Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Newsies ask Questions, Senior Citizens Respond
This week I took my show on the road and posed your questions to the folks in my Senior Citizen Zine Group. Each week we have round table discussions, and I asked for their help in solving your problems. Below you will find not only my own standard answers, but as a bonus, the wisdom of Diane G., and people aged 70-77. I hope you don't mind that I told everyone your problems.
Dear Nicole, Smartest Girl in America:
How do I tell if my girlfriend is cheating on me (already established as an unfeminist act)?
We’ve been together for along time now, and recently, maybe the past 4 months or so, she’s been acting crazy. All of a sudden she's gotten really jealous and possessive. She keeps accusing me of cheating on her with this girl from my school, but I can’t figure out where she is getting that. It’s driving me crazy. I’ve never given her any reason to suspect me, I really love her and would never think of cheating, but I’m scared by her jealous outbursts and she freaks out if she sees me talking to this girl after class (about class related stuff, all totally innocent).
My brother keeps telling me that crazy jealousy and possessiveness like this are a big sign that your partner has cheated on you because their guilt makes them suspicious of everyone else. Is that true? I know she’s cheated on a few of her other girlfriends in the past, but I also know that she really loves me and would never do that to me! Please help.
Can you tell me of other signs that your partner is cheating on you? Can you tell me how I can convince my girlfriend that I am not, and would not ever, cheat on her? I’ve been doing everything she asks, short of ignoring my classmate, but it never seems to be enough. I just want things to go back to the way they were before all this crazy stuff started happening and I'm scared we're going to break up.
I just want us to be really honest with each other, and maybe if she needs to sleep around we can try being polyamorous, but I just can't handle this jealousy crap!
Double Doubt (in Dallas)
Dear Double Doubt in Dallas,
I have some harsh words for you, my Doubtful Dallas friend.
In my experience (and through years of intensive studying) I have found that people who aren't brave enough to end a relationship outright and in an honest way tend to sabotage things instead. It's easier. It's like throwing a bomb into the scene. So instead of someone having to say "I can't do this anymore" or "My feelings have faded" and risk hurting you directly, they just chuck a bomb into your relationship and make you sift through the debris and wonder what happened. What I'm saying is... sometimes people cheat and this is the bomb. This is them blowing a hole in the wall and sneaking out instead of just taking the door.
1. I know she’s cheated on a few of her other girlfriends in the past, but I also know that she really loves me and would never do that to me!
The fact that she's cheated on a few of her girlfriends in the past is a gigantic RED FLAG!
If you're imagining that because she loves you she would never cheat on you, then you are wrong wrong wrong.
Let's be real here: she had to have something going on with her other girlfriends in order for them to BE girlfriends. Like.... love. So in theory, she loved them, and then cheated on them. And in reality, she loves you, and .... she could cheat on you. She would do that to you. Because she HAS done that to other people.
People are not incapable of change, but the simple fact that she's In Love doesn't mean that she's a Different Person. So... hope for the best, prepare for the worst!
2. I just want things to go back to the way they were before all this crazy stuff started happening
It's really important to be honest with yourself and see what you're getting out of this relationship Right Now.
Not how it was when you first got together, not what it could be with some hard work and honesty. What is happening Right Now?
Are you being treated fairly? Are you happy on a daily basis? What percentage of the time are you happy in this relationship and when you're together? Like, not co dependently relieved that you're not alone, but actually enjoying each other's company. Are you happy more than you're stressed out?
She is not choosing to show you the side of her that she was "before all this crazy stuff started happening".
She is also not choosing to reveal to you what has changed In Her to make this "crazy stuff start happening". You know?
As far as i know, you didn't do anything to facilitate this change in mood and "crazy stuff". You can't Make somebody act like that. It's all on them. And with that in mind, it's her responsibility to take (I'm sorry to throw in lesbian therapy speak here) ownership of her feelings and be honest and clear with you about what's going on.
3. I'm scared we're going to break up.
Is this relationship really that fun for you right now? Maybe some space would clear things up?
4. maybe if she needs to sleep around we can try being polyamorous
No no no no NO! Polyamory is the K2 of relationships. It requires Twice as much honesty and Thrice as many communication skills and good boundaries as a run of the mill dating situation.
If you can't trust the person you're with, and they are acting like they can't trust you, then Noooooooo. Stay out of the polyamorous neck of the woods my friend! It is a jungle in which your weapon is trust. If you don't have that shit locked down and trusty, then stay out! The weed that is jealousy will kudzu on your ass.
I'm sorry, sweet Dallas, and I hope everything works out for the best.
and now, the wisdom of my Senior Citizen Zine Group:
Walter: If they're saying You're Cheating, accusing you, then they're not the person for you. If my sister in law lived closer, I think it'd be okay to marry her. My brother's widow. My thought was, he's already dead, so I'm free to marry so it's alright. But she lives far away.
Henrietta- To me , if a person's gonna 'scuse me with my coworkers or classmates all the time I wanna get away from 'em, because that ain't fair. Because if you wanted to get with them (your coworkers or schoolmates), you would've already. So if you're talking funny to me, then No No . You goin to 'scuse me, then you ain't my man.
Diane- Why can't people be honest?
Henrietta- You wouldn't wanna get married to nobody like that.
Walter- you'll find someone to marry. Like my sister in law, she might not even be the one for me. We have some same interests, bible and all....
Henrietta- I'm for peace. If you can't get along with me, you get along with nobody. You gotta be free. You 'scuse me? What're you doin? You gotta trust Somebody.
Estelle- You have to get somebody that she don't know and spy on them!
Diane- spy on them! go for it!
Estelle- Oh Crud.
