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With This Nose-Ring...
In the comments on my Advice Goddess column, The Burden Of Roof, about the guy who didn't want to move in with his girlfriend, commenter Monica writes about women on the warpath to marriage:

Women can be outrageously competitive about this sort of thing. Have you ever visited www.truebrideconfessions.com? Too many women confessing that they feel superior about getting married before their friends or family, because it's some kind of contest, and the one with the wedding ring/shared apartment/first kid wins. I have a friend who decided to get married a month before I did so she could "beat" me. I'm divorced now, and she probably feels good about herself for being married and having a baby, but I'm just thinking, "Better her than me."

Truebrideconfessions, huh? Let's take a peek. A selection of some of the comments there:

I am the maid of honor in my BFF's wedding this weekend. I gave her fiance the last blowjob I will ever give him today. We are ending our almost year-long affair mutually. She is the lucky one.

Today it's been a year since he lied to me. He said all those things he wanted from me and dreamed about for us. I guess I know beyond a doubt now that he didn't mean them ... I just wish I knew how much longer I'm going to spend wondering why the fuck he felt the need to say it in the first place. I didn't ask to have my heart stomped on. I just wanted to love him.

I feel like I lost who I am when we got married. I moved for you, I got a job I don't like for you, and I am unhappy.

i feel bad saying this, but sometimes i look at different women on the bus or in a public place and wonder how they're engaged and i'm not!

It simply breaks my heart that I can't marry my girl. The only think that I hate about being gay is living in a country that hates me.

I don't want a strapless wedding dress.

I'm breaking up with my fiance tonight.

I'm getting married in a little over four months, and I'm not excited yet. I think he's marrying me because I badgered him about it a year ago, and I don't think I can be a good wife like he wants. How are we ever going to pay off all our debt and surive a 350-mile move for his new job? I don't think I can do this.

I love my fiancee with all my heart. He's my best friend. But deep down I think that's all we're meant to be: best friends.

I got married in June and our friends got married in July. I love knowing that our wedding was so much better than theirs! They even went so far as to copy a bunch of things from our wedding, but that just made them look pathetic.

The truebrideconfessions site went out late last night when I posted this, but here's a cached version just in case it's out for good.

Wait...there's more -- truemomconfessions (and dad, green, and office, too):

Why doesn't this kid ever poop when her daddy is home? I feel like a human laxative and he's the human constipater.

It's been 20 years, and we've been through a lot of stuff -- overdoses, breakups, two weddings, two kids, baby surgery, thefts, death, affairs, depression, firings, financial problems, alcoholism, nonexistent sex, opposite shifts ... I'm starting to think we should just stick it out forever.

We've both been pretty stressed out and busy lately, so we haven't had sex for awhile. I finally feel a little horny (and I know he wouldn't turn me down), and I got my effing period! Who knew having kids would lead to so much less sex...

I stare at other women's boobs.
I'm straight, but they mesmerize me.

i hate talking dirty!

My inlaw used the word "Jew" as a slur. I'm B'nai Noach. I will never forget it... and I will do what I can to minimize her impact on my children's lives.

I wish I could stop being so damn insecure. The thing is though....I just love my husband so much. I am terrified of losing him. I feel like I will never ever be good enough for him. He says he loves me all the time, he says he thinks I am sexy....really I don't have any reason to believe that he doesn't love me.....but I still believe he doesn't so much of the time. It is hard living my life being afraid.

DH made me call him "Daddy" during sex the other night......HOTTEST SEX EVER! We've had sex every 4 hours since then.....WTH???

I had an ex who liked to call me mommy during sex, I never let him do it it freaked me out. Thats why he's an ex

If you want to know what it's like doing my job...well, this is a microcosm of it.

Posted by aalkon at October 26, 2007 11:34 AM

Comments

"If you want to know what it's like doing my job...well, this is a microcosm of it."

Amy Alkon: untangler of various relationship-related conundrums.

Actually makes me wish I'd stuck it out and become a therapist (didn't have the patience to stay in school past bachelors...wanted to make $ NOW) instead of a computer geek.

Posted by: Jamie at October 26, 2007 6:39 AM

One of my co-workers has two gems applicable to this, from two different directions:

"If your kid has a role model and it's not you, there's something wrong at your house."

"There is money to be made in confusion."

