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Advice Column July 29, 2003

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Jul 29, 2003

Advice Column for July 29, 2003

Dear Readers: I did not respond to over nineteen letters this week because their authors did not do me the basic courtesy of capitalizing any of the words. God Dammit, why do you treat me like such garbage. I am not your patient e-mail friend. I am not going to be treated like this.


H E R E   W E   GO !
Listen to the theme to Ray's Place, by Milwaukee Youth Children's Choir, aka MC Frontalot

I live with my grandparents, and while this is a rather big house, it still makes me terribly uneasy and guilty about getting my lovin' on while I live here. I just turned eighteen and I'm excited that I may be moving out early in the fall, but my dad says to wait a while longer to move out, so that i'm sure my income is reliable. (I work at a grocery store)
-Guilty Sex in WA

Dear Guilty,

I know what you mean about not wanting to have sex with your grandparents around. Imagine your grandpa slyly peekin’ around the corner of the doorway to the sun porch, huge open-mouth grin showing his toothless gums, two big sparkles in his eyes, as you begin to slowly finger-bang the woman of your dreams. Now that is some fucked-up imagery.

Anyhow, you’re saying that you think you might make enough money at the grocery store so you can rent a place to have sex in. Basically I should warn you that if you work at a grocery store you ain’t gonna have enough money to buy a hot meal, let alone outfit some kind of player’s pad with anything better than a paper towel to put under your girlfriend's butt. I guess just keep getting it on while your grandparents are watching; it will be weird for a while, but eventually the girl will get sick of it and break up with you.

My lady and I have been seeing each other for a good while now, and we have decided that it is time to live with each other, and perhaps get married sometime in the distant future, since gay marriages are legalized in Canada now.

Her and I, like I have stated before, have, however, one great difference that separates us. She has a pet snake, while I have pet rats. Unfortunately, our pets cannot get along as well as we do.

Would you happen to have advice on what we should do? I know that the pets would stay in their collective habitats, but our debate still continues on. Neither of us wants to be rid of our pets.

Should we seek another type of food, in an attempt to train her snake (Sparky, as she lovingly calls him) into thinking that rats aren't a yummy thing, in the case that he should ever get out, and discover my rat cage?
Rose, (probably Canada)

Dear Rose,

You two have some really disgusting pets. What is with people who keep snakes, rats, tarantulas, cockroaches, etc? Man, that shit ain’t for havin’ in the house. Get rid of that stuff! Jesus! A Cocker Spaniel is a “pet.” A rat is “something that has eternally and for all time been regarded as vermin.”

I guess just feed them both cereal and grubs and bones from eaten Buffalo Wings and stuff until they die. Ech. I’m not going to think about this anymore. You are messed up!

Readers: A response from last week’s “gun guy!”


I don't like Glocks simply because most of their construction is plastic. No real reason, in fact they're excellent guns, very well made, very reliable, I've never heard any complaints about them... I just don't like the thought of a plastic gun. As for Die Hard, fuck if I remember what kind of gun he uses. I haven't seen it in a long time.
Gun Happy, Middle of Nowhere

Dear Gun Happy,

Sorry I omitted the first couple pages of your letter, wherein you talked about gun names again. I just can’t get into gun names, I’m sorry. I think most of my readers probably do not like to read long lists of gun names, either. (But I may be wrong!)

Anyhow, I think the gun Bruce Willis used in Die Hard was a “Nine Millimeter.” I didn’t look this up or anything, but it sounds about right. Do you agree? Is that the right kind of gun to use in the situation he was in (tall building, probable terrorist, needed pretty good aim at one point to rescue a female hostage with a knife at her throat)?

Alright, take it easy. Let us know when you start your gun name column.

