World’s Greatest Deadbeat Dad

Dear Carolyn: Seventeen years ago I divorced the mother of my four children. After a heated divorce lasting several months, we agreed on things and split up legally. Throughout the proceedings my wife used my children as weapons against me, and I spent the next several years listening to insult after insult from my children, driven from their mother. Under no circumstances will I paint the picture that I was the perfect angel, but I never expected or deserved what I got from them.

My work had me out of state for the past seven years. During that time, I had little to no contact with my children. I came back home in December of 2010 and quickly tried to rebuild my relationship with my children thinking that now, as adults, they would be able to see that my love for them never died. I lent them money, I bent over backward to spend time with them, nothing.



Carolyn Hax

Carolyn Hax started her advice column in 1997 as a weekly feature for The Washington Post, accompanied by the work of “relationship cartoonist” Nick Galifianakis. She is the author of “Tell Me About It” (Miramax, 2001), and the host a live online discussion on Fridays at noon.


(Nick Galifianakis/For The Washington Post)

This past weekend I visited my 28-year-old’s Facebook page to discover she has now declared her stepdad as “Navy Dad for life.” She bought him the T-shirt, took the picture and posted it.

Needless to say I was devastated. My plans to visit her were canceled as a result. She sent me text messages telling me I had no reason to be upset and that I would never hear an apology from her. The next day, my ex sends me a text telling me that SHE in fact bought the T-shirt for her husband and to lighten up on our daughter.

First of all, what business does my ex have buying that T-shirt? Second, how do they justify hurting me like this without taking any responsibility for their actions?

My daughter deploys next month and I don’t want her to leave under these conditions, but I will NOT stand for the disrespect from her. All four of my children are not speaking to me over this (all driven by the mother). — F.


You’ve been in parental purgatory for 17 years, and you’re planting your flag on a lousy T-shirt.

And now that I’ve said that, are you going to blame me, too, for your tattered bond with your kids?

Dear Dr. Brothers: I did something to my mother, and I am not sure whether an apology will really help. I knew she didn’t want me to borrow her car because I haven’t had much experience driving since I got my license. But she knew how much I wanted to go visit a certain friend, so she let me. Then I had a minor accident, and I know she was very upset, though she tried not to show it. I paid for the damages, but I somehow don’t think that is enough. Do you? — F.F.

One Line Wednesdays: Binge and Purge

June 15, 2011 : Savage Love | The A.V. Club

I’ve been married to my amazing husband for 11 years. I’m straight and love being with two men at once, and he’s bi, so that makes for crazy-hot-fun times. We have all the kids we want, so he’s had a vasectomy. I’m still fertile, but don’t want to end up pregnant by one of our thirds, so we’re taking every conceivable precaution. (See what I did there?) My question is this—if we’re performing oral on our third and he comes in my husband’s mouth and then my husband goes down on me, could I get pregnant via oral transfer?

Baby Shop Is Closed

Look, I’m as open minded as the next person, but while reading your question, I threw up in my mouth a little.

Hip Hop Hooray

Today’s entry comes from the column of Dr. Joyce Brothers

Dear Dr. Brothers: I have met a really cool guy, but we have one thing that is keeping us from going to a deeper place. It may sound silly, but that is our musical tastes. I like hip-hop, and he likes classical music and jazz. The problem is, we could just try to ignore this, but in his free time, he likes to go and jam with friends and go to see various orchestras. So he drags me with him, and I have to sit there and pretend to like it. Should I refuse to go with him? — A.H.

The good doctor prescribes:

Dear A.H.: It is a shame your musical taste is so different when the guy you are dating seems to spend a lot of time thinking about, enjoying and making music. I wonder if he feels as distressed as you do about your lack of compatibility in this area, or if he just hopes you will grow to see (and hear) things his way. It’s impossible to know unless you take the time to sit down with him and discuss the subject. He may think your music is ridiculous and childish, and you may find his boring and incomprehensible. But maybe you can make a deal: You each take a piece or an artist and try to do a little in-depth research about it — reading, listening, etc. — and then compare notes. It may be that you both will find something in the other’s choices to admire.