So some people "get it", and for others there are problems and problem solvers, one of which is called "Amy".

There is bad news and there are stupid people and situations everywhere, but obsessing about them, even when it's your job, is easily offset by noticing we have artists literally everywhere who do difficult and fantastic things because they find it fun.

Posted by: Radwaste at October 26, 2007 6:40 AM

Posted by: Crid at October 26, 2007 6:52 AM

"If you want to know what it's like doing my job...well, this is a microcosm of it."

I wondered whether you got letters from any Jerry Springer worthy questioners. Most of the letters you answer seem to be from somewhat reasonable, albeit misguided and confused, individuals. If these quotes are representative of what you might get, I guess you get letters from lots of lost causes too.

Posted by: moreta at October 26, 2007 7:17 AM

You missed this one:

"I will always love my exfiance. He was my high school sweet heart, and now, he's just a heroin addicted loser.
But, I think if he ever asked for me back, I'd have to think about it for a while before convincing myself that I couldn't do it again... and the worst part is, I'm engaged again to a straight laced sweet guy who I love and loves me, but I would seriously consider leaving him for my junkie ex. "

....my brain hurts....

Posted by: cinnamongti18 at October 26, 2007 7:33 AM

"I am the maid of honor in my BFF's wedding this weekend. I gave her fiance the last blowjob I will ever give him today. We are ending our almost year-long affair mutually. She is the lucky one."

With friends like these, who needs an alibi for double homicide?

Posted by: Gog_Magog_Carpet_Reclaimers at October 26, 2007 7:43 AM

I only answer two letters a week in my column, but I answer many, many letters that will never make it in. I try to answer every e-mail I get, although it's more time-consuming for me to answer printed mail, and I mainly only answer those seriously in need.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 26, 2007 8:09 AM

One of my wife's oldest friends just ran away from life in America to get married to a man half her age in Egypt, whom she has never met or even seen a picture of! His reason: hopeful American citizenship. Her reason: she wants an adventure before she soon turns 50...

Posted by: eric at October 26, 2007 8:18 AM

Why doesn't this kid ever poop when her daddy is home? I feel like a human laxative and he's the human constipater.

That one is funny. Good imagery.

Posted by: jerry at October 26, 2007 8:53 AM

A woman going to Egypt? I'm all for adventuring, but I think it's wise to consider whether your adventure might turn out to be one of the "Midnight Express" variety.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 26, 2007 9:04 AM

"but I answer many, many letters that will never make it in. I try to answer every e-mail I get"

Amy, do you consider this a time-investment in your business/goodwill? Or are you collecting material for a book (the Advice Goddess - Directors Cut)? Or can you genuinely NOT avoid doling out advice when solicited?

Just curious as to how your entrepreneurial spirit reconciles with your pro bono services.

Posted by: snakeman99 at October 26, 2007 10:53 AM

Critical thinking is a hobby of mine, and I enjoy problem-solving, and I find it satisfying to help people. Giving advice started out as something I did just for fun, with two friends, on a street corner in Soho. Here's a pic of the three of us, on the cover of our book, "Free Advice":

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0440507510?ie=UTF8&tag=advicegoddess-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0440507510

Like Din Johnson, whose coffee-roasting hobby led him to open Ristretto Roasters in Portland, what I enjoyed turned into my...well, it doesn't feel like a job, but it's what I do for a living.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 26, 2007 11:13 AM

DH made me call him "Daddy"

What's a DH? Divorced Husband? Dickus Humongous? Dilated Hemorrhoid? Deviant Hottie?

Seriously, I'm curious.

Posted by: DaveG at October 26, 2007 11:29 AM

DH is short for "Dear Husband." Often used ironically.

Posted by: Allison at October 26, 2007 11:45 AM

Thx. I can usually guess acronyms.

Posted by: DaveG at October 26, 2007 12:01 PM

Goddammit, Amy! You crashed my favorite trainwreck site! Now you owe me the "directors' cut" of the losers who didn't make your column! ;)

Posted by: Kim at October 26, 2007 1:36 PM

I'll try to remember to blog some of them!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 26, 2007 1:43 PM

Cool, thanks Amy! Hopefully it satisfies my schadenfreuderrific urge to point and laugh at terminally stupid brides who think the big white dress is worth the debt and misery they see coming in the distance afterwards...

