16 November 2009
(Photograph copyright 2009, all rights reserved)
Disclaimer: I am not a counselor, doctor, therapist or otherwise qualified to give people any real advice. I've been around the block a time or two and I hope I have a little common sense, but I don't make any guarantees, even in the advice I give myself. This whole exercise is strictly for entertainment (and if no one reads it, just for MY entertainment) and should never be taken seriously by anyone, ever. I'm just your average smart-aleck writing a weekly parody.
The letters are from Dear Prudie .
(By the way, the critter in this week's photo is Sarah. In the past two minutes, she has toasted her brains under the halogen desk lamp, tried to add her own comments here to the blog (I deleted them, she's rude) and is now draped around my shoulders, purring so loudly I can't hear myself think. You'd think we never pay attention to them....)
1. Wow, you have an answer for everything, don't you? That's not a compliment, either. KNOWING an answer and HAVING one are two entirely different creatures. In your case you're trying desperately to convince yourself that they're the same, but you know they aren't....
You say that "I have always believed I am plain." Ok, let's go with that. Where did you get that? If you've always believed it, someone told you that in the first place because no child is born convinced that they were "plain" and no child would come up with that word to describe themselves. So tell me, what abusive jerk spent years pounding you with the "you're plain" nonsense until you actually came to believe it?
If it was a family member, then cut that person out of your life for eternity. They have never had your best interests at heart. If it was a former boyfriend, let me be the first to tell you that abusive men say that stuff ALL THE TIME. They aren't saying it because it's true, they say it because they want to make sure that you never make the effort to find out if there are other people who aren't slimeballs like they are. It's one of the ways abusers control their victims. So there.
So, you go about telling the world that you're miserable because of your looks and your looks alone. Your friends, you claim, are just being nice to the ugly girl when they tell you different, but you "know" they're lying. Right. So tell me again why you "know" they're lying? Oh right, you can't tell me that. Because THEY AREN'T LYING. See, you're such a sad sack these days that if your friends had been lying, they'd have dumped your behind ages ago. They are NOT "trying to make you feel better", they are telling the truth as they see it. You've just chosen not to believe them.
As for flirting, you know you're lying to yourself about that, too. The most successful flirters (is that a word, even?) aren't flirting at all. They're talking to people, holding conversations. All that's required to be a success at flirting is to make eye contact, smile and hold up your end. That's it. There's nothing phony or contrived about it. As for the hair-flinging cheesy bimbo stuff - that's not flirting at all. That's part of the "lets get a room" dance and you know darn well it is.
I suspect Prudie is right when she speculates that you are frumping around and not taking care of yourself. You admit that you've given up. Even though you CLAIM you're taking care of yourself and dressing well, you know you aren't making any effort to be attractive. I suspect that if you WERE making a real effort, you'd look a whole lot nicer than you do now.
But that's all beside the point. You need to deal with this deep depression you're in. You need to unpack all of the bullcookies that abusive SOB (this includes family) who put a bunch of garbage in your head and stop renting mental space to them. Why are you letting them rule your life? Doesn't it make you even a little angry that someone else decided that you should be miserable and you've let them succeed so far?
Now, those "answers" that you have for everything? It's time to stop making excuses and take control of your life. Go to your doctor, ask for a therapist and obey whatever they tell you. No one can do it for you and if you insist on giving up for eternity you really WILL end up alone.
(Disclaimer: I WAS a homely kid, what with the bumpy nose and crookedy teeth, both of which have been dealt with. I am now socially acceptable, but no glamour-babe, never have been, never particularly wanted to be. I DO get irritated with people who sell themselves short. It's usually either false modesty or genuine whining and there's no excuse for either.)
2. Ah Thanksgiving. That holiday from hell!
All around the country, people are whining and complaining about their relatives and preparing to vomit all night because Aunt Sarah's "family tradition" oyster stuffing is traditionally allowed to sit on the counter for WAY too long before it hits the table but everyone has to have some anyway or the resulting tantrum will reverberate for YEARS afterwards. People are girding their loins to deal with the family feuds, the family drunkards, the families composed of drunkards and the foul tempered jerks that are tolerated only because of tenuous DNA connections and the fact that they live far away and are too cheap to make long-distance phone calls. The grannies and aunties will all be there, yelling and screaming about nonsense that happened so long ago that they're the only ones old enough to have been there.
And you married into that. Voluntarily, yet! It's all right, we all marry into the families of our spouses, and I'll let you in on the big secret; ALL families are just slightly nuts. Even the ones that LOOK like the Cleavers. Trust me on this. It's true.
Yup. That holiday where we all give thanks that we only have to see these idiots a couple of times a year is upon us. Whoopee. I was reminded this weekend that all of Canada is laughing hysterically at all of us because THEY had Thanksgiving a month ago and have already decompressed. Smug weenies!
You know what the answer is for your dilemma. Everyone over on Slate has already told you that this year, like the turkey, you are committed to this dinner from Hades. However, one more day of the blaring television, children in bondage and Tupperware hoarding hostess is not going to actually kill you, no matter how much you wish it would.
