8.10.2010

Ooof. This is a lot for a Tuesday Morning.

Hi-oh. Results from yesterday's K. Griff giveaway will be up later today, because I posted late yesterday and I want to make sure you fine people get a fair 24-hour window of opportunity to enter. And because it's currently 3 o'clock in the morning and my highly scientific way of picking a winner this week involves calling Dan and asking him to pick a number between 1 and 200, and he might deactivate our friendship if I call and wake him up right now all, "HEY BUDDY!!!! PICK A NUMBER, HUH?!!?" So I'll let him slumber and have his sweet Kathy Griffin dreams while I give you guys some half-assed advice. Because it's Queer Abby time, baby! A day late, yes, but much like your period, better a day late than never. AM RIGHT, LADIES?! AM I RIGHT?!?! Haha ohhhhhhh, I don't have sex and we both know it. Tears. Tears of a clown.

Photobucket

Queer Abby,

In 2006, I was working full-time in San Francisco at a start up company, and nannying part-time for my bosses daughter part-time. I’ve since moved back to the East Coast and have loosely kept in touch with my old boss and her, now 10-year-old, daughter via random emails. She’s a pretty influential lady who could definitely help me with jobs and recommendations down the line, so I'd like to stay on her good side, but she can be fairly manipulative and she takes advantage of people, especially in terms of pushing her kids off on others. For example, last summer they planned to come for a long weekend to see me and stay with a friend in Great Falls, but it turned into me taking the daughter all over the city while her mother lounged poolside with her friend. A day of sightseeing turned into a sleep over and all day the next day as well, cooking various meals, going out to dinner, etc.... As soon as I knew it I had babysat for a full 48 hours and the mother had a lovely vacation - all under the pretense of "WE are coming to see you!"

I got over it, moved on etc. until just recently when she wrote saying they wanted to come to town again in late August. I responded immediately, clearly and in the nicest way possible, to explain that I would be in the middle of moving and that Sunday was the only day I'd be in town and off work for 2 weeks, but I'd save some time to see the daughter. I said I'd come TO THEM, because my place will be in an uproar. She responded to me via email, “[My daughter] wants to spend maximum time with you and I am sure will "help" you with packing and moving. We'll figure it out. Perhaps I can have my friend's driver bring her to you for the day and you can come back with her for dinner and swimming toward evening?" I haven’t responded to her... I do not want her child hanging around all day with nothing to do but stare at a room full of boxes. She constantly complained and hated doing fun things like museums and boating last time, so this pretty much guarantees a day of complaining and misery on her part while I try to pack.

I know its just a day, but the fact that she’s once again planning on using me as a free form of babysitting so she can have a nice, quiet, kid-free weekend while I’m in the throngs of moving in the dead august heat REALLY PISSES ME OFF. If she'd at least just drop the bullshit and be honest with me about her motives that would be different. And dammit, I just want to be heard and respected by this woman. So, how do I get the point across (to someone who clearly is determined to have me entertain her kid), that I will not be having her daughter over to my apartment all day, without upsetting anyone? And, am I totally over reacting, and being a giant bitchy brat? Do I need to stand my ground, or suck it up and shut up?

Help!

Your frustration is warranted—she sucks. Definitely stand you’re ground. She’s being entirely manipulative and self-centered (at both your expense and her daughter’s), and she’ll continue to take advantage of you as long as she knows she can. So, don’t be this woman’s doormat just because one day you might need her to help you out with something. There’s no guarantee you’ll ever need to call in that favor, and if you do, there’s no guarantee she’ll be willing and able to deliver. And even if she could, that doesn’t give her license to treat you like shit and insist you do things for her instead of asking.

Write her back and say, “Yea I understand that, and that’s why I wish it was a better weekend for me, but I just don’t think that’ll work this time. I have friends and family helping me move things all day Sunday and I’ll be in and out, so I wouldn’t be able to watch her. Not to mention, I’d hate for her to have spend her vacation (and a hot August day) in an apartment that probably won’t have power or AC, especially since I won’t be able to entertain her at all. All the same, I’d like to see you guys so I’m sure I can take a break to come see you that evening...” And if she still pushes the subject, just don’t respond. Until she’s shown that what you say matters to her at all, there’s no point in saying anything else to her.

I don’t care how much influence someone has, you shouldn’t make a practice of letting people treat you poorly. While sometimes you do have to suck it up and pander to people even though they’re assholes, you should know exactly what you’re looking to get out of it so you can determine whether or not it’s worth it. If that person is uniquely able to provide exactly the opportunities you’re looking for, that’s one thing. But, otherwise, there are plenty of influential people out there; preserve relationships with the ones who respect you, your time and what you have to say. They’re far more likely to help you out in the end anyway.

