Monday, January 30, 2006

Ask Mrs. Linklater "SPACED OUT:" Edition

Before Mrs. Linklater reaches into her advice bag, she feels it necessary to explain the true meaning of an ON again OFF again boyfriend to this woebegone woman who thinks she qualifies as a girlfriend.

My dear, it goes like this: When he gets ON you, he's your boyfriend. When he gets OFF you, he's not. That's pretty much how it goes.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Linklater lets Advice Aficionada Amy explain what a "MySpace blog" is to the three people who don't know, before Mrs. L starts kicking ass and taking names.

Published January 30, 2006 Chicago Tribune

Dear Amy:
My on-and-off boyfriend of three years started a "MySpace" account about five months ago. . .Then, all of a sudden, MySpace took over his life and he started waking up immediately to log on. He had a slew of women he chatted with all day.

He met a 40-year-old woman who posted every thought that entered her head and every conversation she had into a blog -- and I was able to follow and track the progress of his relationship -- because it was all publicly posted.Of course, he and I are no longer seeing each other because I was devastated by the number and the depth of the lies he was telling me about his relationship with this woman -- even though each time he lied she would end up confirming what he had denied in her many blog entries.

Most important, I was unhappy with who I had become -- this insane voyeur logging onto MySpace each day to check up on my boyfriend. . .

What do you think of this?

-- MySpaced Out

Dear Out:
For people who don't know, is an online "community" of people who post their photos and life stories, build "friendships" and blog their days away. (A blog is a Web log -- an online diary.)

According to one recent estimate, there are more than 70 million blogs online around the world. As your letter points out, the virtues of life on the Web are also its deficits. People can easily meet and develop relationships, but the problem with developing relationships with strangers is that strangers have no reason to respect your privacy -- especially if you don't.
Your story is yet another reason why life online has become not only messy but also so boring. People who live a virtual life don't have actual experiences. Their blogs tend to reflect that. I can't understand why people are so hungry to share their every waking thought with the rest of the world -- and I certainly don't understand why people are interested in reading these musings, personal details and outright lies.

Mrs. Linklater reminds her dear readers, in case they haven't noticed, that she herself has an online blog. As a matter of fact, you're wallowing in it. So it should come as no surprise that Mrs. L takes exception to Amy's contention -- that people who live their lives online don't have a life. We just live ours sitting in a chair, wearing fuzzy slippers and sweat clothes covered in pizza stains.

As for actual experiences, besides using the bathroom, just ask anyone with a webcam how actual things can get. But we're not here to discuss Mrs. Linklater's idea of a good time, we're here to make fun of the girl who thinks she lost her boyfriend to the internet. When she really didn't have a boyfriend at all.

To quote Jerry Lewis -- HEY LAAAAAAA-DEEEEE!!!! If there weren't an internet, your alleged loved one would have been doing something else to get away from you -- watching porn, reading porn, renting porn, going out with the guys to porn shows. Always with the lies, lies and more lies until you said, okay and had sex with him. Again. Some things never change.

Meanwhile Amy, in her infinite wisdom, blames the internet for the demise of this attempt by a female to insure some domestic tranquility, when the truth is some loser guy was just treating a gullible girl the way they usually do -- badly.

Same old jokes. Different strokes.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Ask Mrs. Linklater "DIRTY SOCKS" Edition

Mrs. L wants to know where does it say that being married means picking up someone else's dirty socks and underwear? For some reason Amy dear thinks this guy with dropsy should be cut some slack. Mrs. Linklater assumes the Obi Wan Kenobi position for her answer. Oh, wait, that's Star Wars, not Star Trek.

Amy Dickinson

Published January 17, 2006 Chicago Tribune

Dear Amy: I have been married for 10 years and have three young children.

I am not one to complain to others about my husband. However, I often hear many of the same complaints (that I internalize) from everyone: He never picks up after himself, he leaves dirty socks on the floor, he lets the kids run crazy and has no idea of what the house rules are.

All he does on weekends is sit and watch football.

How can so many women have the same complaints?

Why do so many men think there is a magic fairy who is going to pick up after them?

. . .I love my husband, but his behavior drives me nuts!

Any advice?

