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Between A Rock And A Herd Place

I'm a college-educated career woman. All the women in my husband's close-knit family are stay-at-home moms. They seem uncomfortable that my husband and I don't live in the same suburb as the rest of the family, and that he doesn't work in the family business. At family functions, they shun me. I find them narrow-minded, but I'm trying to bond with them for my husband's sake. Any suggestions?

--Stay-At-Work Wife

DON'T LET YOUR relatives' suburban base of operations stop you from applying "The Law Of The Serengeti" to meet your bonding needs. Like Denny's, the Serengeti is always open for a meal...providing you can get your fangs around your meal's leg. Say you're a lioness, and you're up for a little zebra tartare. You find a bunch of grazing zebra, then lie in wait until one strays from the herd. Only then is it safe to pounce. Likewise, on the suburban plain, approaching a herd of closed minds is likely to leave you flattened. But, corner a straggler, and you just might gnaw your way to a little common ground. Start with the weakest, then mow through the rest of the herd. Do, however, avoid taking this advice too literally. Tempted as you might be to break a little skin on auntie's ankle, it's unlikely to advance your cause.

Copyright ©2002, Amy Alkon, from her syndicated column, "The Advice Goddess," which appears in over 70 papers across the U.S. and Canada. All rights reserved.