HAHAHAHA. Wow. That woman has a pair of testicles on her bigger than my breasts. (There. That was to appease yesterday's comment from "Greater Than Stan" asking for less diarrhea talk and more book talk. And you're welcome, sir.) This question has got me all kinds of fired up for reasons that I will gladly share with you now:

1.) I can't stop imagining this woman as Boss #1, who was neither influential nor powerful, but was an asshole.

2.) This woman is clearly rich and I clearly do soft-shoe in Metro Center twice a week to afford my Netflix account.

3.) I hate children. 10-years-old? Foul. Keep the run-off from your sloppy life decisions to yourself, lady.

4.) A driver is involved. Where are we, Kuwait?

5.) As if the concept of nannying isn't vile enough, she wants you to do it for free? And while moving?! ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?! Unless this woman is Anna Wintour and she's agreed to lick you out and give you a sterling recommendation at your next job, I say FUCK. THAT. NOISE. Because there's kissing ass, and there's getting fucked in the ass. You, friend, are currently experiencing the latter. And hurts, don't it?

What I need you to do is watch episode 7 of Kell On Earth entitled "Tough Times" immediately and take notes when Kelly breaks it down for you why she doesn't give free advice anymore to anyone, not even her closest friends (George Wayne. Asshole.) Then I need you to stop washing your hair for a week, put on a caftan, ikat table cloth, and/or oversized white Hanes Her Way t-shirt and leggin's, CHANNEL THE CUTRONE and tell this woman that she can keep her blueberry-pancake-covered nightmare to herself. You need someone to help you move who can carry more than 10 pounds and menstruates, thanks just the same. Or what Amy said. Depending on how badly you still want that recommendation.


Dear Queer Abby,

So, basically, today I found out that my great uncle is a pedophile. I'm a well-endowed-in-more-areas-than-I-should-be sixteen year old, so it wasn't anything to do with direct experience, or my little sister (thank god). It's due to several incidents with his grandchildren--my cousins--two boys age three and four. He didn't hurt them, but he was touching them in an overtly sexual way, and god knows where that will lead.

It's basically torn my aunt and her husband apart. When he confronted her about possible danger to their sons, she started on the defensive, acting as if it was all his imagination and there was no danger whatsoever (which was bullshit, I saw what he was doing. It's was at Johann's birthday party, for fuck's sake).

This is screaming, raging defensive I'm talking about here, and it got to the point where it was blatantly obvious that she'd had bad experiences with her father as a child. So now my uncle-in-law is being torn apart, she's gone into trauma and has started bitching about him with her best friend, and nothing is happening for the kid's safety. Nothing. They get left at their grandfather's house while their dad's at work and their mum's having coffee with her friends.

Now, while I know that I should just "let the responsible adults sort it out," I love my cousins. And the adults aren't exactly being responsible. So my question boils down to I don't know what to do. I'm one of very few people who knows about this, I'm too young to be taken seriously, and I don't know who to talk to. This is not the way shit is supposed to happen.

Sincerely,

J.M

Dear J.M.,

Where are your parents in all of this? I hate saying this (please take it in context) but you are too young to deal with this by yourself. No one your age should ever be (or even feel) responsible for handling a situation like this. So, if you want to be taken seriously, you have to approach this with honesty and the maturity to know you need to recruit help.

First, you should document it. Write a letter that includes the following:

· A description of what you saw (try to leave your anger and your judgment out of it).

· An honest account of how uncomfortable what you saw, and the situation you’re in now, made/makes you feel.

· Thoughtful suggestions about what you think should happen about it (without making it sound like an ultimatum). For example, the kids need to not be left alone with him, other relatives with kids need to be notified of the situation, someone needs to talk to/report your great uncle, etc… whatever you would like to see happen.

Then you need to give the letter to your parents or some other adult you trust in the family. They should step in—even if they don’t think your aunt and uncle’s situation is any of their business, they should recognize that the way you feel is. I suspect they’re going to appreciate that you brought this to them, and they should reinforce that behavior by taking you seriously and doing something about it. If this really isn’t an option, or nothing happens as a result, write me again and we’ll go from there.

Honestly though, you’re only responsibility here is to tell someone about the problem; it’s not to fix it. Ultimately, the father should be taking care of it, regardless of how the mother responds. And it’s possible that if he feels validated by either you or someone else in the family, he’ll take more definitive action.

