Bad Advice On Fighting Over Politics And Play-Acting Gender Roles

By The Bad Advisor

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Welcome to our latest Bad Advice column! Stay tuned every Tuesday for more terrible guidance based on actual letters.
“We host an annual reunion for my husband’s family. His brother, an avid runner, has a voracious appetite. When he comes, he finishes almost everything we put out. Once, he ate five servings of salmon for lunch! My husband prefers that we simply count him as three people when we prepare food for the party. I would rather speak to him. Is it proper to comment on his intake?”
— From “Anonymous” via Social Q’s, New York Times, 3 August 2017

Dear Anonymous,

There can be no greater insult than the voracious consumption of one’s cuisinical hospitality. It is not only proper to evaluate and comment on the food intake of other humans, it is imperative that you do so, lest other humans continue to consume an amount of food that you, the world’s grand arbiter of caloric intake, deem inappropriate. You and you alone are the objective judge of the correct amount of food other people should eat, and only a thorough dressing-down about eating habits can save people like your brother-in-law from the cruel fate that otherwise awaits them: gastronomic satiation on their own terms, right in front of your deeply offended personal interpretation of how other people’s bodies work.

Adults in particular long for their relationship to food to be analyzed and commented upon by others, and often receive criticism about said relationship with grace and aplomb. Speaking to this man about his disgusting appreciation for your cooking will undoubtedly result in this man enthusiastically consuming less — possibly none — of your food, bringing joy and goodwill to the entire family.

“My boyfriend and I have a great relationship. From the get-go, we have had open communication and my girlfriends have advised me to ‘make your own relationship rules,’ and we do.
This leads into some age-old issues. He pays for most of our dates, but sometimes I take him out. I feel that it is only fair for me to show him my appreciation. I also open my own car door and sometimes hold the door for him when walking into a building. I find nothing wrong with any of this.
My parents feel that he should be opening all car and building doors for me, as well as paying for any and all meals and activities.
They say this shows that he wants to take care of me and that he puts me first. They say I should expect this of him.
I feel that how we handle paying for dates is our choice. What is wrong with holding my own door, or holding a door for him? We are equals in this relationship.
It surprises me that my parents are so adamant about this. My mom has raised her daughters to be strong and independent, but now she is expecting me to be ‘meek’ and to expect a man to take care of trivial tasks.
We will be adhering to these ‘rules’ when around my parents, to not make waves.
Do you think this is the right thing to do?”
—From “Happy” via “Ask Amy,” Washington Post, 1 August 2017

Dear Happy,

Putting on a protracted and potentially lifelong bit of play-acting based on arbitrarily designated socioculturally enforced gender roles in front of your parents is a reasonable and affirmatively agent way to confirm your independence in your relationship and establish you and your partner’s mutual roles as equals. Nothing will go wrong and this will cause you no stress whatsoever. Great idea!

“Most everyone appears to be fighting over politics these days, and there’s even in-fighting within each side. Will it ever stop?”
—From “BAFFLED IN THE EAST” via “Dear Abby,” 28 July 2017

Dear Baffled,

Quibbles large and small over various political issues are a new and confusing phenomenon, unique to the current political climate. There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that, historically speaking, humans have waged elaborate and often murderous campaigns in order to assert their political and social dominance over others. What uncertain times we inhabit! Would that the European colonizers of the American continent (so named, happily and without objection from the native peoples) could time travel to this day and age to teach us their high-spirited tactics of genocidal politesse.

Further amazement, of course, results from the inexplicable disagreements that people have with others who agree with them on some things. Everyone who agrees on one thing ought, by default, to agree with everyone else on the other thing, which is why there was no such thing as intra-religious or intra-party strife until a few months ago. Mayhap a 16th century Pope could lend his wisdom on the perpetuation of unquestioned unity between mutually self-ascribed members of a group of believers! But good news: Humanity’s entirely pacific ancestors shall soon rise from their bucolic graves to teach us some manners, resulting in a return to the amenable days of yore, before people started getting all uppity about being treated like shit.

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