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Power, Parenting and Punting.

by Dear Jon
August 19, 2003

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Sort 230_Dear Jon-Power, Parenting and Punting ACTUAL LETTER TO DEAR JON:

Dear Jon,

For future reference, what are some of the best ways to spend time during an extended power outage?

-Recently Unplugged New Yorker


Dear Unplugged,

You mean to tell me your parents never told you how they spent their blacked out nights in ’65? Here’s a hint: When were you born?

A power outage is only romantic for so long, especially when refrigerators are full of food. If you have an estimate about when power will be restored, and it is not for at least 24 hours, I advise driving to a place that has power. New York to either Maryland or Michigan is a doable drive.


ACTUAL LETTER TO DEAR JON:

Dear Jon,

My teenage daughter is way more popular than I was at her age. I think I might be a little jealous. How do I get over it?

-Minnesota Mom


Dear Sota,

You are a sad specimen of humanity — making you no different from the rest of the 6 billion of us. There are 3 coping strategies for your dilemma.

Mean Parenting: Find pretexts for grounding your daughter, like loading the plates “backwards” in the dishwasher, thus keeping her at home instead of with her friends. Instead of giving her money to spend on fashionable clothes and hairstyles, put her on a budget where she can only shop at “resale” stores and get her hair done at “Upper Cuts Marine Corps Veterans Barbershop.” Meanest of all: make her baby-sit her younger siblings, on the week-ends, without pay.

Hint: This strategy will work especially well if you want to turn your daughter into a rebel determined to ruin her own life just to get even with you.

Passive Agression: “That’s fine. You go out with your boyfriends. I’ll just stay home, worrying, like I did when I was your age and the phone NEVER rang until I was 22 and still living with my parents who were sure I was going to die an Old Maid. But your father took an interest in me, God knows why, only to confirm after 20 years of marriage what was true when I was 16, that no one EVER takes ME ANYWHERE.

Hint: This strategy will work if you want to turn your daughter into a paying sponsor of the psychotherapeutic industry as she tries to escape the guilt complex you heaped on her.

Let her be her own person: Stew in your own envy for a while, and then get over it. This is an unreconstructed aspect of your adolescence that has ambushed you from the shadows. Face that person and welcome her back into yourself. If you need help to do that, get it.


ACTUAL LETTER TO DEAR JON:

Dear Jon,

My girlfriend hates sports. Is there a way to get her interested in football, at least?

-Desperate Fan


Dear Desperate,

According to the Webmaster, I answered this question on July 19, 2001. I have no recollection of what I said and neither do you, so I might as well answer it all over again.

You need to ask yourself, first of all, why a girl who hates sports is with you often enough to be your “girlfriend.” What do you provide that is interesting to her? How do your commitments to sports intrude on the relationship? If they have not intruded, then you are keeping back that whole area of your life, and she is not getting to know the real YOU. If they have intruded and she is still your girlfriend, what exactly is the problem?

Or maybe you started dating during the off-season? Has she been your girlfriend only since March? It is a very good thing that you wrote to Dear Jon.

The fact is, you will never get your girlfriend interested in football. The most you can hope for is to get her interested in the “event.” That means, turning football games into parties. The problem is, you become a “host,” which means you are running around making sure people have what they want. Ideally, therefore, you attend the football parties hosted by OTHER guys with girlfriends THEY are trying to appease.

A less preferable but still a good possibility is to let football be “personal space” time. Unless your girlfriend is a complete psycho, she will appreciate taking personal space from you, too, and use Sunday afternoons for girl-type activities that she had dragged you on before and which she could tell you found really boring, like shopping for shoes and a fourth valance for her bathroom window rotation.

If, however, you are convinced that you need Personal Space for four college football games on Saturday, three NFL on Sunday and one on Monday night, I need to tell you something: I understand you perfectly, but she won’t.

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Dear Jon Letters: Tips for Dating and Mating
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Our advice humorist turns his attention and trademark wit to affairs of the heart in his first and very affordable book (only $8.95!).

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