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Avoiding a spectacles spectacle.

Also: complaining about Dear Jon's complaints

by Dear Jon
July 12, 2001

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Avoiding a spectacles spectacle._Dear Jon-Also: complaining about Dear Jon's complaints ACTUAL LETTER TO DEAR JON:

Dear Jon,

I know a certain advice columnist who constantly complains that he is not getting any "actual letters." He has even threatened his readers, and submitted bad horoscopes from some fruitcake poet in lieu of an actual column! What should I do to stop this alarming behavior?

Advice Column Reader

Dear Column,

Thank you for your letter, which answers your complaint by virtue of it being written. However, if you need advice about what to "do" to stop this alarming behavior, that implies to me that you are the editor@partialobserver.com, aka "The Webmaster." You are the only one who can "do" anything about it, short of doing what my readers are implored to do, which is write actual letters, which is what you did.

What, exactly, would be a "good" horoscope?

[The Webmaster interjects: Alas, I am not the author of the letter above, though I can understand the frustration. But since you asked, there is no such thing as a good horoscope -- It's all hogwash. However, if Jon Deer were to foresee something better for Taurus, I might change my mind.]


Dear Jon,

For a couple of years now I have not had the heart to tell my significant other that I find her eyeglasses just a little bit unattractive. Not a big deal, but I think there are other styles that would complement her much better. Should I just leave it alone, or is there a way to suggest a change?

Spectacles Snob

Dear Spect,

In a direct and sensitive fashion, you can say something like, "Honey, I was wondering if you might consider updating your prescription." She will appreciate your sensitivity, and your concern for her physical health. In the same spirit and tone, she will ask for more information, such as "Why? Do you notice me squinting?" Since there is no right answer to this question, you will say something like, "It's just it's been a couple years since you've gotten new glasses. I just thought it might be time for a check-up."

She will then lie awake that night, grateful for your sensitivity, and wondering if all her squinting has given her premature wrinkles in the corners of her eyes.

The next time you see her, she will be attentive to you but quiet, almost officious. And then, as you open the newspaper or turn on the t.v., she will say, "I thought about what you said the other day." By this time, you will have forgotten. But because you want to be on her wavelength, you will say, "Oh?" And she will say, "Yes, when you said I was squinting all the time. I decided I should get a check-up. It won't be that big a deal to get new lenses for these frames, you know, if I need them."

You will then be trapped. If you proceed to tell her that maybe this would be a new opportunity to get new frames, too, she will conclude rightly that you do not like her glasses, which will lead to the feminine logic that you have not liked looking at her face for the past two years. From here, the evening could go in many directions, all of them miserable for you.

But no matter if there is yelling or tears or a thin-lipped smile and a change of subject, guaranteed you will hear the following within the next week: That your socks are too short, your elbows are too pointy, and you have a funny-looking nose and have you ever considered plastic surgery? She will also mention newspaper coupons to fitness centers and tan salons, suggesting that you need to tone up and darken up.

Aside from leaving it alone, this is about the best scenario I can think of.

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