September 21, 2004

Taking a Drive Up Lovers' Lane

Today's Musical Selection: "Heart and Soul" by T'Pau

Hey there, everybody! It's Tuesday, and that must mean it's time for the couple that is to romantic advice what Bonnie and Clyde were to bank robbery, Uncle Millie and Aunt Beatrice. Today's column was filed from Twin Falls, Idaho, believe it or not. Also, Uncle Millie has asked me to inform all of you that he has established a second e-mail address for women wishing to file paternity suits. I asked him to do this, since all the claims were overflowing my mailbox. Therefore, all women with paternity claims, please e-mail With that administrative business out of the way, I turn things over to Uncle Millie and Aunt Beatrice. Take it away!

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It Hurts to Be In Love, At Least When The One You Love's Husband Catches Up With You, by Uncle Millie and Aunt Beatrice

UM: Hello, lads! And greetings from beautiful Idaho!

AB: Hi, everybody. Uncle Millie is driving my batty, which is probably no surprise. See, we decided to get away from it all for awhile, and we selected our next destination at random. Unfortunately, when we stuck a pin in the map, it landed on Idaho. Nothing against this beautiful state, but ever sinced Uncle Millie realized that it's the state where the potatoes come from...

UM: You've got the real thing, baby, and not an imi-tater!

AB:... he's been non-stop with the potato puns.

UM: My favorite writer is Spuds Terkel!

AB: Really bad potato puns.

UM: I don't like that one. It won't take its eyes off me. Haw haw!

AB: You see my dilemma. Unfortunately, I've decided like I'm not ready to do time for the murder rap. At least not yet. So I've decided to try reading a fresh batch of letters, in the hopes that his bad relationship advice will be easier to listen to than the puns. So shall we read our first letter, Uncle Millie?

UM: Sure thing, my little French fry.

AB: Stop it.

UM: All right, all right.

Dear Uncle Millie and Aunt Beatrice,

I've been married for 8 years. My wife "Megan" and I have two children, ages 7 and 5. Before we were married, my wife worked, but she quit her job when our first child was born. At the time, we'd agreed that she was going to be a housewife, while I would be the family breadwinner. Now that the children are in school, she's changed her mind and decided she wants to go back into the working world. I feel like she's reneging on our agreement. How should I deal with this?

Peter in Escondido

AB: Hi, Peter. I can understand why you're feeling tricked. You thought you had an agreement, and suddenly she's decided it's no good any more. But I think there's no harm in letting her go back into the workforce. With both kids in school, they're taken care of for most of the day, and if she works part-time or if you find a good after-school program, it's not as though your kids will be sitting around for hours alone. She's probably decided that the housewife life wasn't for her -- raising two young children can do that to you -- and she's not looking forward to having an empty house most of the day. I'd say that, as long as you make arrangements for the time between when the kids get off school and when one of you gets home, I'd say let her do it.

UM: I disagree, lad. Call me old-fashioned, but I've always believed that a woman should "honor and obey" her husband, as they say in the vows.

AB: I'll call you old-fashioned. In fact, I'll call you a Neanderthal. Should he club her and drag her back by her hair if she tries to escape into the workforce?

UM: Don't be melodramatic, my dear. Your wife made an agreement with you, and now she wants to go back on it? Sounds pretty shady to me. What else might she be lying to you about?

AB: Lying? She wasn't-

UM: When she says she isn't sleeping with other men, who's to say she isn't going to "change her mind" about that?

AB: You're a fine one to lecture about fidelity.

UM: I think you need to confront her about this, and tell her you aren't going to deal with any more of this untruthfulness.

AB: Oh, brother.

UM: Lay down the law. You're the man of the house, after all.

AB: Should he have her flogged for her insolence, too?

UM: You're making light of this.

AB: Really?

UM: But it's a serious issue, lad.

AB: Tell you what, Peter. If you follow Uncle Millie's advice, I'll bet the problem will go away. As will that pesky, lying wife.

UM: Now you're coming around.

