FROM THE ALL-SEEING EYE TO THE ONE EYE
Twenty years ago my sister told me she didn’t approve of the man I was going to marry and, to prove her point she put a Sicilian curse on my house. Well, nothing bad ever happened to us in those twenty years. In fact, my husband and I were talking about it the other day and we both agree that as marriages go, ours has been totally charmed. My question to you is my mother telephoned the other day to say that my sister is dying of bone cancer. We haven’t spoken in all this time. Should I try to go see her or do you think I should just leave well enough alone?
Filomena in New Mexico
Evidently, your sister thought she could scare you. Instead, you married exactly the person you were supposed to and proved what I’ve suspected all along – that no mortal can put a ‘curse’ on another mortal. If we could, people would be dropping dead left and right under the most mysterious of circumstances and a lot more of us would be winning the lottery on a regular basis.
True, I’ve known a few fairy Godmothers and wicked witches in my lifetime. The former were saints; the latter - plenty ‘mean’ but ultimately powerless and none too scary.
Looks like, if anything, your sister’s wicked ways have caught up to her in a big way. Actually, I don’t believe that either. She’s just unfortunate. She’s become one of the too many who have this terrible disease. She has my sympathy. I speculate herein that she also has yours or you wouldn’t be writing to me.
However, you and your sister have not spoken in twenty years. It seems to me that she’s been able to hold a grudge all these years while you’ve been living in paradise. Have you considered that she may not want to see you?
Any attempt to bond at this late stage may be misperceived as you coming to gloat about all your happiness at her expense. I’m not suggesting that you are. Just be aware that your sister will more than likely misread your honorable intensions as such.
My best advice would be to find an intermediary – someone close to you and your sister who could approach her with the request that you would like to see her. If that person returns to you with an emphatic ‘No! Don’t come!’ then you should respect that wish. It will probably be your sister’s last.
I wouldn’t burden your mother with this problem. She’s doubtless aware of it anyhow. But, if I’m doing the math correctly, you and your sister are roughly in your mid-forties which means mama is at best a spry sixty. She’s preparing to lose one of her children – a burden no mother should ever have to go through. So, find that other person who can approach sis’ – an uncle, cousin, mutual friend, whoever. Bottom line: I want you to be prepared for another rejection from your sister.
It sounds to me as though she’s very bitter. Illness will not mellow that animosity. If you really want to do something nice for her from the goodness of your heart then my suggestion is that you pray for her now; for divine mercy, a quick death and redemption of her eternal soul after this life has passed into the next. Then cling to your husband for support. Regardless of what your sister thinks, he’s been a keeper – something your sister should have been for you.
The Crabby Critic
I think my husband’s leading a double life. The other day I came home early from work and called to him. There was a lot of noise upstairs and when I made it to the top of the stairs my panty hose that I left to dry on the towel rack were still hanging there but they were stretched out. It’s not my imagination.
About a month ago we were on our way out to a dinner party. I sprayed some perfume on my wrist and my husband asked if he could have a whiff. I held my wrist to him, thinking he wanted to smell me, but instead he took the bottle out of my hand and sprayed his wrist with the same perfume.
Am I crazy? Is my husband gay or a transvestite or something? I’m scared. We’ve been married for six years and I thought everything was fine but now I think there’s a problem and it’s making me paranoid. Yesterday, I actually hid my panty hose behind the furnace in the basement so that my husband won’t know where they are. I’m creeped out. Please advise.
I’m not a clinical psychologist. I can’t diagnosis what your husband is – if anything. But a brief bit of research on my part concluded a few facts I’d like to pass along. First of all: men of the homosexual persuasion rarely accompany their secret double life by dressing in women’s apparel. Gay men want other gay men to love them for being men. So I don’t think your husband’s gay.
Second: transvestitism and homosexuality rarely go hand in sequined glove. True male transvestites dress in women’s apparel to achieve a sexual satisfaction by pretending to be women. If you’re husband is dressing up for this reason he may in fact want to be a woman, rather than be with one. I can’t make that fine line of distinction for you.
Third: studies have shown that some men borrow their wives’ attire in private to pretend to be their wives during prolonged separation from their spouses. I’m not exactly sure how or why this is comforting to the male psyche but I’m willing to concede that certain fellows are up for just about anything to relive that magic time they spend with their gals. The real problem for you now is to discover which of the aforementioned reasons make the most logical sense. That won’t be easy.
I mean, if I were you I wouldn’t just come out to your husband with something like, “Okay, what gives with you and my hose?” A modicum of sensitivity is required to make things work out.
