Saturday, January 19, 2008

HTT, I'm terrified of dancing, but my girlfriend loves to!

Dear HTT,

I live in Nevada and my gf lives in California. We met doing a mutual sport, because it requires me to go down to Cali quite often in the summer. We’ve now been dating for about 6 months and it’s been really hard. I haven’t seen her in 2 months, but we talk on the phone every day for several hours. I never thought I would get into a long-distance relationship, and I even delayed asking this girl out for 3 years, but I just like her so much I couldn't stand not being with her.

Now I have an opportunity to go see her in about 3 weeks and I’m so excited. The only problem is the weekend I can go see her is also the weekend of one of her school dances. She absolutely loves to dance, and really wants to have fun this year, because last year her date didn’t dance at all, so she kinda ditched him. So now I have this great opportunity to see her but...... I CANNOT and DO NOT like to’s my weakness. I just get on the dance floor and my whole body freezes.

Now, my gf and I were discussing my trip down there, and she asked me if I really wanted to go. I decided not to lie...I told her I didn’t want to go to the dance but will just so I can see her. Then she asked me if I was going to dance at all. I said I would do all the slow dances with her, but she didn’t seem too happy with that answer. Then she asked me if I would get mad at her if she danced with other guys while I was there. I didn’t even answer this question, because what am I supposed to say?? Yes, I would get kinda mad, but I want her to have fun.

So what am I supposed to do? I don’t want to drag her down…but I would get kinda mad, especially since most of her guy friends have crushes on her. Now, I know the obvious answer is…just go and dance with her. I can’t dance though and feel really uncomfortable every time I try. Also, I don’t want to embarrass her in front of her friends because her lame bf won’t and can’t dance, but I also don’t want her to break up with me for not dancing with her. I don’t know what to do, but I really, really like this girl, more than I have anyone else.

In need of your help,

Dance Disaster

Dear DD,

Well, bless your heart! This is quite a dilemma. Your gal seems intent on going to this dance. And it sounds like visiting her some other weekend isn’t an option. So, even though you say you’re a horrible dancer, I think this is still your opportunity to shine. Not by trying to pull some fancy moves, but by being game enough to go and risk looking just a little goofy to spend time with your girl.

Did you happen to see “Hitch” by any chance? With Will Smith and Kevin James? James’ character has a crush on a woman who invites him to go dancing. Unlike you, he thinks he’s got some pretty impressive dance moves, but they’re actually quite awful. You know the kind...big 80s moves that bring to mind MC Hammer, robots, and the white man’s overbite. Will Smith tutors him on some classier, low-key steps that won’t wow anyone but won’t call attention to themselves either. (In the movie, James’ gal finds his horrible dancing endearing, because it makes her look like a better dancer. In reality, I think this is a risky strategy, so I can’t recommend it.)

Have you actually watched many people dance? Like, real people, not professional dancers in music videos? Have you really looked around at ALL the people on a dance floor, not just the ones who actually know what they’re doing? Most people aren’t great dancers. Especially guys! Mostly, people just kind of step back and forth and bob their heads to the beat. Do you have any friends who can help you in the manner that Will Smith helped Kevin James? You’re not going to become a candidate for “Dancing with the Stars” in the next couple of weeks, but if you just practice some simple movements, you might feel a little more comfortable.

This is what I think you need to do. Go to the dance. If you’re old enough to drink and won’t have to drive, have one or two beers. (Drinking doesn’t improve your dancing, per se, but it relaxes your inhibitions about it. But no more than one or two! You don’t want to get wasted and lose so many inhibitions that you make an ass out of yourself!) Dance the slow dances, as you suggested you would. That was a brilliant idea, because slow dancing means little more than hugging and shuffling. And then work up the courage to go out there for some of the faster songs. Keep smiling so you don’t look panicked. Don’t try anything fancy and the worst thing people could accuse you of is being an uninspired dancer, but not an embarrassment. Don’t feel obligated to dance every dance. Take some breaks when you’ve had enough, and encourage your girlfriend to dance with her friends. You’ll impress her with your lack of jealousy (even if you feel jealous, you don’t have to show it).