-- Frustrated Spouse

Dear Frustrated:
. . .Many women have men-grievances, just as many men have female trouble, if you know what I mean.

Some of what you're wrestling with might be dealt with by changing your perspective about what your husband does and doesn't do. Does he make a good living, maintain your vehicles and take care of the exterior of the house? Does he do yardwork, install your storm windows, put money away for the kids' education? Does he get frustrated that you don't value what he does do at home? Does he think that you magnify his flaws?

. . .One way to kick-start your thinking about your husband and his role in your family would be to read about the actual and perceived differences between men and women. You could start with a "classic" in the genre, such as "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus: A Practical Guide for Improving Communication and Getting What You Want in Your Relationships," by John Gray (2003, HarperCollins).

Mrs. Linklater beams herself up for this one. She's wearing some of Seven of Nine's hand me downs. They slide through the universe better.

Amy Amy Amy, guys don't leave their dirty socks where they dropped them because they think they're not being appreciated. That's a girl trick. Guys leave their underwear where it lies because they CAN.

What makes you think he might be making big dough, taking care of the cars, and doing stuff around the house anyway? Wishful thinking? His wife already said he's watching football on TV all the time, so it's a good bet he's not doing much except lying around with his hand down the front of his shorts staring at the tube.

Meanwhile, wifey poo hates picking up after him, but she keeps doing it. Just like his mother did.

Aha, that's the real problem. The wife whines and keeps on cleaning up after TV boy. Hubby lets her whine. And keeps dropping them socks and drawers in the same puddle. His jeans, t-shirts, and shoes, too.

Mrs. L says, "Let the socks lie there." Let them all grow mold. Let the cat have kittens on them. If the dirty clothes are not in the hamper, they don't get washed. If you can't stand to look at them, sweep them into a pile on the floor of the closet. Or behind a door.

If you don't want to be treated like someone's maid, don't act like one.

Before his wife starts on her rehabilitation program, she should be a sport and tell him she's not washing anything that isn't in the dirty clothes. Then she has to stick to her guns. A couple of mornings looking through the pile of moldy oldies for something without skidmarks and he ought to get the hint.

Oh, and the entire pile of stuff gets thrown out after a month. Along with that silly Mars and Venus book.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Ask Mrs. Linklater "EYEBALL" Edition

From time to time Mrs. Linklater barely has to raise her head off the pillow to solve advice dilemmas. Her insightful second opinions are like those tasty chocolate sprinkle thingys on frosting. But first, let Prudarama blather on and on with her own feeble attempts. *YAWN*

Dear Prudence,
My brother is engaged to a delightful, bright, attractive woman who does not wear a bra. She has very small breasts, so it's not as if she is falling out of her shirts, but she is always "nippling" (as they say). I don't believe she is trying to be provocative, but after she and my brother leave large social gatherings, there is often talk of the prominent nipple outline she displayed. This upsets me because a) I truly like her, and don't want people to remember her for her chest area, and b) it can be very distracting when one is talking to her; it makes men uncomfortable to see, and it makes our wives even more uncomfortable for their men to see. In general, I don't feel it's anyone's place to criticize another person's attire, but I wonder if there is a tactful way to send a message that we'd appreciate seeing a bit less of her.

—Getting an Eyeful

Dear Get,
Prudie was surprised by two things in your letter: the new word she learned, and that the letter writer was a man! There really is talk that people have trouble averting their gaze from this woman's shirt? In this day and age of letting it all hang out, fashionwise, it is a little unusual to find that a small-busted woman going braless is a distraction. In any case, if you feel you must try to get this woman into a bra, your best bet would be to tell your brother that he might want to suggest underthings to his fiancee because, as things are now, she makes it difficult for people to maintain eye contact. Be prepared for him to tell you to mind your own business.

—Prudie, figuratively

Okay, Mr. Eyeball full of more than you wanted to look at, [Like we're supposed to believe THAT.] Mrs. Linklater suggests that when confronted by unwanted "nippling" that you simply take off your jacket or sweater, wrap it around the young woman and say, "I can see that you're cold." Or, you could just start out your conversation with "Nice tits. So, how bout them Cubs?" Or you could talk about all the tasty "nibbles" at the party. How much you like to "nibble" before dinner. And how you were thinking about naming a new cracker product, "NIBBLES." Then in the middle of everything accidentally say "Nipple" instead of "Nibble."