If worse comes to worst, you could just stay home instead of going with your friend to his music venues. But you’d be missing out on getting to know him on another level, and he surely would come to resent the fact that you don’t really want to grow in your relationship. In fact, I would predict that your refusal to go along would be seen as a put-down of his music and would soon lead to a parting of ways. I am sure you both would be more comfortable with people you could be on the same wavelength with musically, but you can always prove me wrong.

Musical taste is a very personal thing.  I’d be willing to bet that most people would rather have someone look through their porn collection or diary than their iTunes Library. There are more skeletons in my musical closet (Summer Girls by LFO) than I care to admit.

Ever wonder why iPods have headphones instead of speakers?  Because no one else wants to hear your music, that’s why.  I saw someone take a dump in the middle of the aisle on the NYC subway once. I mention this because while there are signs all over saying “Radios Silent”  there is nothing about keeping your shit off the floor.  That right there is all you need to know about other’s opinions of your music (and that New Yorkers value a quiet ride over the inconvenience of having to walk around a steamer during the morning commute.)

I mean really, this is what is keeping you from getting to “a deeper place?” Sound’s pretty shallow to me. It’s not politics or values, it’s music, and most of it is just goddamned noise.  Sure you may not appreciate each others music, but so fucking what? I’d rather listen to audio of my parents having wild monkey sex than listen to a album of.. I dunno something hip-hop.  I don’t even care enough to Google who is popular on the hip-hop scene these days.

Just let it go.  Following Joyce’s advice is a total waste of time. I don’t dislike hip-hop because I’m not educated about it.  I dislike it because it fucking sucks. You like it.  Good for you. You did what is reasonable.  You went to concerts a few times, gave his music a shot, and found it wasn’t for you.  If everything else is great, then let music be something that you enjoy separately.  If he is worth dating, he’ll understand that you’d rather do anything else and not force you to go.

When he jams or goes to concerts with his friends, go out with your friends.  You can meet up later (or before) and spend time then.  Listening to him talk about it for 10 minutes is better than sitting through it for 2 hours.

There is a glimmer of hope for you, considering that 10 years ago, in an attempt to be relevent, the London Symphony Orchestra did an entire concerts of Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and The Who.  Maybe you’ll get lucky and they’ll cover “Bitches Ain’t Shit”  but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Until then, looks like yours will be a two iPod relationship.

Look out for Number 2

Dear Miss Manners:

Can you hear me now, bitch?

When at a public restroom and the person in the stall next to you receives a call, what should one do when finished with one’s “business”?

Wait to flush until the call finishes (who knows how long that would be?) or flush and have her caller know where she is receiving the call? It’s a dilemma.

When confronted with conflict, you have two choices: Diffuse or Escalate. I choose escalate here.  People who talk on the shitter need to be taught a lesson.

Bathrooms are generally quiet places, but have very specific sounds.  I would make those sounds as loud as I possibly could.  I would grunt and moan as if I am pushing out a turd the size of a watermelon.  Throw in some grunts and moans, as well as a few “Oh GODs!”  Stomp your feet on the ground – really get into it. If you have to pee, stand on top of the toilet and aim for the deep water to really get some volume going.

Channel your inner third grader and rip the most tremendous armpit farts you can, or go for the gold and use your hand against your mouth.  I would borrow a phrase from shady politics “flush early and often.”

You know you’re doing a good job if someone else in the bathroom asks “Good God, are you alright???” Don’t go too far though.  EMT’s in general are pretty easy going, but don’t like having their time wasted.

Oh, and be sure to hit the jet-engine style hand dryer on the way out.

Family Planning

From Ask Carolyn:

My boyfriend says that, as of now, he doesn’t think he’ll want to have kids. (We’re both in our early 20s.) I know I do want kids, and I know “Eli” would be a great husband and father if he gave himself the chance. I think he might change his mind, and he acknowledges that indeed he might.

We love each other, share the same values and are really great friends. How long should I wait to see if Eli actually will change his mind? One year? Five years? What’s realistic? I want this to work, but I don’t want to wait forever if the same deal-breaker is at the end of the tunnel.

Wanting a child is a perfectly natural thing for a woman. It’s called the maternal instinct.  Men, who lack this instinct, see pregnancy as the beginning of hormone swings, body changes, late night feedings, diapers, college tuition and it scares the ever living shit out of them. Sure, they look forward to their woman’s boobs getting bigger, but mostly, kids are the end of freedom.  Men don’t want to have kids because they themselves are really just overgrown children… until they have kids.

