"Social Q's" is Philip Galanes's advice column in the New York Times. Every Monday in Anti-Social Q's, I will answer the same questions as "Social Q's," with considerably better and more debonaire advice.
Hello there people! It is time for our weekly advice column. This week Philip tackles the issue of friendship, and friendship with the boss. Let us see what we can come up with, okay?
A Debate, to and Fro
I was looking at old photos with some tennis buddies. We all laughed at the mullet I sported in my teens. But my comment that another pal had “an amazing Jew-fro back then” was met with uncomfortable silence. A colleague told me that the term is racist and insensitive. But if Afro is not racist, why is Jew-fro?
Hmm, I highly doubt that Jew-fro is an insult. But in these matters, one must always know who they are speaking to because it seems, one day even speaking at all would be an insult. Let us calm down people. Remember sticks and stones? We fucking define words not the other way around. There have been so many instances where a word that was used as an insult was turned around by those being insulted and either made into a positive or a derogatory term for the insulter. Yankee is just one of those. The English used to call the Dutch John Cheese in New Amsterdam. That was the worst insult one could throw at a Dutch person. The Dutch just started calling the English the Dutch equivalent of John Cheese, Jan Kaas. Guess which one stuck? The important thing is what your intention is. If you intended it to be an insult, well then your friends were right, but if you did not intend it as an insult, then apologize and be more attuned to your friends' sensitivities in the future. Your friends though, need to grow up.
No Hinting Around
My boss invited me to join her on a Web site where people post their job skills to find work, among other things. I suspect she is hinting that I should start looking for another job, but maybe not. Should I broach the subject with her? And if so, how?
Your boss is an idiot.
Know Your Limits
A pregnant friend wants a baby shower, but her place is too small. So I offered to host it at my apartment. I suggested a typical shower, with close girlfriends and a light lunch. She e-mailed me back that she wanted to invite her husband, his friends and a few other couples, bringing the guest list to 40. My jaw dropped. I explained that a baby shower is usually about the mother-to-be, not the father. But she insisted that the men come. My apartment holds 20 comfortably. What to do?
Tera, New York City
Learn to never offer to host anything. Anything. Do you hear me? Never offer to host anything. Trust me on this.
A Calming Note
A young friend asked me to help “crowdsource” (i.e., pay for) his lifelong dream of owning a Steinway piano. This infuriates me. If he wants a piano, he should save up for it like everyone else. What would you do?
Ask him to crowdsource your lifelong dream of having money. Whatever he gives you, you give him.
Image courtesy of banoootah_qtr.