Why does Mrs. L think her suggestions won't be well received?

Ask Mrs. Linklater "ARTFUL FORGER" Edition

You know how when there's a homicide on Law and Order and you don't want to miss any clues about how it went down? But they still trick you? Well, Dear Abby hasn't been watching the re-runs very closely, because this crime scene has more clues than Colonel Mustard in the bathroom with the plunger. Poor dear, Abby had her turn, but she missed the obvious. Thank heavens Mrs. Linklater can smell the sweat of demented, disturbed and difficult to fire employees -- like this one is going to be.

Dear Abby
Published January 11, 2006 Chicago Tribune

Dear Abby: I have owned a business for 13 years. Recently one of my employees forged a customer's check in the amount of $1,000.

I have tried to talk to him and ask why, and I have threatened to go to the police. We have more than just a working relationship. We did a lot of things together outside of work, but never had a sexual relationship.

This man worked for me for more than two years and, other than this crime, was a perfect employee. He insists that he didn't "forge" the check that he had cashed at the customer's bank, and he tries to justify it by saying he felt he "deserved" the "extra" money. I always paid him on time and gave him many extra perks. Please help me.

-- Lost Big-Time in Illinois

Dear Lost Big-Time: Wake up! Your "perfect employee" is a thief, a forger and a sociopath. He may be a charmer -- aren't they all! -- but that's what has enabled him to reach the point he has. For your own emotional well-being and for the sake of your business, please tell the police what you have learned.

Mrs. Linklater laughs so loud she sets off the smoke detector. Beep! Beep! Beep! Abby, open your mouth and swallow a large dose of reality. First of all, the forger's employer may not have had sex with him, but Mrs. L sure bets she was really hoping. Now you're telling her to call the cops and queer the whole deal. She also has to fire him you know.

If she's not careful, she's also going to have one ticked off employee. Mrs. L has one word for her -- POSTAL. How can Mrs. Linklater tell this goof is going to lose it when she rats him out? Because he doesn't think he stole anything. He also thinks he deserved it. And, besides, he knows she wants sex.

Meanwhile, like most women in the grip of their hormones, all she's done so far is whine, "Why did you do this? Like she can fix him. If he said THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT, she'd probably feel relieved and say, "Oh, well, that explains everything." Then let that $1000 misunderstanding slide.

So, go ahead and give her a wake up call to get in touch with the cops. But while they're on their way over, she should also change the locks on the office doors, hire a security guard, get a restraining order, and consider moving her business to a different state in the middle of the night. She has to be willing to face the guy in court, too. It's ain't going to be pretty. Crime punishes the victims as much as the perps.

P.S. Betcha forging $1000 check isn't a big time crime, either, so this mope will be out and about very soon. And, depending on how big a sociopath is he, the guy could come after his former boss.

Meanwhile, here's what's really going to happen. This babe is such a ditz, she'll think she can save this sicko. She won't report the theft. She'll let the guy keep the money. But she says he better not do it again. They end up having sex. It's not as good as she thought it would be. She gets pregnant. He forges another check. She gets mad and says I told you not to do it again. He threatens to kill her if she reports him. They get married instead.

It could happen.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Ask Mrs. Linklater "NOT GETTIN' ANY" Edition

Hey -- a brand, spanking new Ask Mrs. Linklater!! She can hardly contain herself.

Mrs. Linklater loves it when men are totally oblivious to their obliviousness. Especially about sex, where obivion seems to be the operative word.

For some reason, after all those articles in Cosmo, some men still think they can do no wrong. As long as they're satisfied, they assume she will be satisfied.

That's why when a man's wife doesn't want to have sex, he assumes there's something wrong with HER. As long as he's got the equipment and knows where it goes -- what's the problem?

It's the old, BLAME THE VICTIM tactic. Apparently our intrepid advice mavin, Cheryl, is willing to blame the victim too. Once again Mrs. L has to give up reading a magazine on the toilet to prevent yet another advice column calamity. Oh, great there's no toilet paper.

