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I am a retired female executive and dating online. How do I politely tell men it is not okay for them to mansplain?
So done with it
Dear So done,
What’s with the polite? No need to be polite when what is polite is not to mansplain. From where I sit, you can interrupt Mr. Splain to point his misdeed out succinctly and neutrally, as in, “Perhaps you aren’t aware of it, but you are mansplaining to me right now. Please don’t, as I understand the point.” If he doesn’t understand, maybe you can mansplain back to him why you are disinclined to ever see him again.
My 13-year-old daughter is an only child, and she desperately misses her friends. Her best friend lives with her mom and college-aged brother. They have been relatively careful about Covid, but not nearly as careful as we have been. The mom has been begging us to have her daughter come live with us and has made the valid point that it would be really good for the kids. But the mom is very impulsive, has a lot of health problems (always at the doctor’s office) and I don’t trust the brother. We agreed but now I’m thinking twice and really don’t want to do it.
Regretting saying yes
Kudos to you for being so careful during the pandemic! I may be in the minority, but I believe you really can’t be too careful or too safe. While we don’t have real control over our lives – especially right now – we have to try to control what we can. Having said that, it sounds like you also want to give your daughter some relief from the social imprisonment she feels like she’s in. I get it! But I believe you have to both err on the side of caution and listen to your mom Spidey Sense. Remember also, that you can’t prove a negative. You can never know if your absent guest would have brought Covid into the house, but you would regret it if your actual guest did.
Do not despair, however, all may not be lost! A little creativity may be able to turn disappointment into delight. Okay, that may be overly optimistic, but why not try? Why not plan something, whether it be playing games, watching movies, writing letters to public figures like the Queen of England to see what comes back, a silent disco, cooking the same dish at the same time…the possibilities abound. To keep everyone happy, sweeten the pot every time the stay gets delayed… then sit back, make yourself some tea and take a big, deep, cleansing breath. Or, eat a sheet cake.
My friends’ kids are all taking Chem Phys. Should I make my student sign up?
If your student is interested in STEM subjects or is fascinated by nuclear fission, quark research, or building particle accelerators, by all means! Sign right up. If they love computers, microscopes, torque, viscosity, or Euler’s formula for polyhedra, shoot the moon! But you asked, “should I make my student sign up?” To that I would say a resounding, oh, hell no. I think that by sophomore year of high school, you should have a good idea if your student prefers to split atoms or infinitives. But signing them up for Chem Phys just because their friends are taking it is setting your kid up to fail – and we parents do enough of that unintentionally. No need to do it on purpose. Sometimes less really is more, sort of like an atomic bomb.
Dear Gabby appears in the RoundTable every Friday. Yes, Gabby is an advice columnist – but not just any advice columnist. Because that would be boring! Gabby combines wisdom with wit. And a pinch of snark. She is not a trained therapist by any means, but has seen and loved many in her day. Her aim is to make you think while she makes you laugh. Gabby welcomes all questions and queries and is only too happy to hear your opinion, no matter how much it may diverge from hers. Write to Gabby here.