Welcome to the third installment of “Dear VK,” an advice column for those who like real-world advice. For those of you who have know idea who I am, I’m also known as Venomous Kate… with good reason. I believe in calling a fool a fool, administering the occasional bitch slap from reality, and generally speaking my mind while I have one left. So, with that said, let’s see what the mail box holds this week.
Valentine’s Day was a let down. My boyfriend of 3 months cancelled our date at the last minute because his boss asked him to work late. I felt sorry for him, and since I’d already cooked a romantic dinner for him, I offered to keep it warm if he wanted to come over after he got off work. He said he needed to go home and go to bed since he had an early meeting the next day, and I wound up eating the dinner by myself. Then yesterday I went by his office to deliver the roses and card I’d bought him, and instead of seeming happy to see me, he acted aloof and awkward. I didn’t even get a kiss for my efforts! What gives?
Lonely For Him
When a guy is truly attracted to a woman, his actions don’t really require all this angst-filled analysis you seem to be engaging in. A man on the make will skip sleep, poker games with the guys, sometimes even football for the chance to be with the woman he wants. He won’t cancel at the last minute — or will at least accept a chance to come by later — and he’ll be the one bringing the cards and flowers to you.
This guy doesn’t share your enthusiasm. Move on. And try not to let the next one see the word “Welcome” that’s apparently imprinted on your forehead.
A guy that used to be my sister’s neighbor started his own truck company a while ago. Then it was in the news that an unnamed man got his head chopped off by the bed of a dump truck coming down on it. This being a small town, and nobody having seem him for a while, plus the fact that he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed, led us all to believe that it was him. It turned out not to be him once the victim was identified.
I saw him the last time I was in town and I felt like I should say something but all I could think of was, “hey, what’s up?” What’s the polite thing to say to someone the first time you see them after you heard their head was chopped off by a dump truck?
Confused in California
Chances are this guy already knows people thought he’d lost his head. So try this: “Hey, you’re not dead after all!”
Ever since having a baby last year I’ve felt stuck in a rut. I left work to be a stay-at-home mom, but I didn’t realize that would mean losing all of my former co-workers’ friendships. Now my day revolves around the baby until my husband gets home, then it revolves around him. I don’t want to resent my child, since it was my choice to stay home, but I feel like life is passing me by. Any advice?
Idle in the Slow Lane
The hardest task any parent faces is maintaining a sense of self while continuing to give their best to their family. It is also the most important task, without which you’ll burn out. That’s when things start getting scary for everyone concerned.
You need to realize that friendships with co-workers usually do fade when a person leaves a job, sometimes immediately, sometimes more slowly. Their lives remain centered around a workplace you are no longer part of, and frequently it’s just too much effort to maintain contact with someone not seen every day. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t miss them — just realize what happened and get over it. Then, go find yourself some new friends.
Perhaps you could look into a “Mommy & Me” group in your area or if a group of moms congregates at a nearby park while their kids play. You might also find out if your local library has a story-telling time for kids and take your baby with you. These activities don’t just give you a chance to get out of the house: they’re ready-made opportunities to meet other women whose lives are in the same stage as yours. It might surprise you to find that other moms are just as in need of friendships as you are — you just need to get out there and find them. And remember: adult friendships don’t form as spontaneously as they did when we were kids. You might have to go three or four times in a row so people recognize you; you may need to take the initiative in starting conversations; you might even have to be so bold as to tell one or two that you’re looking to connect with other moms. Give it a try, because social isolation breeds unhappiness.
It might not be a bad idea to ask your husband if he’d be willing to watch the baby one evening a week so you could get some time to yourself. See if there are book clubs meeting at your nearby bookstore. (Border’s often has such groups, so check events near you.) Become a member of your local museum and attend some of their events. Or, if you’re religious, look into Bible study sessions at your church.
The point is: life can only pass you by if you don’t make the effort to grab a handful that you can call your very own. If you’ll make the effort to cultivate new friendships and new interests, the rewards you reap will sustain you through those long days of motherhood.
Note: A couple of readers took exception with my advice to “Tired of Rosie” in Feb. 2’s column.
One email said: No offense, but you blew it with Rosie. If the guy’s wife isn’t interested in sex, chances are he’s either lousy in bed or a selfish pig and she’s sick of putting up and putting out.
And another: Your advice to Tired of Rosie was wrong, wrong, wrong. He married this woman, and he’s entitled to sex as part of the bargain. What is it with women thinking they deserve to be treated like pampered pets without having to actually give back in return?
A third: If Tired of Rosie’s wife isn’t delivering, can you send him my email? My husband hasn’t been interested in sex for almost a year, no matter how hard I’ve tried turning him on. Maybe Rosie and I could help each other out, eh?
So, in response to each, let me say this:
(1) I don’t subscribe to the theory — currently in vogue with women of a certain age — that all men are selfish pigs and deserve whatever misery they get in return. Rosie did not indicate that his wife complains he’s shirking household chores. She complained that sex had become impersonal and mechanical. Hell, he could spring clean the house and that still wouldn’t address the issue, would it?
(2) There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, and there’s no one who is “entitled” to sex. Whether it’s in a marriage or in the throes of pre-marital passion, sex is an act for consenting adults, and that requires two partners who are both ready and willing. A husband exerting his “right” to sex is a husband engaging in what’s known as “marital rape,” in which case I’d advise finding the name and number of a good lawyer and keeping it handy.
(3) Lack of sexual interest — for both men and women — is often a sign of depression. For men, it may also be due to low testosterone levels. If your husband won’t see a doctor, try getting him to take a good men’s multi-vitamin and plan on doing some cooking since research suggests that increased zinc, B-vitamins and certain enzymes can raise testosterone levels. Perhaps there’s truth to that old saw about the stomach being a way to a man’s heart, and maybe to his fly, too!