Friday, July 30, 2010


Lamonica writes:

My coworker constantly farts loudly, loud enough that I know it's not one that escaped. It happens often. I don;t care if it is her diet or some other issue. Is there a way to let her know she farts all the time without being offensive? It's annoying to have to listen to and sometimes they smell.

Have you ever farted and not known you did so? I didn't think so. 

She knows she has a problem. There is no way to bring this up politely. If you really can't live with it, you can try sending an anonymous email, but that's passive-aggressive and probably won't help the situation at all. 

Keep some air freshener at your desk, and eat broccoli at lunch. 

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Kipper writes:

What is that white slimy, stringy stuff that comes out of our eyes? I am obsessed with playing with it! It tickles when i pull it out of my eye. But if it's bad to do I will stop.

Um, ew. That sounds like pink eye, frankly, but I hope you're just referring to regular eye discharge - what little kids might call "eye boogers" or "sand", from the Sandman. 

Discharge not associated with an infection like pink eye is often a reaction to an attempted bacterial infection or some irritant in or near the eye. Makeup, an eyelash, even dust can result in excessive eye discharge. 

In general, discharge is not harmful. You should seek medical attention if it's yellowish, seals your eyes shut, or continues throughout the day. 

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Val asks:

I like to keep my lady business bare. But recently my husband has mentioned switching off once in a while and having something there to look at. the grow out process is a bitch! What do you think about cutting an inch or so of hair from my head and making a little temporary wig out of it? I could even buy colorful wigs that go on your head and repurpose them. Pink, blue and purple sound fun. Is it possible?

I have one word for you: Merkins (link may not be SFW). A merkin is a pubic wig, and if you Google, you'll find plenty of places to buy them in all colors and sizes and styles. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Just don't burn it and you're fine.

Lem asks:

I love toast, Have any good resipes?

I love toast, too. Usually I eat it with peanut butter and honey as a mid-afternoon snack. But, if you're looking to get creative, there are plenty of awesome ways to cook bread:

How about delicious French Toast from Pioneer Woman?
Or if you like Italian, try this Bruschetta by Giada De Laurentis.
Prefer good old Amurrican cuisine? Here's Bobby Flay's Texas Toast.

And if that's not enough for you, Dr. Toast (a musician), posts all kinds of new and interesting toast recipes on his blog. Check it out.

I'll Bet Her Breasts Are "Dirty Pillows"

Salvatrice writes:

I am embarrassed. I like my husband's thing, but sometimes I don't want to touch it just yet because of the goo coming out of the one end. I asked him if it was an STD because I am not so sure what kinds of things men deal with, and he said no. I don't know if I believe him. I keep tissues by the bed to wipe it off before we do it. Do you think this is a sign he cheated and caught a disease? I was a virgin but I am not sure he was when we got married because he said he was, but now I am not so sure because I did not see it leaking goo in photographs. Help. I don't want to lose him, but I don't want to catch an STD either!

OK, people, listen up: This is what you get from abstinence-only sex education. This woman can't even call a penis a penis.

Salvatrice, that "goo" is probably pre-ejaculate, also known as pre-come. It helps to lubricate the urethra to make a safe, clean pathway for sperm. It is perfectly healthy, and a normal part of intercourse. The amount of pre-ejaculate varies from man to man, but almost all men produce at least a little bit. For some men, the amount is linked to arousal: the more intense and arousing the foreplay, the more pre-ejaculate he'll secrete.

Pre-ejaculate can contain STI pathogens, but the presence of sperm in it has been found to be rare.

I cannot recommend strongly enough that you invest in several basic sex and sexuality handbooks. A quick Amazon search for "sex and sexuality" brings up over 2,000 results. Read them cover to cover, and if you have more questions, seek out more answers. You can also consult a professional sex educator or sexologist in your area (Google "sex educators" with your city and state) and ask what s/he recommends to help you learn the basic facts about sex, sexuality, and sexual anatomy.

DO NOT watch porn for answers. Porn is very helpful in discovering kinks and predilictions, but it will be useless in helping you discover the facts about basic human sexual function. You need good, solid, medically-based information, and you need it yesterday.

Understanding basic sexual functioning and learning the proper names for body parts will, I promise, do wonders for your sex life, too. Once you're comfortable with the basics, you'll be able to explore your sexual likes and dislikes with your husband. But without a grounding in the basics, you'll never be able to discuss sex like the grown adults you are.

And to anyone else reading: This is why basic sex education is important. Every person should have access to basic, age-appropriate, medically accurate information about sex. I was lucky enough to have comprehensive sex ed in school, but there are plenty of other ways to get this information. Sex columnists like Dan Savage, websites like Scarleteen and Carnal Nation, and books like The Joy Of Sex are all excellent, sex-positive, accurate resources.

No one should go to her marriage bed calling a penis a "thing" and a normal secretion "goo".

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wedding Disaster?

Jazzmyhnn asks:

HELP!!! I forgot to put "AND GUEST" on my invitations for the guests I invite as singles but they are allowed a guest - How will they know?? Should I resend a retraction???

Whoa. Let's dial it back to maybe two question marks and no exclamation points. This isn't that big of a deal, and certainly doesn't require resending anything (particularly a retraction, which is technically the opposite of what you want to do).

Give the invitations a few days to arrive, then call your single guests to apologize for the oversight and inform them that they're more than welcome to bring a guest if they'd like. Done and done. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I Don't Think "Overbearing" Quite Covers It

Help! writes:

My fiance's family is a little nuts I think. His aunt asked us if certain friends of the family were invited, and due to budget and space, certain people were excluded from our list. We explained this to her, and kept the guest list to only immediate family members and very VERY few friends. His aunt printed up invitations on her computer with our wedding information on it and handed them out to the people she felt should have been invited, which is total about 20 people.

My future mother in law defended his aunt saying that she was just excited and we should let her just have this moment of happiness or whatever, but we're not in a position to let people create their own guest lists!!! I mean, we're adults and shouldn't be bullied by our elders into doing what they want us to do.

We have contacted these people as well as his aunt, but we're now afraid that some people may have been given an invitation without RSVPing and will just show up. Would it be wrong to now contact the people
who we originally invited to ask them to present their invitation, the one WE sent to them, at the venue entrance so they could go in and have a place to sit? We don't know how to anticipate the crashers.

Well, no, I wouldn't have my guests present an invitation. They've been invited, and are abiding by the rules: why should they have to prove that they're in the right? That's terrible hosting.

