GETTING REAL, SERIOUS and TOTALLY HONEST with YOURSELF and OTHERS - more questions answered by THE CRABBY CRITIC
I’m in love with my sister.
Let me explain. When I was six years old my mother left the continental U.S. to get away from a bad marriage. We eventually settled in Australia where my mother met and married the man whom I consider to be my father. He has a daughter. I’ll call her Carol. Anyway, for some time now I’ve been developing feelings for Carol that I’ve been finding difficult to control.
Anyway, the other night mom and dad went out and Carol and I stayed home with a rented movie when suddenly, at one point Carol leaned in to me and kissed me – not one the forehead, but full on the lips. I was shocked but willing. We made out and then just as suddenly felt we were doing something terribly wrong and separated. I didn’t know Carol had these same feelings but obviously she does. Now neither one of us knows what we should say to our folks. I’m twenty-two and Carol’s just turned twenty.
I think it’ll kill my parents to know that we’re in love. I have to say that I have mixed emotions about it too and so does Carol. What should we do?
Joel in Bundaberg Australia
Dear Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place:
I think you have to step back a moment and look at this romance a bit more clearly than you have been. First of all, Carol is not your biological sister – so, the question of family incest doesn’t exist.
You’re not related!
You’ve fallen in love with someone who shares your interests and tastes and – guess what – you didn’t even have to go looking for her – she came to you.
Legally, I don’t know what sort of leg you have to stand on. If you two are serious about pursuing an emotional/sexual/long term relationship then you’ll have to consult the statutes on how your legal system deals with such matters. The last thing we want is for you and Carol to set up house and then discover that some archaic law from 1812 considers the two of you blasphemous deviants and sentences you both to life in prison. With all due respect to archaic laws – I don’t think this will be an issue either.
Okay, on a more serious note – you’re both still young. A lot can happen between twenty and thirty. I wouldn’t advise taking your relationship to the next level yet. One point of contention I am adamant about –
YOU HAVE TO TELL YOUR FAMILY WHAT’S GOING ON!
Now…how to tell them without starting WWIII at Casa Joel. There’s no point in beating about the bush, meaning scoping out the parents for opinions on hypothetical scenarios. That’s just a big waste of time because the reality is that you and Carol are in love. I think part of your anxiety stems from the common nervousness all guys have when they first meet the father of the girl they want to date. The problem for you is that her father also happens to be yours!
If Carol is in agreement, I think the four of you should sit down calmly with you being the man in this equation and starting off the conversation with something like: “Mom, Dad. We (meaning you and Carol) have something to tell you…” then ease into the conversation slowly. FYI – I wouldn’t mention the kiss you shared.
I would just say something like ‘you’ve grown attached to Carol and have started to regard her as more than a sister and it scares you because you value and respect the family and feel this is some sort of terrible thing you’ve been hiding. Carol has to come in here and state her case too. It’s no good if you state it for her. She has to reciprocate your sentiments and stand firm and by you on this issue. Make sure you have Carol’s full backing otherwise the conversation has the potential to turn ugly.
It sounds to me like the man that had the guts, courage and commitment to raise you after your dad bolted is good people. Don’t be so quick to judge and discount his thoughts on this matter. You may be surprised. Since you and Carol are both being up front and honest about what’s going on I can’t see either parent shipping you off to Siberia until the home fires cool.
The crabby critic
You’re a guy. I’m a guy. Will you please tell my girlfriend that she’s way out of line asking me to curb my workouts and personal grooming to spend more time with her! See, Sarah thinks I spend way too much time in the bathroom getting ready and way too much time pumping up in the gym.
Just so we’re clear – I’m usually not in the can for any more than an hour and a half each morning and a couple of fifteen to twenty minute breaks spread throughout the day. I workout Mon. – Fri.; a couple of hours in the am and pm, and, like to run about an hour every other day.
I’m not a bodybuilder or anything, but I’m focusing on getting and staying huge and that takes time and effort. But lately she thinks I’m too into myself. Set her straight.
Zack in Waterbury Connecticut
Dear Muscle-Head Narcissist:
I sure wish someone would love me the way you love you!
Just so we’re clear – I like to look my best too. But if I’m in ‘the can’ – as you say – in the am. it’s for a maximum stretch of ten to fifteen minutes – TOPS!
Most of that is for shaving, running a comb through the ol’ mop, brushing teeth and using the facilities. I don’t know what you’re doing in there for an hour and a half each morning, plus two to four twenty minute sessions throughout the day.
I think there’s only been four times in my life that I ever went to the bathroom in the middle of the day to see what I looked like and each time it was to freshen up with some deodorant and/or re-brush my teeth. Neither exercise took more than 30 seconds of my time.
Moving on: I work out too, but unlike yourself I have zero interest in maximizing my girth. I do it strictly to maintain my weight, stay trim and feel good – both on the inside and out. I space my exercise so that it doesn’t interfere with my extracurricular activities, so our interests in physical fitness diverge.
