OTHER PEOPLE'S PROBLEMS 

OTHER PEOPLE'S PROBLEMS

You know what happened? I got bored of my own problems. They’re always things like rodent-infested kitchens ... my dog being a reincarnated goat ... how exactly I’m going to pay my bills this month. That sort of thing. I would be listening to Mary J. Blige and think, ‘if only I had some drama in my life.’ Or I would be watching television and say to myself, ‘how come I’m not a high powered attorney, helping clean up the streets of Philadelphia and dating a really cute judge? What’s up with that?’

So anyway, I thought it would be way more interesting for everyone involved if we focus on other people’s problems. I mean, those are the best kind really. They’re the ones people talk about at the water cooler and relish telling to others. For instance, a friend of mine recently got embroiled in a dispute between a pair of roommates. The first roommate, a skinny minnie of a girl, stole a pair of the other not-so-skinny minnie roommate’s panties. And then she wore them. And then the second roommate found out, because she saw the girl wearing them. The skinny minnie said she thought they were hers, but c’mon, you know your own undies. Especially if you put them on and they’re not your size. From there, my friend -- who didn’t have anything to do with the panty situation at all -- got dragged into it. See how interesting that is? This is a perfect plan. Just send me an email detailing your problem and we’ll all talk about it and then tell you what to do. For instance I told my friend those women needed to go on Springer. I think that is pretty sound advice.

Actually, the saddest part is that in preparation to give scads of good, sensible advice, I spent the last week pitting myself against the biggies: Ann Landers, Dear Abby, and YM’s Ask Anything. I’d read the Q, think about it a little, decide on my answer, and then read the A. There wasn’t once -- not once -- that I gave the same advice as those dear old sisters or the teen magazine. That being said, whatever I say, you should do the opposite. I mean, unless you don’t want to. Then go right ahead.

Listen to this: I don't want to waste too much of your valuable time, so I'll get right to the point. Just this week my boyfriend of nearly two years broke up with me. Needless to say, I'm heartbroken and want to try to get my life back together as quickly as possible. You know the saying "the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else." With that in mind, I've decided that a quick fling or two would take my mind off my ex and help me move on.

The thing is -- I already know who I want the first fling to be with. He's one of my really good friends who I've always been attracted to (he's really, really hot) but never been interested in (he's really, really shallow). He's planning to move away in a few months and I doubt we'll stay close after he leaves, so I'm thinking that I haven't got much to lose by pursuing a purely sexual relationship with him.

What do you think? Am I on the right track or just plotting my next disaster?

Signed, Really wanting to sleep with Kevin

Okay:

Rebound sex is generally not a game I engage in. Mainly because I’m too busy stuffing my face with assorted chocolate products. And secondly because I usually gain a few or thirteen pounds. That said, I think you should go for it.

This Kevin sounds made for a fling: hot, not really that close of a friend, leaving the city. In fact, I couldn’t think of a better combination of traits for a tasty treat. My only piece of advice (after all, that is what I’m here for) is to use caution. You’re the one who could possibly get hurt in this scenario. I don’t know how exactly, but he’s shallow and moving away and right now you’re vulnerable and trying to put a quick fix on a broken heart. It’s like when you’re really hungry because you haven’t eaten in a few days, hours, whatever, and you walk into a buffet restaurant and gorge yourself. A few hours later, you’re nauseous or worse, puking your guts out, and wondering why you ever put that into your mouth. Maybe that’s not the best analogy, but right now it’s the only one I got. I’m just saying, you don’t want to end up puking after you play.

The only other thing ... and this comes from network television ... is that people in newly ended long-term relationships don’t always stay away from each other. Sometimes they even -- shockingly -- get back together, if only for a night. Obviously, I don’t know the details of your break-up, but if it hasn’t even been a week and there’s some chance of a reconciliation, you don’t want to be “that girl” (in some circles, they call her “slut” or “that big whore,” but I think “that girl” suffices here). Of course that said, I still think a little Kevin couldn’t hurt. Much.

Listen to this:

My boyfriend and I have been together for three years and recently decided to get married. We’ve set a date for August and have been running around like crazy doing wedding stuff. Here’s the thing: I met his parents about a year ago and liked them. And I met his sisters a short time later and really liked them, too. But the other day I met some of his cousins. And they were so bad I’m thinking about calling off the wedding.

They were rude, obnoxious, horrible people. My boyfriend said that they’re better once you get to know them, that they were just nervous about meeting me, but they didn’t seem nervous. They seemed gross. What’s worse is that they live in town and I’m sure I’ll be seeing them at family events. For one, my wedding (if I go through with it).

The crazy part is I think my boyfriend may have kept me from meeting them. He spends a lot of time with them, going to football games, playing Play Station. I never gave it a single thought before, but in the three years I’ve been seeing him, they probably hang out twice a week and I had never met them before. And now it’s got me wondering what else he’s keeping from me. What should I do?

Signed, I love him, but these people were freaks Okay:

A few years ago, I had a little chat with my parents. Okay, actually it was like a week ago; it just sounds more sage if I say years. At any rate, they asked why I never brought anyone home to meet them and I cited our family’s classic example of “running scared.”

My sister, then in college, had brought a little guy home, probably just to relieve the boredom of our lazy backwater town, and my parents gave them a 9 p.m. curfew or something equally ridiculous. I’m hazy on the details, mostly because I wasn’t there. What I do know is that my sister and little guy broke up almost to the minute they hit the city limits.

Of course my parents were offended by the notion that they were men-scarer-offers, which they had every right to be (both men-scarer-offers and offended). And then my dad said, “Well, if they get scared off by us, they don’t really love you in the first place.” Then we made a pact: I would only introduce them to the ones that were really serious and they’d be the last line of defense. You know, if the guy sticks around after meeting them it must be true love.

I'm going to hazard a guess that your boyfriend hasn’t made that deal with his cousins. And I’m also going to hazard a guess that you don’t like to go to football games or play Play station. It could just be that your husband-to-be genuinely likes his cousins and hasn’t included you in their weekly get-togethers because you wouldn’t enjoy it.

On the other hand, maybe you love football and the reason you haven’t met them is exactly what you said. Either way, I think the real question here hearkens back to my good old mom and dad: Do you really love him? Because if so, a couple dorky cousins are nothing. Yes, they’re going to be around until you get divorced or they move. But judging from how often you’ve seen them before and the fact that you’ve made no secret of your dislike, chances are you won’t be waking up to coffee with them every morning. I think I would focus on who you will be waking up to coffee with every morning; it’s probably just those crazy pre-wedding jitters, but if you’re willing to call the whole thing off over some cousins -- a trumped-up excuse if ever I heard one -- I’d give myself some time to think things over.

Or maybe they’re more heinous than words can ever express and this isn’t an excuse at all. If that’s the case, I’m sure they could be considered “irreconcilable differences” on the divorce papers.

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