DEAR ABBY: I am, once again, faced with my annual dilemma. I cannot tolerate heat and humidity. I become short of breath, my heart pounds and I perspire profusely. I recover immediately if I go into an air-conditioned area.
I have discussed this with doctors. They attribute it to my "thermostat" and the fact that I am a very fair-skinned redhead. My mother had the same problem.
Of course, I stay in air-conditioned places. The problem arises when we're invited to cookouts or to the home of someone whose place isn't air-conditioned. I don't know how to explain that I simply cannot come.
I am forever trying to think of excuses to get out of invitations. I feel bad because the problem is mine and I can't control it. Even people who know about it don't understand the extent of it. Do you have any thoughts on how to handle this with tact? -- HOT AND BOTHERED IN NEW YORK
DEAR GINGER VAMPIRE,
Buy a coffin and move to a castle in a European country.
*I was born a ginger, as pictured above. Around 14 my hair started to turn brown. Now that I'm getting older I guess I'll start calling myself a Greywalker. Sorry, American readers, I'll spell it this way just for you: Graywalker.
DEAR JERKASS: My husband and I were invited to a friend's house for dinner. When I asked her if I could bring anything, the hostess handed me a cookbook and said she had marked two items I should make and bring. When I looked at them, I was shocked.
She was asking me to bake bread and make a salad. The bread had many ingredients, and I have never made bread from scratch. I don't even own a stand mixer. The salad recipe was also complicated.
Was I unreasonable to decline the invitation? The ingredients alone were going to cost me at least $30, and the stress was more than I was willing to take on. -- AGHAST IN ARIZONA
Once again we get only one side of the equation. It seems like the hostess was ready for your false offer of help. And you compounded rudeness by not only backpeddling your offer, but declining the already agreed attendance.
If you didn't mean your offer, then you are a liar.
Why offer to help someone if you aren't going to back it up?
Sure, you bit off more than you can chew, but you can always ask others for help.
I was raised with Emily Posts guide to Etiquette (not that it took hold). If a host offers you tea or coffee, it is rude to ignore both offers and ask for juice. You either pick one, or decline.
In this instance you were invited to a dinner. You could have kept your mouth shut or simply said "thank you", but you disingenuously offered help.
Moral of the story: Don't offer what you don't have. Especially at the last supper.
I don't even know...
DEAR JERKASS: I'm a 15-year-old girl and my favorite teacher, "Mr. Brown," is going to another state with some other teachers to start a new school. I'll miss him dearly because he is funny and charismatic.
We have an average student-teacher relationship, but I still would like to stay in contact with him and see how he's doing. Is there any way I can maintain our relationship and contact him on my own to show that I miss him? -- TEEN IN NEW HAVEN
DEAR POTENTIAL HOMEWRECKER,
I was working out at a gym and I heard a highschool girl talking about how hot her teacher was. Her friend asked her "Isn't he married?" She answered that she didn't care and was going to take a shot at him. It might have been playful banter. It did not sound that way because she went into detail about where the teacher lived, and how she could get him alone.
I went to the school and asked to talk to the teacher. Know why? My friend is a highschool teacher and it is school policy for all teachers that any time a student leaves a note on a teachers desk, or makes an inappropriate comment, they have to lock the classroom and notify the higher ups.
So I told this teacher what had happened, and described the student to the him and the principal. I made sure that if anything bad happened that this guy would be covered. All it takes is one false accusation to wreck someones career. All it takes is a dirty teacher to take advantage of a situation.
It is inappropriate for you to contact this teacher outside the boundaries of your school. He is your teacher, not a friend, not a love interest. An AVERAGE student/teacher relationship does not involve private letters or phone calls. Wait until after you turn eighteen, then look him up. Until then, go play with your Barbies with other girls and talk about jelly beans and stickers and Morgan Freeman, or whatever the hell you children do nowadays.*
*Last line taken from Stewie in a Family Guy episode.
Ugh. Guess the desperate cry of a suicide or a trodden down wife needed to be pushed aside for this little whiner:
DEAR JERKASS: Neither of my parents do anything for fun. When Dad comes home from work, he either reads the newspaper or takes a nap. If Mom has free time after finishing the housework or running errands, she watches the news on TV or goes to bed early.
