Lately I’ve been slammed with a bunch of solicitations for Internet dating sites. One of my friends thinks this is a tool that is “leveling the playing field” between women and men in finding a good companion. I’ve never been especially lucky in my romantic relationships and am rather cautious. What would you advise about this or the possibility of placing a personal ad in a local paper?
My Dear Samantha,
Whew. I wonder if you need to check the spam filter on your email. Actually, I think I may need to check mine because I’ve been receiving the same barrage of advertisements. I’ve heard of a few cases where people have met one another and happily mated over the Internet or through classified ads, but these cases tend to be the exception rather than the rule. Have you checked back with your friend and asked how he or she fared?
Twenty years ago I answered a personal ad in the City Paper when I was living in Baltimore. I was lonely and clinging to the belief that a man would be a quick fix to the myriad of problems I was facing at the time.
Anyway, this guy sounded wonderful on paper and was very charming on the phone. We made a date to meet at one of my favorite East Indian restaurants in Federal Hill. When his food arrived, he gathered up every dish on his plate and mashed them all together into a big pile of googoo. Do you remember the Seinfeld episode on gay issues where the cast were all saying, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that!” about their queer friends? Well, it’s sort of the same thing here. This man’s table manners might have been a-okay to another woman, they just were unacceptable to me.
You stated in your question that you are cautious. That’s a good instinct to listen to as long as you don’t let your fears overwhelm you or prevent you from taking a risk every once and awhile. Ask yourself what your expectations are—you might consider the concept of looking for friendship first. It’s a tired old tale, but remember the tortoise and the hare? The tortoise was no doubt the long shot, but the slow, lumbering ol’ guy with the short little legs did win that race. Have fun whatever you decide to do.
My 83-year-old boss says things to me that are pretty offensive. Yesterday, she told me if I dressed better I would be married by now. I’m 32 years old, and if I wanted to be married, I’d be married. All I do for her is run errands and keep her house in order. How can I kindly suggest that she keep these opinions to herself?
My Dear Charlie,
I’m guessing the two of you never agreed on a dress code? I know it’s hard to tolerate the values, social norms, and expectations of people who grew up in a diiferent time and culture. The comments of your employer are probably only meant to be helpful, but she is delivering these zingers with no prompting from you, and this is outside the parameters of your relationship.
You need to ask to meet with her at a specific time to discuss this problem. I suspect she values your work highly or she would not be concerned with your personal life in the least. Tell her how it makes you feel when she says these things and ask her if she might consider a little restraint of tongue in the future. Ask if your wardrobe has become a concern to her as it pertains to your work only.
You already know how to do this, Charlie. You employed the patience necessary by writing to me before flying off the handle. I think you and your boss are learning quite a bit from one another, and it’s going to turn out fine.