But it's not rude to politely turn away uninvited guests at the door. If you can station a couple of people near the door, they should be able to head off the uninvited as they come in, or while they search for their table assignments or something similar. Anyone you choose for this job should be able to steer the offenders toward the door, telling them kindly but firmly that, no, in fact, letting them in simply won't be possible. Hope they have a good night.

But more troubling to me is that you never say what your fiance did about his mother and aunt. Did he tell them this was unacceptable behavior? Did he make it absolutely crystal clear that this was an appalling stunt? Or did he just sort of let them get away with it, and then clean up the mess?

Because, honey, if he's not reading them the riot act? This won't be the last time you're cleaning up a mess they insist they had a right to make. Do you want to live with that for the next fifty or sixty years?

Only worry about the uninvited once you've answered that question - because depending on how this situation went down, that worry might be moot.

When Family Gatherings Collide

Secret writes:

My wedding was yesterday. It was, well, there are no words. One of my mother's cousin's died in a horrific car accident last Wednesday, and it was a sad time for everyone. The funeral was planned by her children, for yesterday morning. We reluctantly decided to go through with the wedding since it was only several days out and so many of my new husband's family was in from another state to see us get married. They did not know my mom's cousin.

Well, many of my mother's relatives thought it was disrespectful for us to not cancel the wedding but we did not have insurance to get our money back. Some called my mother the evening before to see if we were cancelling, some flat out told her at the funeral that they couldn't sit and pretend to be happy for us when we were pretending that nothing more than our day was important. I swear we don't!! So about 45 of the guests on my side of the family did not show up to the reception and the room was quite empty, the guest list was only about 125 people. We would have considered cancelling if we knew we'd have to pay for 45+ no show guests and lose all of that money.

But regardless of all of that, since the money would have been spent anyway, should I issue a formal apology to my mother's relatives for going through with the wedding? We attended the funeral the morning of the wedding to show our respect so we cannot understand why so many guests decided to stay home to prove a point. Please help. We're sad we decided to get married that day after all if it was going to cause a family rift.

Yikes. That's a terrible situation to be in.

I think you were right to go ahead with the wedding. You don't say how close you or your mother were to this cousin, but I'm getting the vibe that it wasn't very. You attended the funeral that morning, you paid your respects. I'm not sure how cancelling your wedding would have shown more respect than that. I doubt it was an especially raucous affair: who wants to party hardy when they've just been at a funeral?

Your relatives are grieving, and grief can do strange things to people. I would let the subject drop until you have a reason to contact or see these relatives again - and then wait for them to bring it up. If they ignore it, they probably feel terrible for getting angry with you, but aren't sure how to go about apologizing themselves. If they apologize, accept gracefully; if they yell at you, apologize to them. Keep in mind that this isn't really about you at all: it's about them, and how they're dealing with the loss of a loved one.

You Mean Living in a Society Means I Have To Deal With People?

Elsa asks:

Why do people with large strollers think that everyone around them has to move out of their way, wait for them to decide to walk, and hold doors when we might be in more of a hurry? Maybe manufacturers should include owner instructions for people who don't realize that the large SUV sized strollers are an inconvenience, and it's not only them walking the streets needing to go places.

I grant you that it's annoying when people take up an entire walkway and either walk slowly or just stop. But I'm not on board with the stroller hate.

There's a nice double standard here, where you don't want to be inconvenienced by people with children, and yet you expect them to inconvenience themselves for you? I'm sure everyone would love to pay a babysitter every time they need to run to the store for a gallon of milk. And the mom who's pushing 30 pounds of baby, stroller, baby gear, and shopping bags should be happy to take a minute and a half to struggle through a heavy door when it would have taken you 5 seconds to hold it for her.

Jesus be some common courtesy. You get out of this world exactly what you put into it. If you want to have a bad attitude, go ahead. Sneer at and slam doors on new moms. Let us know where that gets you. You might find that when you start treating people with charity and respect you'll be met with genuine appreciation and kindness. Maybe then you won't get so unduly angered by stupid things.

Babies, Babies, Babies!

Mary writes:

My friend is newly pregnant, so I listen to her explode with joy over her news, rightfully so! It's an exciting time for her! But no matter what we are talking about, she manages to either bring up her pregnancy or change the subject to start talking about it. I don't think I can take another 7 months of this! How do I cope without turning and walking in the other direction when she passive-agressively brings up her pregnancy again? I mean, it's not like I am going to forget she's pregnant if 5 minutes go by and we don't talk about it.

Have you ever had something major happen in your life? Gotten married, moved far away for an awesome job - anything like that?

I can guarantee you talked about it all. the. time. I can guarantee your friends got bored with you, but they understood it was a temporary thing, and that you were really excited. They were probably happy for you, and knew that once your life calmed down, you'd have other things to talk about again. They knew, too, that when they had happy news, you'd grant them the same leeway.

Or would you? The fact that you call your friend's preoccupation "passive-aggressive" gives me pause, here. Is she not a very good friend? Is she generally self-centered? Are you?

Pregnancy is a big deal. It is consuming her world, and she may not have anyone else to share this with. I think you're entitled to be bored, and to want to dial it down a little. It's perfectly acceptable for you to steer the conversation away from pregnancy, every time she brings it up. Acknowledge what she's said, and move on. "That's fascinating, Sue. Did you see in the news that ...."

But don't be bitter or angry about this. If it really bothers you that much, you may need to let the friendship lapse - or look seriously at why that might be the case.

I Believe the Children Are Our Future

Elsa writes:

Why do people with large strollers think that everyone around them has to move out of their way, wait for them to decide to walk, and hold doors when we might be in more of a hurry? Maybe manufacturers should include owner instructions for people who don't realize that the large SUV sized strollers are an inconvenience, and it's not only them walking the streets needing to go places.

Didn't you know? Because people with children are more important than you are. Our sacred wombs spat forth the sacred next generation, and because we have to form and mold and teach these fragile little minds, we are entitled to do whatever will ensure that they have the best of everything, including elevator spaces.

Seriously, it's because these people are rude, plain and simple. They believe they're entitled to all the space, and nothing you do is going to change their minds.

That said, there's nothing wrong with saying "Excuse me" when they're invading you, or in pointing out that they've just assaulted you with their wheels. They probably won't give a shit, but at least you will have - politely, please - spoken up for yourself.

