here's that bad advice you were hoping for

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563 notes

Help, Menopause Ruined My RV Vacation!

Ask Amy, 13 September 2014:

Dear Amy: When we were dating, my wife was the sweetest woman in the world. She didn’t make a move without asking me. We had a few kids. She stayed home and raised them while I worked. The kids grew up and went off on their own. The wife got a part-time job to keep herself busy. Then she got promoted. Now she works full time, goes to business lunches and dinners, meetings and training sessions. She comes home, cooks and cleans. She doesn’t ask me what I’d like for dinner but makes whatever she feels like. Our plan was for me to retire when I turned 62 (she’s 57), buy an RV and travel the country. Well, we bought the RV, but she can only go on weekend trips. Vacations are saved for when the kids come home. She traded in the car I bought her to tote the kids around for a sports car that I can barely fit in. Now she’s talking about getting a smaller house because she doesn’t have time to clean “a big empty house.” I keep telling her we will have grandkids one day and she will be glad we have all the space. She’s changed so much in 37 years that I don’t even recognize her, and I’m afraid one day I will wake up to a “for sale” sign in my front yard. How do I convince her she is just going through “the change” and in a few years she will be back to normal again? — Mystified Mike

Dear Mystified Mike,

Boy howdy, the ole’ ball and chain sure has pulled a fast one on you! Time was nice ladies like ole’ wifey knew their place. (Slightly behind you but never out of sight, holding a dishrag.)

But here you are today, seeing your wife bring in an income and cook and clean your home while you pine away for an RV you can’t use unless she’s in it—I mean, it’s not like it’s going to clean itself during a trip to Flagstaff, is it?

When you married your wife, she had a lifetime obligation to stay the same person she was on your wedding day. That’s what long-term partnership is about: wives graciously taking orders from their husbands for their entire lives, until they drop dead on the ironing board. You understand this, but your wife clearly doesn’t—and for that, you can definitely blame menopause, the only possible cause of your wife’s desire to be an independent human being with her own interests.

Nothing besides a totally natural hormonal change could possibly have compelled her to seek out new occupations and hobbies after the make-up of her life shifted away from the daily tasks involved in raising your children for you—certainly not the prospect of living under the thumb of a man who takes offense to the purchase of a sports car for the rest of her god-forsaken days.

What, are you supposed to cook dinner? Mop a floor? Have an open and honest discussion with your wife about household purchases and meal planning? No man should ever deign to engage in such offensive activities with his helpmeet. Nevertheless, you may have to gently suggest to her that she’s getting a little uppity these days, and has she talked to her doctor about her bizarre and offensive interest in acting like an autonomous human?

After all, your dinner is at stake.

Filed under bad advice ask amy advice menopause marriage your dinner is at steak sexism misogyny uppity wives

125 notes

Anonymous asked: Where does the Bad Advisor live? Does she ever plan on doing a meet up or something? I'd love to buy her a drink.

The Bad Advisor is everywhere and nowhere. Every time you buy a drink for someone you love, you are buying a drink for the Bad Advisor.

65 notes

Anonymous asked: I have a friend. She's sort of my second den mother. She has two dogs, but one recently passed away. Like, way recently. Other than be there for her and her fam., is there anything else I can do? Is it tacky to send flowers for a pet?

Readers won’t stop sending the Bad Advisor their real-ass questions to answer, so the Bad Advisor is periodically going to try her hand at answering them.

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The Bad Advisor extends her deepest sympathies to your friend on the loss of her dear pup. Flowers would be a sweet gesture, but you might consider making a donation to an animal rights or animal welfare organization in your friend’s name. They’ll often send over a nice card informing the honoree of donations. 

Filed under good advice interlude death of a pet sympathy grief grieving pets

173 notes

I’m Having A Hard Time Mothering At These Grown Adults

Carolyn Hax, 9 September 2014:

Dear Carolyn: I am the stepmother to two young adults, a 26-year-old boy and a 30-year-old girl. They are both married without children and their mother is deceased. I have five kids of my own, all over 35. Every year my children come up for at least one holiday with their spouses and families. My stepchildren have not visited for the holidays in the four years my husband and I have been married. When they visit, they are polite but aloof. I really want to be a good stepmother to both of them; however, they don’t seem to have any interest in being parented by anyone. My husband is depressed that his children don’t care to be a part of our blended family. He had problems with both kids in the past but he figured they would grow out of their dislike for him. I confronted his daughter, and she said although she is willing to forge friendships with my kids and me, she’s not terribly interested in having new siblings or a parent/child relationship with me. What does this leave me as? Step-friend? Step-acquaintance? As the now matriarch of this family, how do I bring them all together?

