the future? Can you live with that? Can you love with that?

Another thing: Stop saying you find his impositions "somewhat hurtful and offensive" and start owning your anger at him. How can any woman not find sexual rejection hurtful?

What I'm saying is that if he is going to be selfish and hurtful to you, you need to start protecting yourself. You need to start looking at him with open eyes and weigh him objectively instead of reflexively defending him, even if it's in the privacy of your own mind.

If your BF is sound of mind, I would start making plans to find a new place to live if I were you (and if he is in his mid-20s and is beginning to show schizophrenia, I would say you need to think long and hard about what living with someone with schizophrenia is like, and I do mean learn what it is like). His willingness to do this to you, coupled with his inflexibility, does not bode well for the future.

LW#2: OMG this little girl snorts? Like a pirate?

So what?

Okay, look, someone who actually likes this poor kid needs to step up and mention her snort to her, since obviously none of you are ever going to find it a cute little habit that an otherwise "sweet and lovely" and presumably competent, young woman has this tic.

Please, find someone in this office who is kind enough to mention this silly thing with compassion and help this poor kid find a way she can take control of her weird tic and propel herself to business success without crushing her (you know, like prompting her to do breathing exercises or visualizations or maybe do a run-through before she presents and, hey, how'd she get through her job interview?). Someone with "mentor" written all over her. And have her do it when they are alone in the bathroom or something.

LW#3: What a dumb thing to do, on your dad's part. Are you sure his griping about his boss was not somewhat unjustified by this completely unethical thing he's doing?

I mean seriously, this is the sort of thing that can be checked out and could lead to his being fired (assuming he's hired) for lying on his resume. Boom! Two burned bridges! Two bum references he can't use!

But more than that, this is not cool at all. He is risking career suicide in desperate bid for employment.

And it may be for nothing. Many, if not most, companies have a policy of not saying anything — negative or positive — to people who are asking about job candidates for fear of liability. They just confirm the dates of employment. Your dad should call his company pretending to be a person asking about his job candidacy (or have a friend do this) and see what happens. This is actually okay, because it's gathering information, even though it may also sound shady. Think of it this way: What are the repercussions if he does this? Virtually nothing. What about lying on his resume? Huge.

Or give a coworker the reference spot.

Tell him no, tell him it's wrong and tell him to look at the Internet for resources about dealing with burned bridges on his resume. Tell him about what I said above (the two references being bad if he's caught out) and tell him you're starting to think his employment problems may be self-generated and he needs to check himself before he wrecks himself.

But do it nicely. Firmly, for sure, but nicely.

LW#4: Call.

Just call.

He is a domestic abuser, and he needs to be reported before his wife or child ends up in the hospital, or worse, the morgue.

He is too chicken to mess with anyone except the woman he has trapped under his thrall. He will be terrified of you and everyone else knowing his dirty little secret, because you have open eyes, resources, and the ability to call the police (and the landlord!) on him if he so much as looks mean at you.

And he may not hit the baby now, but that baby is going to grow up in an excrutiating dynamic that will warp him or her.

A few times getting called on his crap, this man will either get the help he needs to turn over a new leaf, or his wife will get the attention and resources she needs to leave him.

People don't get involved in what goes on "behind closed doors." But they have taken their drama public and made you complicit in it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

From My LOLcats

Dir Proody,

Mah boifren haz a family, and they taykes a Christmas pitchur every year. This year, they sai, "U GET IN TEH PITCHUR." I am laik, not in teh family an I won't haz ther last naymez and in their pitchur I DO NOT WANT. So filled with angur an teh RAYG!

Whut I do nao?


Dir Unfotogenik,

Did u kno that unfotogenic meanz the camera, it duz not laik u? Did u kno ur boifren's family, u du not laik them? Becuz they are about to kno it. And mebbeh they not laik u so much when they lirn. And if boifren still poses for pitchurs, he mebbeh syde wif hiz family. Just sayin'.

Dir Proody,

I marry Mr. Rite! But I was in hiz computer, findin' pron. Of his stepdaughter from a preveyuss leddicat!!1!11! He say it okay, he taykin' secksy pitchurs for her wedding dai! I say, but teh wuns where she nekkid? He say it okay, too, she never taik her clothes off, he do that in teh Photoshop.

Everything is totally kewl nao, rite?

Mrs. Rite need aid

Dir Mrs Rite.

Look, I kno we non-purebred cats can haz some trashy family entaingullments (literallee! We maytin' by the trashcans in teh alley!), but dis wun here, dis weerd. Cats shud not be photoshoppin' owt clothes. We shud be photoshoppin' in invisibul sandwiches.