Tales from the Front -- Published January 2, 2006
Chicago Tribune

Dear Cheryl: I've learned that spouses can cheat without engaging in physical contact or even going to chat rooms. It's called avoidance.

My wife has been a TV addict and avid video watcher for the last 15 years. She claims she's an insomniac and needs the TV to put her asleep. Intercourse is out because (a) the act no longer makes her sleepy, and (b) once she's finished watching TV, about 2 or 3 a.m., I'm already sleeping. If I somehow force myself to stay awake to wait for her, she promptly falls asleep before anything can happen.

When I suggest the morning as an alternative time for intercourse, she says she can't force herself to get up.

But if she has some early-morning shopping to do with a relative, she's up and ready to go. (By the way, before we had a video recorder, she spent an inordinate amount of time at night paying bills and reading newspapers.)

Yet, she's home every night, has never come home late or had any unexplained absences. I don't have the extra money to hire a detective agency to track her daily whereabouts. I've inquired, and they charge about $100 an hour. Anytime I bring up the subject of her cheating, she denies that there's a problem. Any thoughts?

-- If This Isn't Cheating, I Don't Know What Is!

Dear ITICIDKWI! It doesn't sound like cheating to me. Not if it has been going on for more than 15 years! I think your wife is avoiding sex for other reasons. You need to turn off the TV and ask her what the problem is.

Don't accuse her of cheating, simply ask her why she doesn't want to make love with you.

Is it a physical problem? Has she been to her gynecologist lately? Is it an emotional or psychological problem? Is it something she wants to discuss with a therapist? Is there something specific she doesn't like about your technique? (If she can even remember what your technique is!) Ask her what she thinks you're supposed to do about your sexual needs.

I think you need to do a lot of talking and less accusing. Please keep me informed.

Yo, Cheryl, his wife doesn't have a physical problem, except the problems he is giving her about not doing it enough. Forget the OBY-GYN. too. Since when do those people have a clue about sex -- they are in the business of making babies, not teaching how to make the act of making babies more fun.

The key word our deprived hubby uses is "intercourse." Unfortunately too many men think that quality sex equals plenty of "intercourse." For a large number of women, the ability of intercourse to give her the same pleasure he gets is less than zero.

Mrs. Linklater thinks that all men should be required to learn how to satisfy a woman without intercourse. That goes double for guys who use Viagra. If you can't please her without it, what makes you think you can please her with it. Get on, get in, get out is no longer acceptable noogie. Unless you're leaving a nice sum of money on the dresser. Mrs. L actually knew a couple who did that. That's correct, they are no longer married.

The only intercourse allowed in Mrs. Linklater's class would be social intercourse. Nothing like having a nice conversation or whispering seductive things in her ear like 'If you do this for me, I will [FILL IN THE BLANK[." Wash the dinner dishes all week. Clean the kitty litter. Walk the dog. Anything she has to do that she hates to do.

To paraphrase JFK, "Ask not what your wife can do for you; ask what you can do for your wife." Even better, just do it. Do what? Take the basket of dirty clothes down to the laundry room. Works better than candles and rose petals on the bed. Mrs. Linklater is not kidding. The sexiest thing a husband can do for his wife may be replacing the toilet paper roll WITHOUT BEING ASKED.

Horny hubbies across America could get laid on a more regular basis -- just by running a bath for their wives and putting the kids to bed.

Oh, and it would also help BIG TIME if husbands-who-are-tired-of-excuses took more time to learn about the art of sex, instead of just the location of the plumbing. Couldn't hurt.

Next week Mrs. Linklater discusses men who only touch their wives when they want sex, entitled "Is this for free?"

Ask Mrs. Linklater "SMARTY PANTS" Edition

As usual, Mrs. Linklater just can't get enough of minding other people's business. So, once again, she lets an advice columnist try to set someone on the right path. And then she butts in and saves the day.

Tales from the Front -- Cheryl Lavin

Published December 13, 2004 Chicago Tribune

Dear Cheryl: I'm a divorced mom in my 30s. I'm open to dating and potentially marrying again but am having some difficulty meeting men who aren't intimidated by my intelligence. I've discussed this with male friends and most of them agree: Many men want to be smarter than the women they date and marry. I work full time and am getting a graduate degree part time at a really top school. (Most of my classmates are married.) When I meet people and tell them where I go to school, they often seem impressed and sometimes intimidated.