All is not lost, though. You say you want to see friends as well as family next year. Good on ya! So tell me again what the problem is?
You know what you want to do, so next year just do it. Why do you need permission from the internet lady to put the plan in action? Get your husband on board, invite the family to the open house as well as the friends and let the games begin. I've always maintained that a big mix of people is more interesting than the same old crowd. You know it too, otherwise you wouldn't be chafing to get the heck out of that non-event at your sister-in-law's place.
Plan the open house. Serve the food buffet style, rent dishes, cutlery and glasses and have fun. Get booze, wine, whatever beverages work, and keep glasses full. It's way more fun to nibble, mingle and talk to a bunch of people than being stuck at the same spot on the long table with the same people every year, right?
If your husband's family whines about it, make the usual excuses and tell them you're trying to lessen the stress on your beloved sis-in-law. If they don't come, so what? You know that you're having more fun than they are, right?
Besides, 20 years from now when this has become a tradition and you swear to the Almighty that if you have to cook one more blasted turkey and make one more fifteen pound potato salad that you're going to scream.....you can always wax nostalgic and convince another in-law that it should be someone else's turn for awhile, then go to France or something on that weekend.
Sorry dental assistant. I don't generally start out with the SHADDAP, but how moronic can you be? How complicated is this for you?
You say that you work for a "nice" dentist.....who just happens to be defrauding insurance companies! I know you'd like to think that he doesn't know, but get real sister, HE KNOWS. So
again and pay attention now.
You now have knowledge that a crime is being committed. If someone else finds out what's going on and you are still working there you are JUST AS LIABLE in this fraud as the dentist and his wife. That's right, cookie, you could go to jail! Now, how "nice" is that dentist, really? Do you really think he'll let his wife take the rap for the fraud if he thinks for one millisecond that he can throw you under the bus instead? Get real, kid. No matter how you slice it, you have to tell.
Doing nothing is not an option for you. Period. You have to tell whatever authorities there are that deal with this stuff. Of course, if you report it AFTER your resume is making the rounds, so much the better. So I'll leave you with this:
NOT TELLING IS NOT AN OPTION!
4. Hmmm. Someone passed out at a funeral. That happens all the time, you know, especially in hot weather or at big funerals. It's not in the least unusual. You did your job, the job you were trained for, and the fuss was over quickly and without interrupting the proceedings... You should be pretty proud of the way you handled it. The best possible thing to do was get the guy to a hospital without creating a hullaballoo and you did it.
But that's the problem, right? Hardly anyone actually SAW your heroics! No one applauded or grabbed a microphone to thank you profusely. It's an ego thing, I'm thinking. When your poor husband made the mistake of asking what went on, you HAD to blow it up to the kind of event equivalent to being the only poor nurse at the bus crash.
I have to start with why the heck was this so upsetting for you if you're a nurse to start with? It's not like you had to deal with a sucking chest wound, fercryinoutloud! Someone fainted. You've never seen anyone faint before? Where do you work, the "We Don't Treat Sick People For Fear It'll Upset The Staff" hospital? Gee whiz, lady, remind me not to go to you if I have a boo boo on my pinkie or something!
What do you do when something REALLY upsetting happens to you? Hysterics? If your usual response is to spend hours and hours repeating every little detail (...he had lint on his cuff....) then little wonder your husband tuned you out. It has to be exhausting listening to you yatter on and on about things that the rest of the world has already forgotten about!
I'll give you the benefit of the doubt for a second here, though. It's a guy thing, too. When men ask for information, that's all they want. Your husband asked you what happened, you told him, and that's all he needed or wanted to hear. He doesn't NEED the exposition, the emo-crud or the tears and he isn't particularly interested in all that because he just doesn't see it as that big a deal. In guy-speak, you were finished as soon as the ambulance guys got there and he only asked you what happened because he didn't actually see it for himself.
See, men want INFORMATION not EXPOSITION when they ask a question. They truly and honestly aren't interested in anything else. It doesn't mean your husband doesn't love you or care how you feel, he just doesn't see this as a big deal.
It's the same with venting. You can stand in the middle of the room ranting about the creeps you work with and you won't get any sympathy for it. What you WILL get is suggestions for dealing with the problem. Because that's what men do. They see a problem and their first thought is not to whine about it or beg for sympathy. Their first impulse is to bitch about it for a second while they're thinking of the solution, then DO SOMETHING about it.
Straight women like you and I and a whole lot of others marry these alien creatures called "men" and we all seem to pretty much thrive, so it can't be all bad, right? Now let the poor bugger watch his game and go vent to a female friend. She'll get it, make all the right noises and you'll feel much better about the whole thing, I promise.
(Sarah, the Golden One, The Pygmy Leopard that Runs Like Thunder has given up on me. She is now lying on a heat vent, smug in the knowledge that even if my feet freeze up here, SHE'LL have a nice warm tummy. (Sigh)