Starshine Roshell Photo: Jackie Sallow Photography
I've been with my girlfriend for four years. She has a drinking problem. Over the years, she has reduced her alcohol intake. But lately she's drinking more. I drink two or three times a year. We fight a lot about alcohol because when she drinks, she gets aggressive, and I've become increasingly impatient about these drunken confrontations. I asked her to stop drinking around me for awhile so we could get along better. She grudgingly agreed, adding a smart-ass quip about how "we might not see each other that much if I can't drink around you." I got invited to a friend's wedding and asked her to join me, reminding her of our deal — but she argued that she can drink if she wants to. I said that if she can't spend one day with me and not drink, I don't want to continue the relationship. She said I shouldn't be so controlling. Am I being unreasonable or unfair? What should I do? I really want her to be more responsible, and show me that she is in control of herself (so that I can propose and start a dang family already!), but she seems to still want to party.
I don't like to label anyone an alcoholic. After all, I've been craving a pomegranate martini since I read the words "wedding" and "drink" above, so that would really be the pot calling the Kettle One.
But we both know how this goes: Your girl loves another. And you absolutely can't propose to her or impregnate her or expect her to be anything other than a stubborn sponge until she personally decides to forsake her nefarious liquid lover.
Do you know why you told her that if she can't drink around you, you don't want to continue dating? Because it's true. You. Don't. Want. That. And I don't want it for you. In fact, what I want for you is the same thing you want of her: I want you to be more responsible and show me that you're in control of yourself.
Let her know that you're not into threesomes, then go find a girl who finds you entirely intoxicating.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have a martini to shake.
I haven't seen my maternal cousins since we were teenagers. We now live in the same city and my mother is eager for me to meet up with them. The problem is that my uncle and my mother have been in a decades-long child-rearing competition — one that I think my mom lost. My cousins both have very glamorous careers (one recently won an Emmy!) and look like models. I have a respectable career but am overweight, plain, and socially awkward. I don't have anything against my cousins apart from a little envy. Nevertheless, I'm afraid they might tell my uncle some unfortunate things about how I turned out, things that he'd likely use against my mother the next time they have one of their bragging sessions over the phone. Should I try to see my cousins again, or will it only open a whole new can of worms?
I was all set to help you brainstorm some fantastic lies to tell your winning cousins: You're the CIA agent on whom Jessica Chastain's character was based in Zero Dark Thirty but they can't tell your uncle or he'll most likely be killed. You're the totally-comfortable-with-herself sex surrogate on whom Helen Hunt's character was based in The Sessions but they can't tell your uncle or he'll most likely be killed. You're Mark Zuckerberg's kept woman and yes, he really is the asshole everyone thinks he is, but he's no uncle killer — and he can furnish a penthouse apartment like they wouldn't believe.
But then I realized something even more fantastic: Your mother is already crazy proud of you! Yes! Why else would she be so eager for you to meet with them? Judge yourself however you must, but know this: You can't lose the cousin contest in your mother's eyes. I'll bet if her nieces could poop diamonds, she'd tell her brother that it sounds painful and that she's grateful her own daughter sparkles without even trying.
I guess the question, then, is whether you want to see your cousins. It might be fun. Especially if you get a call from Oprah while you're there. (Seriously, I do a mean impression; think about it.)
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
- The biggest lesson Obama failed to learn from Bush
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Why are so many parents being arrested?
- Israel has only two choices: Eliminate the Palestinians or make peace
- 9 things you probably didn't know about the moon
- What I learned from totally unplugging and shutting up for three days
- 10 burning questions you've always wanted to ask about investing
- Why America is duty bound to help Iraqi Christians
Subscribe to the Week