Hidden Relationships

"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," dropping at anti-social cues.

This week Philip touches upon flirtation, a man who loves to wash dishes (husband material), and a man whose neck is consistently probed by aliens.

(Married) Girls Just Want to Have Fun

I am a young newlywed, but my husband and I have been together for seven years.  Several of my close friends are still single.  When I go to bars or clubs with them, without fail they tell any man I strike up a conversation with that I am married.  It’s not as if I’m hiding the fact.  My wedding ring is in plain sight.  I have a great relationship with my husband, but when I’m out with the girls, I enjoy a little harmless flirting.  Why do my friends feel the need to ruin my fun?

MALLORY, NEW YORK

Because your friends care about you.  And as we all know, harmless flirting is a gateway drug to making out which is a gateway drug to cheating on your husband.  Perhaps you are too simple minded to figure this out.  You should be grateful you have such great friends that apparently care more about your marriage than you do.  I doubt you would be comfortable with your husband "harmlessly flirting" with random women.

Someone’s in the Kitchen

We have a group of friends we invite to dinner once a year.  We love seeing them, and because we rarely do, every moment is a treat.  After dinner, I want to clear the table and get back to my guests.  But one of them insists on rolling up his sleeves and washing the dishes right away.  I can’t leave him to clean alone, so I get stuck in the kitchen, too — listening to gales of laughter from the next room.  I’ve told him we prefer to leave the dishes for later, but he insists on “helping.”  Any ideas?

SUSAN, PHOENIX

Turn off the water to your sink.  Tell him the plumber is coming the next day.  After three or four times of this he will get a clue.  Or you could be more direct and tell him to fuck off.  It is possible that he is also trying to have some alone time with you, and is completely clueless that cleaning the dishes is not a coupling catalyst.

Uncle Mike Has a Boo-Boo

I frequently invite my 30-year-old brother to join my family for dinner.  But lately, when he arrives, his neck is covered in hickeys.  The bruises are a subject of much interest to my three children, who are 4 years old and younger.  What should I tell them?

CAROLINE, INDIANAPOLIS

You could simply tell them that he has a rare skin disease.  But if I may judge, it seems like a 30-year-old man that is completely comfortable with carnivorous kisses is more than likely to tell them the truth.  Nothing wrong with that.  Just tell them those are love bruises and they occur sometimes between adolescents when they are really fond of each other.  Do not forget to tell them that their uncle is a hopeless romantic or a man that refuses to grow up.  Sometimes the two are interchangeable.


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