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The Axis Of Snivel

I was planning a spa weekend with my girlfriends, and my boyfriend of four months wanted to come. I offered to plan a romantic spa getaway for just us, but he insisted I not go to the trouble; he’d simply join my girlfriends and me. I explained it was an all-girls weekend, and girls talk about different things when guys aren’t around. He just lost it. He said there shouldn't be anything I tell the girls that I couldn't tell him. He accused me of not trusting him, broke down sobbing, and stormed out. He hasn’t returned my calls since. I think he’s being ridiculous, but he’s been fantastic until now, and I don't want to lose him.

--Exfoliated

Wait, is he a man, or a 4-year-old who lost his mommy in the bread aisle? “MOMMEEEE! DONNN’T LEEEEAVE MEEEEE!"

The great thing about not having given birth to him is that you can leave him. And you probably would -- if he hadn’t been “fantastic until now.” Yes, until now, when he refused to accept that a fundamental element of the “girls’ weekend out” is the “girls.” In other words, if you have a penis, a prostate, and a five-o’clock shadow, don’t come.

If only he were just stupid. Stupid people can be taught. Just ask authors making a mint reaching out to them by name: Hey, Moron! Imbecile! Dummy! Want to lose your virginity before you’re too old to get an erection? Check out “Dating For Men With The Brains Of A Philodendron.” Your boyfriend, unfortunately, is purposely stupid -- and unpersuaded by your tutorial on what an all-girls weekend entails: in some small part, going away for a weekend to talk about him. This becomes awkward if he’s right there in a pink robe and a matching “I’m pretty!”-embroidered pink turban, sharing PMS horror stories while plucking your best friend’s eyebrows.

The guy’s at least smart enough to couch his stupidity in the language of love: “You can tell me anything!” -- as if love is cause for issuing somebody an all-access pass to your head. Yes, and “Whither thou goest, I will go!” Perhaps this sounds romantic, especially with all the whither and thithering. Basically, what it proposes is a relationship modeled on a persistent fungal infection: “Hey, baby, I’ll be all over you at all times like an itchy rash!” This isn’t a sign that two people love each other but that one is so much of a missing person that he can’t be left alone, not even for a weekend.

The last thing you need is a guy who can’t live without you. A better idea is one who can, but would rather not. You won’t find a guy like that gathering up his hoop skirts and storming out of the building, sobbing about being excluded from your bikini wax festival. No, he’ll be too busy thanking his lucky stars and planning his night out making man-grunts with the boys.

Ditch the “fantastic except…” logic that women so often use in hopes of hanging onto an ultimately unacceptable man: “He’s fantastic except…well, except for those bodies under the sun porch, and the way he stretches out my bras when he wears them under his business suits.” Or, in your case, he’s “fantastic except…” when you double date with your best girlfriend. You and she excuse yourselves to the ladies room, and he sheepishly pulls out a lipstick and says to the other guy as he’s running off to join you, “I just can’t get comfortable using the dinner table as a vanity.”

Posted by aalkon at April 3, 2006 12:31 AM

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Comments have been moved here, due to an error in which I nearly deleted an entry after I duplicated a post. Sorry about that! -Amy
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You know, Amy, I've given this some thought, and I actually blame the entertainment industry -- particularly popular music -- for a lot of the problems in relationships. Just like daytime television glamorizes sex, popular music glamorizes dysfunctional relationships. Emotional dependent is actually the way to be, and heartbreak is the state we should all aspire to.

Consider some of the themes behind popular music. We have Michael Bolton, for instance, caterwauling How am I supposed to live without you, now that I've been lovin' you for so long? "Romantic," his fans might say. I say "sickening." A good answer to this question might be "the way you did before you met her."

The song describes her as having met someone and she's going off with him. Yet, Bolton describes this two-timing ho as all that I've been living for. Good God, man, get a spine! Salvage some dignity and tell this tramp to go to hell. Wishing her luck and saying good-bye might be better, but either one is preferable to emotional blackmail, which is what this protest boils down to.

How about Toni Braxton, who wants a man who walked out the door and walked out of my life to un-break my heart?

Yet every drag queen worth her salt insisted on performing this godawful song!

If your romantic partner has told you that it's over and walked out on you, the LAST thing you need is for him to come back a few minutes, or even a few days later, and say, "You know what? I was wrong. Let's do this again."