- Step-Parent or Step-Friend?

Dear Step-Parent or Step-Friend?,

What about “your majesty”? Has a nice ring to it.

Filed under step parents advice step parenting using parenting as a verb for something you do to or at adult humans carolyn hax bad advice blended families

431 notes

Anonymous asked: My friend is fat, and he has a friend who is also fat. And they both rode in my car at the same time and long story short, their combined weight of 500+ lbs damaged the suspension of my car such that I can't get it to go faster than 70 MPH downhill anymore. I try my best to take them on walks when we hang out, but I'm afraid he's going to notice that we no longer go to see movies/visit other friends/generally drive around. What do I tell him when he inevitably asks why? I don't want to hurt him.

Readers won’t stop sending the Bad Advisor their real-ass questions to answer, so the Bad Advisor is periodically going to try her hand at answering them.

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Are your friends … dogs? Is that why you “take them on walks” when you “hang out” with them?

Believe the Bad Advisor, your friends have noticed that you’re treating them like secret weight loss projects. Being fat doesn’t mean you stop having the capacity to understand and interpret the actions of other people. You can’t play a trick on fat people that will make them thin. Stop doing this asinine shit, it’s gross.

As for your car? Welp, sorry. Cars go on the road and roads are dangerous and random places where cars get fucked up. You can’t prove your fat friends did jack shit to your car’s suspension.

The Bad Advisor’s best guess is that you’re the one who’s going to “notice” that you no longer go to “see movies/visit other friends/generally drive around” with your fat friends because your fat friends don’t like being treated like shitty science experiments.

Go get your mind right.

Filed under good advice interlude car trouble friend trouble fat-shaming trying to trick fat people into being thin so you can put them in your car because apparently that's a thing that we're doing now

394 notes

WAKE UP, WOMEN

Annie’s Mailbox, 5 September 2014:

Dear Annie: I am amazed that women do not realize that one of the primary reasons they are not being asked out is simply because they insist on traveling in packs. Men do not like to break into a group of women just to ask one of them to dance or to chat. Some years ago, I did an experiment with a female friend, asking her to place herself alone against a wall in a bar with her arms behind her. It took less than five minutes for someone to come up and ask if he could buy her a drink. Meanwhile, as I looked around, I saw many men standing about and many women in groups chatting away with no man even close to them. Wake up, women. You have the ability to change your dating success pronto. — PB Watching

Dear PB Watching,

HEY LADIES GO STAND IN THE CORNER ALONE, THIS DUDE IS HAVING A REALLY HARD TIME TALKING TO MORE THAN ONE OF YOU IGNORANT WINDBAGS AT ONCE.

Filed under dating advice bad advice annie's mailbox except unless you get alone with the wrong guy and he chooses to assault you then you should have traveled with a group also your skirts are too short except for when they are too long come on who's ever going to hit on you if you're dressed like a nun

195 notes

Anonymous asked: Dear Bad Advisor: I am a 20-year-old (grown-ass) woman, recently turned agnostic, sort of really opposed to ritualistic religious practices. I grew up with strict Hindu parents who force me to join in prayer, walk around the deities three times at the temple, that sort of thing. I've tried reasoning with them, but alas. They don't care for that stuff. I don't want to start a fight, but each time I have to light the oil lamp and say my prayer, my blood pressure goes through the roof. Any advice?

Readers won’t stop sending the Bad Advisor their real-ass questions to answer, so the Bad Advisor is periodically going to try her hand at answering them.

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Boy howdy, can the Bad Advisor see herself in your question, LW! Shout out to all her fellow expats from organized, parent-endorsed religions in the world! 

Look, you’re 20 years old, and you’re in a Place. Bad Advisor doesn’t mean that to be condescending! If you’re anything like a lot of 20-year-olds, especially a lot of 20-year-olds realizing that they’re not juking and jiving with everything their parents spent a couple of decades teaching them, there are well-worn paths leading into and out of that Place.