Dir Proody,

I kno a tomcat who is lookin' fur a dayt. I wantz it! He haz a cancer, though, and I kno he gonna die becuz I work where he get a treatment. But I lovez him! And love, he wantz it becuz he is on (ed note: not a real site as far as I know, but I'm not checking it out!) juss laik me!

I can haz date with Pet Sematary?

Leddicat, u du whut u want, but mebbeh u consider why you want heem so bad when u kno terminal cat is terminal?

Dir Proody,

Mah boifren and I want to haz family over for Turkee Day. Hiz parents be meetin mai parents, lotsa laffs and gud fud. But hiz dad invyte Uncle Krazee (dis iz heem). He be seein' invisibul federalees, invisibul illegul aleeyens, invisibul black helikopterz and visibul black prezident. All of which skare him so he carry big gun in case he get oppurtoonitee to shoot something he think attack him. Haoever, I think mebbeh he think we attack him by tooning owt him being a wacko, or konfrunting his delooshuns, or even jus bai being neer him. I no laik guns, hao I get him not to come?


Dir Gunshy,

There iz no shame in being gunshy. I myself prefer ninja-style slotter. It ur rite to not haz guns around, but it naice thing to let crazy cat come around family wunce a year. Daddicat haz eye to keep on brothercat, so mebbeh you move big fancy meet-n-greet dinner to non-holiday weekend for ackchooal meeting. Dis wun, it iz a Mulligan.

Pee Ess: Sorry ur family will be learnin' ur boifren haz a crazee uncle. U mebbeh got a crazee relative u can invyte to balance everything owt?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

From My Orbit

As always, original letters and advice are here:

LW#1: Dang, grouchy, why are you such a stick in the mud? This is what they've always done, it's kind of cute, and I don't think the fact that you're not changing your name to Smith (like you future BIL did? Come on!) lets you off the hook.

Families do cheesy things together. That's how they bond. Obviously, you get this, in that your "future family" will have basically this exact same cheesy portrait situation. And when the time comes, you can do this and have your own Christmas card that you write the letter for, even as you continue to pose with the in-laws. So why are you being such a bad sport now? Why is this such an anger-provoking thing for you?

I wonder if you're so sick about this because you don't want to be a part of this family. At all. Because this is not umbilical-attachment behavior on your future husband's part, this is just one of those things that comes from having obligations, respect and love to and for other people.

LW#2: This is intensely, deeply weird, and I would not consider this man Mr. Right any more. Beyond photoshopping his step/daughter to look nude ("Photoshop. Yeah, that's the ticket!"), taking lingerie pics of her in the first place, even for her wedding day, is straight up not the kind of thing people want their fathers to do/want to do for their daughters.

You know what you have to do.

LW#3: Well, if there are any professional reasons you shouldn't try to date this guy, then I would hold back. But if you're not a fake letter, and you have developed feelings for this guy, and you're willing to expose yourself to loving him, nursing him as he gets ill, and ultimately losing him, that is your business. You don't have to treat him when he comes in, right? Some other nurse could do that.

So sure, why not send him a message that says you've noticed him, and here's how and if he's uncomfortable no big deal, but you totally dig him?

But before you do that, please take a step back and ask yourself, "Why do I want to pursue a relationship with someone who I know is this ill, who stands across a HIPPA barrier from me, and who I will spend time watching die?" Are you often attracted to men who are, in some ways, doomed, or unavailable to you?

LW#4: This is a situation where the father should talk to the brother, and, if he does not get a "Yeah, I can leave the howitzer at home, and I'll be on my best behavior" answer, should disinvite the guy. And if he gets that answer and Uncle Festus comes, but has the usual behavior and is concealed-carrying, he needs to escort him away post-haste.

Also, if your BF's dad is going to not understand the purpose of getting together to meet your immediate family and strike up some friendly conversation and bonding, and is going to do the "let's invite crazy Uncle Festus" thing on a regular basis (getting married anytime soon?), he's going to have to be watched.

Not that what he did is particularly bad. In fact, it's kind of a positive sign for you as you get closer to making him your FIL. He's a compassionate guy. That sort of thing trickles down, apple-from-tree style.

I get why he feels bad for Uncle Festus. Who among us does not have some variation on an Uncle Festus in our family? Someone who is outcast from the rest and unsocializable, someone who has done something, perhaps something unforgiveable to half the family, yet because Uncle Festus is so lonely and sad-sacky, and possibly mentally ill or brain damaged, there is always a brother or something who works to include him under the rubric, "this is my brother. I have to take care of him."