Gary Morris, the original artist of "Wind Beneath My Wings" before Bette Midler took off with it, tells his love I would be nothing without you. Really? What is she? A woman or God, who can capriciously create and recreate you ex nihilo?

The music industry needs fewer performers without a self and more Gloria Gaynors, who recognize that while she went through a point where she kept thinkin' I could never live without you by my side, but came to understand I will survive and told this loser who did me wrong to go on, now! Go! Walk out the door. Just turn around now, cause you're not welcome any more!

I bet this emotional dependent who wrote to you has every Michael Bolton album ever made and listens to the soundtrack to "Les Miserables" every day of his life.

Posted by: Patrick at April 3, 2006 04:46 AM
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There's a book about the kind of love that's actually lovesickness -- Love and Limerence -- by Dorothy Tennov.

I don't blame the media. It's usually issues of self-worth, looking for (not love) but self-worth in all the wrong places.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 3, 2006 07:19 AM
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every breath you take
every step you make
i'll be watching you!

is that the police, phil collins style?
or just the police?

either way it creeps me out

Posted by: g*mart at April 3, 2006 01:36 PM
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There are lot of songs about co-dependent saps because we've all been there before - it's a universal subject.

Posted by: Todd Fletcher at April 3, 2006 04:33 PM
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Praise Bob!

"Look for a partner who COULD live without you, but prefers not to."

That should be right there in like 9th or 10th grade curriculum and drummed home in the manner of "Just Say No".

Not sure if it would work any better than the "anti-drug use" message, but at least we made it real clear so they can't whine later by playing an endless loop of the Sad Songs noted in above comments.

Posted by: SteveHeath at April 3, 2006 06:35 PM
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g*mart writes

every breath you take
every step you make
i'll be watching you!

is that the police, phil collins style?
or just the police?

either way it creeps me out

That's The Police. And if you think that's creepy, check out these lyrics...

I put into Nashville, Tennessee,
But you wouldn't even come around to see me.

Is it just me, or shouldn't that be telling him something?

And since your headin' up to Carolina, You know I'm gonna be right there behind you

Now, this should be telling us something about him...like he needs a restraining order on him! I mean, how romantic. He's stalking her.

And as if that weren't creepy enough, the song's title is "Steal My Kisses," since the chorus is simply "Always have to steal my kisses from you."

Ugh! Creepy! Would you want to be with someone who kept "stealing kisses"? Ewww. Get off me, you perv!

Posted by: Patrick at April 3, 2006 09:42 PM
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Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 5, 2006 3:37 AM

Urk! It's "Whither"! Flog your assistant immediately!

Posted by: Radwaste at April 5, 2006 2:59 PM

The blame is entirely mine. Sigh.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 5, 2006 6:37 PM

There was a time when as infants we literally could not live without our mothers'love, then we became defiant in our demand for individuality and independance. I read that we retain some elements of these extremes as we go through waves of very dependent and very independant cycles. If we find someone who has similar cycles it is harmony if not, out comes the restraining order.

Posted by: chicknlady at April 6, 2006 2:13 AM

Amy, right on advice :-) And what the hell with this guy? My man's eyes would be rolling with terror if I asked him to go with me to spa day with the girls. He'd be wondering if he could worm out of it without pissing me off, and then thinking that maybe pissing me off would be preferable to girl talk and body torture (poor guys - no pain tolerance for beautification). Seriously, this guy is unbalanced if he even wants to go, just as I don't go play paintball with my man. Fun, sure it is. But it's also his guy time. If he's this whacked out, she needs to steer clear. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Posted by: Anne at April 6, 2006 8:42 AM

I thought maybe he wanted to break up, but didn't have the backbone, so by acting like a total whack-job, he could convince her to do it for him.

Posted by: Allison at April 6, 2006 10:09 AM

I think this guy went over the top, storming out and refusing to return phone calls. Heaving all that aside however, doesn't he represent the female ideal of a guy who's in touch with his feelings? I often hear women lament how they want to know what their guy is feeling. Yet the supportive spa guy (over)delivers on feelings, and everyone wants to run him out of this woman's life. What do women want from men, emotionally??

Patrick - I have the Les Miserables soundtrack, and while I don't listen to it every day, I always weep during "Bring Him Home." Should I exile myself from women for that? I don't think so!

Posted by: Richie C at April 7, 2006 1:49 PM

Richie writes:

Patrick - I have the Les Miserables soundtrack, and while I don't listen to it every day, I always weep during "Bring Him Home." Should I exile myself from women for that? I don't think so!

