Patient Wants To See Therapist After-Hours
(taken from 1/31/16 "Dear Abby")
LETTER: I've met a man with whom I get along well. He is a physical therapist. We talk and joke during my therapy sessions. He makes them seem more like fun than work.
I think we could be friends if given the chance. When I have finished my therapy at the practice, would it be OK to ask if we could keep in touch? If so, how does one approach this? He's married, but I'm not looking for a romantic relationship. I would just enjoy being able to talk with him occasionally.
Abby said to be straightforward, but obviously she does not watch South Park...
SKILLZ SAYS: On that show, Cartman's mom Liane hired Cesar Millan (aka the Dog Whisperer) to "train" Cartman into better behavior. Spending extensive time with Millan mistakenly led Liane to believe a friendship had sparked between them. Millan shot that idea down fast, devastating Liane.
I tell you this to keep your hopes down; your PT likely just views you as another client, and will laugh at you if you ask for more. To prevent that from happening while keeping him in your life, simply remain his client! You don't say what he's treating you for, but whatever it is, either make it flare up or develop something new. It is not that difficult to lie. I used to do it all the time.
If that isn't something you feel comfortable doing, you could try leaving something in his office—or better yet, taking something FROM his office by "accident" and arranging for him to pick it up at a time you just happen to be having a gathering of folks and food. If he enjoys himself once...he may do so again, and again, and again.
Final desperation idea: on your final day of therapy, don't ask him to be your friend, but paint yourself so lonely and attention-starved—"I want to see Star Wars, but I have no one to go with." "I want to buy a new flat-screen, but what's the point? Nobody ever comes over to see me."—that he feels sorry for you and offers out of pity. WIN! You're welcome.
Younger Sister Doesn't Look Like The Younger Sister
(taken from 6/27/15 "Dear Abby")
LETTER: I run around with my sister "Pam" a lot. She is eight years older. She had a face-lift some years ago, and she continues to seek out cosmetic procedures to enhance her appearance. I have had Botox and fillers, but do not want a face-lift. I am trying to age gracefully, just at a slightly slower pace.
I love my sister and I think she looks beautiful. However, when Pam and I are together and tell people we're sisters, they always think I'm the older one. My feelings are hurt.
When our father died, I gained 30 pounds. Food was how I dealt with my grief. I have been working hard to get in better shape and lose weight. I am halfway to my goal, and proud of myself, but when these encounters happen, I get thrown. How do I answer people who ask about the age difference and make those comments?
Abby's answer was boring and simple—it was like she answered your letter at 4:59 pm. Skillz, on the other hand, has actually spent some time crafting a well-rounded solution for you...
SKILLZ SAYS: My first advice for you is to not "run around" with your sister so much—unless you're actually running for exercise, which you admittedly could benefit from.
It's the old Facebook profile issue in reverse—ugly people often use photos with attractive people as their profile pic and set their page to private so people aren't sure who is who. (At least that's a popular theory.) Your looks-obsessed sister may actually enjoy your company but I guarantee at least 25% of the reason she kicks it with you is to make herself seem even more attractive.
My second advice for you is: when people assume you're older, tell them why it is that you appear to be older. "Oh, no, I'm the younger sister. Evelyn's just had a lot of Botox." This way, if the question still hurts your feelings, at least you will have embarrassed your sister along with you.
It's not like you're lying, it's not like any astute person can't tell themselves, and it's not like sis doesn't deserve it for using you to make herself look better. WIN! You're welcome.
P.S. Choose your words better. As an overweight individual myself, I can say none of us get "thrown".
My Baby Cares Just For Me
(taken from 7/13/15 "Dear Prudence")
LETTER: My wife and I have a 20-month-old, and he clearly favors me, which leaves my wife upset and sad constantly. I currently work from home while my wife works out of the house, so I get to see him more throughout the day. I help out around the house and do the majority of the housework so my wife can maximize the time she spends with him when she gets home. However, this is not working as well as I hoped, as he still comes to me more frequently and is less fussy with me. Is there anything else I can do to help?
Prudence went on about stool and rhythm, but Skillz has what you need below:
SKILLZ SAYS: Before I answer...what is your wife doing to bond with your son? If she's sitting around moping all the time, the kid—as Prudence said—is not gonna wanna be anywhere near her. Who would?