Yeah, but the father will have to become his brother's keeper. And if this is going to get in the way of meeting your family, then maybe you should pick a non-holiday for a Mulligan, if that becomes necessary.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Attracting men is hard!

Hello Space Cadet!

The Fray has always been my favorite part of Dear Prudence, and I'm thrilled to see you all setting up shop for yourselves. It's nice to see a little corner of common sense on the internet.

I've been following the talk about the last week's "Plain Jane" and it's been getting me thinking. And the thinking has made me decide I could use some advice myself:

I've been single for longer than I care to admit. Since I'm writing in for advice, of course, I'll admit it: I last had a date around 2005 (it was a first date, and there wasn't a second), and the last time I had something resembling a boyfriend was in the 20th century. I've had lots of male friends, but they've never seemed interested in dating. I grew up with a brother, and I admit that most of the time when I'm hanging out with guys, I relate to them in a way that's more "one of the guys" than girl-flirty. I like to joke around, talk about music and movies and generally "hang out" rather than flirt. And I don't think I'm unattractive — I don't fit the "typical" standard (I'm a little overweight thanks to an oh-so-fun endocrine disorder, but I dress well and I'm good with grooming and stuff), but I'm not Phyllis Diller, either, and I'm a warm person who is genuinely interested in talking to people, and I have a good sense of humor (I know, self-reporting isn't terribly reliable, but let's run with it, ok?).

I'm a grad student now in a state far from home (MFA in creative writing, if that matters to anyone), and have been here for about a year. I've met wonderful people, mostly in the same program, because finding time to socialize in grad school is...well, let's go with a range somewhere between difficult and impossible. I have a good number of friends, or at least friendly acquaintances, a good number of whom are guys. I've hung out with them on various occasions, usually involving bars because there's not a whole lot else going on around here. I didn't come to grad school to find a man, but I didn't come here to take my nun's orders either.

So my question, I guess, is twofold: 1. Why don't guys find me attractive (wah wah wah, I know)? Is it that they don't see me as available or flirtatious or what have you? How on earth does one telegraph that kind of interest? 3.  How does an insanely busy grad student who is also teaching two classes get a romantic life? 

Thanks in advance!

There appears to be a crisis brewing for available women. The original Plain Jane is one of a throng of millions of competent, well-adjusted women who for some reason feel the need to find out what is wrong with their body or personality that is preventing men from swooning over them.

I am going to stipulate that you are doing everything just right. Your dress, your looks, your behavior, your non-girlyness, I'm going to say, this is you and who you are is just fine. It's not like adopting a mode of flirting that is uncomfortable for you is going to 1) look natural or 2) attract a man who will necessarily appreciate the rest of you. Right? You are who you are, at your core, and while there are parts of your personality that are probably still plastic enough to adjust to living with a partner or what have you, you are, for lack of a better term, pretty much who you're going to be at this point.

It's just about finding someone who likes and accepts you for that core "you" at this point.

And let's not forget: YOU need to find someone whose core "him" is acceptable to you.

And also: figuring out who someone really is can be easy (most people are pretty much who they are all the time at either low or high volume. People seriously will tell you who they are, it's whether you care to listen to it that matters) or hard (everyone knows someone they thought was cool who later turned out to be psycho but possibly only after painful events had transpired. Alternatively, everyone has had the experience of discovering someone they thought was kind of meh was maybe more than they thought).

So Phase one for getting a date: Put out that you are out there, looking, to the people you talk to. You say you have male friends? They aren't necessarily your main target to receive the message that they should put the moves on you, but hey, if that is what they walk away with and it's agreeable to you, gravy! Ways to do this without eyelash batting include: 1) bitching about your love life, or lack thereof. Let the person you are talking to know that you are SO on the market. 2) bitching that you don't know how to flirt (this can, in its own way, be flirty). 3) Asking to be set up, in the context that this person you are talking to knows you, your habits, your likes and dislikes, and might know someone with a meshing personality. (I think, "I didn't come here to take nuns' orders" could count as excellent flirting, BTW.)

Phase two: The Internet. I know, I know. BUT! I know a couple of Internet dating royalty. This guy, the king, I'd say, very wisely said that with the Internet, you have a lot of options to explore, can narrow those options down, and can date a bajillion people in short order. The queen said she'd look for what she found interesting — regardless of what the guy *said* he wanted (self-reporting is unreliable, right? Someone's interest is aphrodesiacal) and send men a message. While there's something to be said for an easy, committed, friend-to-lover relationship, there's also something to be said for having people want to date you, for the excitement of the new. That's why "spicing up your marriage" is in every single Redbook ever.

