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Malice In Wonderland
I just posted another Advice Goddess column. A woman wrote me. She'd gotten angry with her fiancé, and said, “No wonder your wife divorced you and your daughter doesn’t speak to you!” And lo and behold, the guy was wise enough to dump her. She's all queasy now about being dumped (and not terribly concerned for his well-being), and wants to know, "Is a man really worth this? My reply:

There are times in a man’s life when he comes to understand what “I love you” really means; in this case, “I’d like to tear out your liver with my bare hands, cut it up into hors d’oeuvre-sized pieces, and feed it back to you on Ritz crackers.”

Okay, sure, you apologized -- which is the equivalent of saying, “I mean, ‘I’d like to tear out your liver, etcetera, etcetera…Snookums.’” The guy trusted you enough to show you all the little broken pieces in him, and you rewarded him by gathering them up, wrapping them around a bat, and playing piñata with his ego. Surprise, surprise, that didn’t go over too well. And it seems the cards and flowers aren’t doing the job to clear up how you really feel. Or…maybe they actually are: “So sorry I showed you my true self. Won’t happen again!”

People who care about each other do have disagreements -- just not to the point where somebody has to come by and clean up what’s left of one or both of them with a dustpan, a damp rag, and a squeegee. When you love somebody, you don’t forget it. Even in the heat of the moment. Even when you know, down to your DNA, that you’re right and they’re wrong. That’s because love, in the words of sci-fi writer Robert Heinlein, is “the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” And no, the epilogue to that isn’t “except when I’m not getting my way, in which case I can revert to all the handy lessons I learned at the Joseph Stalin school of seduction.”

“Is a man really worth this?” you ask -- suddenly mindful of how inconvenient it can be when your party manners plummet like the shoulder strap of Tara Reid’s dress, and your boyfriend decides eliminating toxic anger from his life is more prudent than trying to manage it. Let’s just say your ability for self-non-examination is profound. This isn’t about him or getting him back -- although that might be a fringe benefit of exploring how feeling powerless leads to power plays, and how being too insecure to calmly assert yourself can turn you into the kind of person who eventually goes after a mosquito with a shoulder-fired missile. Try to see this as an opportunity. Cut the card and flower shower, forget trying to maintain the appearance of love, and focus on getting yourself to the place where you consistently show the real deal. At that point, getting caught up in the “heat of the moment” should have you ransacking the nightstand for a tube of Astroglide instead of running out to the garage for a 55-gallon drum of napalm.


Posted by aalkon at July 18, 2007 4:50 AM

Comments

Hey, she is what she is. She may be gussying up the context, but it sounds like her dream guy is just too sensitive for her. If a certain hot-tempered ex of mine had thrown me such a softball it would've clearly been foreplay.

Posted by: Paul Hrissikopoulos at July 18, 2007 7:56 AM

Paul, you need track shoes with rockets on the bottom of them.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 18, 2007 11:14 AM

TO: Amy Alkon
RE: Can I Get an "Amen!"

"...your boyfriend decides eliminating toxic anger from his life is more prudent than trying to manage it." -- Amy Alkon

One adage about this sort of think I favor is written up Proverbs....

"It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman." -- Pr 21:19

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Never lay down with a woman who has more problems than you.]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 18, 2007 11:18 AM

Je ne regrette rien.

Posted by: Paul Hrissikopoulos at July 18, 2007 11:33 AM

Don't worry; I carry enough remorse for ten men.

Posted by: Crid at July 18, 2007 11:47 AM

TO: [Kid] Crid
RE: Hmmmm

"Don't worry; I carry enough remorse for ten men." -- [Kid] Crid

Sounds like a 'personal problem'.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Need help? Call Counselor Troi at 900-NCC-1701. Ask about her 'special services' rates.]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 18, 2007 12:35 PM

TO: Amy Alkon, et al.
RE: The REAL Deal

"Cut the card and flower shower, forget trying to maintain the appearance of love, and focus on getting yourself to the place where you consistently show the real deal." -- Amy Alkon

There is such a place. It's where one cares more about someone else than they care about themselves.

The challenge is in finding someone who feels EXACTLY the same way about YOU. Then the reciprocity becomes phenominal.


RE: I Feel....

"At that point, getting caught up in the “heat of the moment” should have you ransacking the nightstand for a tube of Astroglide..." -- Amy Alkon

....really sorry for anyone who needs that sort of stuff.


"...instead of running out to the garage for a 55-gallon drum of napalm." -- Amy Alkon

And I feel even MORE sorry for this person. Not to forget whom they intend to use it on.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Words have meaning.
When we speak we set them free.
So you watch out;
What you say to me. -- Newsboys]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 18, 2007 12:43 PM

Mr. Crid, are you much of a Kieslowski fan?

Posted by: Paul Hrissikopoulos at July 18, 2007 1:25 PM

To: Chuck(le)
RE: Astroglide

Don't feel sorry for my post-menpausal dry self, and certainly don't feel sorry for my satisfied husband, who gets plenty of my lovin'. A little bit of lube goes a long way;-)
Sherry

Posted by: adoringfan at July 18, 2007 1:58 PM

Never saw any of them. Do you have a favorite?