Short of trading jobs with the Mrs., all you can do is this—stop being such a good father. Now, of course, we don't want to tramautize the child; lord knows there are enough screwed-up kids running around out there. But there's other ways you can make the kid stop favoring you:
Stick the kid in daycare. All day long. Don't see him until five minutes before his bedtime. Mom will have to basically act as a single parent for a while, but within weeks she'll become his favorite (although by default).
When he fusses at you, fuss at him back.
Whenever he "comes to you", just run away.
Put on really bad puppet shows. I mean, awful. Tots are smarter than we credit them for. If you do it right, he'll lose respect for you and lean toward Mom. (Especially if she puts on good shows.)
Whenever he needs shots, get the doctor to let YOU administer them.
Have another kid. When Mom is wrapped up with the newborn, your son will all but demand her attention because kids always want what they can't have.
If these don't appeal to you, or don't work, you can always have Mom stuff him full of sweets every hour—he'll be glued to her then. WIN! You're welcome.
Skipping A Destination Wedding
(taken from 7/16/15 "Carolyn Hax")
LETTER: My friend is having a destination wedding -- by which I mean many hours in the air. We have small children, which would make the travel difficult, and we have nobody to leave them with for the trip. And while we could technically afford it, it would set us back more than we are comfortable with -- it's our "if something bad happens, we need this" pot.
We do not question our decision to send our regrets. The problem is that our friend is taking this personally, and the guilt trips, while mild, are persistent. I really think if you have a wedding that requires (multiple!) planes, you need to not blame guests who are unable to make the trip.
I'm struggling to say this in a kind way. I've said other things about the difficulty of travel with kids, although not the bit about the money, since I don't like sharing finances with friends and worry the friend would also take our prioritizing of the rainy-day fund personally. Any suggestions?
Carolyn said you have to be direct with this friend, spelling it out for her in no uncertain terms you can't go. Here's another option:
SKILLZ SAYS: I'll never understand how people can be upset when somebody won't travel across the country on their own dime just to sit and watch anything. I don't do weddings at all, but if I did, I wouldn't travel more than an hour to get there.
You can't control how your selfish friend feels about your regrets (which you were right to send), but there is a way to solve your problem—grabbing it by the roots.
You don't say your gender or your friend's gender, but you both sound like women. I'll assume the friend is marrying a man.
What you'll need to do is arrange for an irresistable female—I mean, like a 10—to come on strong to the groom and seduce the living hell out of him. Find a way to record the tryst and BOOM! No wedding, no reason to passive-agressively snipe about your absence. This is assuming, of course, that you're not willing to do the seducing yourself.
Once the engagement ends, your friendship with this person should also end before she tries forcing you to Rome for her nephew's baptism or something.
If that's not a route you want to take, you can always agree to go to the wedding, then have someone call in multiple bomb threats just before your flight. (This only really works if you're flying the day of the ceremony.) WIN! You're welcome.
How To Quiet Screechy-Voiced Friend
(taken from 7/29/15 "Ask Amy")
LETTER: About once a month, my wife and I get together with a group of our friends for dinner. "Vivian" is a girlfriend of "Fred's" and is a very nice person.
However, Vivian has a very high, loud and screechy voice.
I deliberately try to sit down the table from her, but sometimes this is not possible. I know Fred is aware of how annoying her voice is (his facial expression sometimes gives it away), but I doubt he has said anything to her.
I would like to say something to Fred, but my wife told me to hold off. She says it is rude. I simply do not want to attend any other gatherings where Vivian is in attendance.
What do you advise?
Amy said to ask her to quiet down, get over it or stay home. Which you shouldn't have to do. Try this:
SKILLZ SAYS: I've got three options for you:
A) Keep her fed. One hors' duerve after the other. Don't make them so good as to generate a compliment.
B) Watch movies during the dinner, preferably somber ones that won't make her laugh or comment.
C) Mail an anonymous complaint to her place of employment complaining about her insane voice, just to make her conscious of it. If she does not work, send it to her house as an anonymous "guest of a neighbor". Let her and her neighbors deal with the fallout.
I had more potential ideas such as a fake emergency phone call to pull her away from dinner and to the ER, or photoshopping Fred gettin' busy with another gal to break them up, thus keeping them away...both were far too cruel, especially since you say she's nice.
One last idea, though it'll take a bit more effort: you don't say who hosts these events, but if it's you—Ex-Lax. Unless she shouts while she poops, problem solved. WIN! You're welcome.