I have a friend who never went to college, and since I did he's always trying to impress me with something he knows, but he feels an inferiority complex and has lately been trying painfully to make "intellectual" conversation. Last night he was talking about dinosaurs, and when I couldn't answer his questions (I never took the class on the emergence of dinosaurs) he said that didn't matter, because he was hoping that I could at least acknowledge that he was asking "good questions." This guy has it pretty bad, as you can see, Ray. How can I address his chemically-induced questions without making him cry like a little girl because of his intellectual inadequacy?
"College Educated But Having Problems With People From My Hometown Who Now Assume That I Have All Of The Fucking Answers To All Of Life's Questions"

Dear College Educated,

Yeah, we all have dumb friends and acquaintances. Do you know Todd? He is this squirrel that runs around our neighborhood a lot of the time. He’s illiterate, comes from a bad family, cusses really strong even in the presence of my parents, etc. Anyhow, even though he is not stupid per se, he will sometimes make conversation which is clearly designed to prove that he has recently grasped a basic concept of physics or sociology. Needless to say, guys who have a little on the ball (i.e. you and me) don’t think about physics and sociology all day long, though we probably grasp their underlying principles. It is at times like this when I think to myself, “Todd is trying to impress me by staking a common ground which neither of us actually share.”

The last time he did that we ended up agreeing that lead probably melted at 353 degrees (I don’t know where that number came from, but we did shake on it).

My boyfriend is the greatest guy in the world. He's really nice to me and I love him and we plan to get married. There is just this one thing about him I can't stand, and that is [his] haircut.

When I first met him, his hair was parted in the middle, and he looked like he was twelve. Then he had this Bill Gates haircut. Now he has this weird cut that almost looks like a bowl cut with these long bangs that cover his eyebrows. When we have sex, I feel like I am doing it with a five year old, which does not really turn me on at all.

He won't listen to me when I tell him he needs a more sexy grown up haircut, and gets all mad and defensive and says it shouldn't matter what his hair looks like. I hate his hair so much. It is sad, because he is a really handsome guy, and the hair just ruins it. I want to shave his head as he sleeps. what should I do?
Running With Scissors in Berkeley, CA

Dear Running With Scissors,

What is with this guy? This obviously isn’t an aesthetic thing, because he admits his appearance is not the issue. It’s more like a control thing, held over from childhood.

We have all seen a small kid who is stubborn about food and won’t eat anything. It’s not because he’s not hungry. It’s because he learned that this is a way he can wield power, and power is an awesome feeling, particularly to someone who is constantly forced to pose for pictures on a green plastic airplane that has a froggy face.

Fast forward twenty years. Your boyfriend just doesn’t want to ride the green froggy plane anymore...unless you make him think it’s his idea to ride the green froggy plane. See where I’m going with this?

Just like a kid who is told that he will go to hell and meet the Devil if he eats green vegetables, so will your boyfriend respond to reverse psychology. I guess the main way to get him to want to cut his hair is to tell him that you would HATE if he got his haircut like George Clooney. Tell him that you love his haircut just the way it is, and keep mentioning how stupid George Clooney looks. Check some books which deal with George Clooney out of the library and leave them around the coffee table and in the bathroom. Pretty soon he’s gonna be cookin’ up a “Perfect Storm” of his own—under your bedsheets, lady!

(I probably don’t need to mention this but your relationship has other huge problems.)

A confidential answer to the person who walked in on parents having sex.

Hey, get this: one time I think I saw my mom doin’ my dad. I was like just a tiny little kid, but there they were in the kitchen, doin’ that act! They never found out that I saw, but to this day I always FEEL like they knew. Isn’t that crazy? And, just like you, it made me feel weird.

I wonder why we have such a weird response to seein’ our parents get their freak on. I think maybe that in a sense we feel insulted, wondering why our parents think they need to get their freak on and make another kid, because we think that we're already the best kid in the world and they don’t need another one.

Also, it is weird to see your dad’s shaft.

Anyhow, just act like you didn’t see anything and they’ll forget about it. Did your mom have on big “clumsy lady” lingerie, all with like a feather boa sewn across the front of the halter, and a large area of thick lace on the front to hide her old lady belly? Man, I don’t even know why I’m askin’ about that. Do me a favor and only read the first sentence of this paragraph. Was her butt pretty long and flat? Was there a long deep line heading down from her bellybutton between some jiggly tummy fat? Man, why do I keep askin' about this stuff?!