Let it comfort you to know that someday, you'll be responsible for hiring and firing their rude, entitled offspring, and will be able to use your power for the good of the rest of us.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The 80s Called

Scrunchie Liker writes:

I love my scrunchies, but they are so hard to find. I know they are shunned, but they are so great when I need to get my long hair out of my face. I have them in an assortment of colors, but the elastic is starting to stretch out and they are all almost to the point of no longer wearable. Are scrunchies that bad, that they are so hard to find in stores?

In a word, yes. There are plenty of more stylish ways to keep your hair out of your face. A cute headband may be a good option, or maybe this is a sign that it's time for a sleek new haircut.

If you don't want to give up your ponytail, rest assured that plain elastic bands have evolved since scrunchies were in style. They no longer have that painful metal bracket, and they come in a variety of sizes, thicknesses, and styles so you can find one that holds your hair back without giving you a headache.

Not convinced? You may not be able to buy scrunchies anymore, but you can always make your own.

Wedding Gift Etiquette

Matilda asks:

I'm going to a wedding this weekend. I ordered a gift off of their registry and had it sent directly to them at home, however it likely won't arrive before the wedding. Should I take a card to the wedding? If so, should I make mention of the gift in the card so that they don't think I stiffed them?

These days, it's less likely for people to bring gifts to the wedding than it is for them to have them shipped. According to Emily Post, wedding guests have up to a year after the event to send a gift. If yours has already been ordered, it will likely arrive in a matter of days or weeks. The bride and groom should think you stiffed them simply because you didn't bring a gift to the reception.

If you don't feel comfortable showing up empty-handed, a card is certainly appropriate. You may find it a convenient way to provide the couple with either a gift receipt or the tracking information for the shipment. If they're going on a honeymoon, they'll want to have the post office hold their packages.

Why Wouldn't She Want To Clean Up After Someone As Sweet As You?

Nestor writes:

My wife is so lazy. We share house chores and I end up doing the majority of the stuff like laundry and garbage and dishes. She does some things also and we both work full time, but she took a week off from work just to take vacation days and ended up spending the week watching TV and filling out crossword puzzles. I would have preferred that she used her vacation for a trip we want to take rather than sit on her butt all week and do nothing. And then I get home from a long day of work and the dishes have piled up in the sink and the garbage is full and smells. I can understand wanting to rest, but how can I get her to see that she needs to at least clean up after herself like an adult? I am about to stay with my parents to show her that she needs to learn how to take care of the house just like I do. 

So, just out of curiosity, who is cleaning the bathrooms, vacuuming, dusting, cooking, grocery shopping, paying the bills, mowing the get my drift. Is it possible that you're so preoccupied by moaning about the chores you hate that you're losing sight of the things your wife does do?

Have you tried discussing your current division of labor and reassigning chores so you don't feel like you're stuck with all the bad ones? Your suggested solution of moving out before you talk like adults leads me to believe that you're not as right as you think you are.

The vacation issue is another situation where you need to use your words. Does your wife know you'd like to go on a trip? Have you actively discussed saving and planning for it, or do you just talk about it in abstract terms? Many companies have "use or lose" vacation policies, or perhaps her job is just stressful and she wanted a break. You can hardly blame her if she didn't know you had other plans for her time.

Sit down and have a mature conversation. Check the demeaning attitude at the door. Calling her lazy and telling her she doesn't contribute aren't going to inspire a helpful attitude. Start with "Hey, you know I really hate doing the dishes. How about we swap and I'll cook this week if you clean?" Maybe go on to say, "You know how we keep talking about going to Cancun? Let's figure out when we'll have the vacation time and the money and talk to a travel agent." Not so hard, is it?

Panty Raid

Brenda asks:

I have a female coworker constantly diddling around in her pants at her desk. We don't have private offices and I gues she thinks no one can see her even though our cubes are fairly open. She'll reach in there and who knows why. Maybe she has an infection, but this happens too often, I think infections go away with treatment. Should I ask her to stop sticking her hands down her pants at her desk?

Think of it this way: what exactly do you have to gain from telling this coworker that she's gross? All you're doing is making an awkward situation more awkward.  If what she's doing isn't particularly annoying (ie, she's not making an obnoxious noise or emitting a foul odor), then I probably wouldn't say anything. I also wouldn't shake hands with her, or touch anything on her desk.

Just Cause

Stretched-too-far writes:

A few years ago I casually signed up for a volunteer position that I thought would take a few hours per month.  Little did I know that this would turn into a part-time job every summer.  The past two years I struggled through thinking that once we could get a few more volunteers, my work load would decrease.  This year we finally have more volunteers but it hasn't been better at all.  Now I have lots of work to do and lots of volunteers that mess up, don't do their jobs and make my job more difficult.

I don't enjoy this volunteer job and although it is a very worthy cause, I am not very passionate about the charity I'm helping.  I find myself resenting all of the hours that I put into it.

So what is your advice?  Should I quit?  If I do, how do I break the news?  I can't help but feel like a big baby when this is such a worthy cause.

It sounds to me like your kindness is being taken advantage of. At the very least you've been going above and beyond for over two years and should feel no guilt about moving on. As a volunteer, you owe this charity no more than what you're willing to give them. Worthy cause or not, if you feel like your time would be better spent on something else, then you're well within your rights to quit.

It's not easy to walk away from something like this. You don't want to feel like a quitter, and you don't want to disappoint the people who really are passionate about this cause. But think about it this way: the cause deserves your best, and if you're unhappy with what you're doing, then your best isn't what they're getting.

Is there anything else you can do to stay involved to a lesser degree? Perhaps you could offer to work a specific annual event, or you could decide that instead of giving your time you'll increase your financial contribution. See if there's a way to stay involved without wearing yourself out.

As far as breaking the news, you just have to be direct. Talk to the charity director or whomever you report to in person, and tell them that due to personal commitments you'll no longer be able to work for them in the same capacity. Have a specific end date in mind; agreeing to stay on until they find a replacement gives them little motivation to find someone. You may want to offer your services for a smaller, lower stress position, or to let them know they can keep you on their mailing list. Letting them know you still support the cause will go a long way toward not burning a bridge.

Good luck.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

iPod People

Sasseroni asks:

I hate that my husband wears his IPOD everywhere: when he walks to to the store a few blocks away, or rides public transport and even falls asleep. I am so afraid something will happen to him and he's unaware of his surroundings. He thinks I am overreacting. Am I???

Maybe a little bit. I'd be more concerned about long-term hearing loss than the likelihood of his getting mugged. For a quick walk to the store in a well-trafficked area, or his regular morning/afternoon commute it's not unreasonable for him to want to listen to music, especially if it helps the time pass faster. On the other hand, if he's wearing earphones while he's driving, or while in unpopulated, poorly lit, or unfamiliar territory, you do have cause for concern.