If she has any sense at all, she’ll realize what a good guy you are and be grateful that you overcame your dancing phobia because you wanted to spend time with her, doing something that she loves.

Good luck, and if you get a chance, let me know how things turn out.


Monday, January 14, 2008

HTT, it's a bitter pill to swallow

Dear HTT,

My boyfriend's parents make a living selling nutritional supplements. Naturally, the family takes these daily supplements and swears by them.

Several months ago, I got a bug and was sick for about a week. My boyfriend sent me some of these supplements to help me get healthy and stay healthy. I thought it was sweet so I took them. For a little while.

I don't like to take vitamins or herbal remedies or anything. It's not that I think they don't work or are harmful or bad in any way. I simply don't want another product added to my daily routine. Basically, if it doesn't prevent pregnancy, pain, or severe misery, then I don't want to take it. I'm healthy and I feel like I get what I need from the food I eat.

So some time passed and my boyfriend gave me a four-month supply of this supplement. I tried to playfully decline it ("Aw, do I have to take my medicine? ... I know this is expensive--you don't have to give me this.") But he insisted and now I don't know what to do.

I feel bad pretending to take it. I feel bad wasting it. I feel bad lying that I'm taking it. (When I last visited his parents, his mother asked me if I were still taking it.) But I do not want to take it. What do I do? Is there a way to tell him I'm not taking it? Or do I continue the charade to avoid offending anyone?

No pills

Dear No Pills,

I'm with you. Every once in a while, I make a resolution to take vitamins. I drop a ton of money at Whole Foods or GNC or Vitamin World, and then dutifully take a handful of pills that make me a little nauseous, turn my pee bright yellow, and supposedly ensure that I'll live to be 100. I keep this up for two weeks at most, and then the various amber-colored pill bottles get pushed to the back of the cabinet, only to get tossed years later.

At first I thought it would be easiest to just lie about it. It’s a little white lie, so not very bad in the big scheme of things. Perhaps these pills could be treated like the gaudy holiday sweater Aunt Sadie might have been given you at some point in your life and that you only wear when she’s around. But telling a little fib to spare the feelings of Aunt Sadie, whom you only see twice a year, is a little different than carrying on an on-going charade with your boyfriend and his family.

You say that you already feel badly about pretending and about wasting the supplements, and you’d just feel worse over time. So I think you need to tell your boyfriend what you’ve told me. Assure him that don’t have anything against the supplements, but you’re just not good at adhering to a vitamin-taking regimen, and you’re afraid the pills will go to waste in a dark corner of your cabinet.

If you and your beau are in it for the long haul, this is likely to be just one of many differences between you that you’ll have to negotiate. No time like the present for practicing these sorts of discussions. Easy for me to say, I know. But give him a chance take this news well, to accept you for the healthy, non-vitamin-taking person you are.

Good luck!

Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

Well, dear family, friends, and other readers, 2007's on its way out. Soon, I'm off to doll up for a fete and put on my fancy party shoes. I hope 2008 brings you peace and great happiness. Thanks for supporting me in this advice column venture of mine!

Did I disclose my feelings too soon?

Dear HTT,

A couple of weeks ago, a woman named L started working in the same department I work in. We've had some friendly conversations, have found several points of common interest, and seemed to get along well. I found out she had a boyfriend, but in our conversations she never referenced him, which I notice women tend to do when they want to let you know they're not available. The only reference came last week when she mentioned she had "been dating this guy, but he's an a$$," so they split up. She came back to work after her shift last week to go over some things (this is when she mentioned splitting up), then invited me to meet her and some friends out for drinks. I joined them, and had a nice time, and was invited by L's friend to attend a party the following night. I showed up the next night, had a great time, got to hang with L and meet more of her friends, and generally enjoyed myself. As I was saying goodbyes at the end of the night, L gave me a noticeably full hug, and told me she was glad to have a work-friend. I asked her (our arms still around each other) if I should then NOT have a crush on her, because "I can be your work friend, but I could also easily crush on you." L told me she was a wait-and-see person, and we smiled and said good night.

