Author: Amy Alkon

Diddle he or didn’t he?

Because I value trusting one\’s instincts, I\’m prompted to write about your advice to \”Uneasy,\” the woman whose boyfriend would go into another room to talk on the phone to his stepdaughters from a previous relationship. I feel the woman was expressing suspicion that he still had some interest in their mom out of an unwillingness to believe that he may be behaving inappropriately toward his stepdaughters. One in four women reports having been raped or molested in childhood, and stepfathers play a prominent role in those statistics. He may not be a \”molester,\” but maybe he\’s asking the girls about their bodies in ways that make them uncomfortable. You should have encouraged \”Uneasy\” to call a truce with her boyfriend: He takes calls openly, and she drops the nagging if there isn\’t anything unseemly going on. — Uneasier Oh, the dark world of people who prefer to take their phone calls in private. Yes, this guy could be a molester, and could be asking these girls inappropriate questions about their bodies. And when I walk away from my boyfriend to take a call, I could be planning the violent overthrow of our government, or arranging to trade my neighbors\’ twins for a suitcase nuke — or maybe I simply see no need for corroborating witnesses when I try to reschedule my cleaning lady. The woman in question admitted...

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Hopeless springs eternal

I am 22 and my boyfriend of 15 months is 41. He has an extremely difficult time expressing any affection or emotion, and our physical intimacy has been dwindling despite my efforts to seduce him. His family says I\’m the first girl he\’s brought home since 1987, and his longest relationship. They\’re rooting for me, and say I should call them if he starts pushing me away. They want him to have a family, and he says he wants one, too, but has never come close. I realize I\’m young, but for the first time, I feel selfless. I would happily sacrifice my happiness for his. It\’s so important to me that he is able to become a father, even if it is not with me. But maybe our age difference means we were supposed to meet so I can bear his children. I strongly believe this man is my soul mate, even if he is not so sure. How do I keep from going crazy while not pressuring him so much that I lose him? — Holding Pattern Just what every kid needs — father who\’s incapable of expressing any affection or emotion. Should work wonders when your little girl wakes up screaming for her daddy to protect her from the monsters. Oops, Daddy doesn\’t do hugs. Could she work with a pat on the back, or maybe...

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The pint of no return

Your advice to the woman who slapped the man in the bar who tried to guess her age, weight and bra size was completely disgraceful. Yes, she overreacted somewhat; however, your comment \”To avoid attention from men, hold girls\’ night out in a convent, not a bar\” was appalling. The conversation was obnoxious no matter how drunk the guy was. I don\’t feel she acted like a victim, but like a woman strong enough to handle herself. For that I applaud her! Women and men alike should be able to go anywhere and be treated with respect. My guess is that you believe women should also expect to be raped if they go through the wrong part of town! — Enraged \”Women and men alike should be able to go anywhere and be treated with respect.\” Yes, they should! And I should be a rock star/Nobel Prize-winning physicist and live rent-free in Bel Air. And Osama bin Laden should renounce terrorism and devote the rest of his life to crocheting iPod sleeves in the form of bunnies and turtles while whistling \”I\’d Like to Teach the World to Sing.\” Unfortunately, I\’m still waiting for MapQuest directions to Utopia. Until I get them, I\’m compelled to give advice for people who live in the real world — where Osama isn\’t known for his slip stitch, the best manners aren\’t found...

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Every witch way but loose

My boyfriend of five years was a father figure to his two stepdaughters from his last relationship, and gets teary-eyed when he doesn\’t hear from them. The problem is, he\’s sneaking calls to them — only calling them or their mother from work. If one of the girls calls him at home, he goes into the other room and gets off the phone quickly. It\’s not that I can\’t trust him, but part of me feels that their mother\’s still on his mind, too. Bringing this up causes a heated argument. He says I\’m insecure, it\’s driving him crazy, and makes him feel hesitant to visit them. Is his behavior suspicious, or am I paranoid? — Uneasy Crime of the century! Right up there with genocide, roadside bombings, and slapping around old ladies. Go ahead, accuse him, based on all the damning evidence at hand: \”Why, you … you … really good dad!\” You don\’t mention finding lipstick on his collar, or a bill for three hours at a motel. Maybe what\’s really getting to you is a crayon you pulled out of his jacket pocket, along with a charge slip from Toys \”R\” Us. You can get away with accusing him of having an affair with the mom, but it\’s a little too Wicked Witch to scream at him for maintaining a relationship with the kids: \”Admit it!...

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The pig picture

Are all guys who aren\’t gay, gross slobs? So often, when a guy\’s invited me over after the second or third date, I\’ve discovered such a disgusting disaster area that I wish I\’d worn hip-high wading boots. The specifics: dirty, wadded-up towels on the floor, a week\’s worth of dirty dishes in the sink, decades of crud on the fixtures, and a bathroom so vile that I put off using it until my bladder\’s ready to burst. Do guys simply not see this stuff? Do they see it and just not care? And does it not occur to them that a woman might be turned off by such slovenliness and filth? — Totally Repulsed It isn\’t that guys don\’t notice the filth, it just takes them a little longer — like until the crud impedes access to the bathroom or the fuzz on the dishes evolves to the point that it hisses at the dog. Now, not every straight guy is a slob, and not every gay guy is fastidious, but there\’s a reason the TV hit was Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and not Straight Eye for the Queer Guy, the home makeover show to help all the gay men whose living spaces have been featured in Architectural Digest. And, sure, there are squalor-dwelling chicks out there, but when a woman apologizes for her \”disaster area\” it\’s...

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