I suppose that prior to Phase One there has to be a kind of recognition of the desire to date. Like, with Plain Jane, she was all, "I dunno that this scene is for me." And she didn't mean flirting, she meant getting with someone. I know a lot of people like to explore thier own motives and psychological nooks and crannies — and there are cases where this is warranted. But I've spent enough time single to know that there is an unhealthy thing that can happen in your head when you are pounding away at the same questions. There is healthy self-awareness and there is unhealthy beating one's self up with questions, speculations and everything else.

In short, instead of thinking about who you are and what it is about you that is a shortcoming, focus on who and where you want to be and start acting like it. You want to be a writer? You gots to produce words. You want to be a dater? You gots to get out and do that. Both writing and dating are hard, and the real work is not the initial outlay, it's the editing and the exploration of another person, if that makes any sense.

Phase three: Project Me. You know how I said visualize who you want to be? This is part of that. You want to learn to knit or do more knitting? Join/start a stich and bitch. Go to campus events. Lots of them. Lectures, brown bags, plays, etc. Most of them are more interesting than you'd have guessed. If you want a literate guy's arm to hold, you put yourself around literate people. Capische? You find out who you are at your best, what talents you are strongest in, and you put yourself out there and do it and impress yourself.

Phase four: Actual date. Just be you. Don't oversell or undermine yourself. If you're not interested, then whatever. If he's not interested, don't worry about it reflecting on you, it's just a fact of life that some people won't click or share different dreams and it's better to recognize it early on and move along than try to make it work perfectly. If a guy won't have a second date with you, recognize it as a favor, not a black mark on you. If you're interested, make sure you communicate that: "You're pretty interesting," seems to work. Honestly, if you're getting along like hot cakes, this is the best that flirting has to offer.

Anyway, I have been yammering on a lot now. I just think the world would work a lot better if people, women mostly, would accept that they are who they are and there is only so much reinvention you can do. A pair of red heels will not fundamentally secure the kind of relationship that the discriminating dater is after (although they may be really cute!). Attention? Maybe.

I realize I have skewed my advice here, but it also applies to menfolk. No matter what your gender, it takes a little self-awareness, initiative and luck (and social skills). It takes effort. But so does getting a job, buying a car or home, travelling, saving for retirement, planning a party and having pets, so if you can do any to all of those you are way ahead of the game.

Now, mature, self-realized people of the world: Go Forth AND DATE!!! We need your genes and superior parenting skills out there!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

From My Lolcats

Dir Proody,

I iz an ugleh kitteh, but don't wurry! I likz mah butt and stayz clean. I iz not act laik purrshun kitteh! To teh menz, I iz indifferent. Hao I rate maiself so I kno hao to act?

Adequate Alsayshun

Dir Alsayshun,

Hao u act is hao you act. It iz related to ur inner byootie, not ur owtsydes. Also, ur brain wiring. Wai teh eff shud u decide hao to act based on ur looks? U R CAT U DU WHUT U WANT.

Dir Proody,

Mah Sistercat-in-law, she throw a TURRIBULL thanksgiving! She kill all the indianz! Put fud away when we want moar! Leevs the TV on and woant let nobuddy on top uv it! Hao I throw own party this year wifout her killin me?


Dir Party,

U do it, u big dummy. Then u take pikchur and u send it wif capshun that say: "UR PARTEE, I FIXED IT."

Dir Proody,

Mah boss is so gud! But hiz wifeycat is robbin' the inshurants companeez! Whut I do nao?

Teefies r kleen

Dir Teefies,

Ur boss, he iz not so gud. U get other job, get relevant dokumenz, u tell sumboddy about dis stuff.

Dir Proody,

I go to cat funeral — lotsa howlin and wailin! So sad! We all be getting sooper crazy wif the grief! It laik Mephistopholes die! Old man cat pass owt! I iz medicalcat, I fix him! It crazy! Then on wai home, hubbicat say, "sum fyooneral, huh?" and I go, "Yes!" and I blow up wif wurds! And emoshuns! They is pouring outta me like I iz vase and I got pushed off the table! An hour layter, he say, "Batcat is up." He wuz listening to the game the hole time! Why he do this to me? Hao I kill heem?