Yowzers. Becca happened to be over when I read this week's Queer Abby questions and she had to explain to me how you're related to all of these people like 19 times in a row. Seriously. I feel like I just took a test for Autism. I asked her to walk me through your email and substitute our family members for yours (so I could put ourselves in your shoes,) but coming from the world's most microscopic family, we ran out of family members like 5 seconds in and she had to start bringing dead pets and fictional family members into the mix and suddenly it was like, "OK, Fictional Great Uncle Gary is molesting Evie. Nope. Nope, this is not working," and we gave up.

But despite having failed our little Autism test (or passed, depending which way you look at it,) we do have advice—step 1: tell your parents. Because you should give them the opportunity to handle this situation correctly before you bring in outside help.

Which leads us to step 2: tell a guidance counselor or a teacher you trust immediately. Every single member of your family is biased in this situation one way or the other because they know your Great Uncle and have already made up their minds about him. Whether they've always thought he was kind of creepy or could never imagine him doing something like thatthey've got an opinion and it's going to cloud their judgement and make it hard for them to see or accept the truth. You need to bring in a non-objective third party who doesn't have any emotional attachment to this situation or the people in it and who's only concern is figuring out what's going on and removing anyone who might be in danger from it. And there are people who's job it is do just that. This is not your job; it's theirs. It's literally what they get paid to do every single day. You turn it over to them and they'll know how to handle it from A-Z. It will have serious consequences yes, but hopefully, you'll save your cousins from a lifetime of unthinkable pain and suffering. Because to quote my sage of a sister, "Child Molestation: shit fucks you up." Truer words were never spoken, madam. Truer words were never spoken.

I'm not really quite sure what else to tell you because this question falls outside my normal realm of PEOPLE DUMP ME ALL THE TIME TOO! and Oh, raspberries! GROWING UP IS THE PITS!...Hang in there, kido.


Queer Abby,

Short backstory: I've been "involved" with an older (I'm early 20s, he's early 30s), recently separated (only a few months, after a 5 year marriage) guy for the past few months. We both agreed, from the start, that it would never turn into an actual relationship, and things were going great: great conversations, great sex, beating the DC heat together, sending dirty emails back and forth to get us through boring work days, etc.

The problem is, he's on a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Understandably. And I've barely made it past 5 months in a relationship, much less 5 years in a marriage, so try as I might, I can't even fathom what he's going through now. He's always insisted that what we have is good for him, and since I enjoy the time we spend together so much, I've never worried too much that us being involved is a bad idea.

Then, for reasons I'm still not quite certain of, I listened to a friend's recommendation that I read "Eat, Pray, Love." While I find the author rather annoying and am as un-enthused by it as I expected to be, I can't get one line out of my brain: "Going through a divorce is like being in a serious car accident every day for two years." (Something along those lines -- not putting in a direct quote a) because I don't have the book handy and b) because I don't want Meg McBlogger to get served by another author.) (Ed. note: Thanks!)

So, my question: is it a terrible idea for me to be riding shot gun for some of those car accidents? While he hasn't brought me in too much emotionally, I can't help but wonder if I'm just a distraction for him - possibly one that makes some of those car accidents even worse in the long run? While I'm not looking for a relationship and neither is he, I can't help but wonder if this whole situation is just a messy, bad idea?

Sincerely,

Should I get out of the car?

Yea, I’ve never read it, but something about eat, pray, love annoys the fuck out of me too. What is that?

Anyway, yea, you are a distraction… and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It doesn’t have to mean he’s using you or doesn’t care about you, but this close in to a divorce/separation, he’s definitely still going through some stuff and there are obvious limits to his emotional availability. So, without intention or potential for depth and longevity in this relationship, I don’t really know how else you’d qualify it other than as a distraction from being single… and again, there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, as long as you’re not expecting more.

So, I would caution you against being involved with this guy if you were looking for something more sustainable in the long-term. However, if you both really are just fine with being here-for-now (and you don’t mind potentially having to deal with some of this guy’s emotional baggage), then I wouldn’t worry about it too much. The only way I really see it going super sour is if either of you end up developing hopes or expectations for the relationship that aren’t mutual, or if one of you is ready to hit the brakes (for whatever reason) and the other isn’t. And if you’re worried that either of those scenarios is approaching, then you should listen to yourself and deal with it because you’re probably right…

Otherwise, you just need to make sure you’re not fooling yourself into thinking this is an arrangement that works when, in reality, you’ll be hurt if it doesn’t progress into a Relationship or you think he’s more invested than you (and that goes for both of you). The way you prevent that is just to make sure you’re being honest with yourself and communicative with one another.

I only have one word for you: SHOPGIRL. WACH IT. CALL ME. 301-936-1212. WE'LL CRY TOGETHER.

