We have a love-hate relationship with syndicated advice columns. As much as we love other people's problems, we hate their solutions! Here, Jezebel neglects her own issues to tackle the most pressing and poignant of everyone else's. You'll be so inspired, you won't know how to repay her. (Hint: iPhone!)
Dear Dr. Brothers: I grew up in relative poverty where nothing came easily, and against the advice of many, I married a guy of a totally different class — he'd had everything, including a long background of wealth. After 15 years, our relationship with each other and our family of two lovely daughters could scarcely be better. But now that the girls are in their late adolescence, I worry. I worry because they and their friends are so self-centered and selfish. Their weekly allowance is the same as what our family would have lived on for a month. I don't resent this, but all this spending isn't making them happy or adjusted. What can I do? I love them so. -E.C.
Dear E.C.: The thing about inflation is that it hasn't really been that bad since the AquaNet years, so I have to ask: Are you serious? Your daughters' weekly allowances could have supported your entire family for a month? Because unless you are from Laos, you could probably still find entire families in this country subsisting on your daughters' weekly salaries, and maybe your daughters should get to know some of them!
They're called the other side of the Bush tax cuts, and some of them are probably living in not-so-subsidized housing not too far away from you. I suggest you introduce your daughters to these people, and if that doesn't do the trick try India, but not before you answer an irritating question: What the hell sort of relative poverty do you hail from that your family and friends advised you not to marry up? Because I am scratching my scalp here, and I can only think: "Were you all hippies?" In which case marrying into the kind of wealth you're describing was clearly some sort of weird rebellion, and now that you're nestled comfortably in your top 0.1% you're feeling the pangs of the social conscience you always resisted. Which also probably means you have a little work to do on your own values system, starting with your own "allowance," relinquishment of. A new study I read somewhere that I am in no way Googling right now says people actually derive genuine physical pleasure from giving shit away, so think about that, and start pleasuring yourself. It will be contagious in no time. By which I mean, you know, no more than a decade.
Dear Amy: When I was 19, I was raped at a party. Except for with licensed therapists, I have never talked to anyone about what happened. I am now 24 and have been dating a man for the past 10 months. Early in our relationship, he asked why I was so shy of him, and I told him that I had little experience with men, and what experience I did have was bad. Since then, he has been extremely patient with me, and he has expressed an interest to "understand where I'm coming from" regarding physical intimacy. I know that my continued silence on the subject hurts him, and that this has become a sticking point in our relationship. He's caring and very gentle, but he is also increasingly frustrated with the lack of a deeper physical and emotional commitment. He wants to be with me, and he refuses to make another move until he understands why we're still not having sex after 10 months. I'm afraid that telling him the truth will upset him or make him think less of me. I want to be open and honest with him, but every time I try to talk to him, I chicken out. How can I tell him about what happened without causing him (or me) undue distress? Afraid of the Consequences
Dear Afraid: Rape happens to the sluttiest of us. Even the most sexually-cavalier, anything-goes, drink-and-fuck-you-under-the-table types don't generally like sex to which they haven't, you know consented. And even the least wholesome girl you know will tell you, rape — violent or otherwise — feels creepily unwholesome. The thing the sluts have on their side is being able to automatically distinguish that feeling from regular sex. You have to go more on trust here. And the important thing to remember is that former rape victims all over the country are fucking normally — wildly even — as we speak. They, just like you, are human. And they, just like you, could one day get raped again. If that's what you're afraid of, "Afraid", think about how much more emotionally and mentally equipped you are to deal with it now, five years later, especially since you have a loving boyfriend with whom you're about to have a healthy, wholesome, loving, sweaty, probably-not-particularly-kinky sexual relationship with. And he will beat the shit out of that dude. In fact, so would most dudes. Especially if they want to fuck you.
Dear Dr. Brothers: My husband and I have three children, the eldest in middle school. They're much loved by both of us, but they're beginning to sense that all isn't right, because my husband and I have been having non-stop arguments about my desire to add to our family. His anger and lack of understanding for my wanting and insisting on having more kids is making me so upset that I'm in tears most of the time. He keeps moaning about how he's working too hard now and how we can't afford it, but I'm thinking of forgetting about my birth-control pills and going ahead, anyway. Shouldn't it be the woman's decision, since she's the one having it? — L.B.
Dear L.B.: You are a psychopath.