Your woes about some sort of ‘double life’ seem grossly unfounded. I mean, you went upstairs and your husband was alone with your panty hose. That’s kinky but it cannot be classified in the same sentence as marital infidelity. If you want a more authoritative explanation, I would suggest you contact a psychologist in your area and go by yourself to explain your suspicions. Perhaps, then you’ll have a greater understanding of what you’re up against. I can understand and sympathize with your level of frustration.
Finally, consider this – that in our culture women are frequently afforded acceptance to don male attire; blue jeans, sweaters, work boots, etc. without any sort of societal stigma attached. Men don’t rate that same level of acceptance. At best then, your husband’s guilty of being a closet dresser in ladies fashions. While that might not fit with your idea of the big, burly jock you thought you married, we can’t rightfully say it makes him a nominee for the Norman Bates Mother of the Year Award either.
Your not crazy. Stop being creeped out. But by all means, get some solid answers as to where all this is going. You deserve the truth.
The Crabby Critic
I know you won’t approve but I’m a very contented bachelor who enjoys the company of many women. I don’t feel the need to settle down and I don’t think that everyone who doesn’t stay monogamous is, as you’ve often said, ‘a gross pig of a human being.’ There are many cultures – present and past – that don’t subscribe to our own North American sense of narrow-minded Christianity and seem to do alright. My two brothers disagree with me as I suspect you will but I think what I’m doing is right for me.
Your right. I don’t agree. But I won’t try to convince you that you’re wrong. Might I at least suggest that you’re unhappy?
Why the need to prove your prowess into the triple digits? I mean, where’s the level at which the number of conquests becomes redundant and boring. Just as polygamists think monogamy’s a snore, so too will the bed-hopping get to be old hat at some point and then where will you be?
I would like to address a few things you mentioned. First of all – I consider any man or woman who thinks nothing of sleeping around with multiple partners a gross pig of a human being. If the partners you frequent don’t much care how often you stray to and fro in between sessions with them that simply suggests to me that you’ve sunk to a level of familiarity where everyone involved enjoys slurping the swill from the same trough.
Just because you found a bunch of other like-minded fools to compliment your own lifestyle doesn’t mean that your place in the animal hierarchy has risen. Fools seldom differ.
What you would suggest is ‘narrow-minded Christianity’ I would offer up as a standard convention that has a precedence of several thousand years to back itself up as the proven path to discovering personal fulfillment. Perhaps you don’t want that level of involvement. Perhaps it scares you. I would suggest there’s a lot more out there that’s equally – if not more scary.
Your brothers aren’t prudes. They know you’re playing a dangerous game with yourself and they’re worried about you. Take the hint. Start worrying about yourself before parts start falling off.
Finally, you haven’t introduced the concept of disease into your equation so permit me that luxury: every one night love affair you encounter has the potential to impact the rest of your life in a very negative way. Pregnancy, STD’s and AIDS aside – you’re mixing with a crowd who obviously have no discernable nature when it comes to partnering up for sex.
I’m 37 and want a baby. I don’t have a guy so I’m contemplating something my girlfriend suggested. She said I should pick out someone who excites me and who I think would make a good-looking kid; then, get pregnant by him and take the baby and raise it on my own without telling the guy. It kind of makes sense and it may be my last chance. What do you think?
I think you and your girlfriend sound like a verse and chorus from that truly awful 80s pop song by Heart – ‘All I Want To Do Is Make Love To You.’ Not only are you willing to betray some poor bozo you’re planning to pick up and toss out like the trash, but you’re also plotting to deprive an embryo of its right to a two parent upbringing.
That’s sick, twisted femi-Nazi logic. Somewhere in that brutalized claptrap you call a mind you came to the conclusion that men are expendable sperm donors. But get a clue – this is one game where the issue of ‘plug and play’ comes with far more severe consequences!
My advice to you is simple. Want a baby? Then, find a man who’s willing to marry and support you and a child and start feathering your nest together. Otherwise, you’re nobody’s idea of a mother.
The Crabby Critic
My girlfriend says I don’t satisfy her anymore. I’m wondering if there are any books you could recommend that would fix my problem.
Todd in Pennsylvania
I don’t know what your problem is, exactly. Off hand, I’d say it’s time to take your heads – both of them - out of any book and start getting creative in the bedroom. I’m not big on texts that report to suggest ‘self help’ for something as basic and self explanatory as fornication. It’s not rocket science. If you need a few pointers, the rental of a filthy movie will probably suffice just as easily as fifty dollars worth of Doctor Ruth.
If you’re stumped for a lead in, why not ask your girlfriend what she would like to have you do to her the next time you two get naked? I’m sure if she’s that bored with your technique she’ll have no shortage of self-help suggestion.