Emoshuns, I got em

Dir Emoshuns,

Teh menz can only tayk five to ten minuts of emoshuns at a tyme. U overstayed ur limit. But if this is important to u, poison his Purina. Next tyme u go on rant, mayk shur the radio is off. Then nobuddy haz to die.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Beyond vibes

Dear Space Cadet!
I've been a fan of your "From My Orbit" columns. You have so much wisdom, and I'm confident you can help me:
I have a 16 year old daughter who dates 15 year old boy. My daugter & I have a pretty good relationship, she share things with me (something I've never done with my mom).
Well, she wrote me a note the other day telling me that she wants to have sex with this boy. Just to let you know, we've talked about sex before, I mentioned that I expect her not to have sex until she's 18 (& moves out). I presented all obvious reasons to wait - physical & emotional. This boy she's dating is very decent and intelligent, but he already had sex with his ex-girlfriend & of course, he wants more (and she wants it too now).
Please help me to present more arguments on the emotional side, why at this age they are not ready for sex.
In the meantime, I mentioned that if she wants me to schedule a visit to ob/gyn to talk about birth control options, I'll help with that. I'd rather prefer her having safe sex than me being oblivious to reality. But the truth is I want her to postpone it, she's only 16!
One more thing: I wouldn't want her to be on a pill, because we have very strong breast cancer history in our family, but you know how are teenagers and condoms...
Your advise will be very much appreciated!
 Oh, don't start in too early with the appreciation! Because I'm going to tell you something: Your wishes for your daughter, while they are noble, are not going to be able to dictate what she ultimately does. As soon as you present an "argument," you have essentially set yourself up against her.

And that's not what you want to do. You need to be on her side. See, boyfriends come and go, but moms are forever. You want to be in a place where, even if she does something that she knows you aren't for, she can still come to you.

You already are in a good place: You want the best for your child — safe sex over unsafe sex, if sex is what it comes down to. You're willing to make an appointment for her to talk about birth control options with a doctor, and you're willing to get her The Pill (they're a lot better these days with the low-dose hormones than they used to be when it comes to cancer — smoking is the big no-no). You are in a place where you are facing reality. That is very good. (If you think about it, if you wait until she's 18 and moves out, she will have to go through all this on her own with the Pill and the doctor appointments. I know, I know, the chorus of "she's an adult then!" will ring up, but hey, how mature are 18-y-os in general?)

I get the feeling that you have laid out for her your expectations/wishes. Have you talked, really talked with her about the emotional side? I don't think I have any more wisdom there than you do. I think we're both aware of how much more intimate a relationship gets when sex (or even nudity) comes in. I think we've both had experiences sleeping with people that maybe weren't worthy of it, and not necessarily knowing that at the time. I think we've both dealt with what it means to be a sexual woman for ourselves in an age when women are supposed to be sexual for everyone else and vice versa.
In sum, there is a lot of noise out there about sex, and your job as a parent is to get your daughter to tune into the signal her own body and brain are sending her.

Instead of telling her the circumstances under which her virginity may leave, ask her about what *she* wants, and what she thinks having sex will do for her. It's so uncomfortable, but she may talk herself into that signal, and realize she may be feeling like she should do it because all her friends are and she doesn't want to be left out. She may really be in love with this 15-y-o boy, and she may really feel ready, too. She may realize she's just ready for a vibrator, which, as I've pointed out before, is a lot more trustworthy than any boy.

The thing is, having sex won't automatically change her or her character. But it does put her at quite a few physical risks and in a place where she is very vulnerable to this boy. She can't just weigh the odds (teens, it has been shown in surveys, will say it is rational to play Russian Roulette for something like $2 million, even though there is no rational reason on this Earth to play it — they don't understand odds) and game theory this out. She has to know that the boy who she is going to sleep with is doing it with her for the right reasons. So you may want to ask about this ex of his and what happened with her, and where she sees herself with him.

You can also tell her that if she's not ready to buy condoms, she's probably not ready to have sex, either. It's pat, but it's true.
The other thing I'll say is that in this day and age, virginity is looked on as something like a stigma. There is a lot of condescension to virgins. It may be that in this day and age, there is something to be said to losing your virginity to a boyfriend you really care about rather than waiting for an arbitrary age, or worse, feeling like you have to get it over with by a certain point. Once it's gone, the pressure is off for pretty much ever after.

My next piece of advice to you is when your daughter indicates that she's sexual, you let her have that space in her life to herself. It's not an area that you're responsible for. You love her, and want the best for her, you can help her cultivate an understanding of "the sexual life" but not necessarily her sexual life. As long as the rest of her is thriving — good grades, happy, active in her school/community — there's not really a reason to freak out about that part of her life.

Good luck! And big hugs!

From My Orbit

As always, originals can be found here!

LW#1: Oh dear lord tell me you are a fake LW. Please tell me that.