I never thought it was unusual because it has been this way since I was growing up. But once I was in high school, I started hearing classmates talk about their parents' friends or hobbies and I realized my parents are different. They don't even listen to music or read books.
When I want to go out with friends, my parents act annoyed and wonder why I want to go out instead of staying at home. Are there other people out there like this, or are my folks unusual? -- MYSTIFIED IN MAINE
Wow. You could become the next member of Rage Against The Machine.
In a world of neglectful, or down-right abusive parents your biggest whine is that your parents don't fight ninjas or live exciting lives. You are a moron. You know what? Instead of bitching about your parents life, go live your own, you ungrateful yuppie larvae.
Here's a good one: why don't you make a nice dinner for your parents, mow the lawn, or do something productive before you want to go out. You know, like you are grateful or something. Maybe that is the reason why your parents act annoyed that you are going out. If that isn't the reason the upside is that now you are giving them something to commend you on.
If I could scream at you I would.
I recently started a summer job in the fitting room of a clothing store. Customers often ask me what I think about their outfits, and the most common question is, "Does this make me look fat?" How do I answer if the outfit does make the woman look fat? These women want honesty, but how do I avoid sounding rude? -- CONFLICTED IN NEW JERSEY
The best answer is "I don't think the outfit has anything to do with it".
"I'm paid to lie to you so you'll buy stuff. You can take this any way you want: I think it looks great" and then mentally say "but not on you."
Abby was trying to sell one of her books again, under the rubric of actually helping someone.
Help! My daughter just turned 13, and I need to discuss the facts of life with her. I don't know where to start. My mom told me absolutely nothing, and I know my daughter needs to be educated in a simple but very understandable way -- especially in these times. Do you still have your booklet that gives teens answers to questions on sex? I need ideas on how to approach this. -- NERVOUS MOM IN ILLINOIS
There are so many sources better and less expensive than writing a Dear Abby. The wesbsites alone for teaching your child about sex are too numerous to put here. Thanks Abby, for trying to make a buck off of someone asking for help.
However, with the rate of idiots in the world (and the proliferation of underage drinking) I recommend telling your daughter that tampons soaked in vodka gets you really drunk. That way, if she does it she'll fry her ovaries and you'll never have to worry about having stupid grandchildren. BUT if she is intelligent she will NOT do that and when/if she does decide to have children, the gene pool will not be polluted.
Also, youll be able to tel if she's drinking underage.
Seriously, though. Do some research, ask a family doctor and just ovary up and tell her that she doesn't HAVE to have sex and that it isn't the end all-be-all of human existence, that any boy that really loves her (or girl) won't pressure to have sex (and that hetero sex leads to babies), and that if she does have sex to try to find out the sexual history of her partner, use a condom even though they aren't %100, and double it with a contraceptive.
Sometimes Emily Post needs to cram it.
DEAR JERKASS: I raised my children to stay with me when we were in a store. They didn't touch things displayed on the shelves because the items were not theirs and we weren't going to purchase them. We didn't have cellphones when my children grew up. However, even now I never remove mine from my purse while I'm in a store.
Is there a nice way to tell other shoppers to put their phones away and pay attention to their children while shopping, and suggest that it might not be safe for their kids to run through the aisles or roll canned goods down them? I am not sure about their children's safety, but I'm positive it isn't safe for me when their children are acting this way. -- MEME IN THE WEST
No. The most polite way to tell someone to get off their fucking phone and pay attention to their kids is to find out where their kid was conceived, travel back in time, and throw them a condom. But that might create a paradox that would tear the very fabric of reality apart, Might be worth it, though.We all hear the B.S. about "You shouldn't judge, what if she (insert blah blah excuse), you don't know her story" crap. See the above meme? I don't have to know her story. There is nothing on the other end of that phone that should prevent her from dropping her baby. It's a mother-fucking baby.
Seriously, I have and will continue to mock people on their cell phones whenever they are doing something stupid, and you should, too. In line ups when the cashier is trying to ask the parent a question and the customers kids are unruly but the parent won't get off the goddamn phone, I get their attention by saying something like "Hey, everyone is judging you because you're being rude. Put down the phone, get control of your kids, and pay attention to the person trying to help you." Or when walking past them in the aisle I'll be really loud so the person on the other end of the call will hear me say "I just hate it when parents can't get off their phone and let their kids misbehave."