Posted by: Kim at October 26, 2007 2:29 PM

By Golly, Amy, I'm envious -- you've got the best job in the world! Think about it! Heck, you'll never run out of material to work with, for one thing...

Oh by the way, I'm 60 now. When should I start thinking about growing up?

Posted by: Curtis at October 26, 2007 2:49 PM

Personally, I frown on it, except while raising children.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 26, 2007 3:12 PM

"Personally, I frown on it, except while raising children."

My children are all 22 and above, so I don't have to grow up anymore?

Thanks, Amy.

Posted by: Curtis at October 26, 2007 4:16 PM

I'll confess.

What I wrote earlier has a certain value, but I do know that a stream of nonsense such as you quoted would even take its toll on a rock it flows over.

My comments weren't intended to be in any manner critical of you, btw.

Posted by: Curtis at October 26, 2007 4:51 PM

We're supposed to grow up when we have kids?!?! Shit, one of the best things about parenting, is being able to play with legos and play some of the silliest damn board games, with a built in excuse. I can go for hours with the lego structures, especially given my OCD for symmetry and my son's lackthereof. Makes for interesting results.

(I do know what you mean. I hate the whole being an asshole part of it, but alas, unless one wants their kids to become serious assholes, it's occasionally necessary.)

Posted by: DuWayne at October 26, 2007 6:01 PM

My comments weren't intended to be in any manner critical of you, btw.

It wasn't taken as criticism, but feel free to criticize me. This is a free speech site!

PS. DuWayne, I mean in that you have to take responsibility in important ways; ie, if you have four children, you no longer get to have a hobby instead of a job (like that woodcarver).

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 26, 2007 6:13 PM

"All I want is to be a housewife. To h*ll with my college degree! me too (37)"

Oh, man - this had to be the scariest one of all. Check out all the people that agreed with her.

Posted by: snakeman99 at October 26, 2007 11:39 PM

What's wrong with being a housewife?

(In the feminist scenarios of the 1970's, this would be the part where the terribly oppressed woman says "But I'm not married to a house!".)

But, y'know, if finances are in place, and especially if the woman intends to stay home to be a loving mother, why the hell not? Why insist that she go out and staple repair bills at a Chevy dealership or tote corned beef to vinyl booths if she's not into it? Employment isn't spiritually nutritious on it's own, is it?

There's a joke about how Ted Kennedy was campaigning for then-congressman Jack along the docks in Boston in the 1950's. After one speech he was shaking hands when a guy accosted him:

"Hey, I heard you come from money."

Kennedy confessed that it was true.

"So you're out here telling us how everything's supposed to go, but you've never had to work a day in your life!"

Again, Kennedy sheepishly conceded,

"Well, let me tell you somethin', kid... You haven't missed a goddamn thing."

Posted by: Crid at October 27, 2007 1:37 AM

It occurs to me that the next time someone insists that someone else repeat "'Til Death Do Us Part" - or offers some similar ultimatum - that website is a good place to cause second thoughts. It would illustrate something I've noticed a few times, too: the person eager to declare that "you're the one" will happily turn around and pick somebody else when you say, "No, I'm not."

So few recognize what a promise is - and that one should not be made if it cannot be kept.

Posted by: Radwaste at October 27, 2007 6:25 AM

PS: "DH" means, "Designated Hitter". In a ball game, it refers to a person selected to do the job when the regular's skills aren't up to the task. I'm surprised I have to explain these things.

Posted by: Radwaste at October 27, 2007 7:17 AM

I hadn't seen the green one yet. Sigh. It's called True Green Confessions, people, not True Green Boasting, or Tattling.

Posted by: Jessica at October 27, 2007 8:00 AM

What's wrong with being a housewife?

Because when the dickhead you married and bore four children decides after 25 years of marriage (right after your last child graduates high school) that he's unfulfilled and, instead of just leaving you and giving you half the house and half his pension, stays but is gone all the time, has numerous affairs, and is never 'there" even when he's home ...

That's when you discover you have painted yourself into a corner, that the price to be paid for staying home is a distinct lack of marketable skills, and a narrowing of your options.

No, I'm not the former housewife - I'm describing the wife of a guy (a former close friend) who wanted to sleep with me (I not-so-politely declined).

