November 27, 2006

My Two Cents: Zip it de doo, ma ed.

Dear Prudie,
My husband and I have been together for about six years (second marriage for both of us). We each have children from our first marriages and the kids get along perfectly. My daughter (18) and my husband's son (16) are especially close. My daughter told me that her stepbrother might be gay! I asked her why she thought that, and she told me the signs: He hangs out with gay guys at school; loves to shop (according to her, he has awesome taste in clothing); has no interest in dating girls; doesn't want children; wants to go into design or theater; and has to have his face perfectly soft and whisker-free.

I told her that doesn't make him gay, but she then told me about a girl at his school who e-mailed her to say she thought her stepbrother was hot, but it was too bad he was gay. I was in shock, but thought it could be true. When I told my husband about my daughter's suspicions, he was so shocked that he refused to talk to me the rest of the evening. I told my husband I didn't mean to hurt him, but that went nowhere. Is it possible for a 16-year-old boy to be gay or bisexual? What are the signs? If he is, what do we do? My husband is against gays all the way.

—Concerned Stepmother

Dear Mommy Queerest:

Madam, it is highly perverse for a woman of your age to speculate about the fellating habits of your pre-age of consent stepson, if any. Sick, sick, sick. Frankly, MTC is far more intrigued with the fellating habits of your (of age) 18 year old daughter, since you raised the subject. Why don’t you discuss THAT with your husband and see if he has a problem with it. Fair's fair, ya know.

And let’s not be coy. Fellatio is the only thing you and your husband are really concerned about. No teenage boy ever got his ass beat and kicked out of the house just for having good fashion sense.

Your speculation may not be baseless, but it is worse than needless. The kid’s sexuality is something he’s working out right now and he doesn’t need any freaking help from you, lady. Not after demonstrating such an abject lack of good sense and good manners by shoving a lit road flare up the ass of the elephant in the living room. He’s not anything yet, and probably nothing permanent at the age of 16. And if he is committed to the YBR, there's nothing you can really do about it anyway.

All you can do is make him more miserable and conflicted than he may already be, and nobody needs that, whatever side they lean to. If you must take a shot at keeping the boy on the straight and hetero for religious reasons, hire him a hellaciously good whore. It’s like making sure your kid goes to Mass on Sunday—it might not stick, but at least they know what’s out there.

But you probably won’t do that. So instead, stay out of it and try to keep your husband out of it as well. Kinda late now, though, blabbermouth. Consider the fact that if you keep badgering your homophobic fool of a husband about it, you’ll only get him pissed off. He’s going to get shitty with people, starting with his own son. Next, will be you for bringing up this situation, if indeed there is a situation.*

Third, he’s going to blame your 18 year old daughter. Why? Simple. Who the hell do you think got his precious son interested in dick? Hmmmm?
* Noting the fact that it could only be a “situation” if you idiots insist on making it a situation instead of just accepting the kid for whoever he turns out to be. Guess what?

Dear Prudence,

I have been married for six months. My husband is a good man; he treats me great and never hesitates to tell me how much he loves me. I love him, too, but am not in love with him. I guess I got married because I felt like I was not getting any younger and finally, after years of dating losers, found a man who was good all around. Now, the love of my life has come back. We broke up a few years ago when he was having some problems. He is on the right track to cleaning up his life and wants me back in it. He does tell me he loves me, but I don't think he does as much as my husband does. However, I am certain about my feelings. My question to you is, do I follow my heart and go with the guy who has been unpredictable in the past but who still makes my heart flutter, or do I follow my head and stay with the stable guy who I know loves me but that my heart is not fluttering for?

—Heart or Head



Dear Crawl-Very-Slowly-Away Bride:

No, this isn’t a head versus heart conflict, really. You’re just trying to calculate whether you’d be better off with a boring dependable person or with a bona fide “heart” flutterer. If that’s what you want to call it. Around here, we refer to another organ to describe what's all afluttered with you.

Resolving this issue properly will require that you do something you’ve never done before—look at something from somebody else’s angle. From your husband’s perspective, he doesn’t need to waste years of his life devoting himself to some nit wit who secretly prefers to have her “heart” fluttered by some other rooster. Don’t feel bad about ditching him—he’ll get somebody better suited to him than you in no time because of the sympathy factor. You know how some women love to take in abandoned pets.

Second, from the LOYL’s perspective, it’s hard finding a woman that will put up with the bullshit and drama that comes with dudes who are “on the right track to cleaning up” their lives. There’s got to be a mighty big portion of heart fluttering to get you through those trials and tribulations. You are probably one of the few women around who would find it worthwhile to deal with him. Plus, you’d spare some less dingy chick the trouble of hooking up with a dude like that.