You may want to try to compromise here. Tell him you'd feel more comfortable if he left the iPod at home when he's traveling at night or going somewhere he's never been. Or, if the two of you are going somewhere together, tell him you'd rather him spend the time talking with you.

When he does use the iPod, ask him to make sure the volume is kept do a level that doesn't completely drown out ambient noise. He should still be able to speak with someone sitting next to him, and the people around him should not be able to hear what he's listening to.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I Bet High School Group Projects With Her Were Unbearable

Edwina asks:

I am cohosting a shower with my BFF because we are co-Maids of Honor at our mutual BFF's wedding. The shower planning is going off without a hitch, but my co-planner (I'll call her M) keeps complaining that we are doing everything on our own. Frankly, the shower is simple and already finished. We just have to show up the day of and make sure everyone has a good time. But I don't get her issue - a couple of the bridesmaids have offered their help if we need anything, and she turned them down. She said that they were only asking in vain and would probably not follow through if she accepted their help. I don't think there was much we could have let them help with anyway. She thinks that they should have stepped up and told us specifically what they would do for the planning and just do it rather than offer vague assistance. I told her to get over it, because she turned them away when they asked, and we didn't need them anyway.

Is M right, that the bridesmaids should be more involved?

No, M is not right. The only thing a bridesmaid has to do is show up on the wedding day in the appropriate dress. Everything else is gravy. It's very gracious of you and M to host the shower, but it certainly wasn't a requirement for you, nor is it a requirement for any of the other bridesmaids to help out.

Of course, the other bridesmaids did offer to help, and M is the one who turned them down. She really has no right to complain. It's certainly not polite to tell the host of a party that you are going to take over some aspect, so her expectation that they should have "stepped up" is ludicrous. Perhaps what she really wants is "help" in the financial sense. In that case, at least she's doing right by not asking for it.

If they offer to help again, perhaps ask each to bring an appetizer or small dessert. I'm a firm believer that a party can never have too much food. If they don't ask again, that's fine, as they were already told--rightly so--that everything is taken care of.

If M continues to complain, point out to her exactly what you've written here, and ask her what exactly it is that she wants. Perhaps then she'll see your point.

Friday, July 23, 2010

To Plus One or Not To Plus One

Yvonne asks:

I am divorced but close with my ex husband's family because we were married for a few years and have known each other since teenagers. I was invited to his neice's wedding with a guest. We have been divorced for about two years now, and my sister told me that it would not be appropriate to show up with a guest, that they were just following proper etiquette. But I have been dating my new man for about 6 months now and feel he is a part of my life and should not be excluded just because my ex husband may be at the party. He and I did not part on the best of terms, but his sister is a wonderful person and we get along great. So is it wrong to bring a date to the wedding?

If you were invited to bring a guest then it is reasonable to expect that your guest will be welcome at the wedding. If your ex-husband's family didn't want you to bring anyone along, they'd have invited you as a single. If your new boyfriend doesn't have a problem spending a day in the company of your ex and his extended family, you are within your rights to bring him.

However, do consider that this is supposed to be a happy, stress-free day for your ex's niece. If you have any reason to believe that showing up with a date will cause a scene, then it may be best to stay home. This isn't the time to rub your new relationship in anyone's face, nor to prove that you're doing sooo much better now that you're rid of your ex. I'm not saying that these are your motivations, but if they are--or even if others might think they are--it's not worth the drama.

The Brideslaves

Meredithe writes:

I am getting married in February 2011 and want to know the best way to start scheduling my bridesmaid meetings. We need to discuss the dresses I picked out, their fittings, the days they are available to help assemble my favors of chocolates in a small box with tulle and jordan amonds, and then also to coordinate their hair. As you can see, there will be a lot to discuss. Mass email is so impersonal. I have 8 bridesmaids, and calling them on a conference call is one way. Another idea I had was to send newsletters with an RSVP date so they can let me know if a specific date works for them. Any good ideas?

Let me get this straight. These are your friends; the eight women you feel closest to, whom you can't imagine getting married without, and you want to put them to work? Is assembling favors some kind of an honor now?

There are three appropriate bridesmaids' "meetings": A shopping trip to pick out the dress, a luncheon--paid for by you--to thank them for standing up for you, and the wedding itself. All three are easily arranged through whatever mode of communication you usually use to speak with them. They can arrange dress fittings on their own. You may offer to make them hair, nail or makeup appointments at the same time you make your own, but it's not a requirement.

If they offer further help, you may mention that you have these favors to put together, and offer to provide wine and leftover chocolate if they provide their bow-tying skills for a couple hours. But you can't demand that they do your bitch work for you under the guise of an honor.

You chose these women because you love them and respect them. So treat them that way. It's a wedding, not a business arrangement. Don't lose sight of the fact that the most important thing is that you end the day married with the full support of those closest to you.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

'Cause Girls Can't Catch and Are Bad at Math, Right?

Libby asks:

I'm pregnant and having a girl! My husband is not thrilled and is talking about when we should start trying again for a boy, and I'm still 3 months away from having this one! I'm trying to see how this birth goes before signing on for more. He suggested IVF for gender selection because he did some research for the next kid. How can I get him to see that he'll love the baby and the baby will love him no matter what we have?

It sounds like your husband is experiencing gender disappointment.  It's not terribly uncommon for men not to feel bonded to their children until after they are born. It's also possible that he has an easier time imagining a bond with a child of the same sex as he. Going as far as suggesting gender selection for your next child is heading into the extreme territory and would cause me some concern.

Start by talking to him. Ask him why he wants a boy, and what his fears are with relation to having a girl. Be supportive, and let him know that you're confident that he'll be a wonderful father. Ask that all discussions of future children and the possibility of pricy, non-medically necessary procedures be tabled until after you both get your sea legs with this baby.

If, after the baby is born, he continues to have trouble bonding or seems to resent your daughter, then it's time for counseling. I certainly would be hesitant to have more children with him if it meant risking having him favor one over the other.

Thursday Quickies!

Befuddled and Broke writes:

A friend asked me to organize a baby shower for her. My home isn't big enough to host the party, and I can't afford to host it in a restaurant. I discussed this with other friends who will be attending and the decision has been made to hold a no-host baby brunch where guests will be expected to pay for their own meal. If it is rude to ask guests to pay for their own meal and bring a gift, can I just ask them to lunch and then because it is in honor of the soon-to-arrive baby, people may use this as an opportunity to bring the mom a gift...or not? In other words, I won't call it a shower and won't list registry information. How should I word the invitation?