Actually that's just the number for the local weather, but I do recommend you watch and/or read Shopgirl as soon as humanly possible. In case you haven't exposed yourself to the prosaic soul-raping that is Shopgirl, it a.) speaks to me in a way that's nauseating and I can only watch it once a year because when I do, I cry hysterically. But like, alone in my apartment, gasping for air, just kind of making noises at this point, crying; and b.) is about a 20-something girl named Mirabelle.


"Mirabelle Buttersfield moved from Vermont hoping to begin her life. And now she is stranded in the vast openness of LA. She keeps working to make connections, but the pile of near misses is starting to overwhelm her. What Mirabelle needs is an omniscient voice to illuminate and spotlight her and to inform everyone that this one has value, this one standing behind the counter in the glove department and to find her counterpart and bring him to her."

BEAUTIFUL. I could vomit. I could vomit everywhere. Anyway, Mirabelle starts a relationship similar to yours with an older, divorced man named Ray Porter, and it's fun and sexy and good, but in order to maintain that breeziness, Ray keeps Mirabelle at an emotional distance. In the beginning Mirabelle is fine with it because pshh, whatevs, who's trying to get married? But over time, the distance wears on her because she realizes that what she wants (and deserves) is to be completely loved, not just half of a low-maintenance relationship. The culminating moment:


Mirabelle: Ray, why don't you love me? Are you just biding your time with me?
Ray Porter: I thought you understood.
Mirabelle: So, I can either hurt now or hurt later. So...Now.


POETRY! GOD DAMN POETRY! So I guess what I'm trying to say is you need ask yourself what you really want: a fun, breezy relationship or something more? And I don't know you or your Ray Porter; he could want both, you perhaps want neither, but my point is having unrealistic expectations about the relationship you're getting into only breeds a world of pain. So in the vain of Mirabelle Buttersfield, be honest about the relationship now so you don't hurt later.

Oh god. Let's do one more quote because I'm a sick son of a bitch.


"Some nights alone he thinks of her. And some nights alone, she thinks of him. Some nights these thoughts occur at the same moment. And Ray and Mirabelle are connected without ever knowing it. But Mirabelle, now feeling the warmth of her first reciprocal love...has broken away from him."



Vomit. More.


"As Ray Porter watches Mirabelle walk away he feels a loss. How is it possible, he thinks, to miss a woman whom he kept at a distance so that when she was gone he would not miss her? Only then does he realize that wanting part of her and not all of her had hurt them both and how he cannot justify his actions except that... well... it was life."


OK, I'm done. I can't. I just physically can't anymore. Good day to you all. Got a question? Email QueerAbby@2birds1blog.com and I'll quote really sad movies and cry for the rest of the night. It's really fun and helpful for both of us, I promise!

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

LOVE that book. It still blows my mind that it was written by Steve Martin.

Lucky and Gizzy said...

Anon,

DITTO! Such a beautiful book—the movie is great, but the book is better!

Meg said...

"Shopgirl"... oh my god, "Shopgirl." "Soul-raping" is definitely the best way to put it, and I agree with Anonymous above: can't fathom it was written by Steve Martin. Loved the book but -- and don't throw stones at me -- the movie was even more emotional.

You pulled that perfect quote, a quote that's become an unexpected mantra in my life... "I can hurt now or hurt later. Hurt now, I guess."

ACK. Heart hurts.

maria said...

If Shopgirl is that movie with Claire Danes and Jason Schwartzman then I have only four words to say about that: "Now I'm your watch." Personally I thought Steve Martin should stick to comedy and that the movie was absolute trash. It would appear that I'm in the minority, which blows my mind. It's not even like I'm not a huge weeping vagina 90% of the time, because I am, the whole thing was just horribly camp.

Jess said...

I just put it in my Netflix queue. I don't know if that was the best of ideas, I'm not sure I'm up for a soul-raping. Sigh. But who am I to deny myself?
Meg, I wish that was your real number up there. I'm sure I'll be alone in my apartment writhing around my couch balling my face off and in need of a desperate human connection that would understand, and instead I'll get weather for a city I've never been to.
Fuck. Wish me luck.

MeganElise said...

LOVE shopgirl and ditto on the hate eat pray love. Though I don't know how you can I even watch it once a year. I saw it once and still got teary eyed reading the quotes ...

Jessica Ellis said...

