DEAR NATHAN: I am an educated, open-minded, well-spoken, well-mannered single man. I enjoy life and smile just about every waking moment.
My problem is that people — especially women — think I’m gay. I assure you, I’m not! One woman recently lambasted me, saying her “gaydar” is never wrong, so I should just admit it to myself.
This issue has prohibited me from dating, especially over the last few years, because ladies see me as a peer instead of potential partner. Also, people tell others that I’m gay, so there are preconceived opinions.
Please don’t think I am anti-gay. I have several gay male and female friends. I don’t think my speech inflections or mannerisms make people assume this. I don’t know what to do. Help! — STRAIGHT, BUT NOT NARROW IN ALABAMA
DEAR STRAIGHT: It seems that in this situation, there is only one thing you can do: act as manly as possible. Well, the other option would be to, each time you meet someone, say “Nice to meet you. By the way, I prefer the female anatomy over the male anatomy.” That would be awkward, though. They might not think you were gay, but they would probably still not date you because you’re a very awkward straight guy.
Think of every manly stereotype you can. Burp more. Scratch more. Fart more. You should probably start hitting on every female in sight just to prove that you are, without a doubt, a straight male. I would recommend walking around with dirt and grime under your nails, then when people mention it, just say you aren’t sure if it is from changing your Harley’s oil or the fight club you participated in last night. In case there still doubt, constantly reference articles from Maxim.
Yes, I know this does not necessarily equal a straight man. I’m sure there are many homosexuals out there who would rather wear their old sweat stained t-shirt while talking about the 1985 Chicago Bears than listen to Cher while getting a manicure. Clearly your friends are all about stereotypes, though, so play to that. If nothing else, it will give you an excuse to stop shaving.
DEAR NATHAN: I am a new bride. I love my husband very much, but I’ve encountered a problem I don’t know how to handle. My husband and I were together for six years before we got married and were engaged for three. We eloped to Las Vegas (it wasn’t planned) and had a “proper” celebration with friends and family later.
My husband makes comments that suggest I dragged him and tricked him into marrying me. I know he’s only kidding, but it’s very hurtful. I don’t know how to let him know his comments really hurt my feelings. It makes me feel like he’s ashamed of our marriage. — NEWLYWED IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR NEWLYWED: The troubles of being newlywed are very complicated. There are fights about literally everything. My wife and I fought about dishes, clothes, chores, whether we were doing chores too often, who did the most chores, etc. It is what marriage counselors like to call “the phase where everyone hates each other for a while.” Or something like that.
The next time he says something like this, I want you to read the following paragraph to him:
My dearest husband, after the years that we have been together, the joys we have shared, it’s great to know that we will be forever bonded as husband and wife. Why, it seems like just yesterday that we met. To think that it was almost a decade ago. My, how the sands of time fall! Speaking of falling, if you joke about me dragging you down the aisle again, you will be falling down the stairs after a nice swift kick to your behind. And it will hurt. A lot. Now, what do you want to do for dinner?
That should take care of it.
DEAR NATHAN: I am writing to you because I can share this anonymously. I am close to 60 years old and I’m terrified of the dentist. Every time I pick up the phone to make an appointment I get so anxious I feel like I’m going to die.
Do you think I will be able to find a caring, compassionate and nonjudgmental dentist? Are they out there? Sometimes I wish I could die instead of going to the dentist. Am I crazy? — MRS. ANXIETY IN THE U.S.A.
DEAR MRS. ANXIETY: Before I address your issue, is there a Mr. Anxiety? You really got the short end of the naming stick there. If I were you, I probably would have stuck with my maiden name, unless of course it was Apprehension. Then you probably made the right choice.
Dentists are all terrible human beings that are bent on destroying the world one tooth at a time. Therefore, I highly doubt you will ever find a caring dentist. You might find a sadistic dentist, but not a caring one.
Before you go to the dentist, you should just take a second to think about your visit. I mean, really, what is the worst that could happen? Sure, they could accidentally stab you in the jugular with that scratchy hook thing they always use. Maybe they accidentally remove all of your teeth, thinking you are Corporal Gum Disease in the next chair over. They could give you too much sedative. Their mechanical chair could malfunction, folding up and crushing you inside of it.
Aside from that, though, it’s fairly safe. Hope that helps!
DEAR NATHAN: I have a question regarding what to do when someone pays you a compliment. I was always taught that a compliment should be answered with a polite “thank you.” So when my husband compliments me on a nice meal, I say, “Thank you.”
He believes that you are not being humble enough when you say thank you, since it is recognizing that you did a good job. He thinks you should say, “I’m glad you like it,” instead of thank you. What is the correct response? — GRAMMATICALLY PERPLEXED
DEAR GRAMMATICALLY PERPLEXED: Can I point out that this isn’t a grammar issue? You aren’t ending sentences with prepositions. You are saying “Thank you.” Choose a better fake name next time.
I agree with your husband. You should be as humble as possible. When people compliment something I have done, I always say, “Psh. Like you really mean it. It wasn’t all that great. Don’t patronize me.” That way, people don’t think that I am being cocky.
Sometimes, I even take it one step further. If I cook something that people say they like, I’ll throw the plate on the ground, grab their food out of their hand and say “Look. You don’t have to keep rubbing in how awful it was, okay? I get it. Now GET AWAY FROM ME!” Then I proceed to break down and cry, slapping away the hands of anyone that tries to comfort me.
I think it has worked. People never think I’m being too arrogant now. They also never compliment me or, for that matter, talk to me. Modesty comes at a price, though.
- Dear Nathan (badlandsbadley.wordpress.com)