Let's face it, if there was an emergency on your phone, you wouldn't be getting that grande latte.
If I could warn the future about cell phones
DEAR JERKASS: We were visiting my daughter and her husband when their 3-year-old, "Bethany," entered our room and rummaged through our medications. The door to the guest room was closed and the medications had been placed on a desk. Of course, everyone thought she had ingested some, so they rushed her to the ER. We were fortunate that nothing was found in her system.
My son-in-law thinks we should help pay the medical bills. I have sent several hundred dollars, but he is asking for more.
Bethany is an only child, and they allow her free reign of the house. I have other grandchildren who are even younger, and none of them would dream of touching something that wasn't theirs.
It has been almost a year since the incident, and they still haven't taught her to respect and leave things alone that are not hers. My daughter is a professional and her husband works from home, which concerns me because he isn't as strict as I feel is necessary.
Are we obligated to help with more of her medical expenses? I don't think so because we have already helped, and I don't think it's our job to teach our grandchild boundaries. -- OHIO GRANDMA
DEAR OUTDATED PARENTS,
Prelude: What can you sit on, sleep on, and brush your teeth with? (I'll answer at the end).
From a legal standpoint, by sending any money, you accepted responsibility for what happened.
From a familial standpoint, unless you can't afford it, pay it. This is your grandchild, not some third world kid you don't care about.
And it's a 3yo, for whatever that's worth. They are not especially known for obeying all the rules and telling the truth. Case in point: Yesterday my 3yo told me that "Momma said I could have an ice cream sandwich" ten feet from her and ten seconds after she had said "no". Little liar.
Know who's at fault in all of this?
All of you.
Grandma, you should have kept your meds in a safer spot. Your kids should have put safety knobs on the guest room. The little tyke shouldn't go where they're not supposed to.
The problem with a lot of situations is that we look for only one person to blame. The answer to the above riddle is: A chair, a bed, and a toothbrush. Most people answer with something like "your thumb", or equally asinine comment.
Bottom line: Take responsibility for what you did wrong and don't try to blame shift when it gets too expensive.
Since the people who write in usually only describe their side of the situation, I like to offer a bit of levity. After all, the people being complained about cannot defend themselves.
DEAR JERKASS: My husband and I have been married for 19 years. We have had our ups and downs, but the last few months have been hell. My husband lies about having paid bills. When I ask, "Have you paid the rent?" I mean "in full," not a partial payment. We have now been evicted for nonpayment of rent and are living in a hotel. Utilities have been cut off because of his partial payments and his lying about their having been paid in full, and I'm tired of it.
It's not just the two of us who have been affected because of his mismanagement of money, but also our two children who are caught up in this mess. I'm not one of those wives who sit around not knowing what's going on with the finances. I have bills I pay for the house, too, and after they are paid I give him money to pay other bills.
I am sick and tired, Abby, and I want to divorce him. What other choice do I have? The "for richer or poorer" thing is no longer working for me. How much should a person tolerate before walking away from marriage? -- HAD ENOUGH IN TENNESSEE
DEAR ABANDONED SHIP,
So after 19 years things go bad for a few months and it's over?
I hear a lot of what went wrong, but not a lot of why's: Why is he lying about paying the bills? Did he lose his job and was he afraid to tell you? Does he have a drug addiction?
If he lost his job (or foolishly quit) there's the possibility he was afraid to tell you, and thought he could fix everything.
I'm not trying to absolve what happened, just gain a further picture.
Most people lie to protect their ego/pride. They lie to themselves, to others, and on and on.
Communication is the only way any marriage is going to survive. If he's unwilling to tell you why he can't make his share of the bills (an idea that's foreign to me since my wife and I share everything financially. We don't have "your bills/my bills", even for our different websites. We have shared checking/credit/paypal/car/etc), then give him the ultimatum "straighten up or lose your family".
Try counseling if it's available to you and if you want. Marriages take effort, they cost. Love takes work. It's easier to beat a child than it is to raise it.
When I proposed to my wife I told her "I promise you hard times. I promise you sickness. I promise you arguments about raising our kids. I promise you anything that can go wrong will. And I promise you I will be there with you and for you through all of it."