Yet, I'm not the typical hard-charging, career-driven overachiever that often comes out of my grad school. Still, I'm probably smarter than your average woman. As a single parent, I don't have much free time to socialize or join clubs to meet people. I've attended church, but there wasn't anyone there to meet. Short of joining Mensa, do you have any suggestions for meeting a guy who's OK with being with someone at least as smart as he is or potentially smarter? Sometimes I wonder if I should dumb myself down initially or not mention my grad school in the hopes that after getting to know me, a guy won't be as intimidated, but I don't really think this is the best way to go. So far, though, the being-smart thing seems to make men run away.

-- Smarty Pants

Dear "Smarty Pants": I'll give you the same advice I'd give to anyone -- male or female, young or old, rich or poor, smart or not-so -- who wants to meet people: Go to the places you enjoy, do the things you like to do. That way, whether you meet someone or not, you'll have a good time. In your case, try book signings of authors you enjoy, discussions of current events, etc., etc. There are probably dozens of lectures every month just at your school. You'll meet people with your interests.

By the way, you think the reason you're not meeting men is because you're too smart. Other women think it's because they're too tall or too short or too old or too fat or have too many kids. Men think it's because they're too bald or too fat or too old or too poor or drive a too-beaten-up car. The bottom line is it's just hard to meet someone to spend the rest of your life with. Hang in there.

Blah, blah blah. Mrs. Linklater butts in and slaps Ms. Smarty Pants upside the head. Yo -- grad school girl, get over yourself!! Enough of this pretending you’re not an intimidating, hard-charging career-driven overachiever. Sounds like the first thing out of your mouth after you tell someone your name is where you go to grad school. Hi, My name is Smarty Pants and I go to the top school in the country. And you don’t.

That’s always an icebreaker.

So let’s take stock here. First of all, there are plenty of guys who like smart women. As for finding them, you may have to go outside the box a bit. Take flying lessons. Go on a river-rafting trip. Join an adventurer’s club. Hang out in the cafeteria of a hospital [worked for one friend].

The real question is – do you have anything else going for you? A personality, for instance? A sense of humor? A hobby? A nice wardrobe? An attractive, well-toned body? Anything? You may be smart, but nothing else. Time to get real about what you have to offer besides your SAT scores.

You may also be under the mistaken impression that anyone who didn’t go to a grad school as good as yours couldn’t possibly be as smart as you are. So you aren’t even giving those guys a chance. That’s kinda dumb, Smarty Pants.

The next time you meet someone, remember, it’s not a job interview. Your resume doesn’t count. Your social skills do. Engage a guy in conversation, show genuine interest in who he is and what he does and, trust Mrs. Linklater, he’ll think you’re a genius. Isn't that what you wanted in the first place?

Ask Mrs. Linklater "SIBLING RIVALRY" Edition

Mrs. Linklater suddenly realized she could save herself a boatload of time and get credit for posting more often if she ran some of her early efforts that she knows most of you missed. No need to thank her now. Valentine's Day is coming.

It's the holidays. And what more perfect time for Mrs. Linklater to butt into people's lives and save them from themselves, after the advice columnists go first, of course.

Published December 6, 2004, Chicago Tribune

Dear Amy: I have a middle-age sibling who is pretentious, self-centered and must always be the center of attention.

Every year my siblings and I get together at Mom's house for the holidays, and I've stopped enjoying these visits.

My brother has to be in the limelight throughout these visits. He never gets tired of talking about himself, barely listens to anyone else, and he can get very cross when he thinks someone is trying to outdo him.

His Christmas gifts come with long explanations about where they come from and how unique they are, etc. When he brings food and drinks, he has to show everything around and talk about what exclusive shops they came from, blah blah blah.

I can't face another holiday season of the nonsense. Mom never discourages his insatiable desire for attention and accolades, and I've had enough.

I want to spend the holidays quietly at home with my husband. How can I stay away from these gatherings without offending my family?

-- Sick of the Show

Dear Sick: I think the answer here might be to split the difference -- and develop a good exit strategy.

