imperfect advice from strangers

Affection, Gift Returns, and Professors on Facebook

I'm 30 and live with my boyfriend of four years. We have sex a couple times a week and occasionally he will tolerate a few minutes of cuddling, but otherwise we touch minimally. This seems like a trivial thing to whine about, but I really miss making out. I think physical contact is an important way to feel bonded with somebody. I might be fine with the companionship dynamic if we were perhaps in our 60s, but at this point it mostly serves to make me feel lonely and subtly rejected (I try to kiss him on occasion, but he generally grimaces and turns away). We've discussed this multiple times and my boyfriend grasps that it's an issue for [...]


Shared Spaces, Lie-Measurement, and the Manageable Hassle

1. I've been with my husband for four years, although we have just been married a few months. We have a really great relationship, with just a few issues, and the biggest one for me is housework. He does NOTHING. And it drives me insane. I think it's a combination of a lot of things — his parents are hoarders so he grew up in a very messy house, and he has adult ADD which can make it impossible for him to focus on things, especially things he doesn't want to do. He feels bad about not helping, he apologizes, and he laments over the difficulty of changing. But after [...]


Stay-at-Home Dads and the Confrontation-Averse

1. My husband went from having two jobs when we were first married to now being a stay-at-home dad. He raises our toddler daughter, runs our household like a tight ship, is a fantastic cook, and manages our finances so well that we live fairly comfortably on one salary.

He loves being a full time dad. He was worried at first that he’d be bored, but he loves his time with her, and especially being able to plan his days the way he wants. Between the parenting and the domestic stuff, he’s working just as hard, if not harder, than he ever did. He’s fulfilled and happy.

My issue is his [...]


Loaner Shirts, Neon Books, and the Meanings of Sleazy

1. When you're sleeping over at a guy’s place (someone you don’t know well, for the first time, not someone you’re dating), and he offers me a t-shirt to sleep in, is it because he wants me to wear the t-shirt or is it just politeness? I don’t get it, because one would think it would be preferred for me to be naked.

It’s a bit of both. I first started offering gals a t-shirt because other gals had requested one, and they seemed to appreciate it. But it didn’t take me long to realize that women look smoking hot in nothing but underwear and a t-shirt. It’s sexy [...]


Selective Empathy and "An Outlet for Maternal Feelings"

1. You Married Dudes are driving me nuts! Or, I'm driving myself nuts, I don't know. I'm one of those women the Big Chatty Articles have been talking about recently — I've worked hard, and I'm more successful and make more money than most men my age, or so it seems. And I can't find anyone to date seriously. The people who've achieved the kind of success I find attractive — I'm not attracted to unsuccessful men, or women either, I suppose — are usually older than me, by about 10 years. And men 10 years older than I am are usually married. So, nope can't date him, can't date [...]


Drunk Pics, Hot Sisters, and Long-Distance Dumping

1. Here's my situation. I'm a successful, attractive 30-year-old woman who has recently (like just signed papers recently) gotten out of a painful albeit short marriage (together three years, married for one and a half). My marriage was neglectful for some time, and it took therapy and a lot of work to realize the problem wasn't me, and I feel like I have been handling things pretty well.

I had been lonely and emotionally unfulfilled in my marriage for a while. I rushed the engagement probably to hold on to someone who wasn't that into me. I feel like I have been grieving for a long time. I left [...]


Sensual Shampoos, UTIs, and a "Mutual Love of M*A*S*H"

1. I’m a 30-year-old woman who has lived internationally. My biggest issue is that I can’t seem to let exes go. My first long-term boyfriend was for four years. He took it very hard when I broke up with him and has said he still considers me the love of his life (though he has a long-term girlfriend). I am still in contact with his family, and when l last saw him (four years ago), I was inappropriately friendly.

My next relationship ended mutually after two years, but he also took the break up very badly. We are very good friends now (and have travelled together) and he has said [...]


Photo Etiquette and the Modern Family

1. I need some honest, impartial advice here. From you, from other Hairpinners, from anyone really.

My boyfriend and I have been together for five and a half years. That is a pretty long time, especially considering we're both 23. We love each other very much, have very similar goals, values, senses of humor, etc. We are in the same work field but with different focuses, so we help each other creatively and work together well. Basically, it's all good. Marriage is forecasted at some point, but right now we are very new to the "real world" and thus have no money and no real clue where our lives are [...]


Crushes on Professors and "How Can I Tell If I'm Boring?"

1. I'm going to keep this brief. Basically, like many before me, I have a crush on one of my college professors. I wouldn't consider anything other than a little flirting until after I'm done with his class, but do you have any tips for seducing him? Maybe some subtle-but-effective flirting techniques? Also, without really knowing much about the situation, what are my chances?

I have no tips and if your professor is a stand-up guy, you have no chances.

I know, I know, I'm very cruel! There are happy couples 'round the world who met while one was teaching the other, and for good reason — it's intoxicating, sitting below [...]


Hair and Morality

1. This is ridiculous but I can't stop thinking about it, and I apologize in advance if I sound like a jerk. Or, I guess tell me if I'm a jerk. There's this guy I know who is sort of on that threshold of friend/romantic whatever, but I can't stand his hairstyle. He's very middle-of-the-road otherwise, style-wise, but this hairstyle. It's not even that crazy, I just really hate it, and he's always adjusting it. He likes it. He's a good looking dude, too. If a guy asked me to change my hairstyle, I'd be like "screw you!" but then I'd freak out privately and probably change my hairstyle. [...]