I really hate people who say they aren't sure if they're attractive or not. By what standard are you measuring yourself? The standard where Megan Fox is at one end and Phyllis Diller on the other that is basically a measure of whether you are up to code in the beauty standard department or the one where personality is involved? Because those are two different things.

Also, don't take this wrong, but ugly and plain people hook up All. The. Time. I have babysat for their kids, in fact.

Even Froggy went a-courtin'.

Okay, and the other thing I object to is your thinking flirting is "wrong" for the "unattractive woman." Flirting is *human* not for a special class of beauty code compliant women and men! But I'm giving you slack because you (and maybe your friends?) seem to think all flirting entails is sexyface and leg-touching and suggestive licking of ice cream. If you do it right, winning a game of Trivial Pursuit can be flirty (well, it works for me).

So moving on, your friends tell you to telegraph your interest, but you think the plain ugly ducklings of the world should shy away from potentially appearing as if they have needs or rights to join the great game of courtship. Eff that noise.

Maybe an attitude, wardrobe, hair and makeup adjustment won't make you think you're more attractive, but I think someone needs a little perspective and maybe a brow wax when I read your letter. Oh, and there's no "objectively attractive." My husband thinks I hung the moon. He also doesn't see the appeal of Angelina Jolie. A relative of mine married her cousin, and he had worked for Greta Garbo. His comment on his wife, "Yeah, Greta was all right, but my *wife,* (insert sigh) she is really something." If you ever saw a picture of this woman, you'd not be wrong to think, "ORLY?"

I also think you need to figure out why you're so anti- putting yourself out there. Yeah, someone turning their nose up at you is not fun (it has happened to the hottest of us), but it's part of life and ultimately they're doing you a favor. You never get to fail in love with your "I'm too middling to mate," but you never get to fall in love, either.

Don't dress it up as your checking your genes out of the human swimming pool for humanity's sake. You are as deserving of love and sex as any other person out there, and quite possibly more. You don't have to act like a Stepford robot, but you do have to put yourself out there.

LW#2: Go ahead and do what you want. This woman has hosted seven *terrible* Thanksgivings by ANY standard, and you need to introduce some balance. Just tell her, "I feel bad that you do this on your own every year, and I want to give you a year off." If she objects, say, "It'll be different, sure, but there'll be a lot of fun people there, you'll have a blast."

If she's a control freak (and with the insta-clearing she sounds like one) she may feel offended. But you know what, you can't control that! And you shouldn't let that control you!

So go for it! Thanksgiving is the best of all the holidays, because although there are expectations there are no gifts and there IS stufing/dressing! There is no reason it should be awful for you! Exclamation point!

Plus, you'll be having too much fun to be worrying about her if she stays home and does her rigid thing with the weird TV-blasting in the background.

Also your husband? He needs to be the buffer of his family's wrath, if that would actually come down on your head. Just sayin' he has a role in this.

LW#3: Oooh, bind-o-rama.

This is a real problem.

Okay, first, start looking for another job. Because this is for sure going to impact your employment, either if you talk to your boss or if you send an anonymous letter to the insurance commissioner or the company.

Second, I would make sure you knew this was happening on a broad scale, and had documents xeroxed or whatever, before you acted. I mean, seriously. And I would not approach the boss about this, because you don't know what is happening with his awareness.

Third, I'm sorry this happened to you. Perhaps it's my own personal work experience, but there is not always satisfaction or justice in doing the right thing for the right reasons. And in this economy you may just want to keep your head down and do your job and get an escape hatch before you blow the roof off, because I'm telling you right now, what you're setting yourself up for is possibly a world of suck.

Oh, and forget Prudie's weird decision to drag in the healthcare debate. I'm pretty sure we won't have dental, anyway. And this isn't about "medical waste," this is about fraud.

LW#4: OMG.

Either your husband is a long time insensitive jerk and you came to a point where you had to ask the Internet Lady if this is too much, or this is a one-time thing.

Some people can't handle emotional stuff, painful emotional stuff especially, very well. The funeral was obviously a big deal, and he'd probably overloaded his circuits if he's one of those people. Your circuits were certainly fried, and the way you cope is to talk about it. The way he coped is to bury it.

Men are masters of the non-reaction reaction. They're basically told from birth to be pokerfaced at all times unless they need to bluff. Seriously.

On the other hand, if he routinely brushes you off and tunes out your coping mechanism of talking it through, he's a deeldoh, as the LOLcats would say. And, special to the Internet Lady, if he tunes you out for a ballgame during a genuine emergency, he's a vurry beeg deeldoh.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

From My Lolcats

Dir Proody,

I am a kitteh. I luv to talk to mah mommicat! We talks abowt everything! So I wanna get a jackrabbit. No, not as prey, as goodtime jiggly wiggly toy!