So sure, be a housewife. Just have plan b in place. Just be aware that there are consequences for everything, and neither of you may wish to keep paying them. Don't expect him to keep paying your way all your natural life. This is the 21st century, in North America. Be self-sufficient, and don't whine to the government when your private little welfare arrangement falls apart.

Posted by: Former Romantic at October 27, 2007 9:35 AM

Former Romantic -

WTF, just because it doesn't always work, doesn't mean it can't. Granted, my partner and I are unmarried, but she's a stay at home mom. She does this because when she has a job, she doesn't make enough to cover the cost of child care and it's likely that we will be homeschooling our son through elementary school. She does depend on me for survival, as does my son. Guess what, it works for us. It will continue to work for us too, unless she finishes school and can make more money than I.

I have also committed to supporting her after the kids are on their own. I don't have a problem with this, nor will I be looking elsewhere for the nookie. I may well be gone a lot when we retire, but that's because I am far more fond of the great outdoors than she is. Besides, if I were home all the time, our idyllic lifestyle would wear mighty thin.

She's happy, because she can take care of the kids, take care of our home and have a wee bit of time to work on her art. I'm happy, because on the occasions that I have to stay home from work (she's pregnant and the doctors appointments are damn near marathon sessions) and deal with getting the boy to school, picking him up and all the domestic stuff, I am reminded of how much I "love" to be at work. I don't have the temperament for the home stuff. I am fine dealing with the boy, not so much that and everything else.

In effect, neither of us is self-sufficient. Nor do we want to be. I am sure that if something happened to one of us, the other would manage. But she and I are both quite happy with the status quo, thank you very much.

Posted by: DuWayne at October 27, 2007 10:09 AM

> one should not be made
> if it cannot be kept.

I wish that we could encourage people to make better choices, rather than fill the square with nihilist chatter about the beauty of not committing. A time-traveling bachelor farmer from Missouri 200 years ago would laugh at what we now call independence, recognizing our petulant demands for liberty as the cries of the baby for attentive coddling.

Missouri may not have been a state 200 years ago, but you know what I mean.

Posted by: Crid at October 27, 2007 10:12 AM

Amy -

Actually, it is looking more and more likely that our respective hobbies will end up as our income. Of course I have yet to quit working, bg ut if I can steadily sell three to four songs a month, I will quit the construction and write full time.

My partner makes clothes, as well arts and crafts. We are looking into doing booths at fairs and markets, as a family venture, to supplement our income. The best thing about that, would be spending financially productive time together as a family.

Posted by: DuWayne at October 27, 2007 10:20 AM

As Former Romantic says, there are indeed miserable consequences to being a housewife.

From time to time some bloke will comment kindly of the housewife, just as Crid argues here: "But, y'know, if finances are in place, and especially if the woman intends to stay home to be a loving mother, why the hell not?"

But there is always another bloke who will use the housewife as scornful shorthand for a dumb broad who can't think because, of course, she's distracted with domesticity, just as Crid argues here:"...You're busy; there's a roast in the oven, your stories are on TV, the kids have soccer... ".

I'm just glad I've never been one!

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at October 27, 2007 10:54 AM

Be fair! You weren't accused of witless domesticity; you were accused of rhetorical dodging. Anyone, in any chosen path of life, can live in indisputable righteousness by agreeing with everything I say

Posted by: Crid at October 27, 2007 11:38 AM

I just find ironic that we are talking about the whole "Housewife" issue when the average marriage got a 50% chance of failing in the first three years. This is bellow the average lifespan of a cheap 10$ toaster made by Kamarade Wang in China. If there's such a thing like a long-lasting marriage, it must be made by people who chose to maintain a solid relationship. This needs brains, energy and time.

Posted by: Toubrouk at October 27, 2007 12:33 PM

Jody -

As Former Romantic says, there are indeed miserable consequences to being a housewife.

Again, WTF? Why do you feel the need to couch this in absolutes? Sure, there can be horrible consequences to being a housewife. There can also be horrible consequences to any other sort of relationship you might form.

That doesn't mean it doesn't work for some people. For my partner and I, it works. We have no illusions about our relationship or what it means. We are secure in our responsibilities and the breakdown of labors. We are secure in the commitments to each other and our family.