P.S. It ISN'T rude to gently comment to Fred, but what can he do about it without ending up in the doghouse? If anything, you say to Vivian with a smile "Hey, Viv? We're right here." But that's no fun.
Approaching Husband With Low Sex Drive
(taken from 8/19/15 "Dear Abby")
LETTER: My husband, "Sam," and I have been married three years and have a good relationship. He's a wonderful father and husband, and I really couldn't ask for much more.
However, there is one thing I just don't know what to do about. He had a rough divorce from his first wife, who was also the first woman he ever had sex with (they waited until they were married). She started doing drugs shortly afterward and cheated on him several times. Counseling with her didn't work, and eventually he filed for divorce.
We married five years after his divorce, and we also waited to have sex until we were married. This was by mutual agreement. Once we were married, I realized he has some big hang-ups about sex in general. There can never be any foreplay, we never change positions, and the times it happens are few and far between.
I have expressed my need for more intimacy, but he acts like I'm being ridiculous, or says he can't make himself change something he's comfortable with. How else can I approach this situation without making him feel bad? I believe sex in a marriage is very important, and ours needs to change.
Abby suggested blah blah blah therapy marriage counselor blah blah. Not everyone can afford that, or is willing. Try my way:
SKILLZ SAYS: After reading the whole letter, no wonder Wife 1 cheated on him—he's an awful sexual partner! No foreplay? NO foreplay? How the hell do you even have sex without foreplay? Does he even let you get moist? My word. I don't necessarily advocate cheating or approve of it, but when somebody is essentially withholding it from their partner and it's that terrible when it DOES happen...I can at least understand it.
Abby sort of covered your contradictory remarks about your "good relationship" and him being a "wonderful husband". It is very important, as you said, for a spouse of either gender to sexually satisfying their partner (or at the very least, attempt to.) We are supposed to be able to turn to our partners for physical intimacy. They are supposed to provide it. Not on call 24-7 obviously, but not "few and far between".
To approach the situation without making him feel bad is big of you, since he deserves to feel somewhat bad. My idea for communicating how your needs aren't being met is to consistently fall short of meeting his needs.
If you ever cook for him, don't unthaw the food first. Serve him a plate of half-frozen meat. Then don't cook anything for two weeks, serving him that exact same dish when you do. If he questions you: "Oh, I thought you liked to skip preparation and jump right in."
Start wearing the same dreary outfit daily. "Oh, I thought you weren't into doing anything differently."
Whatever he asks you to do that is important to him—may it be bowling, a massage, visiting his family, anything you do that means a lot to your husband—turn him down. Use "a massage? Didn't I just give you one of those six weeks ago?" as your reasoning.
If none of that works, you can always forget about his feelings and tell a bunch of his guy friends—if he has any—about his sexual shortcomings and let embarrassing peer pressure do its thing.
Either A) seeing his sexual failing from other points of view will motivate him to improve, or B) he will still think you're ridiculous because he's a selfish dirtbag using his "hangups" as an excuse to let you down, and you'll at least know you have no shot at changing him and can move forward. WIN! You're welcome.
(P.S. I'm responding to you under the assumption you are at least somewhat physically attractive and practice good hygiene/grooming. Married or not, it is unreasonable to expect a partner of either gender to take Medusa or Jabba The Hut to bed. If you're not sure...ask around.)
A Comeback For My Daughter The Maid
(taken from 8/25/15 "Ask Amy")
LETTER: This summer, my 21-year-old daughter has been working as a hotel maid. While working one morning, she overheard a father say to his teenage son, "You had better stay in school or you will end up like her"—indicating my daughter. My daughter was hurt. She assumed the father did not intend for her to hear the remark and thought the hotel management would not want her to comment to the guest.
I appreciate the father's desire to encourage his son to continue his education, but I am appalled by the lack of respect for a working person. Ironically, my daughter is beginning her junior year at college and working this summer to earn money for a semester abroad. In my opinion, he would be lucky to have his son "end up like her." Should my daughter have said anything—and if so, what would have been the appropriate response?
Amy more or less commended your daughter for holding her tongue. But doesn't mouthing off feel better? Read on...
SKILLZ SAYS: If your daughter values her maid job, she should not have replied—that guy sounds like one of those scumbag customers who'd go out of his way to get "peons" like her in trouble over the slightest infraction...like sneezing within 10 feet of him.
