Other People’s Problems: Previewing Mom’s Eulogy

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Photo: Gluekit

It's Fashion Week! You're exhausted, stress-eating, and there are models everywhere you look! All the more reason to check in with Other People's Problems, in which we collect and rank the greatest dilemmas of the week, as seen in newspaper and magazine advice columns. This week: that guy who sent you a really misogynist message on OkCupid out of nowhere. He knows he has a problem, okay?

The Biggest Troll on OkCupidMiss Information

His college sexual glory days behind him, this letter writer is abusing strangers on dating sites.

I have never been very good at hitting on girls, but I'm lucky to be tall and fairly good-looking, and in college that was often all it took. Since then, I've had to try harder, and it's been a long, hard road since then. I've made so many embarrassing mistakes, suffered so many humiliating rejections, and chalked up a fair few abject failures ... It's been this way for years now, and it's so frustrating that I'm starting to feel like I hate women. Sometimes I'll pass girls' names while scrolling through my phone and mutter obscenities under my breath. Sometimes after a date or an effort to try chatting up a girl doesn't go well, I'll cruise dating websites saying hostile things out loud to the women on the screen. Lately, I've gone as far as actually sending rude messages to women on dating sites. That was the point where I had to ask myself if something's wrong with me.

Most Decorous Bigot, Dear Abby

She’s just wondering what the protocol is for discriminating against queer people.

Last night at a restaurant, my husband and I were surprised to see a male server wearing a blond wig and full makeup. I was, to say the least, shocked and very glad we hadn't brought the children, ages 11 and 14, with us. What kind of policies are in place for restaurants in cases like this? What if customers are offended? Could I request a different server or just leave?

Best Use of Taxpayers’ Dollars, Ask Amy

This government agency will use any excuse to throw a cake party.

I feel like I’m drowning in office parties. I am a supervisor in a government agency in which two other supervisors want me to throw a cake party for two of my staff members who recently earned degrees. (One a bachelor’s, the other a master’s). The other supervisors say the purpose is for the entire staff to recognize them for this huge accomplishment. They say it promotes team spirit. I disagree. These same supervisors wanted to celebrate another co-worker’s 60th birthday, even though the person was adamant about not wanting this and actually took a vacation to avoid the celebration. This office celebrates major birthdays with decorated rooms and cakes, and does cards and flowers for immediate family deaths, farewells, etc. I believe it is necessary to draw the line somewhere.

Rudest Form of Cancer, Miss Manners

Just because it might kill your husband doesn’t mean she needs to hear about it!

Why do people feel that I have a need to know what is going on in either their or their spouses’ underwear?! I have a friend whose husband has prostate cancer. I sympathize, but I do not need to know that he cannot urinate, or the color of his urination, or if there is blood.

Best Playground Moral Relativist, Dear Prudie

It’s so hard to raise a bruiser these days.

I'm the stay-at-home mom of a 4-year-old girl, and we are being ostracized from play groups because I have told my daughter that if someone hits her first, she is allowed to hit back. I believe strongly that this is right, but I also want her to have friends. Should I change my policy and, if so, should I tell her why or pretend I believe it? BTW, the philosophy here is "we should use our words," which is NOT what I would do if someone hit ME, but I guess that's just me.

Best Use of Social Media, Dear Prudie

Facebook is an untapped resource for humiliating younger family members.

My sister-in-law has created Facebook personalities for her two dogs and her cat. Her "animals" repeatedly friend request my son and my daughter, who are in their late teens. My kids don’t want to friend their aunt’s pets because when they have, in the past, she floods their walls with unintelligible "animal speak" posts about embarrassing childhood moments. My sister-in-law becomes upset when they won't accept her friend requests and sends them several unhappy "animal speak" messages a day.

Getting the Most From Mortality, Dear Abby

"Who says you can’t be at your own funeral?" asks mother-in-law from hell.

My mother-in-law is insisting that her adopted son and I each write a eulogy for her, so she can read it before she dies. We don't think her request is appropriate and have told her so, but she keeps insisting.

Best Forum-Based Infidelity, Savage Love

When the other man is Burning Man.

I have been in a long-term relationship with a wonderful woman who doesn't have a lot of people she socializes with in her daily life. She is a Burning Man person and converses online with other "burners." […] Last week, while she was at Burning Man, I checked out the forum she moderates, even though I knew I shouldn't have. What I found was that she never mentions having a boyfriend, even when it might be relevant to a discussion. I was never mentioned, not even in passing. I don't mind that guys compliment her, and I understand the benefits of positive attention from the opposite sex. If she came to me and told me that is what she was seeking and that it was chaste, I would be fine with it as long as she made that clear to other forum members. […] I also feel like she saves the spontaneous, uninhibited, and adventurous part of herself for these people at Burning Man.

Most Inventive Home-Wrecker, Social Qs

Why break up marriages when you can destroy whole nuclear families?

For two years, our son dated a man he loved. (We never cared for him.) Enter our daughter, who met this boyfriend at our summer home. The two of them went off together — and not innocently. Sparks flew. They are now a couple, leaving our son brokenhearted. And we are in the awkward position of having this man in our home as our daughter’s partner.

Most Likely to Only Know to Play “Blackbird,” Miss Manners

And his rendition is your birthday gift.

My husband and I are attending a 50th birthday party for his brother-in-law. My husband wants to bring his guitar along, although he has not been asked to do so. It seems very presumptuous to me, and selfish. Help!

Most Anal-Retentive Boss, Dear Prudie

Micromanaging your bodily functions.

I work for a small nonprofit in an office of around 30 employees, mostly women. […] Our building has three bathrooms: a nice, two-stall bathroom on the main level for women, a private main-level bathroom for men and an old one-stall bathroom in the basement. Our director has sent repeated emails instructing staff that doing number two is prohibited in the main bathroom, and that we must use the basement toilet for such business. I feel it's preposterous to dictate which perfectly human functions an employee may do in the privacy of a bathroom stall. Making a trip to the basement has become something of a Walk of Shame, and I feel it's inappropriate for an employer to legislate bathroom activity. It hardly seems worth it to raise my concern, but I have to wonder if her request is even legal.