I understand and respect that this doesn't work for everybody. But the argument that having a single income household is just a bad idea is absurd. If my partner went to work, after we pay for child care, she'd be lucky to bring home a dollar an hour. And that's assuming we want to dump our kid (soon to be kids) off on shitty daycare.

I should also note, that if my partner finishes school and could make more money than I, I would get over my issues with domestic life and be the housedad. Though the way things are going it may well work out that I'll have a home office to work out of.

Point is, people should be in relationships that work for them, whatever form that takes. Remarkably, what works for you, may not work for everyone else. Get over it.

Posted by: DuWayne at October 27, 2007 1:11 PM

Be fair! You weren't accused of witless domesticity; you were accused of rhetorical dodging.

Be accurate, then!

My imagined witless domesticity (aka housewifery) was waved aloft as the explanation of alleged rhetorical dodging.

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at October 27, 2007 1:16 PM

DuWayne,

All your points are fine and dandy.

I was talking about how the term "housewife" is generally used on its own - as a pejorative more often than not.

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at October 27, 2007 1:28 PM

I love that website Truemomconfessions. Women are so much more complicated than men, and I am an admitted snoop.

And regarding housewifery: my wife and I agreed on her staying home and raising our son until school starts, next Autumn. (Yes fellow bloggers, it's been that long now.) But I will be as glad as she will when she gets back into the adult world. Michael Vick couldn't stomach the savagery of the SAHM's (stay at home moms) in our neighborhood's gossip circle.

Posted by: eric at October 27, 2007 3:13 PM

Jody -

But so am I. For all intents and purposes, my partner fits the housewife bill, excepting that we're not actually married. (And she doesn't do the SAHM gossip) The statements you and FR are making, come out pretty clearly against this sort of situation. My point is, that while it doesn't work for you, it does for some people and there's nothing wrong with it.

I think it's unfortunate, when people get stuck in the housewife mold and can't manage it. I think it's even more unfortunate, when they get entirely fucked by it. It happens and that's a shame. But that doesn't mean that everyone in that role, is wrong to be. It's very unfortunate, that the term housewife has such negative connotations. For a lot of families, it works. For some, it even works when it's a househubby as apposed to wife.

Posted by: DuWayne at October 27, 2007 3:56 PM

> waved aloft as the
> explanation

Only satirically... I might have imagined other excuses for your loathsome neglect of your blog commenting responsibilities... Science experiments requiring labwork, or business deals demanding meetings, but you'd have been no more flattered. (I promise.)

> Because when the
> dickhead you married

So don't marry a dickhead. I wish society wasn't so patient with dickheads, and the women who love them enough to bear their dickhead children. Hey there, Former Romantic!:

I - Hear...
The Secrets that you Keep...
(chacha bum-pum, chacha bump-)
When Yer Talkin' in Yer Sleep!

> Women are so much
> more complicated

I agree, but every two weeks someone publishes a book like this: http://urltea.com/1rei

Most people read things like that and presume that sex roles are therefore entirely flexible, and people should just be able to do whatever they want with great success... Or more importantly, that the whole society should be tilted to their own taste, and then glued into place.

But every society seems to have strong sex roles. I don't think they're optional, or any more flexible than our other codes of decency.

Posted by: Crid at October 27, 2007 4:43 PM

"Only satirically... I might have imagined other excuses for your loathsome neglect of your blog commenting responsibilities..."

"Loathsome" Crid?

Gimme a break, silly!

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at October 27, 2007 7:11 PM

It was grotesque... inexcusable... transgressive... you should be deeply ashamed. Next time, we're calling the blog police

Posted by: Crid at October 27, 2007 7:31 PM

I had to add this. Last year my husband and I got married. Obviously before this there was an engagement. Well, we did it without thinking how it would impact his younger brother who was living with his girlfriend. Silly of us. They were slighly miffed because they felt it should have been them first. They quickly caught up, and then came the rush (and the attempted guilt trips about stealing the season they were thinking of and hadn't told anyone) to get married before us because the family wouldn't want to go to more than one wedding in a year!
Needless to say (or perhaps needful to say) my husband and I went along with our plans as we wished, and had a lovely and well attended wedding two months after theirs.

Posted by: Miri at October 31, 2007 4:56 AM

So nice that not everyone out there is psycho!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 31, 2007 6:37 AM

Why thank you Amy!

Posted by: Miri at November 2, 2007 12:33 PM

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