August 10, 2011
Dear Should I Stay or Should I Go in Hartford,
If you really thought he was the one, you would not be asking if you should break up with him just to protect yourself. You would be willing—no, desperate—to try to make it work. You would be writing me saying that you are beside yourself and don’t know whether you’ll survive. So the first thing to do is figure out what you really want, because I am not convinced he really is the one for you. Love makes you do a lot of stupid things. Being unsure whether you should break up with someone is not one of those things. If he is willing to try the long-distance thing, then try. If it does not work out, you still end up with the breakup. So why rush it and risk living with a regret or a “what-if” question hanging over your head? If I am wrong and he really is the one for you, then you will pull yourself together. Self-control and patience need to become your two best friends, and you need to let go of your need for instant gratification.
BABY TALK AMONG ADULTS
I am a 39-year-old woman, and yes, I am still single, and yes, I still have not had any children. But that is not my main concern at the moment. The problem is that every time I leave my house I am bombarded by women and their endless and frankly stupid and annoying conversations about their children. Don’t get me wrong—I love kids. But I really don’t want to discuss them all night. It always leaves me in the irritating position of not having anything to say, even though I like to talk. How can I get these women to change the topic?
—Over Baby Talk in Baton Rouge
Dear Over Baby Talk in Baton Rouge,
How close you are with these women? This will dictate how to deal with them. If they are your dearest and nearest friends and family members, you can say something to the effect of, “For the love of God, can we please talk about something other than children?” I have to assume that the nearest and dearest are most likely not your biggest problem but rather all the halfwits out there that have nothing better to say—the people who can’t talk about art, politics, history, current affairs, clothes, tabloid gossip, or even table decorations, so they talk about little Suzy and her meltdown in the park today.
You can either set up rules and limits, spoken or not, such as one funny story about your child per evening. If they do not obey, you can either tell them they have passed their limit or walk away. If you want to be a little more subtle about the whole predicament, have a go with a shocking story from a tabloid or current affairs that will frighten them into a new topic. Or you could try to introduce topics that have to do with children and parenting but are not personal. Try some bigger-picture ideas such as: Should gay people be allowed to adopt? What about in-vitro fertilization and the natural order? Sperm spinning? Should you let your boy dress in his sister’s princess costumes? Is it odd for your boy and his best bud to walk hand-in-hand? Even the stupidest of stupid moms will have an opinion about these issues and will get you out of what Timmy said to Bobby at drop-off and how cute they are. If any of these women are even worth talking to, they will thank you for allowing them to feel like a real human again and not just a care-giving, money-spitting, fight-settling machine.
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