My little sister is engaged to a total slimeball. I haven’t told her how I feel, because she already thinks I want to sleep with him (long story). How can I sabotage their relationship without making my sister hate me forever?
Dear RB in GC,
Slimeballs are a great addition to any family! Does he work long hours, carefully weighing out precise one-ounce packets of crank? Does he wait outside bars in his Mercedes SUV with a baseball bat for his family’s collection agency? Whatever his characteristics, he’s clearly fun. Enjoy! He’s bringing a long-overdue, dramatic, triangular element to you and your sister’s boring, resentful back-and-forth. Who cares whom she “loves”? You do. Awesome. Go for it. Fight, manipulate, flirt with him and your sister! Let me know what happens!
I know that your age is just a number, but recently I feel like I’m becoming old. Not for the obvious reasons—going to sleep before 9 p.m., enjoying brunch specials, hating modern music—but because I’m pretty sure I’m shrinking. I saw it happen to my grandparents and parents, and now it’s happening to me. Is there any way to reverse this process, or should I just check myself into a retirement community?
Get a wheelchair, a baked-potato-size dog, some sweatpants combos, and start really living! Gone are the isolation and self-consciousness of the middle ages. Fart, tell intimate stories to strangers, fly a Confederate flag on one side of your walker and a gay-pride balloon on the other. Let go the constraints of youth. Embrace weakness, confusion, and simple woodworking projects. Our deepest fear is often our greatest wish. I congratulate you on your upcoming retirement.
At what point in a relationship is it appropriate to ask your spouse if he or she has a secret family in another state?
Worried in Denver, Colo.
I don’t know how many times I need to say this. Enjoy! Your spouse and you share something very rare and special: a secret secret. Together you are building a legacy. That said, asking can be done at any time. And if it’s done properly, it can even add to the fun! Here is a sample inquiry that you can use word-for-word or edit for your special case:
YOU: [In a light, friendly tone, preferably at a relaxed time in the day, after dinner but not right before bed] Cabbage Sweetie, I need to ask you something. And before I do, I just want you to know that I trust you implicitly and this is my “issue,” not yours. I feel a little ashamed and silly for even asking, but here goes! [Laugh.] This is ridiculous. OK, um, when you were in Las Vegas for the Best Practices conference at the Riviera? Right! And I was so glad that you called me and you told me about how that crazy rep from Chicago was getting on your nerves about how you need to change servers—that made me feel like you need me and trusted my advice. Anyways, I was just looking at the Riviera’s website (for fun) to see what the bad pool looked like that you described so hilariously, and by accident I saw that the Best Practices conference was in fact two weeks before, when you said your mom was sick and you had to drive up to Minneapolis. And here’s the weird thing. I was taking out the trash—which I know you forgot to do and it’s OK. No, it’s fine! You’ve been busy!—and I find all these receipts and they’re from the weekend you were supposed to be in Vegas, and they were from a few suburbs over from us, in Dearborn, and I thought, That’s weird! One of them was for Applebee’s with a pretty big total, like seven entrees with drinks. And another big tab was from Chuck E. Cheese and with your signature. So you know me, my mind is racing, putting all this stuff together like some crazy person, because my friend Judith said she saw this guy who looked just like you over in Dearborn that weekend but it was some guy who could’ve been your doppelgänger with four or maybe five or, well, let’s just say a bunch of kids who looked just like our kids but different, I guess, and this woman, who looked a lot like me but she was Vietnamese, and Judith saw all of these people at this church where her sister goes. I don’t know if you’ve met Judith. We met at Curves, she’s so funny. So, this family, who of course had a different last name and all of that, but I guess this guy is pretty good at computer stuff and set up the church with a website and loves kids, just like you. You’re a great dad, by the way, if I haven’t told you lately! So I just thought, What’s going on here? Do you have a brother I’ve never met? And if so, I’d like to meet him. And if that’s it, if you have a brother—and I’m not saying you do, but if you do—I want to meet him. Whenever you’re ready, and of course, whenever he and his family are ready. I love you and, by association, I know I’ll love your brother.
I’m thinking about having kids, but now I find out that by wearing “tightie-whities” rather than boxers for the past thirty years, I may have drastically reduced my sperm count. Is there a way of reversing the damage or am I doomed to a future of infertility?
First, get a lady friend or Fertile Myrtle. Then, have unprotected intercourse. Over and over again. Let me know what happens, but I think that should do the trick. Your future is bright.