What men have is the paternal instinct, which basically consists of wanting to put their penis inside you.  This, as you learned in sex-ed, is how babies are made.

It's a miracle!

I’ll tell you what Carolyn and everyone else knows, but is too responsible to actually say. There is no need to wait. You don’t technically need his permission to have his kid.  Not really. To put it another way, accidents happen, especially the ones we help happen.

Not that I would advocate such behavior, but condoms aren’t 100% effective. Especially when they are stabbed with a safety pin a few dozen times.  You have no idea how easy it is to mistake tic tacs for birth control pills.

Since you know that he will be a good father, it’s not really wrong to help nature along. You’re helping him reach his full potential.  Nothing wrong with that. You’ll be closer. Not just physically and emotionally, but financially and legally.  I’m sure even if he finds out that you had a helping hand in the unexpected bundle of joy, mother’s instinct is never wrong.

Fair warning though, your man can read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” from cover to cover and the only thing he’ll retain is “your boobs will get bigger”

Better than NyQuil

Today’s One Line Wednesday™ comes courtesy of Dear Abby:

Show some restraint

I am 13 and in the eighth grade. I have always had trouble sleeping. Every night it takes me an hour to fall asleep, and lately I haven’t been able to sleep at all. I have started taking pills that make you drowsy so I can get some sleep. My mom doesn’t know about the pills. I’m scared to keep on doing this. I have told my mom about my sleep problem, and she tells me to read. She won’t take me to the doctor because she thinks my problem is normal. Abby, this isn’t normal.

What can I do? Sleepless in Oklahoma

This problem will go away when you discover masturbation


Each week, I select a letter for One Line Wednesday™ and skip the usual in-depth advice and gets right to the point in one word or sentence. Think you can do better? Submit your one line response below.  Who knows, maybe eventually there will be a prize for the best one.

The Kid’s Mom Has a Point

A vintage Dear Abby from 2005:

A Mondo guy played by a douche

Dear Abby,

I have a mondo problem. I think my mom doesn’t like me anymore. When I fell off my bike head-first without a helmet, she said I was “overdramatic.”

I have fallen down 18 feet of stairs four times, and my dad was the only one who helped me. Sometimes my mom is really nice, but I am a little scared of her.

I would tell her myself, but I am 12 and still very sensitive. Please help.

Scared in Nashville

Jesus Christ kid, it only took this letter for me not to like you. I can only imagine what putting up with your bitching for 12 years is like. Here’s what you need to do. First and foremost: grow up. I don’t mean to say that your immature. I mean that no one likes 12-year-olds unless they’re a single malt. You’re all obnoxious, self-centered, spoiled brats who have it way too easy. Some kids become tolerable around 16 or 17, but most really need to hit their 21st birthday and start drinking before they’re any fun be around.

Also, be aware that you are not Corey Feldman and this is not 1985, so “mondo” should not be in your vocabulary. You’re from Nashville, not SoCal.  You don’t sound like a surfer. You sound like a douche.

Next, learn how to walk down the fucking stairs.  There may be books at the library or YouTube videos.  I don’t really know.  I could navigate steps since before I can remember because I am a normal person.

On second thought, I’m calling bullshit  on this crap about the stairs. First off, 18 feet? Do you have any idea how high that is? It’s two fucking stories of continuous hurt at least. It would take forever to get to the bottom. You not only went back for seconds, you went back four Goddamned times. If you had a brain in your head, you’d figure that after the second time, you should probably take the elevator.

Meet Your new best friend

Speaking of the brain in your head, if you can’t navigate something as simple as a set of stairs, what the Jesus makes you think that you can ride a bicycle without a helmet? At the very least you should be wearing a helmet, elbow pads, knee pads, a mouth guard, hockey pads, and a little flashing light so they could find you in the dark when you inevitably run your bicycle into a ditch. In fact, you might want to look into a tricycle, though I’m pretty sure you’d manage to turn that into a death trap as well so stick to walking on flat level surfaces.

I’m siding with your mom on this one. Her word was “over-dramatic”, my word is “apt.” Either you’ll outgrow what has to be the most awkwardly awkward phase I never heard of, or natural selection will do its job and you’ll be put out of your misery. Either way, eventually your mom  will like you again – it’s really bad form to hate your dead kid.