Speaking of the other ladies…third, there are plenty of women out there who could use a man like your husband. You need to toss him back in the lake like an undersized perch. Most other women have little use for a dude “on the right track to cleaning up his life.” They need somebody already cleaned and pressed. Starched, too, if they can find one. Like your husband.

Oh, and as for you, getting a divorce would work out pretty well, probably. But even if it doesn’t, and you end up bitter and alone, at least three other distinct persons or groups will be far better off. Now, isn’t that well worth taking a risk?

Friendster images

Dear Prudence,

I am currently taking a class with a star young professor who is dangerously overweight, to the point that I'm fairly certain he will have major health problems and die at an earlier age. I don't know him well, but this has already happened to a friend of mine, and I wouldn't want it to happen to my professor.

Is there a polite way to tell him that he needs to lose weight? Though he's an academic star, he has a really good rapport with the students, but that doesn't make it any easier to bring up a topic like this. I feel like I'm watching a train wreck about to happen that I'm powerless to stop.

—Don't Like Train Wrecks

Dear Student Teacher Circumference:

Train wreck, huh? Your “slow motion train wreck” threshold is mighty low. Usually, you need three or more of the following items in order to qualify a person as a “train wreck”: substance addiction; unemployment; a relationship break-up; a conviction; ED; living in a basement; psychotic episodes; repressed rage; and multiple gun ownership. Being a fat ass hardly qualifies. Now, if you catch him hiding bottles of Jack Daniels around his office, you may have something to go on.

In the meantime, you need a more direct relationship with somebody before you can start giving them health advice. Student/professor is a professional relationship. It doesn’t become personal until there’s been some groping after a drunken student/faculty BBQ or he’s done some of your drugs.

If the prospect of his dropping dead of fattiness is too painful for you, by all means, date him or blow a joint with him after class. Once you’ve broken that ice, you are certainly close enough to suggest he lose weight. Besides, then you can threaten to withhold sex from him unless he does lose weight. Just put him on a tread mill and run in front of him while wearing a lycra body suit. It’s the least you could do to stop a train wreck.

Or you could look at him as an adult who understands better than you ever will how much it sucks to be overweight. Whatever his academic field, he’s got a Ph.d in Fat Ass. That realization might cause you to just keep your health advisory to yourself—even if you did just watch another fat dude buy the fat farm. It’s not as embarrassing to be called out as fat when you’re hugely obese as it is to be treated like you are too dumb to understand your own predicament.

Dear Prudie,

When I was 21, I got engaged to a wonderful guy. We didn't get married, and I haven't seen or spoken to him in two years. I'm now 26. I loved him, but I came to feel I hadn't lived my own life yet and felt trapped by coupledom. When I started pulling away from the relationship, he was incredibly hurt. In the end, he broke it off.

One thing bothers me more than anything: My family loved him and he loved them. My mom was horribly upset when we started to separate and when he eventually left. If I even try to talk about it, she cries before three words are out of my mouth. I felt then, and still feel now, incredible guilt, like I'm responsible for her pain.

It would be so much easier if he'd been a jerk and I could have had a good enough reason for not being with him. How can I get past this guilt so I can be happy?

—Single and Guilty

Dear Unwed Mother In Law:

If your mom liked this dude so damned much, she ought to marry him. Otherwise, WTF? Fortunately, you didn’t let her hypnotize you into marrying before your time, but she almost did. What a freaking disaster that would have been. You would have ended up divorced, maybe after years of unhappiness, and he would have ended up with custody of your mother.

Hmmmmmm…..there's an idea.

But instead, you backed out at an appropriate time. I.e., not like the above doofus. Now, all you have to do is dis-empower Guiltenstein’s Monster from making you feel bad about it.

This woman obviously has enjoyed a lot of success manipulating you with gross emotional displays. But as with other dark arts such as voodoo, mother-tripping is only as powerful as you let it become. Granted, it’s a cold-hearted person who can’t be twisted around his or her mother’s manipulative little finger. But when the old bat’s manipulation gets out of hand you have to take measures.

Step one, stop talking about it. If the breakup is so painful to her, maybe you ought to just zip it. Duh. If she can’t contain her woe and brings it up, tell her you don’t want to discuss it. If she persists, ratchet up your response up to and including turning the game (or whatever it is you watch when you’re at your mother’s house) up real loud.

With sufficient determination and practice, you’ll soon be able to look right at her during her rants, nod your head at the appropriate time, answer her with non-committal grunts, and never hear a word she says or break your original train of thought. It’s what men call “mommy deafness.”