Never said you should. I was thinking more of the "gooeyer" numbers. The Cosette/Eponine/Marius triangle gets a little heave-alicious in places.

Amy, I don't specifically blame the media for the trend of emotional dependency. I was blaming the entertainment industry for glamorizing it, making it something beautiful and romantic. Some artist could make a sculpture out of dog droppings, but it's still shit.

By the same token, Michael Bolton can write a song asking "How am I supposed to live without you, now that I've been loving you so long?" and further describe her as "all that I've been living for." The tune might be engaging, the language might be poetic, but the sentiment is still nothing more than pitiful emotional dependency.

Get a self. Don't write music revelling in the fact that you're a disgusting weakling.

Posted by: Patrick at April 9, 2006 7:23 AM

I'm with Amy. Leave it. Or rather, him. If a man is subject to "sobbing" just because he's not allowed on a girls night/day/trip out, it's rather disturbing. Yes, he is able to display a certain deepness for allowing this emotion to surface so freely. However, because not allowing him to go reduces him to tears, it is rather pathetic. I go for the vote that something else is bothering him and he just doesn't have the balls to say it. So he results to estrogen-laced methods.

Posted by: Nicole at April 11, 2006 12:35 PM

By the same token, Michael Bolton can write a
song asking "How am I supposed to live without you, now that I've been loving you so long?" and further describe her as "all that I've been living for." The tune might be engaging, the language might be poetic, but the sentiment is still nothing more than pitiful emotional dependency.
(so wrote Patrick...)

One point about this (otherwise, I agree)--the original writer of this song was the late Laura Brannigan; Bolton hasn't managed to come up with anything original ever that I'm aware of. (Although he actually managed a cover of Dobie Gray's hit "Drift Away" that was decent; you have to work hard to fuck that song up, truthfully.)

For myself, I'd like to say this--my wife and I are each other's best friend, but in no way does she regard me as "one of the girls." No matter that PMS stories don't skeeve me out beyond belief; I'm just as happy to do things by myself (clean stuff!) since I don't really think of myself as "one of the guys," either. Sports don't interest me, and "goin' shootin'" is also not one of my ideal ways to spend an afternoon. But I certainly don't need to do girly things with my wife and her friends; that Exfoliated's boyfriend does just strikes me as wrong. So I agree with Amy here.

Posted by: Bill at April 14, 2006 8:52 PM

OK, you want creepy. My roommate. I am bailing ship to save my life and wallet.

He continually sends me odd emails, of sentiments he knows I do not return.

Here is a snippet:

"i want us to be like the parents in this home"

This person has talked and yelled at my bedroom door for hours, because I was in a bad mood and did not want to give him a hug. I actually snuck out the window to come back a few hours later to find him still endlessly talking for the sake of hearing his own voice still at the door directed at me. I am constantly refuse hugs, because the guy went from normal to creepy after the first 2 weeks of my renting there.

He would tell me all of his friends hated me, then tell me that I am hearing things and that his friends like me. Honestly, I really don't give a damn about his friends who are losers and drama queens.

I have left the house angry that he stole money from my change container, then asked me to buy him a pack of smokes, after I just walked in the house with a week of groceries. What does he do? He calls my phone 20 times and leaves 20 messages! Ranging from telling me I am nuts, to I'm sorry, I don't know why your mad at me, to I love you, you are my sister.

Freak! Can't wait until my new place is ready. Phone number changed. And my whereabouts unknown. So much for renting a room.

Ahhhh! Much better. Thank you for letting me get that off my chest.

Posted by: Butterlilly at September 8, 2006 1:32 PM

This guy sounds like a Cling-on. I once had a boyfriend like this and when some guy wants to hang with you, even when you need your friend time or alone time, it's time to either:

a. Put a stop to it because it's not healthy. Chick time is CHICK TIME. Period.

b. Realize that if you need this sort of attention from a guy, you'd better kiss most of your friends and family goodbye because you'll be so busy spending time with him that you'll never see them again.

As an independent woman, I constantly warn my friends about Cling-ons when they describe their freaky dates. The guy that calls three times a day to ask what you are doing is a perfect example. Or the guy who tells you after 3 dates that he loves you and doesn't deserve a girlfriend like you. All are HUGE RED FLAGS to get the hell out of Dodge.

Posted by: Yonsei at November 30, 2006 12:23 PM

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