Bad Advice On Debaucherous Bachelor Parties And Delicate Gun Owners
Welcome to our latest Bad Advice column! Stay tuned every Tuesday for more terrible guidance based on actual letters.
“I am a first-time mom of a toddler. I suffer from (and am being treated for) anxiety issues.
I am having trouble finding the balance on gun safety and awareness in other people’s homes — especially if my daughter will be visiting. I grew up in a household where my father hunted and had guns in the house. However, he stored them safely in a locked cabinet and was the only one with access to the key. He also stored ammunition separately.
Where do I draw the line? Do I ask everyone whose house I’ll be going to whether or not they have guns? What are the appropriate questions? Do I ask where they are stored and who has access? What else should I ask? Or should I mind my own business? I know the questions won’t be appreciated by everyone because it will seem like I am questioning their judgment.”
—From “FIRST-TIME MOM IN NEW JERSEY” via “Dear Abby,” 21 June 2017
Parenting can be such a minefield these days. (No offense to minefields!) On the one hand, you don’t want your child to literally die, but on the other hand, keeping them alive might involve asking impertinent questions about the killing machines many Americans enjoy collecting in their homes. The welfare of our children is important, yes, but so is preserving the delicate feelings of people who stock their domiciles with deadly weapons.
The last thing you want to do is call into question the judgment of someone who is in a position to kill your children with their lethal recreational or professional apparatus, because what if they decide to stop being friends with you at the barest suggestion that you have a tendency to prioritize the actual lives of your offspring over their wish to avoid experiencing mild social discomfort? You never know when someone you might otherwise love to have your kids hang around with will become very angry because you dared ask them whether they literally keep murder-capable technology on hand and within the reach of babies. Better to send your children blithely into their care and hope the tiny, toddling lights of your life make it out alive. The alternative — hurting the feelings of a gun owner by daring to wonder if the thing they own because it kills things could potentially kill the human thing that is your child — is simply too terrible to imagine.
“I recently sent a small check to a friend of mine living in bankruptcy. The explicit ‘strings attached’ to this gift were that he use it for a specific luxury item that has meaning to him and that he would not otherwise get for himself in his current financial straits.
He told me he used the money instead to pay an everyday bill. I considered my gift to be disrespected and told him so. His response to my disappointment was to assail me verbally, saying I must think I’m better than he is, and then to go into a prolonged defense of his misuse of my gift.
I would have felt better if he had simply apologized, and I ended our relationship of more than 40 years. I feel I was played the fool. What do you think?”
—From “Omerta” in New York via “Annie’s Mailbox,” Creators.com, 31 July 2017
I think if you can’t dictate what your bankrupt friends do with small monetary gifts after a 40-year relationship with them, then they have no business remaining in your extremely celestial orbit. By prioritizing an immediate need over your fantasies of philanthropic largesse, your friend put himself at the center of his own financial difficulties instead of deferring to you, the deeply humble puller of the poor man’s sad little purse strings.
At its core, this issue is about respect, and this man failed to perform for you the four decades’ worth of unquestioning deference that you’ve banked up in the credit union of goodwill and camaraderie over the course of your lives together. Ten, 20, 40 years — there’s simply no number of years that two people can spend in mutual appreciation and support that shouldn’t be thrown away without a second thought when one of you fails to purchase a luxury item on command. If anyone here is the snob, it is your former buddy — he apparently thinks he is too good to enjoy his designer shoes and fabergé eggs in the dark, or on the street, or wherever true, respectful friends who don’t pay their bills but instead purchase indulgent consumer goods end up.
“Last fall, before I married, I had a serious emotional meltdown because my husband’s friends (a bunch of wealthy spoiled brats) hired strippers for his bachelor party. I felt his bachelor party overshadowed our wedding. It still kills me to know he had strippers around him, doting on him, etc. Unfortunately, he’s planning to attend another four-day-long Vegas bachelor party for one of the aforementioned morally bankrupt buddies. I’m scared to death! I feel like I am not good enough, like he’ll stare at those strippers and forget about me. So once again, I’m faced with immense and unbearable pain. Do I stick with him and try to work through this? The loneliness I feel has driven me into the arms of another man, who’s been romancing me, but I suppose this is the subject matter for another letter.”
—From “Lost, Unlovable, and Empty” via “Ask E. Jean,” Elle, 26 July 2017
Dear Lost, Unlovable and Empty,
Committing adultery because your spouse engaged in the world’s oldest and dipshittiest marriage ritual is a completely reasonable thing to do; nothing could be a more appropriate response to your husband’s existence in the same room with strippers than actively deceiving him about the mutually monogamous nature of your relationship. How lonely you must feel deliberately breaking your marriage vows because someone threw a party one time; what pain it must bring you to endure the romance of not one but two men due to your husband’s annual proximity to thong underwear. Sweet dearheart — please, when you say you feel “not good enough,” do not despair; your feelings are entirely valid.