I tell mah mommicat dis, ryght? I needz her help in figgerin' out the ins and outs of usin dis thing, ryght?

Kitteh wants to hump, but not a boicat with a prickly pecker

Dir hump,

Teh centers of ur womanly pleshure are not that hard to find. Particularly with a jackrabbit. Mommicat and u may laik to overshare, but mebbeh u need to start keeping some things from her, for both ur saykes.

Dir Proody,

I get married soon and I wantz the kittehs! Mah boifren, he may or may not have nootikuls, he is not so shur. In theory, dis no bother me becuz I want mebbeh adopt kitteh or try a sperm bank (i.e. go to the alley). But in reality, I be telling heem, "U go to doctor! U tell me if u be havin' the nootikuls!" He say I iz crazy! Iz I crazy?

All Ball, all the time

Dir All Ball,

Chill the hell owt. Dis sort of scenario is eggzacktly why we haz the catnip. U want spend life with boifren? Do that.

Dir Proody,

I basically tryed to kill mah daddicat's second wifycat and bebbeh when I wuz a kitteh. I am getting married now and am not a psychokitteh anymore. Hao I get heem to pay fur mah wedding nao? Or just furgive me?

I seen the lyght

Dir Lyght,

U let them stay as far from u as they need to until u are proven to be a gud kitteh and not a bad kitteh. Mebbeh they come see u if u let urself get wrapped in a naice thick towel?

Dir Proody,

I wurk with a man who hayte me. He be leavin' his sox all in the litterbox and maykin' comments. I iz awesum wurker, but mah boss, he no do nothing! Whut I do?

Reddy to pop

Dir Reddy,

U pee on his sox. Spray his desk, too. Mebbeh u come up all silent behind him laik ninja and breathe a little on heem and he turn around and u go, "HISSS" wif all ur teef showing, mayk heem poop his wurkspace.

Or u kill ur boss and get hiz job and then u fire the sox-wearer fur his unspeakabul krime.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

From My Orbit

People, before we get started you have to see THIS. ALL CREDIT TO IPHEGENIA GOES SHOPPING!! MUST CREDIT IGS!!! Also give her four cheezburger.

As always, original letters here.

To the teen LW who wants to get a vibrator:

Okay, I'm going to have to assume you exist, even though that makes an ass out of me. I'm quite certain you're actually a 40-y-o man with a lot of Robotech action figures, excuse me, mecha, in your apartment, excuse me, mom's basement.

So you want to dance with the plastic paramour? Start something with the synthetic sybarite? You're only 16 and you're into advanced masturbation techniques here. Plus advanced shopping and/or mail interception skills.

I assume if you're smart enough to figure that much out and can bring one into the house and successfully sequester it, you can figure out how to use one without Prudie telling you. (P.S. ew.)

However, you want to know if you should bring your mom in on the "I'm graduating from Rosie Palms and you might hear what sounds like a hornet's nest in my room but don't come in because it's not a hornet's nest" discussion.


I think it's really awesome when people are able to talk with their parents about certain things, but when it comes to sex, it's one thing to tell your mom about your emotions, hopes, expectations and ideals (or, come to think of it, problems, fears, potential pregnancies and STDS), but a certain curtain should be drawn over the actual, you know, things that happen physically. Because there are a few things parents and children should not know about each other. Girlfriends are a different story, as are the people you will eventually have sex with.

I know, you're close to mom. But you're at an age where it is natural for you to develop your own, separate identity from her. Speaking as someone who has a mother who loves her very much and knows a whole lot about her, and in moments of anger is not afraid to use her long memory to pull up some long-past situation to use against me to shut me down when we argue even if it's not relevant, having a private sexual identity can be a haven and a huge relief.

Keep the lines of communication open. But, you know, sometimes semaphore is about as much as you need to let on.

To the LW with baby fever:

I understand that you want to know if your man has swimmers or not, but if you know he is the one for you forever and ever, I'd lay off. You may be sublimating your fears of the future into this issue which, as someone who is willing to consider adoption and sperm donation, you know is somewhat moot for you anyway.

Okay, I usually don't get personal in my writing, but there was a month a while back where, while I was getting up to pee at 3 a.m. (like you don't), I'd have these horrible thoughts of death, loneliness and the nursing home. It was every night and it was awful, and it sprung from my fears about getting old, sick and feeble and, worse, knowing that I am with someone who I will watch grow old, sick and feeble IF I'm lucky! But you know what? I told Astronaut about them, and I'm late-night-worry-free now. I mean, the worries still exist, but they're conscious now.