Dear Uncle Millie and Aunt Beatrice,

I'm 20, and I'm having a problem with my best friend "Rod." Rod and I have always been tight, but lately I've noticed a pattern. I start going out with a girl, we go along fine for a while, but after a while she dumps me and winds up not long after with Rod. Rod swears it's a coincidence, but I have a hard time believing him, since it's happened with three of my last four girlfriends. How should I deal with this situation?

Horace in Clifton

AB: Hi, Horace. Rod doesn't sound like much of a friend to me. The kind of friend you'd be better off without. Having it happen once would be unfortunate. Three times is a pattern. I think you'd be well served to end your "friendship" with Rod.

UM: My beloved is right. But she doesn't go far enough.

AB: What? How is that possible? I said he shouldn't keep Rod as a friend. How much farther can you go?

UM: Well, lad, when a man makes a habit of bird-dogging his friends, he's no man at all. And a fellow like that shouldn't be kept around on this earth.

AB: Wait. What do you-

UM: In the old country, this was the sort of situation that called for a duel. But a duel is supposed to be a contest between men of honor, and your "friend" clearly doesn't know the meaning of the word. Therefore, I suggest just killing him.

AB: Millie, you've given bad advice before, but this is possibly-

UM: It would likely give you the most satisfaction to do it yourself, but it's safer all around to hire a professional. Most decent-sized cities have a few such fellows around, if you know where to look.

AB: Stop. Just stop. Millie, I can't believe you. How much have you had to drink?

UM: A little bit. I was showing some nice local residents how to turn their potato crop into something useful, namely vodka. And we were sampling some of the results of our work.

AB: How much sampling went on?

UM: On the advice of my attorney, I decline to answer that, Your Honor.

Dear Uncle Millie and Aunt Beatrice,

Why is it so hard to find the right person? I'm 27, and it's always the same thing: every woman I meet turns out to be crazy or clingy or not into marriage or something. All I'm looking for is a nice normal woman with a decent sense of humor who isn't afraid of a lifelong commitment. I'm a reasonably good-looking guy, I'm smart and funny and kind to animals and small children. Why can't I do better?

Morton in Grand Rapids

AB: Hi, Morton. I know it seems like it's difficult, but it's just a matter of time. All of us have to deal with relationships that don't work out and people that are a bad fit for us. Keep your chin up and you'll find someone! If you really are finding nothing but bad relationships, though, especially if they tend to follow the same patterns, you might wonder a bit about what keeps attracting you to these women. Other than that, though, I'd say just be patient and the right woman will come along in time.

UM: Hello, lad. You know, you're the reason I got into the advice-giving business. Not you personally, of course, but lads like you. I've noticed a lot of you out there, good-hearted lads who do everything right and just can't seem to find that special someone. The romantic landscape is awfully confusing these days, and sometimes it seems like everyone's going around in circles, chasing and chasing and never reaching their goals. It's those lads, ones like you, that I most want to help.

AB: That's beautiful, Millie. Please don't spoil it by being you.

UM: Where you're going astray, lad, is in setting the goal of a "lifetime commitment."

AB: Here we go.

UM: A lot of lads like yourself shoot themselves in the foot by insisting on this idea that they should be looking for that one woman who's going to be with you until you both die in a nursing home in between shuffleboard games at age 95. In fact, lad, you'd be doing yourself a great many favors if you kept your focus more on the short term. Rather than setting your goal as lifelong marriage, why not aim a little lower? For instance, a month of good sex. Or a night of really, really great sex.

AB: I'd say I don't believe it, but this is you we're talking about.

UM: Focusing on marriage and lifetime happiness is the kind of things that leads to alimony payments. Start treating your women like the Lone Ranger treated pistols: fire 'em until they're empty, then throw 'em at the bad guy.

AB: You've been sampling the potato vodka again, haven't you?

UM: Well, perhaps.

AB: You know what? I liked it better when you were doing the potato puns.

UM: Let's dance, my love. Do you know the Mash-

AB: On second thought, I'm not so sure. Maybe we'd better go gentle into that good night. See you in two weeks, everyone.

UM: Call me Chip from now on, lads. Happy hunting!

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I'm not sure what to make of that column. I think I'm going to retire with my confusion. See you tomorrow!

Posted by Fred at September 21, 2004 05:08 PM
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