However, the fact that you’re not in training or competition for Mr. O but still want to look as though you might jump up on stage at any moment and do a pose down to ‘I’m Too Sexy’ suggests some deeper need you have about building an intimidating physique that at least 70% of women polled in a recent survey said they find ‘unattractive.’
If your girlfriend falls into that 70% let’s put aside that you’re beefing up for the good of her and get real. This is all about you!
Now, I haven’t fallen on my head and developed amnesia yet. I’m fully acquainted with the new narcissism sweeping the nation. Some trendy marketer has labeled it ‘metrosexualism.’
I don’t like the term because minus the ‘metro’ prefix, it suggests a pre-programmed biological necessity built into the male animal for wanting to preen and primp like a Jim Dandy 24/7. Self worship of the variety and color we’re talking about in your case has already tipped the scales of vanity. You like yourself too much and that’s creating a problem you’ll have to remedy.
If you love your girlfriend, then maybe you can do your training after she goes to bed or work so that she’s not aware it’s being done. Out of sight, out of mind. But the frequent flyer miles you’ve been racking up in ‘the can’ have to stop!
Make it a personal challenge. Make a conscious effort to gradually reduce the time you spend in their by fifteen minutes a day until you’re down to a running time of say, thirty minutes max. Economize. And those twenty minute ‘touch ups’ you referred to? Gone! Right now.
Here’s the thing, Zack. Unless your girlfriend is as wrapped up in herself as you are in yourself, she will love you whether hair 1,176 is in or out of place!
Just in case you’re wondering - there’s no denying that past cultures – from the Egyptian to the Roman to 16th century Frenchmen relished putting on the dog with varying accoutrements – wigs, earrings, metal bands across the bicep and calf, painting their eyes, cheeks, applying white powder and makeup etc. So, there’s really nothing new to what you’re doing.
But if it’s damaging your relationship with your girlfriend then you have to decide what’s more important to you...
...your relationship with her, or your love affair with yourself.
The crabby critic
My cousin Ralph says because I masturbate I’m going straight to hell. Is this true?
Chuck in Richland North Dakota
Yes. Absolutely. Start picking out your pitchfork now!
You can tell your cousin, Ralph from me that he’s a hypocrite and a moron. Not that you require any data to back that up, but self pleasure is as old as The Bible. It’s a natural part of experimentation and growing up.
Somewhere along the way, religion and well intentioned, though thoroughly misguided health practitioners of the early 1900s became involved in suggesting that masturbation was responsible for everything from male pattern baldness to insanity. Guess what?
There’s absolutely NO truth to these rumors.
But here’s a thought – I wouldn’t share your backstage practices with Ralph any more. Your own satisfaction is your own business. You don’t need masturbation by committee…uh…unless that’s your thing.
As long as you’re not inflicting physical torture or pain on yourself with weird and wonderful implements I can’t see why you shouldn’t grow up healthy, happy and normal and without the gates of hell yawning before you for all eternity.
The crabby critic
Two years ago my best friend, Erica’s four year old daughter drowned in their backyard pool. It was a devastating experience to say the least.
After the funeral, Erica immediately had her husband Bob fill in the pool with a backhoe. It’s a garden now. Anyway, she’s never been to my house since I moved away and I’m afraid to tell her about the pool before she comes. We just finished putting it in last month. I’m afraid if I tell Erica this she won’t come for a visit. What should I do?
Melanie in Bluffton South Carolina
You have to tell her.
She’ll fee hurt and betrayed if you don’t. You mentioned only Erica and Bob so I’ll assume there are no children coming down for this visit. Either way, the fact that Erica had Bob landfill her pool after their tragedy suggests an obvious regard for all swimming pools as a death hazard. If you’re worried about Erica not coming for a visit because of the pool I would suggest that after you tell her about the pool you also offer to put Erica and her husband up in a hotel instead – one that doesn’t have a pool – or suggest that if it’s going to be a problem you could go and visit her instead.
If Erica and Bob decide to come down anyway, I would spend as little time around the pool as possible – even, maybe going so far as to draw the drapes on the windows overlooking your backyard while they’re in your home. That’s just out of courtesy and respect for Erica’s feelings – something you seem to care very much and deeply about. Also, after you mention that you have a pool on the phone, I wouldn’t bring up the topic again – ever!
I wouldn’t make an issue out of ignoring the pool either. I just would pretend like you don’t have it. You didn’t until this past year, so faking absence of memory on this matter shouldn’t be too hard.
Finally, if Erica comes down and asks to see the pool I would show it to her. Do whatever it is she wants. She’s a guest in your home. If she’s receptive to getting her feet wet again, you go along for the dip. This is your best friend. She knows you didn’t put a pool in your yard out of lack of sensitivity for her loss. If she respects your wish to own a pool as much as you seem to treasure the concern that it might ruin her visit with you then it sounds to me like the two of you will have a cherished time together – one that may help heal old wounds.
The crabby critic
@The Crabby Critic 2007 (all rights reserved).