Our Beehived Helper:
i have been devastatingly single most of my (albeit short) adult life. in the past, i had some of what one might call "self-esteem issues", which i convinced myself were my barrier to sweet sweet lovin'. but i feel like I've grown up and over those, to the extent that we can, and would be a totally awesome date.
the problem is that my preferred activities (i.e. watching "coal miner's daughter" while drinking white wine spritzers, hanging out in Scapoose, & dressing up like a Newsies character to go to safeway) don't usually involve me meeting lots of hot dykes. and i don't really want to change my life over-much on the off chance that I'll meet someone worth it.
I've tried a couple of internet dating sites and had pretty paltry results. and it's not because i can't write a really good why-you-should-date-me synopsis. i think the sites I'm looking at just don't have enough queers on them.
so my questions has a few parts:
1. what are your general suggestions for datelessness of the shy and hermit-like variety?
2. any hints for internet dating specifically?
3. will you please tell me which internet dating sites have lots of gay?
- much obliged
When i read your letter this week, the first thing i thought to myself was, "If this person is dressing like a Newsie, they'd better bring that act on over to New Seasons instead of Safeway, and they'll be all set! In fact, let me know when you get there!"
The second thing I thought was: How's your hair? Get a new haircut. A new haircut can bring magical results! You could be the most introverted fellow on earth, but with the right haircut (see Christian Bale in Swing Kids) you will find it hard to manage the many dates that will come your way. I really think this is the truth. Sometimes a new haircut can even add a few weeks of rejuvenation to an otherwise dying relationship. It's like magic.
Getting serious for a moment:
There are plenty of people who would like to watch videos and drink spritzers, hang out in scapoose, and indulge your paper boy persona.
However, you are NOT going to meet anyone at Safeway! Even if you can only afford one specialty item, I have to recommend Shopping at New Seasons if you're looking for lesbians.
Okay, so you have your basket and you're at the grocery store. You're perusing the yogurt and you see somebody cute. Maybe you even make "meaningful eye contact". Try to do something , cough, ask them if they'd like to buy a newspaper, something so that they remember who you are.
THEN, when you get home, write an I Saw You ad for them and post it on craiglist or in the local weekly paper. I swear this might work! I even tried it the other week (!), and though this did not result in marriage or even first base, the person definitely wrote back. Because they were flattered that somebody remembered them and sieged with curiosity.
Internet dating. I have to reveal that for the most part, i think the w4w section of craigslist is a grisly dog pound. If i were you i would try the Mercury personals. Why? Because i know some people who are upstanding , handsome citizens who have posted on there to good results.
Ask. Your . Friends. "Set me up."
Go to a terrible gay dance night and set up a booth in a corner selling flagging kerchiefs or telling fortunes. Then people will come to you, maybe they'll give you money, and you'll get to suss out the heroes from the zeroes.
Good luck, and I'll see you at the grocery store.
And now... for some older advisers:
Though I'm more of an extrovert, my brother was shy. One thing his teacher did him as a favor was make him read out loud.
Henrietta- I wouldn't know because I'm so chicken myself. I just go to church, fishing, the grocery store...
Nowadays if you give a person a smile they think you want something! But i don't' mean it that way, I'm just friendly!
Di - Dress good, put yourself together and go to an activity. Say hello and make eye contact! Don't give up! Don't feel sorry for yourself. At least not in front of your date.
Mavis: What? I don't know. I don't go anywhere either.
I feel like my pizazz and spark and intelligence cannot be appreciated by anyone in a romantic sense. I'm constantly being broken up with in favor of the plain. The boring. The ponytail. The let's-get-take-out-and-stay-in. The lackadaisical. My last two boyfriends are now dating slugs with no personality.
I talked candidly with the last man I was with, and he told me quite frankly that my cleverness and personality was overwhelming and that he began sleeping with a much younger stoner girl because "she was an ear for me to talk to." This girl is as dull as a ten year old nail file. I didn't know whether to thank him for his honestly or weep for his directness.
I never in my life thought that having interests and goals and an education would be so detrimental. I'm feeling this terrible pressure to conform and to normalize and to dumb myself down. Can creative, worthwhile people get down with a lady like me? I know that I deserve better but I am getting impatient. Please let me know there is hope!
Yours Very Sincerely,
Tiny Firecracker in Texas
P.S. I am a Leo.
1. I know you are a proud Leo, and that you probably are a fantastic catch and can see that in yourself. I applaud your self esteem and self assuredness.
I want you to brush down your lion hair for a moment (just for a moment!) and look deeper into this dilemma.
What other warning signs were there in these relationships?
What was it about your vivacity that got these dudes down?
My only wondrance is, were you a good listener? Were you okay at sharing the spotlight?
Just a wondrance, after hearing what your ex boyfriend had to say.
2. Pick better dudes.
You must know that if a man would choose an adolescent stoner girl over you , then he's not your man.
You need someone clever and cute and creative and worthwhile. Look harder. These guys sound like duds. Your soul mate is not going to think you're Too Sparkly or Intelligent (but make sure you give your soul mate room to shine!).
or you could always....
3. Go Gay!
What better way to feel appreciated than to communicate with someone who can truly understand you? ... a Same Sex Lover!
And now, some words from the elderly:
Walter- You gotta get the right person...
Henrietta- Ice cream and cake. I don't like violence. I wouldn't wanna fool with her because I wouldn't wanna argue.
Walter- A man married someone i was sposed to marry but he didn't know the Facts of Life, if you know what i mean. You know, sexual stuff.
Is it wrong for a grown up (77 year old) person to play pin the tail on the donkey or pinata?
I don't think so. As long as you're playing it with other 77 year olds, i guess.
Readers, do you have any comments?
Please give me feedback!