Welcome to our latest Bad Advice column! Stay tuned every Tuesday for more terrible guidance based on actual letters.
“My boyfriend, ‘Kevin,’ and I have been together for five years and have a 4-year-old son we are crazy about. For the past six months, I have been begging Kevin to have another child. Some days he’s all for it, but then he changes his mind and starts asking me to give him a good reason why we should. No matter what I say, he always says I want another child ‘just to have another.’ What can I tell him to make him change his mind?”
—From “SUFFERING WITH BABY FEVER” via “Dear Abby,” 23 October 2017
Dear Baby Fever,
Mutual enthusiasm for the creation of new life is overrated! Begin with “Abracadabra!” and then work your way through the rest of whatever Merriam-Webster has to offer in the way of enticing deeply ambivalent partners into parenthood. Surely one will trigger your boyfriend’s baby-override button and program him into being fully gung-ho about having a second child at your insistence. Added bonus: Cajoling and coercing a person into creating a whole new human being when they aren’t super sure this is a thing they want to do for the literal rest of their entire lives is sort of like giving birth, itself — to a person who can be conveniently hounded into compliance, which is what strong, healthy relationships are all about.
“My girlfriend and I have been together for six years. Everything had been going good until this year. Three friends of hers got married recently, and I think it has caused her to wonder what it might be like to experience the whole thing herself. But I think she is more interested in the ritual of planning, walking down the aisle, and being the center of attention than the actual sanctity of marriage.
I say that because we already have a great life together. I know that after you’ve dated someone as long as we’ve dated, and to be in our thirties, being technically boyfriend and girlfriend can sound a bit juvenile. That’s why I always refer to her as my wife to my friends, family, and coworkers. In fact, where I live the law recognizes us as common-law man and wife. If we’re already getting along, and consider ourselves to be common-law married, what’s the point of going through an expensive wedding and wasting money just to be seen?”
— Via “Ask Willie D.,” Houston Press, 2 November 2017
Dear Common-Law Husband,
Women are pretty dumb, but never are they more dumb than when they want to get married, the dumbest thing of all. It’s lucky that your girlfriend (or your common-law wife? Who cares! Boy howdy would it ever be dumb to give a shit about this religious and legal distinction on the status of which a number of public accommodations and entitlements rely!) has you, a man, to help her understand just how dumb the shit she wants is. Imagine — if your girlfriend was left to her own devices, she’d go and get married just like millions of other dumb people, instead of not getting married, the very correct and manly thing to do.
Wanting to make a public declaration of partnership witnessed by your loved ones is just about the worst way to spend anybody’s time and money, but in your case it’s made worse by the fact that the woman you’ve chosen to spend the rest of your life with (maybe!) is incapable of deciding for herself what she wants out of life and is just copying her friends. Since you don’t see the point of weddings, weddings are therefore pointless. End of discussion (except for making a whole thing about it by writing into the newspaper). Bam. Please don’t have a mutually supportive, open conversation about what’s important to each of you, and to your future together. Your girlfriend is just super fickle and jealous, as women tend to be, and she’ll probably get over it by the next time she gets her hair colored or her nails done or passed over for partner at her law firm or whatever other meaningless shenanigans the ladyfolk are into these days.
“I am a 31-year-old mom. My daughters are 7 and 5.
When we go to the beach, I always wear a thong or G-string bottom. My daughters have started to scrunch their bathing suit bottoms so their suits look like mine.
When we were shopping for new suits, my 7-year-old asked for a thong or G-string suit, just like the ones I wear.
She could not find one in the girls’ department and was very disappointed. My mother suggested that I buy a regular suit and take it to a seamstress and have it altered.
I don’t know if it’s appropriate for a 7-year-old to wear a thong or G-string bathing suit bottom. What do you think?”
— From “Wondering Mom” via “Ask Amy,” Washington Post, 11 November 2017
Dear Wondering Mom,
What a quandary! On the one hand, you could err on the side of not having a custom g-string swimsuit made for your 7-year-old child. And on the other hand, you could have a custom g-string swimsuit made for your 7-year-old child! Ooof! 2017 really is full of conundrums. I mean, sure — everyone wants their 7-year-old child to run around in a bespoke thong, but is it okay? There are just so many pros and cons here, like, pro: child running around in a bespoke thong. Con: ??????? It seems like there should be a downside to that, but, who knows what it might be? Some kind of mass cultural aversion to the overt and intentional sexualization of children? Is that a thing that exists? There’s no way to know for sure. Better get bespoke thongs for the entire family just in case.