A short time ago my girlfriend (let's call her Nikki) and I decided that we were going to be "just friends," and that we could date other people. Now, after that happened I took her at her word and have been slowly building up a relationship with a new girl, let's call her Jane. Now, I like Jane; she is smart, funny, beautiful, sexy, and a great dancer. Jane and I are not yet officially dating exclusively, but we are spending an inordinate amount of time in each other's company, and enjoying it immensely. I was more than a little surprised when Nikki started to act jealous—after all, we're supposed to be "just friends" now. Now I hear from one of her friends that Nikki really wants me back (that reminds me of how in Junior High you would have your friend pass a note to the girl that you liked...honestly, can anything be more juvenile?) As if that wasn't complicated enough, about a year ago I was dating yet another girl (call her Susie) until she moved to Washington, DC, when we both mutually decided that we didn't want to try the long-distance thing and so we broke it off.

So what should I do, Ray? I have chemistry with all three of these beautiful women. But I am not a player; I refuse to treat a woman as if she were an object. I am not interested in meaningless sex—I graduated from college a while ago. I want a serious, meaningful relationship. I also don't want to hurt any of these ladies feelings, although I am afraid that may be inevitable. How can I form a serious relationship with one of these three and not hurt the other two? And who should I pick? My recent ex (for whom I had very strong feelings that could be easily rekindled I am sure), the old flame who has returned to the city, or the new girl?
R.S., Internet

Dear R.S.,

First of all, your old “Nikki” just wants you back out of residual territorialism. Once she sees that you’re attractive to somebody else, she sees you as a viable male again and wants you to give her a baby. Plus she is also attempting to assert her own superiority over the female you are currently going with. That’s how it is with cats, anyway. Probably the same for you.

I guess the real issue here is that you don’t like any of them enough to choose just one. They’re all sorta non-soulmates who kinda shimmy in and outta your apartment as circumstances dictate. I would guess that since you’re showin’ no Stone Pulse for any of these ladies, you shouldn’t get too “Ring Kinky” with any of them. My best advice is just to be bad about returning phone calls for a while until they whip themselves into frenzies of insecurity and break up with you. Cool.

Okay: I have a deep fondness for this very nice shot known variously as 'Flying Monkey' or 'Beam Me Up Scotty.' To make it, you layer one part Kahlua, one part Bailey's Irish Cream and finally one part banana liqueur. You knock it back and feel very happy and monkey-like. But I am shit at layering. I always just get a glass of vaguely browny-yellow hooch. It tastes equally nice but it's not the full experience. Can you advise me on a really good, easy method of layering these ingredients neatly?

Dear Déesse,

Lots of books recommend pouring the liquor to be layered gently over the back of a spoon, but the real pros use a “bar spoon.” This is a twisted metal shaft, about the width of a knitting needle, that looks like it has a quarter welded perpendicularly to the bottom. You put the “quarter” right on the surface of the bottom layer of pre-poured liquor, and pour the next liquor slowly down the shaft. The "quarter" captures and delicately dissipates the flow of liquor from the bottle so that it spreads neatly over the surface of the lower layer.

I'm trying to plan the menu for a dinner party, and I need some help with the main course. One of the people coming is a vegetarian who eats seafood, one is allergic to shellfish, and several don't like fish. I'd like to stay away from pasta, so I was thinking I could grill some chicken and some fish, and serve both with a similar sauce or relish. Other than disinviting the veggie, do you have any suggestions?
SA, Virginia

Dear SA.,

Man, since when are pasta and fish the only foods in the world? Dang, make a Boboli pizza or something, or a big spinach salad all with goat cheese and avocado and stuff. Cook some hash browns, eggs and pancakes. Make Tang. Have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches pre-sliced next to some Oreos and milk. Did you ever think to roast a bunch of corn in the oven. Make popcorn and also have an omelette bar. Do up some Mexican food with beans and tortillas and stuff. Pretend that you made “tapas” by using some tapas recipes. What the hell? Why in the hell is it so hard for anyone to cook anything?! Mix up some macaroni salad and have a piece of fried chicken next to it on a plate.

Here's some background: I dated this girl for about four months a year ago. Nothing serious, just having fun, you know? And we stopped seeing each other, but kept being friends. No big stress. Then I go back to college and don't hear from her for three months or so. When I come back, I find out she's now seriously involved with her stepfather, to the point where her mother has divorced the guy, and he and my friend are planning to get married. He hates me, by the way: called me a rapist and accused me of dating this girl so I could get at him. It's all pretty creepy, but it's her decision, right? Not really my business.