You shouldn't. You aren't hosting anything, so there's no reason to have invitations. If you want to organize a get-together at a restaurant, do so by phoning or emailing people. And make sure you tell them this is not a party, and there will be no host.

Be prepared, however, for your friend not to be very happy. She's grabby enough to ask someone for a shower, she'll be grabby enough to be disappointed that you refuse to be rude in order to give her one.

# # #

Jess asks:

My birthday has always been on a Friday but this year it is on Thursday. Why? Is this a leap year or something?

Wait, what? Your birthday has always been on a Friday? That's impossible. No single date stays fixed on a particular day of the week from year to year. From Wikipedia: "Not counting leap years, any calendar date will move to the next day of the week the following year."

So, yeah. I think you have larger problems than what day of the week your birthday falls on this year. Maybe you should have those looked at.

# # #

Nicole asks:

My husband likes the way smooth legs feel, so not only does he encourage me to shave my legs twice a day, he has also started to shave his own legs along with his underarms. He'll sit there while we watch TV and rub lotion along his own legs. Is this a sign that he might be gay?


Honestly, I feel like we get an "Is he gay?" question once a week. And none of them involve the husband never having sex with the wife, or the wife finding him with his dick up some guy's ass.

The guy likes smooth skin. I honestly can't even imagine what random connection in your head links "smooth skin" and "gay", but whatever, he's not. At least, not based on your letter.

I highly recommend that you, and anyone who's been thinking of posting a letter like this, educate yourself about what homosexuality is. An organization like PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) or the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) can give you the information you need, or point you in the direction of a reputable sex educator.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Smelly Coworkers

Slappy asks:

One coworker wears the worst smelling perfume. It's her regular scent. It smells awful when she is next to me whih is quite often. I am allergic to most perfumes, so I often get headaches when we work closely together. Is there a tactful way to ask her to lighten up on the application, or skip it altogether???

This sounds like a job for Nice Critic. I was introduced to this site by a friend just recently. You can anonymously email a neighbor or coworker with various friendly suggestions about their appearance, hygiene, manners, etc. The notes are all worded very kindly, so you can get your point across without being rude and without getting involved in an awkward conversation. Sure, it's kindof hilarious, but it might just work!

If passive-aggressive isn't really your thing, you can use your allergies as a perfect excuse to start this conversation. If you remember Kate's article, How Do I Say It, from back in May, her number one rule for situations like this is to blame yourself. The easiest way to approach a situation like this is to say, "Hey, co-irker, I'm prone to migranes and a lot of times they're triggered by the chemicals in perfume. I know it's inconvenient, but would you mind wearing a little less on days that we have meetings?" By deflecting the problem to yourself, you're softening the blow of the actual statement, which would be, "You smell like crap. Knock it off."

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The "Ooops" Baby

Amy writes:

Dear WYPF,

My husband and I enjoy a child-free life. We decided before marriage that we didn't want children. We still do not want children and take every precaution not to get pregnant.

We haven't taken the surgery route, because frankly we both know we might change our mind in a few years.

The problem is I am pregnant. Despite condoms, birth control, and praying for my period it happened.

Guys... I still don't want a child. I cannot in good conscience have an abortion, because I don't morally agree with it.

My family knows, and I am just into my second trimester. I would like to give the baby up for adoption, but everyone in my family - brothers, sisters, parents, in-laws all tell me I will feel differently when I hold the child in my arms.

What do you think? Is adoption as crazy as they make it seem, or am I doing the right thing giving him or her up for adoption because we don't want children?

It gets more complex.

I worry they are right and I will love the child as soon as I hold it, and not be able to give it up.

We have met with several nice couples who are looking to adopt, and I am afraid it will break someone's heart if I'm not able to give him or her up.

What would you do? What am I missing? What am I not asking myself?

I would keep the baby, but I'm not you. Only you and your husband can make this decision for yourselves.

I do think, based on the limited information you've provided, that this is the answer you're leaning toward.

Do you want me to change your mind? Babies are hard work, and it's not just the sleep deprivation in the first couple years. It won't be long before you have to start worrying about school and grades and and how long until this fever breaks and what do you mean you want to quit ballet and take up horseback riding. And oh God, teenagers. No one likes teenagers. Not even their parents.

But really, there's a whole lot of reward in all of that too. Can you see it? The first steps, and the first "I love you, Mommy," and the grand slam at the bottom of the ninth, and college graduation and someone who'll check in on you once a week when you start to lose your sight or your hearing.

Not helping, am I?

You and your husband need to ask yourselves some serious questions. The biggest being, "Are we financially, emotionally and physically capable of raising a child?" I'm not just talking about wishing you had a six-figure salary or worrying about how much you'll cope with colic and midnight feedings. Having a child comes with it's share of sacrifices, but right now your focus is not on your convenience but on the health and well-being of the child. If you're drowning in debt, are on the brink of divorce, or don't have a roof over your heads, then obviously the most loving thing to do would be to give this baby up to a family with the means to take care of him or her.

However, if you're old enough to rent a car, have a happy marriage and stable income, then your child is going to be better off than most of the babies born into this world. We already know you have a loving and supportive family. Their advice may not be completely unselfish (after all, this is their grandchild/niece/nephew you're talking about), but they do all want what's best for you, and they know you better than anyone else.

You say yourself that you and your husband didn't choose permanent sterilization because you knew you may someday want children. You also say you are worried that you will love this child. These statements lead me to believe that your mind just hasn't caught up to your heart.

If you do decide to keep the baby, you need to be honest with yourselves about how hard it will be. Your life plans just took a drastic turn, and there's no shame in needing to speak with a professional to come to terms with your new responsibilities.

Trading In Her "V" Card

Dear WYPF,

I was raised by good parents, and taught to believe that sex is something you share with someone you love. I'm not very religious, but in college, after seeing too many friends get STD's after thinking they were "in love" I decided to wait until marriage.

To give you a little background, I am a college educated, independent 32 year old woman. I own my own home, am self sufficient, and generally happy in life. I am marrying a man who respects my decision to wait.

I have two sisters and a brother however who did not choose to wait, and constantly ridicule me and call me a tease. They ask me how I could possibly marry someone I haven't slept with, because I don't know if he's good in bed, nor do I know if I am good in bed.

While I realize it's ridiculous it has put a small fear in me that I will be terrible in bed, and he will be disappointed he waited.

How do you feel about waiting until marriage to have sex?

