March 29, 2011
Dear Mommy Competition in Chicago,
It sounds like your friend is not overconfident, but rather very insecure about her child’s skills and achievements. A mother who is truly confident in her child has no need to go around town boasting of its accomplishments. Your friend is interested in appearances. Have you ever met a genius? Do they throw their intelligence in your face? No. There is a line between being proudly in love with your child and needing to convince the world how great they are. It sounds as if your friend has crossed that line. Maybe your friend is simply a very annoying person and you never realized it before.
If she really is a good friend, tell her how you feel. To avoid a direct confrontation, make comments that will force her to stop blathering on and on about her little prodigy. Every time she starts up you could say, “Let me guess—Janie did it first, better and without a fuss, right?” If you repeat this kind of comment enough and she is not socially retarded, she will understand you are irritated and will hopefully curb her apparently insatiable hunger for attention and appreciation.
Most importantly, do not let her upset you. It does not matter if everyone thinks your child is a heaven-sent nugget of perfection; it only matters if you think so! Don’t let her insecurities take away your child’s sense of confidence by dragging him/her all around town from one doctor to another to see if something is wrong. Don’t fix what ain’t broke!
I got a text message from a blocked number telling me that my wife-to-be—we are supposed to get married in September—is marrying me only for my money. Should I take these anonymous opinions seriously?
—Frazzled Fiancé in France
Dear Frazzled Fiancé in France,
Unfortunately you cannot hire a detective to follow her around, because there is nothing he could photograph that will demonstrate she is marrying you for money. She’ll deny it if you ask. She’ll stomp her high heel to the floor and insist that she is utterly and deeply in love with you—you the man rather than you the ATM.
Money is probably a part of her calculation in marrying you, as is how much hair you have, if she thinks you would be a nice father, and how big she suspects your belly will grow after marriage. Regardless of whether people admit it, everyone has criteria, including money. The important part is to figure out if money is her only criterion. Does she always look at you with big lovey-dovey moon eyes, or only when you buy her a gift? Do you only have sex if you are on an expensive trip at a 5-star hotel? Does she sneer if she has to do menial chores or the driver is out sick? It should not be hard to calculate if she is a spoiled brat who is only interested in your bank account. Tell her you lost the money in the market or were just informed you were written out of the will—even better, have a lawyer draw up complicated trust contingencies that ensure she will never get a penny from you—and see how she reacts. It’ll take some courage, but it is better than being played for a fool. You’ll be far less sorry now than you would be signing that alimony check every month.
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