It sounds like you’ve tried to talk to your parents about why you’re not down with the particular iterations of the religious practices that you grew up with, and which they still adhere to. Having that conversation is hard as a hard butt, so kudos to you for having the guts to use your words in the first place. This is a sign that you are a mature, thoughtful person who wants to treat her parents like adult-equals.

But think of it from your parents’ perspective: they raised you, this person whose butt they used to wipe like four times a day (four? Bad Advisor doesn’t know how many times babies do poops) to do and believe in a thing that they believe is true and helpful and important, and you get one leg out of the nest and next thing they know, you’re telling them that that thing they wanted you to know and believe and love and find important and life-giving is just kind of … not your bag.

That has got to be a hard thing for a parent to hear.

The Bad Advisor watched her own parents hear it from her. They were angry and heartbroken and frustrated. There was weeping and gnashing of teeth. There were guilt bombs dropped. It was a horrible thing and there was nothing the Bad Advisor could do about the fact that this thing she had once so loved, and so been taught to love, was just, like, deeply unbelievable and in many ways totally unpalatable and in even more ways like, a demonstrably bad thing for some people.

This is the gamble of parenting—a game that, unfortunately, a lot of parents think is or should be rigged entirely in their favor, so that when the dice stop rolling after eighteen or twenty years, they end up with the adult human they ordered two decades ago. 

Your parents may never like this outcome. They may hold a grudge against you for years, decades, the rest of your life. That is on them. That is not your fault. They made a sentient human, and this is what happens when you make a sentient human. 

The question is: what can you do about it now? That depends on how much you need to rely on your parents for things like housing, food, school payments, etc. You say you “have” to do these religious rituals that you aren’t on board with, which makes Bad Advisor think that you—like a whole fucking lot of 20-year-olds—are reliant on your parents for some degree of basic world support.

Some parents are going to hold their financial or emotional support hostage until you Do Religion Right. This is a shitty thing, but it is a not uncommon thing. If this is the case with you, and your parents threaten to stop paying for X, Y, Z unless you Do Religion Right, Bad Advisor suggests that you work to become financially independent as quickly as possible.

IN THE MEANTIME: a thing you are probably discovering about religion is that it can, and does, mean so many different things to many, many different people. Yes, the rituals you do at the temple have specific meanings according to the tenets of an organized religion, but can you make these rituals mean something more or different for you, privately? 

An example: the Bad Advisor occasionally attends church services with her parents on major holidays, and this often involves taking communion (that’s when Christians “drink” and “eat” the blood/body of Jesus, and various Christian denominations interpret the ritual differently). The Bad Advisor takes communion, but she prefers to imagine that the ritual is not about a magic man in the sky and his bodily sacrifice to save her original-sin-ridden self from Hell, but about sharing the table of humanity with other people and the obligations that gives the Bad Advisor to not be a complete bag of shit when she lives in the world.

Can you work to reinterpret/retool the rituals you partake in now into something that means something more/different for you? No one but you has to know, and it may give you an interesting opportunity to think not only about these existing rituals, but about where you want to go with your faith and spirituality in the future, and what does and doesn’t work for you in developing your own agnosticism/whatever.

As for dealing with your parents in the long run: chances are, this is going to become less of A Thing over time. Your adulthood is new to your parents; as time goes on, they may become more acclimated to the adult person you will become, and so will you. As this happens, it’s important to draw loving boundaries with people who may mean well, but in trying to “help” you, are actually tremendously hurting/guilting/shaming you.

Get good at changing the subject and redirecting to cooperative tasks—especially tasks that remind your parents that you appreciate their help with things you really need help with:

  • "Thanks, Dad, I’ll think about that. Hey, how about this taco recipe?"
  • "I see what you’re saying, Mom. By the way, I’ve been wondering if you can help me install this fuckball of an IKEA shelving unit."
  • "That sounds like it’s very important to you, Mom and Dad. Listen, this Rubik’s cube is giving me a hell of a fight. Ideas?"

Now, your parents may be inveterate fixers who take every ask for assistance as an opportunity to DOOOOO PAAARREENNTTIIIINNG ATTT YOOOOUUUU. If this is the case, you’ll want to change that script some:

  • "Those are great points, Dad, but I’m really trying to figure this one out on my own."
  • "This sounds like a really interesting book, Mom. What did you like most about it?"