Also, any tips on what to do the first night? I love this man deeply and I am 95% positive the sex will be incredible, but the other 5% is pure doubt.

- Anna

Well, Anna, I can't speak for Christy, but I feel waiting until after marriage is a mistake. It's an old analogy, but really: you don't buy a car without a test-drive, and you're not obligated to keep a car for the next fifty or sixty years. Sexual compatibility is one of the "Big Three" issues in marriage (the other two are money and kids), and while openly discussing your sexuality with your fiance is a good start, there's really no substitute for really seeing how you two manage between the sheets.

Being "good" or "bad" doesn't have anything to do with it, either. Being responsible certainly does, and you bring up a good point about sexually-transmitted infections (STIs). While condoms can help one avoid many common STIs, many others - including genital herpes and HPV, which is responsible for some forms of cervical cancer - aren't limited to transmission by fluids, and so can be acquired through any genital contact.

My personal opinion is that it's a good idea not to hook up with random strangers in order to avoid such STIs, but that doesn't mean that all sex is out forever. I believe God gave us our bodies to enjoy - every part of them. There's nothing sinful in enjoying vigorous exercise or a good meal, and I don't believe that there is anything sinful in pre-marital sex, as long as you're respectful of yourself and your partner.

I also don't think there's anything wrong with making the personal decision to wait until marriage. You have your own opinions and values, and it's rude of your siblings to ridicule you for them. (Though really: how did that ever come up in conversation, anyway? It's not a topic I've covered with my three brothers!) You've decided the best course for your life, and it seems to have served you well. I would never denigrate such successful decision-making. Your body is yours and no one else gets to make decisions about its use!

As to your wedding night, the best advice I can give is this: It will probably suck.

Most people's first times, even when they're with someone they care about and feel safe with, suck. For women, the first time can be painful. The vagina is not a negative space, waiting to be filled. It's a potential space, sort of like a pocket. When you have nothing in your pockets, they lay flat against your body. It is only when you put something in them that they expand and accommodate the object. If your body isn't used to accommodating objects - and if you have an intact hymen - there can be some discomfort. Like everything else in life, how much is specific to the woman involved. You may feel nothing; you may have to stop because it simply hurts too much.

I don't say that to scare you, but simply to let you know that all reactions along that scale are normal, and experiencing any of them shouldn't put you off sex or make you feel weird. You and your brand-new husband will probably be a little awkward, and you won't really get into the groove of pleasing each other for a while. That's normal! Take this period of adjustment as the opportunity it is, and explore each other.

Before you marry, I encourage you to have a frank and honest discussion about sex with your fiance. Discuss what you both like, what you dislike, what you find sexy or not, what sorts of experiences you have had. Think of this as the start of a lot of foreplay: talking about sex will get you thinking about having it, with your man, and will put you in a positive frame of mind for when the doors finally close behind you in the honeymoon suite.

You can't go wrong with books, either; even your local library should have some instructional books, as well as works of erotica to give you an idea of what you'd like to try. If that's a little too local, Amazon ships in nice plain brown boxes.

The best way to be good at sex is simply to enjoy it. Sex is supposed to be fun, first and foremost. If you two go into it with light hearts and the idea that you will have fun, you'll have a wonderful time - even if you just end up giggling most of the night. Don't force your first time to be anything other than it is: don't make it a test of the relationship, or a deeply solemn event. Have fun. Explore. Enjoy your body, and your husband's. That's what they're made for!

Congratulations on your marriage, and please, do write back to tell us how it went. Just please, leave out the details!

Picky Eaters and the Men Who Don't Love Them All That Much

Clint asks:

I love to try new foods and restaurants but my girlfriend is not adventurous and would rather go to TGIFridays or some other local bar restaurant. I love fried mac and cheese, but I want to propose and don't want to be stuck eating fried mac and cheese on a night out for the rest of my life. How do I tell her that she needs to try new stuff? I was hoping to propose at a new fancy French bistro but she refuses to go because she thinks all they serve is snails and gruel.

Well first, telling her she needs to try new things isn't going to work. It may even make her dig her heels in more. You need to encourage her and assure her that new foods won't kill her. Take baby steps. If she really doesn't think she likes French food, then find an Italian place, or even high-end American. Tell her where you're going is a surprise so she doesn't have time to protest. Let her order what she wants for a main dish, but pick an appetizer to share that's a little more adventurous, and encourage her to taste what you're having.

As her confidence builds, you can try more and more exotic restaurants. Tapas and Mezza are great for picky eaters, because you can try a variety and the portions are small. This way, if she tries something she really doesn't like, there's always something else to move on to.

Keep in mind that you shouldn't completely cut out TGIFridays as an option. Cheap, fried and delicious isn't always a bad thing. Maybe alternate who gets to choose the restaurant each date, or agree that every 3rd date has to be at a place you've never tried. If she's absolutely unwilling to bend, then you have bigger problems. Marriage is about compromise, and if she's unwilling to meet you halfway on this, imagine the fights that will ensue when you're dealing with visiting in-laws or raising children.

And while we're on the subject of marriage, you need to seriously re-think your planned proposal. Why in the world would you want to pop the question in a place where she doesn't even want to be? Is hungry and cranky really the state of mind you want her in for this particular event? This moment is about the two of you together, not about her fitting into some image of what you wish she could be. Surely you two have some common interests; obviously food isn't one of them. Propose at a park or on the beach or in your living room, but for God's sake, not in a restaurant that you already know she won't enjoy or appreciate.

Baby Names and Bad People

Gretchen asks:

My brother's wife wants to name their kid after a relative who was abusive to me but no one really knows this. I thought I put the past behind me, but it's hurtful to know this relative was abusive to me as a child. I can honestly say I am just happy that my brother was not harmed. Is there a proper way to let them know that the name they are considering is bringing back old memories, or should I just deal with it and mind my business?

Obviously, you've kept the abuse a secret for many, many years. To answer your question, you need to ask yourself what's more important: protecting your secret, or not allowing the person who hurt you to be honored with a child named after him.

You can't ask your brother to use a different name without providing an explanation, and you can't predict how your brother will react to this news. It's very possible that your situation will be made public, and will cause a serious rift in your family. For whatever reason, you've chosen to avoid this until now. Will you be prepared to face it if you have to?

For anyone who has suffered abuse, I strongly recommend therapy. You've been forcing yourself to deal with it alone for years, and you deserve some help. I hope it helps you find your answer, and I wish you the best of luck.

