Incompetent Advice

I'm 30 years old, divorced, underemployed, I live alone with one extremely neglected houseplant, and I've had more breakups than Liz Taylor and more jobs than someone twice my age. Do you really want my advice? If so, email Disclaimer: I am not qualified to dispense advice. The only degree of any kind I hold is in journalism, which only qualifies me for good grammar and poor income prospects. Whatever happens afterwards is your lookout.

Friday, April 25, 2003

Dear Shannon,

I've been single for awhile now, but I can't seem to get the hang of this casual dating thing. Lately it seems to be a lot less stressful to stay at home and watch bad TV all night rather than deal with the crap that guys dish out. Please tell me how I can become a successful single woman and treat men as the toys they are. I need guidelines (went to J-School, after all.)

Heartbroken in Hell

Dear Hell,

I keep men under my control with a combination of mind-altering drugs, overpriced lingerie and subliminal messages. However, that may not work for everyone. And, judging by my record, it barely even works for me.

I don’t think your problem is casual dating. I think the problem is that you only see two alternatives: casual dating or watching bad TV. In that situation, even I would pick bad TV. Why not get your life going? Go see a band enough times that people recognize you. Become a regular at your favorite bar. Museums. Clubs. Volunteering. Once you’ve got yourself good and busy, not only will you know more people, you won’t have time to obsess about dating.

Side benefits: once dating doesn’t seem like a big deal, it gets a lot easier. Guy had hairy moles and burped at the table? Whatever, you’ve got better things to do. Also, a woman with a busy, full life is about 10 times more attractive and fun to be around. The men will flock. And, if they don’t? Whatever, you’ve got your own thing going and that’s its own reward. Good luck!

P.S. Once you’ve gotten yourself busy, write me again and I’ll give you guidelines on the bold new frontier of Internet dating.

Dear Shannon,

About a year and a half ago, I foolishly repeated, to a dear friend of mine, the words of a Mexican-American caller on a talk radio station. The conversation I quoted revolved around the twin daughters of out current president. Well, I must have done it well, because every time I've seen her ever since then she has begged me--BEGGED me--to repeat it. How do I get her to stop?

No More Boosh Tweenz

Dear Boosh,

Passive-aggressive much? Kidding. Methinks some behavioral therapy is in order. Every time she makes this request, act like you are going to comply. Then bust out with the most obnoxious song you can think of. Suggestion: “Nobody Likes Me, Everybody Hates Me, I Guess I’ll Go Eat Worms.”

This Week’s Advice to a Stranger/Nugget of Wisdom:

If pants don't zip up on the first try, successive attempts imply desperation rather than determination.