So figure out what you're really freaking out about, then get it out in the open. Look at the wide-angle view of your relationship with your honey. Life has no guarantees in it, but it'll be a lot happier for both of you if you stop freaking out about the things you can't control.

To the LW who was a toxic teenager:

Your father hasn't seen you for half your life, an important one where you change a lot. You must have been hell on wheels.

Look, it's his privilege to decide if he can expose himself to you again, make himself vulnerable, without risking getting really hurt. The onus is on you to prove that you're in it for the right reasons.

I wouldn't expect your dad to jump at the chance to be at your wedding, but there's no reason you can't keep reaching out to him. Send him pictures, send brief notes about how you're doing, keep apologizing and reach out to your uncles and other family members who can vouch for you (but don't ask them to pressure him to see you).

You made some serious mistakes. You have to try and make good on them.

At the same time, your father may not want to reestablish contact. Keep taking heart in the fact that you were able to survive a really bad time, with really bad influences, and come out intact and with perspective. Ruminate on that as often as you need to.

To the LW with the passive aggressive sock dude:

It's not about the socks.

OMG it is SO not about the socks.

I know you recognize them as a protest against you, but you need to stop trying to get rid of the symptom. You need to cure the disease.

Let go of the dirty socks thing and the toilet seat thing. Start documenting everything he does that is not quirky but IS job related. Nasty comments go in a special diary with the time and date noted. Once you have about 10 days worth of smart remarks, you go to your boss with a copy of what you've noted down. You tell your boss you are a terrific worker, but you'd probably be better if your office mate kept his disrespect to himself. You specifically mention the words "harassment" and "hostile environment." As in, "I do not appreciate this harassment and I feel it creates a hostile work environment."

Oh, ignore Prudie's "superior attitude" comment. Sure, you've probably pissed off the boss about piddly things (yeah, I can pun too), but no one should have to put up with someone who is being a jerk at work. It's the boss's job to make sure everyone is working smoothly together, this should not be that hard for him to crack down on. You may also have an Employee Assistance Program you can call and talk about solutions to the sockman. They may have better ideas about who to go to and what to do if the boss is not doing what he's supposed to do.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

From My Lolcats

Dir Proody,

Mai boifren! He is sooper awesum! But! He hold me down and tickle me and I DUZ NOT LAIK. Maik me mizerabul. Hao I maik heem stop? Did I menchun he iz awesum?

Tikkling bad

Dir Tikkling,

He not awesum. U kill heem nao.

Dir Proody,

Mai mommicat, she soburr nao. Yay! But she not rememburr when I was kitteh. She say, "Wai we not go out? Have naice lunch at Denny's? Talk about ur high school years? Becuz I don't rememburr them? I wud laik some memoreez of those dais for mai burthdai." At furst, I think I write her about those dais, when she kuvvered in vomit and peeing on kitchen floor whyle "Uncle Festus" "axidentally" "fall asleep" in mai room, or tyme when I tell her, "U no come to school play!" but she come in haff-way thru, get on stage and drunkenly sashay and sing "I am Poor Buttercup" but we iz doin "Cats!" But nao I think, naw, don't want to go there at all. Especially in Denny's. Whut I do nao?

"Memories, all alone in the moonlight," it wuz ruined

Dir Memories,

Furst u get reservation for better restaurant. One with eggs benedict. Then u sai, "Mommicat, going there? DO NOT WANT." If she purrsist, u sai, "It was bad and will maik u cry, and this ur burfday. Aren't these eggs benedict delishuss?"

Dir Proody,

I am single. Mai frends have leddicats and boifrens who I don't know and don't particularly care to know. Hao I have dinner party for mai 10 friends only in mai small apartment and not the other cats?

Looking for etti-cat

Dir Etti-cat,

Here's whut u do: Invite everywun to the neighborhood fence and u all dig in garbage cans for dinner (yummy) and hang out on fence. Problem solved.

Dir Proody,

I haz a kitteh. She is adopted! I beleeve very strongly in open adoption, so I want her to meet with her bio family, from whom she was tayken at age 5, for her benefit. Nao, at 12, she say she no want to meet them anymore! But I say it good for her! Whut I do nao?

Did I mention I adopted a kitteh?

Dir adopted,

At 12 they stop wanting to do whut u want them to do. Normally, this is bad, but in this case, I maik exsepshun for  the kitteh. Bio family probably not lotta fun, possiblee a lot more off-kilter than she wants to be associated with. Whut can I sai? There are sum crazy cats out there.  Let her off the hook.