But if she's willing to risk the hammer dropping, a response of "Young man, your dad's right! If you drop out of school, you'll turn into a 21-year-old woman who sleeps with boys. I've seen it happen tons of times. Think about it!"
A different response—less funny, but more damaging to the idiot father—"Actually, guys, I did stay in school and am still there right now, as a matter of fact. So looks like no matter what you do, you're gonna be washing rich people's moldy towels at some point! Take care, guys." WIN! You're welcome.
(P.S. If your daughter lands a "prestigious" job out of college and ever encounters the dad again, she's got to rehash the "stay in school" hotel talk, she's got to reveal her current high salary, she's got to find out what the son's up to—hopefully, janitorial work—and yes...she absolutely has to be as small as can be about it because that clown was a douche of the highest magnitude.
Guy Has A Wandering Eye
(taken from 10/1/15 "Dear Abby")
LETTER: I am five years older than my fiance. He has never been married and has a daughter. We have been together for a few years, and something has happened to make me wonder about him.
I thought it was funny that he bought Cosmopolitan magazine every month and talked about his flat belly. But I recently found my Victoria's Secret catalog hidden in his toolbox. I have also seen him look at other, much younger women. Am I making something out of nothing?
Abby basically said calm down—but what if you don't wanna?
SKILLZ SAYS: You are definitely NOT making something out of nothing, writer, because the INSTANT a man enters a relationship, he is supposed to immediately fall blind, deaf and dumb to each and every one of the billions of other females alive—the mere thought of another female's touch triggers nausea.
And if it doesn't, he's obviously sleeping with at least three of them! You should be very, very concerned—he's probably using YOUR magazines to shop for their intimates! Are you sure he isn't using that "toolbox" to trade repairs for sexual favors? Hmmm??
Now that that's out of the way...time to be serious.
You say your guy is "looking at" other much, younger women. Um...what does that mean? Much younger women are everywhere, and surely you aren't holding it against him if he makes eye contact with the 20-year-old girl taking his Big Mac order...hopefully.
Your man isn't doing anything that the large majority of us do. Based on your letter, I'd bet he lacks even the most microscopic of urges to look elsewhere for lovin'. But the best way to give him one—make something out of nothing. WIN! You're welcome.
Daughter Overuses Parents As Babysitters
(taken from 9/28/15 "Dear Abby")
LETTER: My husband and I provide day care for our 2-year-old granddaughter. We have her three days a week and love spending the time with her. However, when her mother -- our daughter -- comes to pick her up, she doesn't leave right away. She "hangs out," eats with us, and still expects us to change the baby or fix her dinner.
Then, on the weekends, our daughter will come over with her husband, and we are once again on day care duty. Our daughter seems to think that when she is at our house, we are the baby sitters and she can just plop herself on the couch and watch TV. How do we tactfully tell her she needs to take responsibility for her daughter when they are at our house?
Abby advised telling them the truth, but let's be real: you won't. So try this...
SKILLZ SAYS: This is easy enough to solve.
Weekday Solution A) Whenever your daughter comes to pick up granddaughter, go to the door with baby (and diaper bag, etc.) ready to go so you may hand them right to your daughter! If she wonders what's going on, "GOD we're tired. She was a real handful today! We're going to sleep. See you soon!"
Weekday Solution B) You may have to spend a little $, but it'll be worth it—have pizza or some other meal you don't have to prepare ready to go. When daughter comes: "Hey, honey. We've been waiting for you two—we wanna hurry and catch ½-price bowling night before it fills up. Dinner's on the table; help yourselves. Bye! Love you!" Obviously, it'll have to be something different each time.
Weekend Solution A) Have the TV suddenly "break", and no immediate desire to fix it. Or decide to "downsize" to just the one in your bedroom, which no self-respecting married couple would want to hang out in.
Weekend Solution B) Entertain your own company on the weekends—Bingo Day, Poker Day, Book Club, something. When they show up, by all means be friendly and welcoming, but leave them to themselves. Any self-respecting couple wouldn't expect you to ditch guests to change diapers.
Last Resort: If this is not a self-respecting couple—which some signs point to—or you have no friends to entertain, you and your wife are going to have to argue loudly at every turn. To the point dishes start being broken, chairs knocked over, etc. Come up with a good backstory for your fighting, and not only will your kid not wanna be there—she won't want her kid around the discord either.
You might have to visit the baby separately, and at their place, for a while—but your over-sitting days are over. WIN! You're welcome.