(No partial credit for being born in a polish neighborhood outside Chicago, right?)

Posted by: Crid at July 18, 2007 1:58 PM

Kudos for an excellent column, Amy. In your other blog space reserved for this column, you mention that there are some who protest that "it only happened once..."

I was curious as to whether or not you will reply to this trend of thought in a future column.

Like I said in your other column, "just once" is not an excuse. It's all it took for her to reveal what kind of person she is: vicious, cruel and snide.

It wasn't as if she called him a "bonehead" or made a rude face at him. It was a calculated effort to take what was his most sensitive area, probably fraught with pain -- a wife who divorced him and a daughter who won't even speak to him -- and use it as a weapon.

There are reasons that people share the most painful and relevant aspects of their lives, it isn't so their partners can lock and load and have the AK-47 at the ready, contrary to what your letter writer apparently believes.

Oh, well. If it's any consolation to him, it sounds like she's paying for what she said, with interest.

Posted by: Patrick at July 18, 2007 2:53 PM

I'll send you one.

Posted by: Paul Hrissikopoulos at July 18, 2007 3:04 PM

Aw, just gimme a title.

("Senator" would fit nicely. Har!)

Posted by: Crid at July 18, 2007 4:52 PM

Alright, then: Red.

Posted by: Paul Hrissikopoulos at July 18, 2007 7:32 PM

Blue was my favorite.

Posted by: Joe at July 18, 2007 8:28 PM

> Blue was my favorite.

Because of the swimming pool scene, right? I vote for Red.

Posted by: Marie at July 18, 2007 11:55 PM

OK, but maybe we ought to hear some more about the swimming pool scene.

Posted by: Crid at July 19, 2007 12:50 AM

It's more of a woman-trying-to-forget-her-dead-husband-and-child-while-in-the-swimming-pool scene, so it may be less exciting than it sounds. Although I did invent a wonderful drinking game for Red: every time Irene Jacob gets her hair wet, you have to do a shot of pear brandy. You'll get more hammered than you think.

Posted by: Paul Hrissikopoulos at July 19, 2007 8:01 AM

TO: adoringfan
RE: Good On You

My feelings are not changed by your report. Nor should they be.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Poverty consists in feeling poor. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 19, 2007 8:39 AM

In your other blog space reserved for this column, you mention that there are some who protest that "it only happened once..." I was curious as to whether or not you will reply to this trend of thought in a future column.

Probably not...thinking about their rationalizing of it makes me tired. And right now, I'm tired enough of hate mail, sans good statistics, from angry vegetarians.

My favorite was from some nutwad who accused me of "harrassing" her. Why? Because when she emailed me, I responded. Then she wrote back, again, with no support for her claims, and I wrote back to her.

Maybe it's the lack of meat addling her brain but, guess what: If you don't want an e-mail...don't e-mail somebody to begin with!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 19, 2007 9:43 PM

> It's more of a woman-trying-to-forget-her-dead-husband-and-child-while-in-the-swimming-pool scene, so it may be less exciting than it sounds.

Well, yeah, that's true. It's a metaphor for isolation, which is the central theme of Blue. But translated for Crid: It's this image of Juliette Binoche diving into the blue water and swimming her laps that has been known to ... oh, never mind.

Paul: if your drinking game works with tequila, count me in.

Posted by: Marie at July 20, 2007 12:37 AM

Chucko, what's up with the quote generator? And the annoying memo format? How about this one: "Foolish consistencies are the hobgoblins of little minds." Also by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Or my favorite: "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." Groucho Marx.

Posted by: Marie at July 20, 2007 12:40 AM

> You'll get more hammered
> than you think.

Shee-it... who do you think yer talkin' to?

> It's this image of
> Juliette Binoche

Some people say there's a reason you never see Juliette Binoche, Julia Ormond and Kristin Scott-Thomas all in the same room.

> what's up with the
> quote generator

Coming up later this week: You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink! Also, a stitch in time saves nine!

He was a soldier, so we know he'll breath new life into the chestnuts.

Posted by: Crid at July 20, 2007 2:18 AM

Crid, rare form.

The Binoche/Ormond/Scott-Thomas thing, and especially, the Groucho quote.

The chestnuts should be retired.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 20, 2007 3:13 AM

Oh, what doesn't work with tequila? But then you have to take a penalty shot every time somebody mentions the weather.

Posted by: Paul Hrissikopoulos at July 20, 2007 9:05 PM

> rare form.

I'm forgiven for implying that chestnuts can breathe?

After years of being coy, it's time to go public: I am LA Blogdom's champion mixer of metaphors. There are no contenders.

Wannabes from the hinterland needfully inquire: "But how is it done?"

Here are the secrets: Bitterness, solipsism, and an ADHD-style impatience with long-form text.

An occasional serving of alcoholic refreshment may also be helpful.

Also, throw away your television set. You should do that anyway.

Posted by: Crid at July 21, 2007 3:11 AM

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