Dear Abby, 9 October 2014:
DEAR ABBY: I met this beautiful woman online. We have been dating for a few months, and I really don’t care for her natural hairstyle and the scarves/headgear she wears when we’re together. I have tiptoed around the issue. What should I do? — BACHELOR IN GEORGIA
Dear Bachelor in Georgia,
What should you do? You mean, what should she do, as the individual in the relationship who is obligated to meet certain culturally mandated standards of beauty, imposed and perpetuated in order to maintain an overarching system of patriarchal white supremacy, such that she doesn’t offend your delicate aesthetic sensibilities as the partner on whom she must rely to bestow upon her any value whatsoever as a human being in the eyes of a society positively teeming with misogynoir?
Stop tip-toeing around and tell your girlfriend how you feel! She will very likely take your concerns into consideration and make some big changes to her “headgear” look. With headphones. Possibly big ones. Noise-canceling ones.
Annie’s Mailbox, 25 September 2014:
Dear Friends and Family: When I phone, it’s because I want to speak with you. If you would like to speak with me, please do the same. Do not attempt to carry on a conversation by texting. We can get the same results in a two-minute phone call as in a texting session that leaves things out and takes way too much time. I also have to wait for your response. And I wouldn’t dream of texting you back while I am driving. I would love to hear from you, so please call. If I don’t answer, leave a message. I will do the same for you. There may be times when texting is necessary, but I do not want that to be our principal means of communication. Annie, am I asking too much? — Dorothy
Thank you so much for this important letter, Dorothy. Your communication-challenged family and friends can really learn a thing or two about excellent interpersonal skills from you, a person who writes passive-aggressive screeds about text messages to internet advice columnists in hopes that someone reads it, recognizes themselves, and gives a shit.
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.
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.