Marriage isn't all sunshine and roses.
Spelling it out for the retards out there: COMMUNICATE WITH EACH OTHER, NOT A CRAPPY ADVICE COLUMNIST
Sorry. I've been field testing my comments on the actual Abby website, since no one comments here.
I'm really hated. I must be doing a good job.
Here's one response to my letter:
"Wow! How do you DO that? You have managed several times now to completely disregard the actual issue, and you keep coming back to this business about the 'friend' just wanting other friends! Amazing how single minded you are. So, since you are clearly unable to grasp the 'actual' problem that LW (Letter Writer) wrote in about, why bother replying? I won't again, that's for sure. I thought you were actually just 'not' getting it, but you are actually REFUSING to get it. LMAO!!! Ta Ta Now!!"
Here's the letter:
DEAR JERKASS: My best friend told me several months ago that she needed to make new friends. When I gave her a surprised look, her response was, "No, you took that the wrong way." I left it at that.
She recently mentioned that she was going to invite several of our neighbors over for cocktails and a light dinner, but she did not invite me. The evening of the event, while her guests were still there, she phoned me. She said they were finished with dinner and asked if I wanted to walk over and get some leftovers. I politely declined, saying I wasn't dressed.
Abby, I'm shocked that she would ask me to come over to, basically, get a takeout plate. Your thoughts? -- NO TAKEOUT FOR ME
DEAR NOT THE BFF (for clarity, LW or Letter Writer),
The world does not revolve around you. Clearly the definition of "best friend" means "only friend" to you.
If she is your best friend then you should be supporting her in broadening her social group, not acting all catty.
Not everyone can get along, and it is possible that there were people there that she might have liked that you wouldn't have.
What if you are amazingly rude and don't realize it? Or what if one of the neighbors doesn't like you, but your BFF likes them? So to avoid incident they waited until the neighbor left, then invited you over.
You sound like a whiner who I wouldn't be friends with.
As far as the leftovers (apparently you're in walking distance), maybe your friend wanted some one-on-one time with you to relax or to introduce you, but you were too far up your own ass to catch that.
Maybe you should stop being her friend because you aren't a very good one.
(I'll take a break here to mention that a few people objected to the comment about inviting people over that LW would cause incident with, writing "How would inviting the LW to pickup leftovers while the others are still there be avoiding an incident?! If one wants to avoid an incident, they simply don't include the other person at that event."
I had to explain using logic:
Say you have ten people over for a party. You want to make new friends, but you know that one of the neighbors (call them XY) doesn't like LW. You invite XY over because you like them. You wait until XY leaves and then invite LW after. Nine people still remain in your house.
And how is it insulting to be offered food? Leftovers doesn't mean there were bites taken out of it. All I know is that if I were in this situation I wouldn't get all pissy about it, I would ask if my friend had a good time. Spending all your time with one person gets stale.
"Remember that thing we both did at the same time?"
I do have a best friend, but I understand that sometimes they want to hang out with other people. It's not offensive. People are social creatures.
I say LW should get over it and get a hobby.")
Do you ONLY hang out with your BFF?
The point that the "BF" had was to meet new people, not hang around with the old friends.
If my wife wanted to throw a party but not want me there I wouldn't be upset. When the people at work like to hang with me one-on-one but not in a group I don't take offense. Know why? I have self esteem. My mood is not dependent on the people around me. I understand that the people around me have lives outside of me, just as I have a life outside of them. I also understand that some people just don't get along. Growing up I had friends who liked me but hated each other. It wasn't picking sides in a divorce to hang out with one over the other.
I was raised with Emily Posts Guide to Etiquette 9th edition, among other things (strict grandparents). For me, not being invited to something is not an insult.
Regardless, I think LW is being rude for thinking that her invitation should have been mandatory. I would have asked LW "Would you have said yes if you saw the guest list?"
This is my advice: Before you over think and make conclusions,
take BF alone and ASK her yourself. If she's your good friend like you say then I don't see why you can't. What's the worst that could happen?
Judas' Advice Column
This is where I take a Dear Abby column, and add my own brand of advice. I started by calling it Dear Crabby, but that's taken and JERKASS seems more fun.