Welcome to our latest Bad Advice column! Stay tuned every Tuesday for more terrible guidance based on actual letters.
By The Bad Advisor
“I have an interesting question for you. Is it sexual harassment if a female supervisor at work calls a male employee ‘Honey?’”
—From “PETER IN SOUTH CAROLINA” via “Dear Abby,” 22 February 2017
Dear Peter in South Carolina,
First of all, allow me to thank you for bringing this fascinating quandary to my attention. It’s always refreshing to be asked to chart heretofore unexplored territory and probe new questions, such as this one on the subject of reverse sexism, a novel and fascinating concept of your own discovery. But, to your inquiry: The answer is yes. (And please, give my best wishes to the guys back at r/fedoras.)
“My daughter has been dating a very nice guy and is quite happy. But I hear him swearing frequently, especially when it concerns work or sports. While I am not a prude, neither am I comfortable listening to it. I have tried to react with comments such as ‘Oh, that’s lousy.’ Any advice on how to clean up the conversation?”
— From “M.D. / Boston” via “Miss Conduct,” Boston Globe, 3 March 2017
Today’s young people require the careful guidance that only a good scold about their inappropriate language can offer. Otherwise they may fall victim to their own mixed-up priorities, putting things such as human kindness and their own personal happiness before settling on what really matters: a partner who does not say cusses. A grown man doing swears when expressing himself about his workplace is shocking enough, but to befoul the delicate world of popular sport with unsavory language is an offense beyond measure. Due to the static nature of language and humanity’s tendency not to experience cultural change over time, some words are simply objectively bad, and the sooner this man gets a thorough haranguing about it, the better. You will probably find that, in addition to creating an unforgettable connection between the two of you, policing the language of a grown adult will have the added benefit of reducing the overall number of words you hear from this dirty boy.
“I’m a 28-year-old television news producer in Atlanta, and I met a guy (a creative director at an ad agency) two weeks ago in a bar. We had fantastic chemistry. After dancing half the night, we went back to my place. It all felt so good until he took his shirt off. I ran my hand over his back, and he was covered in large moles! I got seriously turned off, couldn’t touch him, couldn’t even look at him. I said we were moving ‘too fast’ and asked him to put his shirt back on.
He stayed the night, so basically we made out. I have to admit I was not impressed with the way he kissed. In the morning, I just wanted him out of my bed. Frankly, I was desperate to get him out of my apartment. Okay, he was a lousy kisser and his moles got to me, but my question is: It’s been 13 days, so why haven’t I heard from him? What went wrong? I thought he liked me! Why hasn’t he called?”
—From “Crazy, Stupid Crush” via “Ask E. Jean,” Elle, 7 March 2017
Dear Crazy, Stupid Crush,
Who can know what would compel someone not to seek out contact with a person who was physically repulsed by them? We may as well ask where a rainbow begins, or how many grains of sand there are under the ocean. That this man did not return to you begging for further rejection is a dark stain upon his character, and demonstrative of the extent to which he misunderstands his role as a helpless lapdog who ought to be glad — downright grateful — to beg for the attention of a person who finds him deeply unappealing. After all, he has moles; it’s not like he’s a whole human being with a rich interior life, hopes, desires, and personal preferences around which he is entitled to build a satisfying social circle comprised of people who enjoy and appreciate his presence.
Who can know what would compel someone not to seek out contact with a person who was physically repulsed by them?
You are the pinnacle of human perfection, flawless and captivating, and so it is up to you to decide when someone you admittedly loathe is allowed to leave you alone. You and you alone are permitted to decide that you are not interested in pursuing a relationship with another person; everyone else must fulfill their obligation to be enamored of you regardless of the way you treat them, whether you enjoy their company or would even piss on them to put out a fire should they find themselves ablaze in your general vicinity.
Do not let another 13 days go by without demanding this man explain himself. In detail.