We Have Run Out of Problems, Really

"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 addresses a daughter with a devious dad, a Seattleite sour on spoilers, a rocky relationship, and a materialistic mom.

A Mystery in Father’s Clothing

I am a lesbian in my early 30s.  Ever since I came out to my father several years ago, he has been pretty lousy about my sexuality: dismissive at first, then judgmental and condescending.  That is, until he met his new girlfriend, who happens to have a gay son.  Now, like magic, my partner and I are honored guests whenever we visit.  I’d like to slap him across the face for his transparent, new acceptance.  But I am hoping you have a better way to handle this.

Jessica, Queens

Yes, consider this an opportunity to win him over.  All the wise people of all the ages have consistently praised opportunities like these.  If you refuse to take it, and he breaks up with his beau, and things return to the way they were before, you will only have yourself to blame.  If things return to the way things were even though you have tried reconciliation, you will know that at least you did your part and will be able to sleep tight at night.  Be wise, Jessica, be wise.

Reading Between Shows

I rely on Hulu and Netflix to watch most television shows, months and sometimes years after they’ve aired.  Even when I watch original broadcasts on the West Coast, my Facebook feed is filled with comments from East Coast friends who ruin surprises for me hours before the shows run out here.  Is it my responsibility to avoid spoilers, or should others be more cautious when revealing plot turns?

Anne, Seattle

It is your responsibility to get off Facebook.  Really, ugh.  As for the spoilers: you need to find more serious problems.  Seriously, talk about privilege.

Eliminating Thought Bubbles

I am a man who has been in a committed relationship with a woman for five years.  We stay at her house during the week and at mine on the weekends.  At her house, I clear the table, wash and dry the dishes and dispose of trash, etc.  But she rarely helps at my place.  She may wash the dishes occasionally, or rinse them and leave them in the sink.  What is your advice for handling this uneven and manipulative situation?


Have you talked to her?  A relationship is only as good as the happiness of the two people involved.  Mention what troubles you, and she should mention what troubles her.  Communication is the key to a healthy relationship.  Honestly, I would not even call what you have a relationship.  Grievances need to get out of the way before they fester and destroy everything.

No Follow-Up Questions

My daughter was married three months ago, and a number of our guests have still not delivered their wedding gifts.  She is anxious to write her thank-you notes.  May I gently remind these people that my daughter is waiting for their gifts?


Of course, you greedy materialistic person, you.  But let me ask you: is marriage about love or about pots and pans?



Profile photo of BigBlueBenBigBlueBen
June 17th, 2013  10:59 PM

I can attest to marriage being about pots and pans for some people.

Profile photo of MyNameIsMeMyNameIsMe
June 18th, 2013  12:35 AM

That first girl has some issues. Focus on the positive while you can.