So, did I just give her too much info? Would it have been better to have just kept it to myself and wait-and-see? There are all these things that would be great about dating her, but then again, I work with her! I've always been one to think (and observe) that work relationships are bad news. Also, I'm in the midst of a time in my life when I question whether I should even BE dating! I'm letting the issue rest there unless she brings it up. I get along really well with just about everyone I work with, and L is no exception. As far as the crushing, I can keep it pretty compartmentalized... That is, if I don't have a few cocktails in me, which won't be an issue at work.

Was it OK to let her know? I wanted to put it out there so she could know where she stands, I guess: if she keeps inviting me out and giving me full body hugs, she's gonna' fan the flames. If she just keeps the friendship relegated to work and sees that I'm not stalker-material, she can be comfortable knowing that we can be friends, and a crush is often just a crush...


Don't Want To Creep Her Out

Dear Don’t Want to be Creepy,

I might not have confessed my feelings so early in the relationship, but then again, I’m a bit of a chicken in these matters. (See my description of toe-dipping.) I rather envy you your chutzpuh. You handled your disclosure exceedingly well: you were sweet and light-hearted about it, and you seem to be going into this with the right attitude. That is, you’re not love-sick and moony but rather a bit more devil-may-care. If I were this girl, I’d be flattered and, even if I didn’t share your feelings, I wouldn’t be at all creeped out by you. As long as you are true to your word and don’t start stalking her or acting mopey at work if your feelings aren’t reciprocated.

It’s been a few weeks since you wrote—sorry, I’m still in slacker mode—and I’m curious how things have progressed. From your description of events, it’s hard to tell whether she was behaving in a friendly or flirty manner, although, personally, I don’t tend to give long, full-body hugs to my guy pals. Especially not guys I work with. So, if you’ve read her wrong, I wouldn’t take it too hard or start to question your own judgment.

If you get a chance, let me know where things stand.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

My friend suggested I was smelly!

Dear HTT,

A friend just called to arrange to carpool to a clothes swap tomorrow. She closed by making sure I wasn't planning to go running right beforehand, since she doesn't want to try on clothes someone sweaty has tried on first. I didn't know what to say, so I said I, uh, planned on being clean. Then I hung up and started fuming.

How does one interpret a comment like that? The obvious choices are:

(1) You're always running and you smell; or
(2) You're too dumb to know that you should shower before trying on clothes, so I'm just letting you know.

A reasonable third option might be,
(3) I have an aversion to sweat, and that time I dragged you to the thrift store right after you went running, even though you pointed
out you were all sweaty, actually really grossed me out, but I didn't know how to tell you then, so I've saved that thought for three months and am letting you know indirectly now.

This is a friend who prides herself being "direct" about verbalizing
what she wants.

How does one respond to a comment like that? And how does one explain to an adult that there's a difference between being direct and being tactless? I have enough baggage with this friend already that it's hard to imagine discussing this without pulling out all her dirty socks. So I'd also appreciate advice on how to stay focused on the insult-at-hand rather than generating some new ones.

--Fuming But Not Smelly

P.S. If she ever discovers your website, she's gonna be pissed...

Dear Fuming,

I think the best response would have been something quick and sharp like, “Actually, I was planning to eat a head of raw garlic, run a few miles, and smoke a fat cigar before we went to try on clothes together. Duh.”

You have to consider the source of this comment. She obviously lacks tact, but since I’m feeling charitable, I’ll suggest that she’s probably not aware of how rude she comes across. Perhaps a tart response would jerk her back to the reality of how she sounds to others.

