Singles advice guru Marnie Macauley has humorous and savvy solutions for singulars looking to resolve their relationship problems.
My Dear Singularians,
Every once in a while I get missives that are … well, strange, hilarious, or of the “you’ve got to be kidding me” variety. The very quirkiness of the question overtakes the theme. Personally, I love them. (It gives me time to Tidybowl something — or not.) Yes, even a tough, no nonsense advice columnist needs a break from trauma, grief, and “My son/husband/BFF is getting weird texts from Uzbekistan.” So, once in a while I will share them in hopes that you’ll smile, wonder, scratch your head … and feel at peace, knowing your problems are truly more problematic than these.
SIS SEX TALKER
Dear Marnie: My family and I have a strange problem: the gal my brother’s living with, I’ll call her “Susie.” She always talks about sex, even with strangers. More than half of her conversation contains sexual references, which are totally inappropriate. She and my bro seem happy enough and I don’t think she’s flirting or cheating. It’s just that she can’t seem to stop talking about sex! We’ve discussed it with her and my brother even suggested therapy. She apologizes but it doesn’t seem to make much difference. My brother feels helpless too. It’s driving us nuts. Is there anything you can think of? — Bro with Sex Talker
MARNIE SAYS: Well, I could babble on about the leaks in Susie’s brain flow that compel her to unleash her lust willy-nilly into the atmosphere. And yes, she could attempt to glue those holes with professional help. That’s her choice and problem. Yours is keeping her lips zipped when you’re anywhere around other humans.
Getting it! Your Personal Strategy:
* Recognize the fact that Little Ms. SexyMouth probably doesn’t mean to embarrass you. She can’t help it. She needs a censor between her libido and her vocal cords. Take the job. All of you.
* The very next time she goes “X-rated,” take notes. Record her dialogue in detail.
* Then, list the triggers you feel may have prompted her. Do two glasses of Chablis make her “spill?” When she gets cranky, does she crank up? Do cute strangers quake her into spewing her assets?
* With your brother, call a family meeting. Read back her own dialogue. Her behavior is more than quirky, or humiliating — it’s dangerous. Whether she realizes it or not, a stranger may take her hot blabber as an invite. Lay it out. Either the remarks go or she doesn’t get to go anywhere with you.
* Operation SexyMouth: The Family Plan. Get her to agree to let you be her censors. When you’re together, assign family members to watch for specific triggers. If she goes soft core after two wine coolers, one of you steers her to the buffalo wings. Then, choose speedy signals you can all use to stop her when she starts up, for example, step on her stiletto under the table, wipe that stuff off her upper lip, or use a code phrase (“The big wind is rising”) to alert her.
Much like Pavlov’s pup, at the signal, Ms. SexyMouth will heed, and (hopefully) either change the chatter to PG-speak — or shut up.
PRACTICAL JOKER IN PJ’S
Dear Marnie: My boyfriend tries to sneak pictures of me in bed while I’m sleeping. I don’t like it because I’m overweight right now. He thinks it’s hilarious. What do I do? — Fat and Fuming
MARNIE SAYS: Honey, if this guy thinks pix of his unconscious, but slightly zaftig girlfriend with her tongue flapping in the breeze is funny, you’ve got a bigger problem than a tacky photo album. Apart from the fact that the man has the sense of humor of Fred Flintstone, let’s talk about “funny” — and relationships. “Funny” should (ideally) consist of more than one person dancing around with a lampshade on his head. Like the Tango, it takes at least two.
Getting it! Your Personal Strategy:
* He’s clueless. He doesn’t get it. More, he doesn’t get you. Make him. Tell him the boudoir photos are about as amusing to you as … well, his mother telling that joke about how he missed the potty until he was 9. Ask him how that felt, and have him describe it in detail. Not pretty.
* Now ask him to imagine how you feel when you’re caught on camera when you least expect it. If he has a problem making the connection, let him know exactly how it hurts you, violates your privacy and disregards your wishes.
* No Pix without Permission. Allow no argument. Humor is in the eye of the victim. And so is safety. Now, I’m loathe to add fuel to this conflagration, but are we quite sure this is merely juvenile humor or might your pix wind up turning on some strange creature on the Internet. Find out.
* Even if it’s in the eye of the Bozo beholder, tell him it’s costing. The price is caring and respect in this relationship. Insist Ingmar Bergman refocus his sense of humor or get another model for his nocturnal hobby.
BIG MOUTH COLLEAGUE
Dear Marnie: I volunteer three days a week in a large non-profit agency. For the last few months I’ve sat next to a woman I’ll call “Jane.” Jane is nice enough so I don’t want to get her in any trouble. The thing of it is, she’s a pain in the neck! She’s forever giving me “helpful” suggestions and telling me how to do things. It’s driving me crazy! I know other people feel the same way about her. I can’t stand it. How do I get her to keep her opinions to herself? — Annoyed
Well, if you were me, you’d cop to being deaf and say “what-what?!” so often the lady would need a bullhorn (or alternatively a new larynx) to bleat to me. But pretending to go deaf may be a bit extreme.
Getting It! Your Personal Strategy:
* Are you allowed to wear a headset? No? OK … we move on.
* OPTION ONE: (The big fat lie.) You have sensitive ears. Fiddle with cotton, drops and make casual conversation difficult. (Say “what?! What??” a lot.)
* OPTION TWO: “Jane’s Suggestion Box.” Make the lady scribble her bibble. The very next time she winds up her mouth, hand her a pen and pad. Have an empty tissue box on your desk. Tell her: “Jane, you’re so bursting with ideas, I couldn’t possibly recall all of them. So here’s a pen and pad. Please feel free to scribble your suggestions and put them in here. Then, I can give them the consideration they so deserve.” Then … do. She gets to vent, and you get to read — or trash — without a ripple of disruption.
Finally, you could always ask for a seat change, however given the lady’s reputation, your good nature is probably what got you into the hot seat in the first place!
Copyright © Marnie Macauley / 2014 Singular Communications, LLC