This Place Is For The Dogs

Jamie asks:

My sister in law's house smells like dog urine and, well, human waste as well. She rarely likes to open the windows because she thinks she will forget to close them at night. It's torture going over there, especially for meals, because the smell is overwhelming. They only have one dog, but they often forget to take the dog out so the dog pees on the furniture and no one cleans it up. I noticed this when I went to sit on the couch and saw the stains. Her bathroom is also very unsanitary - stains in the shower, mildew buildup, soiled toilet seat. I make sure I go to the bathroom before I leave my house so I won't have to use her toilet unless it's an emergency. She lives alone with her teenaged daughter, and I think the daughter should help with chores to make sure the house is kept cleaner than it is, but my sister in law said she's too busy with school and a part time job to do regular chores. I really don't want to go back over there, but every time I try to just tell her to open the windows for more fresh air "because it's so NICE out!" she replies that she always forgets to close the windows when I leave and promptly shuts them. I am at the point where I am ready to never go back over there, or just invite the sister in law to MY home for dinner and visits. What do you think?

I think never going over there is an excellent idea. I certainly would never eat in a house that was kept like that. I'm gagging just thinking about it.

For what it's worth, if I had a friend or close family member who was living in that degree of filth, I'd be pulling them aside and asking if something was wrong. This behavior is indicative of much larger problems, and it's possible that she needs professional help. Sure the teenage daughter could be helping out, but it's clear that the mother is doing nothing, so why should her daughter be expected to be different?

I would decline all future invitations to her home. If she asks why, I would tell her.

Helping Ailing Parents

Georgia asks:

My mother in law is losing her hearing, and she has the beginnings of cataracts. She also has osteoporosis and uses a walker but barely walks around her house because she's afraid to fall and break something. She lives alone so I suggested to my husband to get her the life alert system. However, none of the siblings want to chip in and it is too expensive for us to take on the entire cost. I know I can't expect them to part with their money, but this is THEIR mom, not mine, so why do I care more about her safety than they do? So my question is, would it be out of line to do some research and see how much the life alert system is if we were to share the cost, per each sibling, or is that too presumptuous?

It's admirable that you want to do something to help your mother-in-law. However, if your husband's siblings have already said they don't want to chip in on a life alert, then it is presumptuous to research prices with the expectation of changing their mind. What you could do is look into her insurance coverage and see what kind of assistance may be available under her plan. Your mother-in-law may also have the finances available to cover her own care, and it's not unreasonable to sit down with her and let her know what she needs to start doing.

There are ways to assist an ailing parent without a financial obligation as well, so don't be too quick to write off your brothers and sisters-in-law as uncaring. If an alert system is simply out of the budget, then suggest that you each make it a point to call or visit once or twice a week, just to check in on her.

The family also needs to face the fact that if their mother is going blind, there's a limit to the amount of time she's going to be able to live on her own. Start the discussion now of how you're going to handle in-home care or assisted living, or whether she'll move in with one of her children. Even if the move is ultimately a few years off, it's best to get the plan in place now so that there's not a lot of arguing or indecisiveness when the time for action comes. 

At the end of the day, the amount of time and money you're willing to put into helping your mother-in-law is a decision that you and your husband need to make independently of his siblings. I should hope that each of her children will want to provide the best care possible for the woman who raised them, but fighting over who provides what only hurts her in the end.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Our Apologies

Posting will be intermittent through the weekend, as both Christy and Kate chose the same week to visit with family. We will do our best to post at least once a day, and will be back to our regular schedule by Tuesday.

Keep the letters coming, we will get to them all.

The Tagalong

Lisa asks:

I can't stand my friend's new boyfriend but I will never tell her this. But the only have been going out for about 10 months and he's practically living with her. He doesn't help her financially I assume because whenever I ask her to do anything she complains she has no money, and tells me how lucky I am to have two incomes (since I am married). She always wants to bring him out with us if it's just the two of us, and I do not enjoy his company. Last time I asked her to come over, she asked if she could bring this dude, and I told her, " I was just hoping we could get together without the guys."

She took it to mean I never want to see this guy. I never told her this in those words, but does she really have to bring him along wherever she goes? So I told her that things are getting serious with this guy, and she said they aren't (WHAT? Why is he sleeping over 7 nights a week???) but this guy is now a part of her life and he should be included. Whe i go over there, she busts her butt cleaning up, and he doesn't so much as move away from in front of the TV except to light another cigarette while my friend takes out the trash. And then I am stuck with this guy talking to me about boring things.

He's boring, he talks too much about things I don't care about, and I think she can do better. But this is not info I think she wants to hear. Should I just dump her as a friend because she doesn't seem to get it, or should I bring up that this relationship seems like it's too much? I don't even know how to approach her. It's not my business to like him or his personality since SHE is the one who has to date him, but for goodness sake, I think I am entitled to ask my friend to have an evening out without her boyfriend tagging along.

And what is wrong with this guy anyway, that he actually comes along with her??? Why doesn't he have his own friends??? UGH!

Remember the old adage "actions speak louder than words?" You may have never told your friend "in those  words" that you don't like this guy and don't ever want to hang out with him. But it's obvious that that's the way you feel, and as a close friend, she's probably picked up on it.

Unless you believe he's hurting her, stealing from her, or involving her in illegal activity, it really isn't your place to comment on the quality of her relationship with him. If she's willing to be the breadwinner and do all the housework while he plays video games, that's her perogative. When she brings up the fact that her situation makes her unhappy, then you can try reasoning with her about the guy. Constantly trying to avoid him isn't going to solve your problem, because to her it just looks like you're the one with the problem.

It's certainly reasonable to plan a girls night every once in awhile. If she's never willing to be apart from him then your best bet is to just step back from the friendship for awhile and be there for her when she comes around.

I Fear For Future Generations

Kitti writes:

Dear advice ppl,

I am having a 3rd baby. My other 2 r boys, but this one is a grl. I sent out baby shower invitations cuz I am 7 1/2 months pregnant and dont got no grl stuff.

My sis called an said it's wrong 2 have a baby shower 4 a 3rd baby, but it's a grl an I dont got no grl stuff.

How do I tell her to butt out?

Sorry, Kitti, your sister is right. It's only appropriate to have a baby shower for your first child, and it's never appropriate to throw your own shower. You're on your own for "grl stuff." Lucky for you, the big ticket items like car seats and high chairs aren't gender specific, and I'm sure you'll find that a lot of your sons' baby clothes are fairly gender neutral.

