Author: Amy Alkon

Scum kind of wonderful

Scum kind of wonderful My friend, \”Claire,\” 21, has been dating an older guy, 29, since July. Last week she told me he was in jail. She wouldn\’t say why, but seemed determined to stand by him. Then, it came out on the news that he was engaged in some stomach-churning attempts to pick up 13-year-olds for sex in Internet chat rooms. I can\’t, in good conscience, get behind her loyalty to a disgusting man whom, by the way, she still wants to marry and have babies with. I\’m also afraid to express this to Claire because if she gets mad and refuses to have me as a support system, she\’s more likely to stay with the creep. — Between a Rock and Somebody Else\’s Hard Time That happy family fantasy of hers has a few snags; for example, dinner. Let\’s see … there they all are at the table, Mommy, the pervert and their two beautiful children, and then Mommy leaves the room to get more mashed potatoes … turning Daddy into a parole violator. And then, even if Daddy is, for some wildly insane reason, allowed around his own children, it\’ll be a bit hard for him to drive them to school if he isn\’t allowed within 1,000 feet of the place: \”You girls look both ways as you\’re running across the highway!\” Perhaps not surprisingly, my...

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Too mush of a good thing

My co-worker\’s not my type but, I guess, is cute in a navy-blue golf shirt kind of way. He\’s nice and smart, so I often talk and joke with him. Lately, though, he seems to think I want to be more than just co-workers (eeuw). He goes out of his way to avoid me and talks loudly about his girlfriend when I\’m in earshot — his way of rejecting my \”advances\” (like saying \”bless you\” when he sneezes). This has happened twice before at other jobs and makes me feel awkward and dumb. Why are some guys like this while others get that I\’m just a very friendly person? — Sending the Wrong Signals? A man can get \”signals\” from a woman across the room with her back to him, confiding to her friend, \”By age 8, I knew I was a lesbian\”; which, of course, is her way of telling the man, \”Just for you, big guy, I\’m wearing the purple pasties with the propellers.\” Studies by psychologist Antonia Abbey, evolutionary psychologist Martie Haselton and others, show that men actually have a tendency to perceive friendly overtures as overly friendly overtures — inferring sexual interest from a woman where there is none. The most likely explanation is Haselton and David Buss\’ \”Error Management Theory\”: Humans are evolutionarily hard-wired to make errors in judgment on the side of their...

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Leave conquers all

Two months ago, I moved out of the apartment I shared with my boyfriend of four years. He\’s 24; I\’m 22. We were inseparable, so close … until his high school buddies moved to town. He became cold and distant, and told me he wanted to be on his own for a while, but didn\’t know if he wanted to break up. I left town to give him space to figure things out. We barely spoke, and when I returned, I bumped into him and his new girlfriend! He said, \”It just sorta happened.\” I\’m sure — right after I left. I need to know why he lied instead of just admitting there was somebody else. I miss him desperately and feel lost without him, but I harbor so much bitterness and resentment, I don\’t know if I can ever forgive him. — Seeking Closure It\’s a stage-of-life thing. Guys in their late 40s quit their big jobs \”to spend more time with the family.\” Guys in their early 20s quit their big relationships to spend more time with women named Mocha and Destiny, and who swing around a greased pole. No, this guy didn\’t inform you of his intentions with the emotional maturity and verbal finesse of a thrice-divorced couples’ therapy junkie: \”I\’m hearing that you\’re not hearing that I\’m more into \’Girls Gone Wild\’ than ‘Girls Gone...

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Sauced cause

When I was working late, my girlfriend \”Renee\” and her gay best friend, \”Eddie,\” got drunk and slept in the same bed. Eddie said he\’d drunkenly staggered upstairs to her bedroom by accident. Renee said it\’s happened many times, he\’s \”like a brother,\” and there\’s no sex. Two nights later, I went to the emergency room. (Renee wouldn\’t take me.) When I returned, Eddie was upstairs again. Renee first denied it. Eddie joked he was \”making a head count,\” then said he was looking for his dog. I\’ve told Renee that if she\’s my girlfriend, she can\’t get drunk and share a bed with other men, no matter who. She says I\’m putting her \”in a box,\” and dismisses my feelings (as usual). Am I wrong to believe that, even if there\’s no sex, two adults sleeping in the same bed is intimacy Renee should save for me? — Her Straight Boyfriend Let\’s not confuse Bukowski with Nora Roberts. Your blotto girlfriend and her equally shellacked buddy sleeping it off on the same bed isn\’t \”intimacy;\” it\’s flophouse sweat and dumpster breath times two. Don\’t be too quick to take refuge in the sparkly Teflon of Eddie\’s homo-hood. With two people blind-drunk in bed, who can be expected to remember (or care) who plays for which team? Cozy turns cuddly, bodies start rubbing together, and the next day your...

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From here to attorneys’ fees

I’m 23 and married just over a year. Six months ago, before my husband and I moved so I could start law school, I slept with an older attorney, a co-worker. I was racked with guilt and confessed to my husband. Now, he’s constantly depressed, angry and insecure, and I’ve happily buried myself in my studies, trying to forget that another outburst awaits at home. I regret what I did, but I don’t need to be constantly reminded. I can’t help feeling I married too young. I still love my husband — although I don’t feel "in love" with him — but I stubbornly refuse to admit failure and hold out hope things will work out. I’m overextended with studying and keep waking up with a sinking feeling that something needs to be done. But what? — Silently Stewing You take the relaxed approach to marital reconciliation — simply holding out hope things will work out. You might apply this strategy elsewhere in your life; say, to home remodeling projects. Yes, forget drills, saws and socket wrenches. Hire psychic construction workers, ply them with beer and Chex Party Mix, and have them spend the day holding out hope your kitchen cabinets will grow new doors. Your marital problems probably started with an equally relaxed approach to thinking — a failure to use your head as more than a staging...

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