The Crabby Critic
I don’t like sex very much. Actually, not at all. The problem is that my husband loves it – a lot! We usually make love first thing in the morning. Then he comes home for nooners almost every day and we do it pretty regularly at night too – at least three times a week. I don’t want my husband to think it’s his problem or that he’s doing something wrong. I just don’t really get into the mechanics of lovemaking like he does and I’m afraid if I tell him he’ll take it the wrong way. Any thoughts?
Sheila in Queensland
There’s a definite problem here. I’m just not sure whose problem it is. It’s yours to start, I suppose, for picking a guy who can’t get enough in a 24 hr. period when you knew that once or twice in a lifetime would more than satisfy you.
I’m surprised you didn’t figure this one out during the dating process. That you never confided as much to your husband gave him the green light to go ahead and ravage you silly at his beckoned call. He probably thinks he’s doing you a favor by coming home in the middle of the day for seconds…or thirds – I’ve lost count.
Now, as a guy I think it’s your husband’s problem too. From a physiological standpoint, I would certainly have to say his friskiness falls into the gifted program for the sexual arts. I mean three times a day and still ready for action the next morning. Hi-o-silver! Seriously though, his sexual habits have become more than habit forming. They're slightly obsessive. He’s on a mission.
If you want to stave off your husband’s affections without making it appear as much I have a few suggestions, starting with making yourself unavailable during peak times in creative ways. For example: after a morning kanoodling session you may want to inform your husband that you’re not going to be home for lunch because you’ve been asked out by a girlfriend. Don’t lie about it.
Actually, make plans with a girlfriend for lunch and then go. Do this a few times a week or schedule routine trips to the bank, mall, grocery store during the lunch hour. If your husband suggests its cutting into his time with you, you can always claim that his bunny-busting in the bedroom is hampering your ability to manage an efficient household. As a man, we’re sensible creatures. That’ll probably make sense to him from an economic standpoint.
As for the evenings; why not plan things for you and your husband to do outside of the bedroom. Surprise him at the door with a new dress and dinner reservations, outings with mutual friends, exciting trips to nightclubs, museums, raceways, casinos, bowling alleys…whatever diversion strikes both your fancies. Your husband has a lot of energy to burn off. He also must have a hobby other than you. So, indulge it.
The Crabby Critic
I broke my hip last month in an automobile accident and have been in a lower body cast since. The woman I was with wasn’t so lucky. She died. Her sister comes by almost daily to visit and comfort me at the hospital. Here’s the problem. She thinks that me and her sister were a couple and feels an obligation to look after me in her sister’s absence.
But the truth is that this woman who died in that car was just giving me a ride home from the place we both worked at when we were sideswiped by a drunk driver in an SUV. We weren’t lovers or even friends. Just colleagues. I wasn’t even supposed to be in the car with her that evening. My car died on the parking lot and she offered me a lift.
I don’t know what to do. Her sister is very kind but I feel as though I am deceiving her for sympathy and treats. Am I being cruel? Am I wrong? Should I tell her the truth?
Boris in Mount Vernon
Under normal circumstances I would have suggested you tell this woman’s sister the truth. In most cases the truth is always best. But the truth of the matter in your situation is that this woman has lost someone who was very dear to her. She is using you as her therapy to get through a difficult situation. In some way, she probably feels as though she’s still connected to her sister through you. If she sees you, she keeps the memory of her sister alive.
Consider this: it’s not a total lie. After all, you and her sister did work together – ergo you weren’t total strangers! Her sister knew you well enough to feel comfortable offering you a ride home. Most women wouldn’t give just any male coworker a lift to be kind. There’s just too many weirdos out there.
Clearly, there was some connection between you two – however platonic. Her sister trusted you enough to feel safe in your company away from the work place. In my opinion, telling this woman who is caring for you now that you didn’t love her dead sister would be cruel and unusual.
Yes, you’re reaping the nurturing benefits of a grieving relative. However, this woman is also gaining mental solace and strength from being in your presence. Her commitment to you has kept her going. In her mind, if she can restore you to health then her sister’s death will not have been in vane.
My advice: let this angel of mercy perform the ascribed duties of a caregiver for as long as she sees fit to do so. Your recovery is doing her a world of good. As long as you don’t fabricate some great romance between you and her sister, you’re not exactly feeding into the lie.
I think you’ve assessed this situation all wrong. Re-examine it from the perspective of what you might be able to offer that would help this woman recover from her loss more quickly and you may find that your friendship will be more lasting than either of you ever suspected. Above all else – keep your strength up and keep the faith. A speedy recovery to the both of you.
The Crabby Critic
@The Crabby Critic 2008 (all rights reserved).