SEXTING A CHEF
I am a 58-year-old woman and I still feel young. I am married to a 65-year-old man who does not feel so young, meaning his sex drive has wilted like an old flower drooping out of a cracked vase. I recently made a friend—a male friend—chatting on the Internet about recipes and cooking (I love to cook). We ended up exchanging numbers to talk about recipes on the phone, and one thing led to another, which eventually led to sexting. Do you think that is cheating?
—Love Sexting in Singapore
Dear Love Sexting in Singapore,
Obviously you are not physically cheating on your husband. But ask yourself this: Would your husband be hurt and angry if he found out you were sexting with another man? Would he leave you? If the answers are yes, there you have it—you are cheating.
If you want a more in-depth analysis, it depends where you and your husband stand on “emotional cheating.” Can he look at other women, or do you consider that a betrayal? If you have an erotic dream about another man, do you tell him? Does watching porn make you or him upset or cause fights? Maybe you are a very open couple and go to swapping parties on a regular basis. It is hard for me to say if sexting is cheating without knowing more about your personal life. Do you fantasize about the messages as a warmup for your husband, or do you wait for a night when your husband isn’t home so you can go all-out with the sexting chef?
It depends on perspective and context. For example, if a father killed the man who raped his daughter, I would call it justice; others would call it murder. So even if cheating feels like justice, it might wind up with murder.
If we want to be technical and leave emotions alone, then sexting would not be considered full-blown cheating but rather a courting technique. So that would make you a married woman engaging in a provocative courtship with a man who is not your husband and who has a common interest. Very dangerous! So if you don’t want to become a bona fide, no-doubt-about-it cheater, be very careful! Start sexting with your husband and store the chef’s messages somewhere special where your husband will never find them.
SHAFTING A SIRE
My father was a real son-of-a-bitch, and I guess I really do believe in karma and that everything you do will come back and bite you in the ass, because now my father is alone, 73, and suffering from Alzheimer’s. Nothing would give me more pleasure than to send him to a dark, gloomy old folks’ home and forget he ever existed, but my wife, who had a great dad, is making me feel guilty about letting him die alone in one of those places. She wants me to take him in, feed him, give him a bed, and let him use our shower. I’d prefer to leave him unwashed, then hang him out to dry.
—Home Care? in Honolulu
Dear Home Care? in Honolulu,
The great thing about Alzheimer’s is that your father is not going to know who you are, where he is, or how he got there. Really, you could do just about anything—even put him in a tutu and walk him on a leash around the neighborhood—and he would not know the difference. This is obviously not about what your father thinks or feels, because at this point such things are almost completely irrelevant.
Even though you may view sending him to a home as a punishment, it is actually the nice, caring thing to do. It is small-minded and stupid to think that keeping a sick person in your house proves to you or the world that you love them, respect them, or have forgiven them. He is sick and needs special care—care you are probably unable and maybe more than a bit unwilling to provide. Also consider that in many places it is illegal to neglect or abuse the elderly, so you will both be safer if you send him away and let the nurses worry about such trifles. The absolute last thing you want is him wandering out the door never to return and a relative pressing charges against you—that is a double whammy you can easily avoid by putting him in a box and shipping him off to a nursing home. What is best for him is to get specialized care. Whether you decide to go visit him is for your conscience and your wife to battle out.
Let this be a cautionary tale to all parents: You will get old and feeble and maybe lose your mind, so be nice to your children while you can. In the end, they may be the only thing standing in the way of you taking a trip to the mall without your pants in the middle of January.
SKITTISH OVER SKIN
My daughter is getting married this summer, and we just met the husband last night. One little detail she left out was that her husband-to-be is a black man. I am not a racist—well, I like to think I am not a racist. I always thought she would marry someone like me, color included. Isn’t that what daughters are supposed to do—marry someone like daddy? I am upset but I know I should not be. What can I do?
—Desperate Daddy in Durham
Dear Desperate Daddy in Durham,
I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt about being a racist and assume you were simply surprised by the fact that a black man walked through your door only because your daughter did not think it necessary to give you any warning. So either you are obviously a racist and she is the world’s dumbest person—in which case I suggest you take her out back of the barn now and shoot her because she has absolutely no business reproducing—or she did not think you were going to have a problem with it.
You probably would have been surprised by any man that walked through your door and wasn’t your mirror image—an Italian Catholic, a Russian Jew, or a turbaned Indian—so stop worrying about being a racist and get to know the man. I would lay odds that once you get to know him you will find out he is just like you in many ways, defects included.
In the event that I am wrong and you are sincerely upset because the man is black, then I suggest you start thinking about the real problems that can come with marriage and life from this point on that could actually hurt your daughter, who is your flesh and blood: cheating, lying, stealing, abuse, child abduction, sickness, infertility, crippling accidents, or a child’s death, just to name a few. Stop worrying about something so inane as skin color! One of the greatest signs of intelligence is the ability to adjust, so are you smart or simply stupid, stupid, stupid?
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