Dear Amy: I’m flying home with my girlfriend over the Thanksgiving holiday to meet my family.
In recent days, as my mother and I have talked on the phone, she has brought up Thanksgiving and the prospect of meeting my girlfriend, saying, “I hope you’re not making a mistake with her.”
For background, I recently left a religious order because I met this young woman and wished to pursue a relationship with her. Mom tried to encourage me to stay in the order.
Today on the phone, she mentioned that a girl I grew up with was visiting my parents and said she wanted to see me. Mom said I’d be visiting for Thanksgiving and invited her to come back and visit while I’m home.
Mind you, this whole trip is so my mother can meet my girlfriend.
What should I do? Should I talk to my mother about her inviting another girl to the house while I’m trying to introduce her and my father to my girlfriend?
— Upset Guy
Dear Upset: Your mother is giving voice to a thought that nearly all parents have about their kids’ partners before they meet them. Her mistake is saying this out loud, because it comes off as distrustful and rude.
However, given the complication of your leaving a religious order to be with your girlfriend, you’ll need to understand that you are giving your parents a lot to handle. Presumably, your mother was never expecting to one day greet and host the woman in your life. You probably thought about leaving the order for some time before making your decision, but your mother needs time to adjust to it.
Right now, your mom has one job, and that is to remain as open as possible during this period, so that she can greet your girlfriend warmly and get to know her. Remind her, “Mom, I need you to stay open-minded and positive. I’m doing great, and I’m very happy.”
In terms of inviting your childhood friend — this invitation might be your mother’s way of throwing a wrench into the proceedings. It could also be her way of indicating that she understands you are no longer committed to the religious order. Remind her, “I’ll be home with ‘Sasha’ and I’m not particularly interested in seeing this other friend while we’re home.” (c) Ask Amy
Lord above, don’t bring the girlfriend home to meet the family. Wow. Bad family. Yeah, I’d devote myself to protecting the girlfriend from this trainwreck of a mother. I think Ask Amy is being very naive with her advice here.
“I hope you’re not making a mistake with her,”? And Ask Amy brushed this off as being the sort of thought we should keep to ourselves. Um, YES. There’s no excuse for the mother to have said it; and when you add in her pressure for the letter writer to get together with someone else (who may be from the same religious order–who knows?), you’ve got a shamelessly toxic mother.
See, this is why no one’s ever thankful on Thanksgiving. Pass the damn turkey.
Dear Amy: I am a 62-year-old woman. I am still attractive and (blessedly) wrinkle-free, due to being on an aggressive slew of hormones, anti-oxidants and telomerase-enhancing drugs. (I’m using all the latest technology).
Because I am (apparently) unattractive to men, no matter what I do, I take solace in the few close but platonic relationships I have with a few men.
During a recent walk on the California beach with my friend “Martin,” he pointed out one beautiful nubile young woman after another, and then described his male reaction to them.
Martin also indicated that I should slim down. (I’m not overweight).
As a middle-aged woman, I am used to being marginalized, but I think that, during the last three years, the problem has become acute. I’m not invisible: I’m reviled and demeaned, both by employers and single men. These days you have to look like a porn model to even get by.
Short of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on plastic surgery, I don’t know what I can do. I feel that something that was optional years ago is now a necessity: a complete body makeover.
I have become extremely depressed about the situation. Were it not for my loving father, who left me with enough money to live on, I would be out on the streets.
I am still in excellent health. But if people (both men and women) feel my looks are “off,” they will say so!
Short of moving to a desert island and waiting for death, what are we supposed to do?
— Wrinkle Free and Upset
Dear Wrinkle Free: You already live on a desert island. You’ve put yourself there, and your obsession with looking youthful in order to attract and hold the male gaze will keep you there.
If men are so awful, then why are you so desperate for one? Why not simply step off of this terrible treadmill, and decide to spend the rest of your life cultivating inner beauty?
Inner beauty comes from your intellect, your character and your interest in the world and in other people. This sort of beauty does not require expensive procedures and products, and it does not fade.
Take some classes or music lessons. Join a book group. Volunteer. Learn to meditate. See a therapist. Find some nice women to hang with. Or move somewhere less shallow.
Here is a passage from the recent obituary of Kathy Kriger, a former diplomat who founded “Rick’s Café” in Casablanca, Morocco, when she was in her late-50s (she died at 72):
“‘If I’m honest, I always thought I would find a man while following my dream. That didn’t happen,’ she said cheerfully. ‘Instead, with Rick looking over my shoulder, I found myself.'”
I hope you find yourself, too.
I like and appreciate Ask Amy’s advice here, but I have a few things to add.
This letter writer mentioned the beach, and she also has shamelessly shallow friends. It’s possible she lives in LA, in which case, this one tiny part of Ask Amy’s advice becomes major:
Or move somewhere less shallow.
Yep. I’ve heard that in LA, if you’re not buff, tanned, toned, swimsuit-ready, and in possession of perfectly coiffed hair, then you’re a nobody. And the thought occurs that if you were born and raised in such an environment, you might come to think it’s the norm for everyone everywhere to have such an attitude.
In fact, that’s the whole premise of the sitcom Hot in Cleveland. Three older women are travelling from LA when they get stuck on a layover in Cleveland. Much to their surprise, they discover that Ohio men still think they’re hot. Not only that, housing is affordable! So they all rent from an older woman (Betty White’s character) and reinvent their lives in Cleveland. I definitely think this letter writer needs to watch the opening episode at the very least.
Speaking of great sitcoms and the tragedy of the appearance-based LA culture, I used to love watching Everybody Loves Raymond. There were two boys on the show who played his twin sons. Sadly, after the show ended and they became adults, one of them killed himself. And the only reason his family gave was that he was unhappy being small. (I guess being a twin and sharing a womb makes you smaller than the average guy?) I read that and was heartbroken. All he had to do was move out of LA! So tragic and horrible.