Most importantly, you say that you “don’t want to start a fight.” So … don’t! When you feel the conversation turning to fight-mode, rather than rational-adults-discussing-the-marvels-of-the-universe mode, disengage. Use some of those scripts up above, or simply leave the room, house, whatever, with as little fanfare as possible. Go for a walk. Head to class or work early. Your parents will, hopefully, eventually realize that they can’t argue you into sharing their faith—and, in fact, will probably realize that a coerced faith is no faith at all.

Depending on your family’s socio/cultural norms, some of these things may pose more difficulties than others; only you can find the right balance. It’ll take work. Years and years of work. As you become more secure in your adulthood and your own faith/spirituality/lack thereof, Bad Advisor suspects that you’ll feel a little more comfortable making small compromises (for example, attending services or performing rituals on special holidays, etc.), and feeling less obligated/pushed to resist/rebel.

Best of luck to you, LW!

Filed under religion good advice interlude advice parents growing up adulthood organized religion

672 notes

The Only Thing I Love More Than Accepting People For Who They Are Is Telling Them What To Wear When They’re In My Presence

Ask Amy, 2 September 2014:

DEAR AMY: I’m very accepting of same-sex marriage, and my wife’s sister is married to another woman. But this woman is very masculine in appearance, and intentionally so—as she seems not at all bothered when waiters at restaurants address her as “sir.” She has short, straight hair, uses no makeup, walks and dresses like a man, and doesn’t even own a skirt. She is so “butch” that I’m uncomfortable being seen with her. Is it asking too much for a woman —any woman— to at least display some feminine traits when with friends or relatives in public? — Right … or Judgmental?

Dear Right … or Judgmental?,

Look, I know you—a super-accommodating champion of LGBTQ rights who doesn’t actively oppose gay marriage and so is therefore the pinnacle of human tolerance and an authority on the subject of being the most accepting dude of all time—don’t want to play the gender police, but if you don’t ensure that whatever you imagine people’s genitalia looks like directly correlates to whatever you imagine their gender identity to be, who will?

All you’re asking is for the ability to dictate to another adult human being that they wear clothes they don’t want to wear, and affect mannerisms they don’t want to affect, in order to ensure you don’t feel weird in front of the server at Olive Garden.

With that in mind, I want to get straight to the crux of the question in your signature: are you right to demand that other people adhere to socially mandated outward signifiers of gender identity in your presence?

ABSOFUCKINGLUTELY! Man God created delicate lady helpers to complement and serve Man People like you, the extremely important boss of everyone. The whole entire population of planet earth anxiously awaits your ruling on how they should act and dress in your presence, lest a pair of slacks singularly usher in the end of everything you have ever known or held dear. After all, what if someone thinks your sister-in-law is a man, and then they saw you hanging out with your sister-in-law, thinking she was a man that you were hanging out with????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

When people defy gender norms in public, as if they have any right to a self-determined gender presentation or the wardrobe of their choosing, those who suffer most are the dudes they’re related to by marriage, because logically, flowers rainbows ballet unicorns dresses TOOLS BRICKS TRUCKS PANTS, clearly.

Oh sure, butch-presenting women, femme-presenting men, trans, queer and other gender non-conforming folks are frequently sexually harassed, assaulted and/or shamed both by other members of the public and by the police, politicians and elected officials who have ostensibly been tasked with advocating for and protecting them, but the real victim here is yoooOoooOoooOOOoooUUUuuUUUUuuu, a man-man whose manly manitude is wholly predicated on the sartorial subjugation of other adult humans according to culturally, geographically and temporally variable gender norms that have shifted, and continue to shift, significantly over tens of thousands of years of human history.

Have your wife craft a bedazzled menu of approved “feminine” traits from which your sister-in-law can choose (you wouldn’t do this, naturally, because DIRTBIKES BUD LIGHT FOOTBALL BUKOWSKI), and inform her that you won’t be seen in public with her unless she starts playing pretty princess for you. The situation should quickly resolve itself.

Filed under lgbtq advice bad advice ask amy i'm very accepting of same-sex marriage lolololololol gold-star allyship a+++++++ allies with allies like these butch femme trans queer masculinity femininity gender roles gender performance gender essentialism bigotry this fuckin guy

128 notes

Anonymous asked: God dammit, Bad Advisor! How did you become so awesome?!

Years of fucking shit up pretty bad and trying not to do it the same way next time.