OK, to the 3rd letter writer, Ms. In-but-not-in-a-relationship-with-the-divorced-guy, I have this to say: HOLY CRAP, I was in that exact same situation, and I want to tell you that I screwed it up fantastically. Amy and Meg both pretty much said this, but I have to reiterate. THE MOMENT, not one moment after but THE. VERY. MOMENT. that you suspect that you are developing real feelings for this person and want something more, END IT. ENDITENDITENDITENDIT. Or "soul rape" will become the story of your life for a LONG time. It will be bad. I promise.

Now, must read/watch Shopgirl. I suspect, though, that given my...experience...that this will make me reminisce and cry and cry. Oh, well. I have been all about the emotions lately.

Anonymous said...

In unrelated news, I've seen fbook posts about Shake Shack possibly opening a DC location, but I can't read more about it because the news source is Prince of Petworth and I don't want to give him a hit! 2birds solidarity.

Stephanie M said...

you had me at "tears of a clown".

MsK said...

To J.M. the 16 yr old dealing with shit way beyond her,

Megs advice about telling a teacher/counselor is good but you must uinderstand that teachers and school counselors are MANDATORY REPORTORS according to most state laws. This means that if you tell them they are REQUIRED to report it to Child Protective Services. I dont say this to discourage you telling but a lot of kids dont know this and get angry when they find out. I completely agree with both Meg and Abby, this is something that you definetly need help with and something that you should tell an adult about.

Anonymous said...

The way you feel about Shopgirl is the way I feel about Life as a House. Watching a jaded and selfish father rediscover a lost relationship with and saving his son while facing his own mortality? Sign me up twice for that emotional rollarcoaster.

Ginny said...

Am I the only one who looked at the first two comments and was shocked to find out that Steve Martin wrote Eat Pray Love? Yeah? Mkay.

BPRTrailofTears said...

Thanks for mentioning ur boobs for me. I changed my username from greater than stan so its now syncd w my twitter name. That way when I drunkenly harass u on twitter u will know its the same person. Ur welcome.

marybindc said...

For the first one, skip the stuff about "No A/C, moving around, little missy won't have fun" etc.

Dear former boss,

I'm afraid that weekend won't work out at all, hopefully I'll get to spend some quality time with little missy next time you're in town. Give her a hug for me!

sincerely,
What part of "moving" don't you understand?

Anonymous said...

your vs you're
http://theoatmeal.com/comics/misspelling

Bridget said...

oh man shopgirl. i was shopgirl except he wasn't rich and there was no Jason Schwartzman. Another movie that unexpectedly soul-rapes you? 500 Days of Summer. Especially when you watch it a week after the guy who was your Steve Martin gets engaged to some girl he's been dating three months.

Anonymous said...

last anon, there is exactly one time in this post where that mistake was made, and about eleventy times it was done correctly. thanks for the grammar lesson, but i'm pretty sure they know how to spell. this is a nonprofit and free blog, not the new york times. maybe you have all the time in the world for copy-editing informal online content, but i'm pretty sure they have things like, i don't know, jobs and lives to attend to on top of composing these posts daily for your entertainment. chill the fuck out.

Harriet Olivia said...

I know a lot of people have hated on Queer Abby in the past but I've always liked it as a feature and today more than ever, if just for being an outlet where an in-over-her-head 16-year-old can have *someone* to ask about serious life shit. Yay for having responsibility and a safe community (I can't think of a non-twatty way to phrase that) in a comedy blog.

Also, Shopgirl rocks, Eat Pray Love is a load of gash.

Also, anonymous, really? Someone writes in about molestation and what you take away from the post is a your/you're gaffe? Really?

Anonymous said...

So Meg, when are you gonna change the little thing on the side that says "tulane chris posts in green?"
Hmm?
Sorry, it just bugs me every time I see it.

krshiplett said...

@Ginny, Steve Martin wrote Shop Girl, not Eat Pray Love.

Anonymous said...

Meg - Considering how much you fear/are in awe of your 2b1b following, you suck at responding to emails.

pook555 said...

Is it bad that I just added Shopgirl to my Netflix queue? And I confess I burst out laughing at the fictional uncle molesting Evie sentence (not that anyone, fictional or otherwise, should be molesting anyone, especially Evie)...

Ali said...

"A day late, yes, but much like your period, better a day late than never."

This is going to be my life quote now, which suits me since I'm such a procrastinator. Thank you, Meg. <3

acb010 said...

I flipping LOVE "Shopgirl"

the end.

Anonymous said...

where are the contest resultssssssssssimkindadrunk

mk said...

ahh I was totally talking about shopgirl the other day with a friend who had never seen it. but i was referencing it more in a, omg an older dude totally started dating her and paid her student loans, how amazing would that be? sense, not a emotional raping sense. but still, we are like this!

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