There are a few people in your life who should be close enough to kindly let you know when your behavior breaches etiquette. Siblings and parents are generally on that list; your sister was just trying to help you out. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Grandbaby Rabies

Grandbaby Crazy wants to know:

My son and his wife just told us that we're going to be grandparents, and WE COULD NOT BE MORE EXCITED!!!!!!

But it feels like we're the only ones who are!

Our other sons didn't react like we'd hoped. We were hoping they'd ask us about our son's baby registry - we even had all the information handy, just in case they wanted to send a gift. And neither of them even asked! (I'm glad I had gifts already wrapped. I just wrote their names on them and presented them to their brother!!) 

I'm so hurt. It's like they don't care that their big brother has been blessed not only with a wonderful, enriched life and lovely wife, but also a new child. One son even told me that he wasn't going to have kids EVER!

It's like they're trying to hurt me. They know how much I need grandbabies! I'm so happy that my pride and joy is having a baby, but I'd love to have even more.

How can I get everyone else as excited about the new bundle of joy as I am? You're my only hope!

First off, congratulations on your new grandchild. For many people, new babies are extremely exciting, and this is definitely going to be a wonderful time for you, your son, and your daughter-in-law.

For other people, the excitement doesn't really happen until the baby arrives. If your daughter-in-law is still early in her pregnancy, I wouldn't be surprised that gifts weren't the first thought to enter your other sons' minds. While it was nice of you to want to "help" by choosing and wrapping gifts for them to give, unless they asked you to do so it really wasn't your place. Have you set up an expectation for your older son that all his brothers want to do is shower him and his wife with gifts? That's really not fair to anyone. You are entitled to give this child everything and anything you want, but make it from you.

As far as wanting more grandchildren, slow down and enjoy the gifts you do have. Greed isn't becoming on anyone. Whether and when to have children is a very personal decision to be made ONLY by the couple having the child. They may want to wait until they're more financially stable. They may have decided that parenthood isn't for them. Or, they may not be able to have children, and constantly hounding them will only add to their pain. Their situations and choices have nothing to do with you and are none of your buisness. 
So cuddle the new baby, count your blessings, and keep your mouth shut. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Nope, Not Normal.

MLP asks:

I have a serious crush on a celebrity.  It's bad.  I find myself day dreaming about what it would be like if we were friends or what would happen if I ran into him one day in an airport or on the street.  I read everything I can about him and have even found his address online and thought about flying to LA to find it (not to break in or anything, just to maybe see him getting into his car).  I've sent him a few e-mail messages to what I think is his personal e-mail account, but I never got a reply.  I'm thinking of writing him a letter to send through a fan club and sending him a gift of some sort.  What can I say that will make him take notice?  Or should I just come back to earth and remember that I am just a little nobody in a town he has never heard of?

P.S. I am cuter than that piece of trash he has been dating.

Regardless of how cute you are, this level of interest in a person you've never met is not okay. Celebrities are not the people they play on TV or in the movies. They often aren't even the people they act like when the media is around. You sound like you are seriously confusing fantasy and reality.

It's time to refocus your energy on people you actually know. If you're not capable of maintaining actual relationships because of this crush, then you need professional help.
Sarah asks:

I'm expecting a baby in a few weeks. I may not have to return to work right away, but I will eventually. My concern is the babysitting situation. I'm getting pressure from my SIL to let her mother watch the baby because she already watches my SILs kids. The argument is that MIL would get her feelings hurt if we took our child to a daycare provider. The thought of leaving my child with MIL makes me very uncomfortable because she does not speak English. She can't call me with questions or concerns, and if there's an emergency I'm not confident that she'd have her wits about her to remain calm and call 911 or go to a neighbor for help. I don't think it's unreasonable for me to put my child's well-being ahead of my MIL's feelings, but am I being a worry wort?

Ultimately, the decision of whom to leave your child with is for you and your husband to make, not your Sister in Law, or Mother in Law, or even me. It could be that your SIL is pressuring you into this because she doesn't want to feel like a freeloader. Does your MIL really want to be the family's free day-care provider, or is this a situation where you're damned if you do and damned if you don't?

On one hand, she raised your husband and he turned out well enough that you decided to marry him. On the other, if you think her age has brought on physical or mental limitations, you have a valid concern about what would happen in an emergency. Talk to your husband and discuss all your options. Make sure whatever decision you come to is made in the best interest of the child, and not out of whatever issues you may have with your Mother in Law.

If you do choose to go with a day care provider, just be mindful of how you present the news to her. "We want to keep our child as far away from you as possible" won't go over as well as "MIL, you're already so busy and you do so much for us already--thank you, by the way, for the dinner you brought by, Lord knows I'm hardly capable of cooking for myself let alone a whole family--we just didn't want to burden you with a newborn to watch during the day. We're sure babykins will still get to see plenty of you, seeing as how you pop in to visit 5 times a week."

I'll Say It.

Kasey asks:

Hi.  How do I get my boyfriend to give me a promise ring?  We love each other sooo much but my friends don't believe it because he hasn't given me a ring yet.  They think I should leave him if I don't have a ring by the time school starts in the fall.  He says that he can't afford one, but he can afford to buy all kinds of stuff to trick out his truck.

Promise rings are dumb. Ignoring the fact that getting "engaged to get engaged" is completely meaningless, couples who are still in school have no business committing to anything further off than prom.

If you love him as much as you say, then your friends shouldn't have so much influence over your decision to stay or leave. If the ridiculous trinket is more important to you than the relationship, it's time to move on. 

Monday, July 12, 2010

It's a "Not Wanting to Drive Home in Sweaty Clothes" Thing

Stacy asks:

My husband loves going to the locker room at our gym and I find it disturbing.  I hate using the locker room and avoid it at all costs.  He sometimes goes straight to the gym after work and needs to use it to change, but sometimes (like if he comes home to pick me up before we go together) he has plenty of opportunity to change clothes at home but doesn't.  I'm afraid it means that he is attracted to men although I have no evidence of this and our sexual relationship is thriving.  I've tried casually asking things like "what are you doing in there for so long?" and "is this just a man thing?" and he blows me off or gets annoyed.  I'm scared to just come out and ask the big question. Any advice?

I think you're overreacting. If your husband was interested in men, I he would seek better places to go look at them. If he starts "working late" or you start noticing charges from the local male strip club on your credit card statements, you have my permission to worry.

Some people just like to be able to change back into their street clothes when they finish working out. If he changes at home before he goes to the gym, that just means he can't change after his workout, which he may find uncomfortable. Let this be an issue where you agree to disagree.