DEAR JON LETTERS
Dear Jon Letters: Fourth Sort
In today's installment: how to break up with a guy
by Dear Jon
November 20, 2000
Dear Jon: I live in a unit in a three-flat in the Peterson/Pulaski area of Chicago. I have complained three times to the apartment manager about my plumbing, but since they have not answered I have decided to do it myself. My problem is I don't have a 7/8 titanium socket wrench. My boyfriend thinks he can work the pipe with my pair of iron pliers, but I am afraid the titanium pipe will damage the pincers. What should I do? Signed, Sherry in Chicago.
Dear Sherry: Dump the bum and let me introduce you to my single brother. My brother would give you all the personal space you needed when it came to fixing the plumbing. He would take a hands-off approach and defer to your excellent judgment and superior skill. And you would be warmly welcomed by the whole family, too, especially my wife, who could use the help.
ACTUAL LETTER TO JON
Dear Jon: Not long ago, my wife had a dream in which she was a pen (as in the writing utensil). I've never heard of dreaming about being an inanimate object before. Should I be concerned? Signed, Insomniac
Dear Insomniac: Actually, dreaming of being an inanimate object is quite normal. For example, sometimes I dream that I am a train going into a cave, and sometimes I dream that I am a cave and a train is coming. Of course, these recurring dreams have no significance whatsoever.
The level of concern should depend on a) the kind of inanimate object, and b) what the object is being used for in the dream. For example, if your wife dreams that she is a nuclear bomb, falling, falling, falling towards a city, and she wakes up just before she hits the ground and explodes, that is a dream to worry about. That your wife dreamed of being a pen, in and of itself, should not keep you awake at night, unless the pen was used to repeatedly stab YOU through the eye. Then you should be concerned.
Dear Jon: I am allergic to papryka, but without it my taco sauce lacks zest. Do you have any suggestions? Signed, Spiceless in Duluth.
Dear Duluth: My suggestion is that "sauce lacks zest" is an awkward tongue-twister. You should write, "without it my tacos are dull." Besides, people know what "dull" means. When people see "zest" they think of soap, and who wants their tacos to taste like soap?
ACTUAL LETTER TO JON
Dear Jon: The Partial Observer calls itself "family friendly." What is "family friendly" about your struggles with your sexual identity and vegetables? What am I supposed to tell my daughters if they ask about the "Dear Jon" letters? Signed, Concerned at Home
Dear Home: I resent the insinuation that I struggle with vegetables. I have no problem with vegetables. Vegetables hold no peculiar fascination for me.
In fact, vegetables do not interest me at all. And if you want a definition of "Family Friendly," maybe you should write to the Editor. Or better yet, you could write to the "Webmaster," who gives all kinds of good advice. Maybe the "Webmaster" knows what it means to maintain a "family friendly site." Yes, since MY advice is not good enough for the Partial Observer, we will bring in the "Webmaster" to make up for MY deficiencies.
The way that I understand "family friendly," is that anything a daily Newspaper prints, can appear in The Partial Observer. This means that while I can touch on mature content that would not be understood by young audiences, such as dealing with relationship or identity issues, the following words will not appear except as expletive symbols: !@#$, @#$%, #$%^, $%^&, you *&^% - ^%$&, %$#@#, and $%#^@ - ^%$& your $%#@& $#@%^ with a %$#^ - #*$&@^.
Your final issue deals with what you are supposed to tell your kids about the example I set. Here is my suggestions: "Girls, this advice columnist named "Dear Jon" shows you what happens when you do not eat your vegetables. You become a cranky, silly wind-bag that no one takes seriously when advice is offered, so they recruit ANOTHER advice columnist, like the Webmaster. You wouldn't want that kind of betrayal to happen to you, would you girls? Good. Now eat your peas."
I hope this helps.
Dear Jon: 15 years ago I was abducted by aliens, who beamed me into their ship and conducted scientific experiments on my body. I have tried to warn people that this is going on, but no one believes me except the hypno-therapist who helped me recover these repressed memories. What can I do to get the warning out to the world? Signed, Alien Abductee.
Dear Abductee: I think the World Wide Web is the right forum to give your story the credibility it deserves. Glad I could help.
Dear Jon: What is the best, least cruel way to break up with a guy? Signed, Breaking Up in Oak Lawn.
Dear Lawn: I am so glad you asked this question. As a guy who had been broken up with frequently, I can tell you that, in my experience, there is no way that is not cruel. To understand the male mind, you need to know that you are asking two questions. There is the "best way," and there is the "least cruel way." These are two very different ways.
The best way to break up with a guy, is to meet with him in a public place, say, a park bench during lunch hour, or the Sears Tower obersativion deck. Then be very direct and forthright: "As we have been seeing each other, I realize that this is not a relationship I want to commit to. I am sorry, but we are made for others, not for each other." If the guy gets defensive and demands specific reasons, say what is true: "Obviously I was attracted to you. But when people learn more about each other, they realize that the initial attraction is not going to sustain itself. This is what I discovered about us."
1. If the guy has not threatened or hurt you, a restraining order is not your first step.
2. Do not say "I want us to still be friends," because it is a lie. You know that you will not call this guy yourself, because you do not want to send confusing signals. You know that you will feel very weird, even
threatened or stalked, if he calls you "as a friend." The dynamics of romance weirds out friendship. You know this is true, so don't lie.
3. If there is another guy, the "other guy" is not the reason. In your heart, you know you would not be interested in another guy if the relationship you already had was sustainable and meeting your needs. If you mention that there is someone else, then the guy you are breaking with will think it is a competition, with the chance of winning you back. This is not what you want, so why bring it up?
A normal, well-adjusted gal can see that this direct honesty allows for a clean break for both, which is the best way for healing to begin. A normal, well-adjusted guy will be hurt, but HE WILL GET OVER IT.
Of course, there are an estimated 117 people on the planet who are normal and well-adjusted. The rest of us neurotics want to avoid suffering and pain, so we look for "least cruel ways" even if it means some dishonesty. The Least Cruel Way for a gal to break up with a guy, is to adopt behaviors that the guy has not seen before. It may take a week or a month, but as the guy gets turned off, he will break up with you and he will feel good about it. Here are some suggestions; you will know which ones work depending on the guy's disposition, interests, economic status, and assumptions about romance:
1. Passing Gas: While you are sitting in his lap, rip one out.
2. Table Manners: As you are eating together, as he meets your eye, pick your nose and randomly flick the contents.
3. Neediness: Tearfully demand attention, weep for no reason at all, make illogical accusations or demand that you assess your relationship together, at the worst possible times, such as: During the Super Bowl.
4. Boots: Wear big, laced up boots. All the time.
5. Odor: Bad breath, b.o.
6. Women's Studies: Be sure to mention frequently and with the conviction of intellectual conceitedness, that all sex is rape, that women need men like frogs need bicycles*, and that football and action movies are re-enactments of childish macho domination fantasies.
These behaviors will eventually cause him to break up with you. Results guaranteed.
*Gloria Steinem said this. I don't know when or where. Look it up.
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