Your siblings and mother might not mind your brother as much as you do, or perhaps they travel to that special holiday headspace where many things are tolerable -- as long as the eggnog doesn't run out. While others might tell you to confront this bore, I don't think Christmas is the day to do it.

If you choose to stay home this year, you don't have to offer all sorts of explanations. However, if the distance between your homes permits, perhaps you could join your family only for dessert this year, with a set time to leave and a definite plan to do so.


Mrs. Linklater knocks over the punch bowl and butts in:
Sounds like this allegedly self-centered, attention grabbing brother might be giving his siblings some very nice, very expensive gifts and all anybody has to do to get them is listen to his stories about where they came from. While eating his expensive food. Sign me up.

Oh, sorry, we have put up with his whiny, footstomping sister, because she is sick and tired of his pretentious fur coats and Tiffany jewelry and thinks it’s time to take a stand!!! Drama Queen alert!

So, Miss Hissy Fit, you’re saying if he doesn’t stop with the generosity -- okay he's a little full of himself, too -- you’re going to what? Stay Home. Sounds like a plan to me!!! Mrs. Linklater smells envy. Mom always like him better huh? And your ten dollar Starbuck’s gift cards aren’t getting the applause you hoped for?

Neener neener neener.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Ask Mrs. Linklater "WEIGHTY PROBLEM" Edition

Mrs. Linklater acknowledges that love is a mysterious thing. Like most people, she has yet to figure it out, but that has never prevented her from falling into it a few times.

Luckily, her complete lack of understanding regarding this subject will not keep her from having an opinion for the following lovestruck young woman, whose object of affection just wants to be friends. Or as we say in the relationship bidness, "Touch me and you die."

Does trained professional advice giver Prudie give this poor soul a clue? After four [yep, F-O-U-R] marriages you'd think she'd have some idea. Nope. The Prude just shrugs her shoulders, throws up her hands and says, "Sorry, not my problem. I don't do no love potions." Or something to that effect.

Thank goodness Mrs. Linklater is willing to step up to the plate. Bases loaded. Two outs. Full count.

Dear Prudie,
I've had a good guy friend for over two years. I never thought I believed in such nonsense, but it was love at first sight for me. We have the same values, interests, and we also have some of the same racial background. I have never had a friend like him. We have both changed considerably for the better since we met. I love him very much and he has caught on and said we must remain just friends. I was upset and assumed it was because I am overweight (so is he, actually) and he said the most astonishing thing: "It's nothing physical, it's the chemistry. It's just not there." I didn't understand that. Chemistry? At first I thought it was hopeless; you can't make a man love you. But then I thought of all the men who've won women's hearts. I suppose my question is, How does a woman "woo"a man?
—Waiting for Love

Dear Wait,
Cyrano de Bergerac aside, this is an esoteric if not impenetrable question. The concept of "chemistry," difficult to pin down, does have one aspect that is knowable: It is reciprocity. Chemistry may be thought of as one set of protoplasm/hormones/genes calling out to another; a kind of mutual attraction. Men do woo women, but these situations involve a woman who is amenable to being wooed. And vice versa, of course; women do woo men, but chemistry, my dear, is the one thing you cannot inject into a relationship and the one thing without which it cannot go forward.
—Prudie, regretfully

Mrs.L steps away from the cauldron. Face it Prudential, you've missed the boat on this one with your protoplasms and vice versas. Mrs. Linklater, the queen of walking on quicksand, has a surefire. guaranteed, no fail method to inject a boatload o' chemistry into this twosome:


Ta-da. I'm here for ya, people. When he says it's nothing physical. He means physically, you're doing nothing for him. You want a chemical reaction from him? Get your body chemistry working for you, sis.

Oh, what?!! You people think she should be acceptable just the way she is? How PC of you. Well, our little plumpette IS acceptable -- but only as a FATFRIEND. If she wants to ratchet that friendship up to having her love object ready to jump her bones, she's gonna have to perform some math on her equation-- subtract the weight. Lose the L.B.'s. Fight the fat. Ditch the double chin. Dump the dimples in your butt.

Can Mrs. Linklater be any more explicit? Get over being overweight. Get it off. And get your man.

Unless, of course, he's gay.