The thing is, she keeps sending me email about how happy she is with her father/boyfriend and all the plans they're making to move to Arizona and blah blah blah and it's really creeping me out. She knows what I think about the whole situation. Should I just ignore the emails, or out and out tell her I don't want to hear about her cozy little incestuous love nest?

Dear Disgusted,

You’re right, it’s not your business. Basically your only choice is to completely ignore it and get on with your life. Sure, it will bug you for a while, but what can you do.

As far as the emails go, I often find that the “delete” key can solve many of life’s problems (at least, the ones that come in through email).

As a fellow Internet enthusiast with a bit of a paunch, do you have any recommendations for a guy who'd like to fit better into a nicely cut American Apparel t-shirt? I like to walk.
Ralphie, Internet

Dear Ralphie,

I’m glad you wrote. I find that most people are used to Hanes Beefy-T’s, which are loose-fitting, general-purpose garments (you know, like you would buy if you were sponsoring some fund-raising event where you knew none of the people, etc). American Apparel shirts are cut a little more sexy, a little more snug, so order one size up from your regular if unsure as to fit. After a few times through the wash you will find that the 100% cotton American Apparel garment fits you like a soft, figure-flattering old friend.

For examples of these fine T’s, why not visit the Achewood shop?

I've been dating a guy for two years. What's the best way to amicably end a relationship that's that long?
M, Canada

Dear M,

After two years folks are pretty deep into each other’s business, probably having a lot of clothing and music at each other’s places, maybe even some friends in common. However, given the stone cold lack of detail in your letter, I suspect your case might be somewhat different. You just want to drop a sucker who apparently has turned out not to be much of anything to you. How is it that you spent two years going out with someone about whom you speak so mechanically?

Anyhow, there is no “amicable” way to end any relationship. I don’t know what TV show you’ve been watching. I feel weird about all of this, like you're just staring at this response in a dark room that smells like Electrical Engineering textbooks and a yellowed, oily pillow.

I have two bosses at work and they hate each other. They are both good at their jobs but they are always undermining each other's work so nothing ends up getting done. Aside from the stress caused by being caught in a constant war zone, it also seems like a waste that two grown women can't put aside their petty differences and pretend to be civil for a few hours a day in order to achieve a greater good. As much as I try to stay out of it, the fact of the matter is, they are both my superiors and one of them is much, much easier to work for than the other and also very nice, so I usually find myself agreeing with the nice one, if only to myself. What can I do (short of finding another job -- not an option at the moment) to minimize my workday stress?
-- Office Girl

Dear Office Girl,

Man, just be drinkin’ at lunchtime. Who cares about some full-time hamsterwheel bitchfight. It ain’t your problem. Laugh it off and just do your time until you decide that you really do have the option of finding other jobs in life. I hate to say it, but have some dignity.

I am moving. I am currently working stocking shelves at a grocery store. Tomorrow I plan to give a weeks’ notice. I was wondering how to go about this. Should I lie and say I have to go or tell the truth and tell them I just want to go. I am leaning towards just telling the truth but, I am dreading making my last week there uncomfortable. What do you think?
No Name Given, Internet

Dear No Name,

Let me clue you in a bit about the grocery store shelf-stockin’ industry. See now, your boss is lucky if his stockers give him three seconds notice. This ain’t exactly air traffic control here, brother. It is kind of cute in a way that you are all worried about giving notice at some crankhead flunkie job. Just tell your boss that you need like “August 1” to be your last day because you’re moving. He won’t care, it’s not like he loves you and considers you the son he never had or anything. It’ll take him about ten minutes to find some drooling retard to fill your spot.

Don’t expect a gold watch or anything, dude.

Confidential to the guy with explosive diarrhea: I have contacted your email domain administrator and they are going to cancel your email account if you keep it up.

* A Gentle Reminder (“Disclaimer”): This is advice from a cartoon cat, and should not be taken seriously. We are not responsible for anything you do based on what Ray says, or otherwise. Do not commit suicide or otherwise interrupt the lives of others. Continue on with your life as though you had never read this column. Erase your browser history. Not for readers under 18 years of age.