The Agony Antagonist

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Advice news from all over

Ask Ellie, over there at the Chicago Sun-Times, had a “Play Advice Columnist for a Day” contest in her March 18 column. The lucky letter-writer, whose problems became fodder for a nation of frustrated and lonely people with their own agendas, wrote in to say that she is married to a man who was her “first,” who doesn’t fulfill her sexually, and who she doesn’t even consider manly anymore, though she does see him as a friend. Consequently, she’s taken up with a married man, and boy is the sex hot. Should she stay with her boring husband, or move on to lustier fields? Ellie gives her advice first, which sounds a lot like this:

Blah blah blah sanctity of marriage blah blah hard work blah blah blah commitment blah blah counseling.

And then a bunch of readers say basically the same thing. But here’s the thing I love: Among all the clucking hens repeating, “Save your marriage—brawk!” there’s one bright young, bitter shining star who tells it like it is:

If he had such a low libido all along, why marry him? Since she has so little respect for him (and this other man's wife), marriage counseling or any attempts on her part to reconcile their sexual appetites will be a waste of time, because this repulsive woman will cheat again. She needs to spare this man further cruelty (I'm sure he already knows what's happening) and get a divorce, stop seeing that married scumbag, then get the serious help she needs, so she will realize relationships are just that -- relating to others and not always putting your selfish needs first. (My wife had several affairs last year and I am still angry and humiliated).

Oh, how I love it. And he’s right, too. The letter-writer is repulsive, she did make a mistake in marrying the first guy who came along, and if she were at all concerned with the so-called sanctity of marriage, she wouldn’t have cheated in the first place. Brawk!

Ask Amy gives us this little gem, in her April 18 column, from a lady, Carol, who wants to share a neologism coined by her late friend. Apparently, after her friend was diagnosed with ALS, her ex-husband moved back in with her to serve as a caretaker. She felt that calling him her “ex” was a bit cold, so she called him her “wasband” or her “hasbend.” Get it??? Because he was her husband, and now he’s a has-been husband? Am I wrong in thinking that this either comes from a very bitter place in a dying woman’s heart, or else she had an extraordinarily bad sense of humor? I mean, he took care of her when she took ill, giving up his freedom and any chance at a social life in order to do so. Why be mean about it, lady? Dead lady? Waslady?

In other news, Prudie is taking people to task with a little more venom than usual, I see. To the 47-year-old man who wants to ask out his attractive 20-ish friend, she has these words:

You are what every girl is dreaming of: a middle-aged guy with a miserable track record, a daughter her own age, and apparently no self-insight. Sure, dating women more than two decades younger after multiple marital disasters is standard behavior for billionaires and movie stars, but at least those guys are billionaires or movie stars. It's good that you're hesitating; maybe your gut is telling you this young woman would be appalled by your putting the moves on her.

Ow. Though really, tough love and all. One gets the feeling that the guy was not going to come to that totally reasonable conclusion on his own. Re. the sister-in-law who told the letter-writer’s husband that her son was upset that his Easter card didn’t come with a $50 bill:

I don't even know the woman, and I already have a really bad attitude toward her. You have a right to be furious, but the larger issue here is that your beloved little nephew is being raised by a money-grubbing manipulator.

Bingo. On the money again. (No pun intended.) And to the restaurant manager who wants to know how he can dissuade his regular customer from leaving used Kleenex on the table:

Let's see—you have a lovely customer who has been coming in multiple times a week for 15 years, often bringing many guests, and you would like to inform her that a personal habit of hers is repulsive to you and she's no longer welcome unless she straightens out. That sounds like a business strategy! Do you berate your male customers if they leave wee-wee on the rim of the urinal?

Oh yes. This is how it’s done, if Ask Amy and Dear Abby and the weirdly unsatisfying Ask Ellie would like to take notes. Well done, Prudie. You’ve made the Agony Antagonist a very happy woman. For today.

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