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In a Jam:
How to tell a woman that she snores.

by Dear Jon
April 19, 2005


Dear Jon,

Is there a difference between jelly and jam? Which is considered more fancy?

Food Ponderer
Dear Pond,
As far as I can tell, both are gelatinous, sticky substances bearing a slight relationship to the fruit for which they are named. The first use of jelly and jam is to be spread on toast, muffins, scones, and various other bread or pastry products according to taste. The second use is to be spread on the cheeks, neck, ears, and hands of children between one and four years old, leading to one of two scenarios: either the child escapes the booster seat and is spreading jelly all over the house, or, the child is raging and squirming like the demon-possessed while you try to apply a warm towel to clean the mess.
Since these things are true of both jelly and jam, I cannot distinguish any difference at all. If there is a difference, it is not worth bothering to know, even though someone from the Coalition of Jam Producers will probably right to Dear Jon explaining some technical, scientific, chemical difference which, frankly, the public would probably rather not know.
Meanwhile, if you are concerned about being fancy, keep the following two things in mind: 1. Only the middle-brow spread jams and jellies on their bagels, and those aspiring to the high-brow only spread jelly on bagels as a guilty pleasure in the privacy of their own homes. Cream cheeses are for bagels, and these should be served out of sterling silver "cream cheese" covered platters, which, if you don't have them, you certainly MUST get them immediately, since only a plebian would think of using the butter platter for cream cheese. If your continental option is limited to bagels only, do NOT set out jams or jellies if you are trying to be "fancy."  2. If you are fancy, you never set out jams or jellies anyway. You use "fruit preserves." Whatever.

Dear Jon,

Is there any easy way to tell your wife she snores? I have a really difficult time sleeping next to my wife because her snoring keeps me awake. Is there any way to tell her without getting her upset?

Light Sleeper
Dear Sleep,
Of course there is no "easy" way, you silly man.
It is understood in our culture that some things are clearly the province of the male, and some things of the female. The male has an inalienable right to snore and have gas. The woman has the inalienable to throw pillows at the guilty male and then to talk about his foibles to their friends. A woman who either snores or has gas is mortified, and the man must never laugh about it with anyone. However, all men may complain that their wives have ice-cubes for feet, and compare negative degrees of appendage frigidity with each other. Frozen toes at bedtime is the inalienable right of the female.
There are some exceptions to this rule. If your wife is well-adjusted, you can tell her that this problem has begun and you can work out a solution together, such as ear-plugs for yourself and breathe-right strips for her, neither of these to be applied until after whatever romantic bed-time activities have taken place. There are approximately 58 well-adjusted women in this world, so the chance that one of them is your wife is about one in half a million. (This is not a chauvinistic comment. In previous sorts I have related my theory that only 116 well-adjusted people live in the world, one of them having died in 2004.)
Happily, even if your wife is neurotic (499,999 chances out of 500,000), there are some chances that she will take news of her snoring well. If she has always been one to snore, she has already been told by siblings, friends at sleep-overs, cabin-mates at summer camp and room-mates in college. This makes coming up with a sleeping solution relatively easy: Ear-plugs for you. Another chance for a happy outcome is that your wife is snoring because of dramatic changes in her body as the result of being pregnant. This comes with the territory of being pregnant, as does warmth returning to her feet, so that snoring can become her province.
You are in trouble if your wife is neurotic like the rest of us, snoring has developed recently, and she is not pregnant. You might suggest that you are a light sleeper and that you are disturbed by night-time sounds, without getting too specific, and then try ear-plugs. This smoke-screen will work only until your wife goes out on a "week-end with the girls," one of those bi-annual beach and shopping pilgrimages or religious women's retreats that husbands never complain about their wives doing. She will come home afterwards, tell you what a great time she had, and then some evening two weeks later, she will fix you with a flat, cold gaze and ask you point-blank, "Do I snore?"
This is as no-win a question as "does this make me look fat?" One quick answer, which only a brilliant man can come up with on the fly, would be, "I wouldn't know, I wear ear-plugs to bed." The problem is, this is the best a man can do, and a woman, having been humiliated in a hotel room filled with other women, will see right through the ruse. She will explode at you for not telling her ahead of time that she snored, that if she had known she would never have gone on the retreat, and she has never been so embarrassed in her life, and it is YOUR fault.
Good luck.

About the Author:
White toast is Dear Jon's favorite, which he can only have when eating out, since the home is strictly whole-wheat or darker.

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