Good advice is all alike, focused as it must be on health, compromise, and consent. People who need advice, however, all need advice in their own interesting ways. Welcome to Other People’s Problems, in which we collect and rank the greatest dilemmas of the week, as seen in newspaper and magazine advice columns.
Best Problem-That’s-Not-Really-a-Problem, Dear Abby
We want your advice, lady.
Last Saturday, two days before my 75th birthday, I did something very uncharacteristic of me. I went to a tattoo parlor 25 miles away and had a flower put on my right buttock. I don’t intend to tell anyone. It was my birthday present to myself.
Most Irritating Hannah Horvath Impression, Dear Coquette
Tumblr has a “questions” feature for a reason.
How do I start writing something that’s meaningful to me? I feel the need to encapsulate my life right now in a way that won’t be erasable with a couple of taps on a keyboard. I really want to write something personal for myself to be able to remember my youth but my life isn’t that exciting at the moment — and I feel a little silly writing about going to the grocery store or spending a day on the beach. How can I possibly begin capturing the essence of my youth so that it’ll matter?
Most Heart-Wrenching Display of Close-Mindedness, Dear Abby
Is it the left or the right ear piercing that means you’re gay?
Do flat-soled shoes make you less of a woman or somehow suspect in terms of being “straight”? Does our society view women in comfortable shoes as being possibly lesbian? I find the idea ridiculous, but two different men have come to the same conclusion. I’m confused about their attitudes and would appreciate your ideas.
Worst at Remembering His Wedding Vows, Ask a Married Dude
For richer or poorer, but not until you make partner.
My husband is a generally wonderful partner, except for one issue. He refuses to pay one cent of my hefty school loans. I am a lawyer and owe about $100k. He feels I went to law school before we were married and therefore he is not responsible for them. We contribute jointly to household expenses and provide for our child, but anything extra he earns goes straight into his secret bank account, [Editor: Financial infidelity, redux] whereas every cent I earn goes toward the loans with little personal money left for me. Every time I want to take a trip or buy new appliances or whatnot, he says “if you didn’t have those loans, we could.” I cannot get him to understand that those loans are what enable me to earn $90k a year and therefore he benefits from them, too. I asked him if he’d rather I was a barista making $9/hour and he responded that at least I wouldn’t have the loans.
Most Pedantic Music-Loving Bro, Social Qs
What’d ya know, he collects vinyl.
I collect and sell vinyl records. I bought a Pearl Jam album for $75 and flipped it for $150. I told a collector and friend about it. Later, a clerk told us he had seen the same record at a thrift shop for $65. My friend called dibs, since I had already scored. I suggested a coin toss; he refused. But he agreed to pay me a $25 finder’s fee if he sold the record for more than $200, which he did. Then he reneged, claiming he had done things for me without being paid for them. But he wouldn’t have known the value of the record if I hadn’t told him. I’m about to sever our long friendship.
Least Smooth Guy on OKCupid, Dear Prudence
Scratch that. Definitely a Match.com man.
I am a 47-year-old single man. I require that before I get physically involved with anyone she get full STD testing. Can you tell me why 99 percent of women refuse immediately when I broach this subject? It doesn’t matter when I bring up this personal choice to them. Also, many people believe that wearing condoms gives 100 percent protection from STD transmission, which is not the case. People also don’t seem to realize that oral sex can transmit a herpes type 2 infection. I have not had a relationship in many years, as I have not found any women who are willing to wait for STD tests before sleeping with me. Once I demand it, they walk away. Why?
Best Recession Horror Story, Hey Ron!
You say “fetishist,” we hear “job creator.”
I am a full-time stylist in a resort town in Arizona. We are right in the middle of our slow season. Money is tough and my bills are the same as they would be during our busy season. While brainstorming about how to score some extra income, a friend told me about a girl she knows who sells her worn panties and pee to weirdos over the internet. She was probably joking but all I could think of was how effortlessly I pee. Why the hell not make money off of it?
Least Reliable Narrator, Carolyn Hax
Some of our best friends are functioning alcoholics who had eating disorders.
I work in D.C. in a field where discretion is important and I’m a single guy on the D.C. dating scene, both of which mean I get Googled often. I just discovered that my most recent ex-girlfriend, who was a functioning alcoholic, had eating disorders and had previously spent time in a mental institution, libeled me online under an anonymous profile, calling me emotionally abusive and manipulative. She did this in the middle of our brief relationship — which I ended — never told me about it, and when I called asking her to take it down I was threatened with a lawsuit for harassment. (She’s a lawyer.) […] What do I tell a girl or friends or future employers when they find this information? I want to explain how literally crazy the accuser is without seeming like an idiot who dated a spiteful alcoholic and mental patient. Please help me deal with this.
Best Celebrity Cameo, Savage Love
“Oh, hey, I hope you don’t mind that I shared your letter with Tegan and Sara.”
I’ve been confused about my sexuality for two years. I am a 22-year-old female. I liked guys when I was in school, but then, in perhaps the most stereotypical of fashions, I developed a HUGE crush on Tegan and Sara when I was nearly 20. I like the idea of being with women, but I have never had a major crush on anyone since. So I’m really confused over what my sexual orientation actually is. I know many hetero-identifying people experience same-sex crushes, but can someone’s whole sexual orientation just change overnight?