Once, I strutted into work, proud of an electric-blue faux leather jacket I’d found over the weekend. One of my friends gawked at it and declared, “My, you do love a gaudy accessory, don’t you?” I just burst out laughing and thanked my lucky stars that, unlike her, my entire wardrobe didn’t come from the old-lady rack at Talbots!

So, I guess if I were you, I’d just shrug it off, unless these sorts of comments start coming more frequently. If she continues in this manner, the next time she offends you, calmly point it out to her. (You know, use “I” statements and all that jazz.) Try not to pull out every example you have tucked away. But one or two might be helpful to show that your anger is caused by a pattern of rude behavior and isn’t just a factor of you being overly sensitive.

Good luck, thanks for writing, and sorry for the very late response!



Wow, I knew I'd neglecting my blog, but now I realize just how much: I couldn't remember my password when I tried to log in just now! I've been traveling (to Florida for fun and to Arlington for work), the holiday season and all related errand running and festivities are underway, and I've just been super busy. So, my apologies to all the friends and other readers who've sent me questions over the past few weeks. I really, really appreciate them (and you!), and I promise to get to them all soon.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

My daughter's friend's mom hates my kid; what should she do?

My 17-year-old daughter has a friend whose mother hates her (my daughter). According to my daughter, it is because she sat on a pool table at their home 4 years ago. My daughter weighed about 95 lbs. at the time. I am sure there had to be some other incidents where my daughter irritated this woman. She reads her daughter's emails and I would guess at sometime my daughter wrote something that gave this mom the wrong idea. This mom has a reputation for having a bad temper and getting so angry every profanity you can imagine comes out.

There have been several incidents of this kind in the past. This anger was aimed at all of the girls. However the grudge she holds is only against my daughter. After the pool table incident I told my daughter not to go to their home anymore and she says she has stayed away.

This problem reared its head again: My daughter and her friend are part of a group of about 12 girls. They all go to the same high school. Her friend is pregnant, and the group wants to give the girl a baby shower, which would include all moms.

My daughter says she is uncomfortable being around this woman since she has this grudge against her. This woman actually said she would not go if my daughter were there unless she had changed.

My daughter plans to make sure she works that evening so she can avoid going. I think that is probably a wise thing to do as I would not want there to be another incident.

Any thoughts?


I’ve been a 17-year-old daughter, and even though I was a pretty good kid, there were times my parents didn’t quite get the whole story. Oh, I told few outright lies. I thought then, and often still do, that my mother could read my mind. So lying seemed pointless and, frankly, less smart than either telling the truth or avoiding anything lie-worthy in the first place. But I might have left out a few choice details now and again.

Like me, maybe your daughter hasn’t told you everything. You seem to accept that there’s probably more to this woman’s ire than the pool table incident of four years ago. I don’t mean to suggest that your daughter is a bad egg, but it’s always possible that her friend’s mom has some legitimate reason for being displeased with your daughter.

However, even if she does, she’s certainly not behaving like the adult in this story. Yelling and cursing and holding grudges and “hating” a 17-year-old girl? Yikes. No, if your daughter committed some serious transgression, the mother should have called you or, at the very least, calmly asked your daughter not to return to their home.

If I were a mom, I might be tempted to go all mama-bear and defend my kid from this woman, who sounds unstable and immature. However, even in my advanced years, I can remember being your daughter’s age, and I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t have wanted my mother to intervene. I think your daughter’s plan to avoid her friend’s mom is probably a good one. It’s too bad that she’ll miss the shower, but at 17, she just doesn’t have any negotiating power in that antagonistic relationship.

Your daughter might be completely blameless. But consider asking her to take a mental inventory of her behavior and honestly assess whether she did anything that would make even a more mild-tempered parent see red. (Emphasis on mental inventory in order for there to be honest assessment.) No matter what, there’s still no excuse for the way her friend’s mom has handled the situation, but your daughter might have to admit to herself that she shares some responsibility for this rift.

Thanks for writing,