Welcome to our latest Bad Advice column! Stay tuned every Tuesday for more terrible guidance based on actual letters.
By The Bad Advisor
“What’s wrong with asking a girl out when she has a boyfriend? Two girls I know seem to think it would be inconsiderate. But I see girls going out with losers all the time — because they’re afraid of being alone, think they can’t do any better, believe the guys still ‘love’ them even if the guys have cheated, etc. If the relationship is worth it, she’d simply decline, right?”
— Via Carolyn Hax, Washington Post, 29 June 2003
Women are broadly unable to decide what is best for themselves at any given time, so it would be a kindness for you to seek to date them without regard for their current relationship status. Many may be stuck in unfulfilling partnerships and unsure what to do about it without your generous assistance, shifting aimlessly throughout their lives without the firm hand of a good and selfless man such as you to guide them. This will be difficult, of course, because ladies loathe a nice guy, and they may be afeared of your wholesome and beneficent interest in their well being. But you have a unique perspective to offer women on the interior workings of relationships in which you are not involved, and it is essential that you provide the entirely charitable service of hounding them for dates. If these pitiful prizes take you up on your offer, you’ll have provided for them some valuable insight on their propensity for dating losers.
“My daughter and son-in-law are expecting their first child. My husband has a granddaughter, but this will be my first grandchild. My husband and I have been together for more than 16 years and have helped raise each other’s children.
I love his granddaughter, and I don’t want her feelings to be hurt by announcing on social media that I am expecting my first grandchild. She is 8 years old and knows that I am her father’s stepmother, but I still don’t want to hurt her. Whenever she comes over, my husband and I both spoil her (like grandparents should), but she has always favored her ‘Papa.’
The problem for me is that I am much younger than my husband, and I didn’t want my social media friends to think that I was old enough to have an 8-year-old grandchild.
How can I say that I am expecting my first grandchild without making her feel like she doesn’t count?”
— From “Grandma to Be” via “Ask Amy,” Washington Post, 18 August 2017
Dear Grandma to Be,
From catfishing to “fake news,” social media has created a thoroughly modern set of new and confusing problems to tackle! On the one hand, you have a responsibility to make sure that the people of Farmville, who aren’t really sure how old you are or what your family looks like, do not perceive you as being older than you are. What a profound betrayal they would experience in sort of thinking that maybe the lady who is always posting her Game of Thrones quiz results might potentially be a different age than they originally figured. The fallout from such a disaster could reverberate across the internet, decimating Pantsuit Nation and echoing even into the deepest corners of the Red Rock Osprey Cave Rolling Hills Canyon’s NextDoor listserv, causing widespread agony among people who vaguely recognize your avatar.
On the other hand, there’s this literal human child who thinks of you as her grandparent, the poor thing. Your obligation to the child isn’t nothing, but it also pales in comparison to the importance of maintaining your reputation on the General Hospital message board, which would be scandalized indeed to believe even for a moment that “SonnysHoney65” is not the nubile young nymph of their collective imagination, an imagination that is enduringly concerned with your specific age.
Be clear and direct: Announce on all the social media platforms that you share with this 8-year-old that you are expecting your first grandchild, but that you have for some time enjoyed the company of your husband’s kid’s kid, which has been a delightful preparatory experience to having a real family. Many will wonder why you went out of your way to post a detailed JPG of your blended family tree including an elaborate explanation of the lesser status of this existing child whom you will need to carefully tag in every photo in order to emphasize just how unrelated to you she is and how little that matters to you really in the grand scheme of things, but at least they won’t believe the worst about you: That you’re eight years older than you really are.
“A year ago, two lovely girls were killed in a car accident in our neighborhood. This was of course very sad, and people brought flowers, balloons and such to the site of the accident. This seemed appropriate.
But now, a year later, the families are still bringing stuff to the site, and one family is planning to erect a permanent marker there. This seems to me like overkill. It seems to me like the gravesites would be the right places to bring remembrances. Or am I unfeeling? I’m sure Miss Manners will let me know.”
— Via “Miss Manners,” Valley News, 3 September 2017
It is hardly unfeeling to object to a memorial honoring a young life lost too soon because you find the prospect aesthetically unappealing. No indeed, there are many feelings one might use to describe your inclination to police your neighbors’ grief. Many, many feelings indeed.