Five Cents Please: Advice on Threesomes, Condiments, and Facebook Racists

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What’s a gal (or guy) to do when confronting a rude mother-in-law, backstabbing best friend, moral dilemma, or sexual misadventure? Turn to the experts, of course. We’re not sure there’s much book learnin’ involved in spouting social wisdom, but agree or disagree with these sages’ advice, someone needs to be the boss. Of course, no one’s infallible, so we’ll be running a regular feature breaking down some of the advice penned each week and putting in our own two cents. For which we will charge five cents, Lucy-style. Away we go!

One thing is certain in this world of uncertainty: everyone is insane and all of you could use psychiatric help.

Social A’s with Emily Gould for The Awl

The Complaint: I grew up in Idaho, a pretty, if somewhat backwards, state. Recently, an acquaintance from high school posted this on Facebook [sic throughout]: “Isnt this great? Americans have put a socialist into the White House – a socialist who wants to indoctrinate our youth with his socialist agenda. Hitler was able to spread his ideas by appealing to German youngsters. Dont let obama get a hold of our children. Socialism always fails.” Do I respond? And if so, how? My instinct is to stay out of it, but is it possible to have a reasoned, thoughtful discussion about this? Without making her angry and without making me sound like the smug, condescending east coast liberal I have become? Thanks, Teachable Moment?

Emily’s Advice: It’s not enough to just hide her like you do the people who take quizzes or update you on how many novel-words they wrote that day. You probably have to de-friend this person, and you have to tell her why. Passively maintaining your acquaintance/not rocking the boat is making you feel guilty for a reason, and the reason is not that you’re a perpetually-guilty East Coast liberal snob. It’s that you’re a good, right-thinking human being with a shred of conscience and common sense and soul, and anyone who a) calls Obama a socialist (I wish!) and b) says “socialist” like it’s a bad thing is just not. Your message goes, “Dear Tater Ann, I wanted to let you know that your status update offended me for reasons x, y and z, and it probably also offended a lot of other people who feel that you’re too much of a lost cause to bother confronting you about this. I don’t, which is why I’m sending you this message. But if you respond to this message with anything less than courtesy and willingness to accept that you might sometimes be in the wrong, I’ll start. Your friend, Teachable Moment.” But nicer, I guess. Sorry, I am bad at “nicer.”

Our two cents: OMG. Defriend Tater Ann immediately. She’ll never notice, you’ll never think twice about it, and you can keep on laughing at The Colbert Report because you, smug East Coast liberal that you are, will never stop loving socialism and mocking conservatives.

Dear Prudence on Slate

The Complaint: I’m pretty non-confrontational, particularly with people I don’t know well. Almost every day at work, I bring my lunch and eat in the break room with several of my co-workers. I keep some condiments in the refrigerator, such as mayonnaise and mustard, for my sandwiches. They are clearly labeled with my initials on the caps. A woman I work frequently uses my mustard, right in front of me. I can understand co-workers using someone else’s condiments occasionally (with the owner’s permission) if they forget something of their own, but she has used approximately half the bottle at this point. I obviously don’t want to offend this woman, as I have to work with her, but I want her to stop using my mustard. What should I do? —Office Mustard Provider

Prudence’s Advice: This woman’s enjoyment of your condiment has put you in quite a pickle. Obviously you feel her behavior doesn’t cut the mustard. I understand you don’t relish confrontation, so you have two choices. One is to conclude that a jar of mustard is a minor expense and that it doesn’t really bother you if your co-workers spice up their lives with it. The other is to assume she’s never realized the letters on the cap stand for “No, you cannot have some of my Grey Poupon!” In that case, the next time you see her dipping in your jar, say in a friendly way, “Eileen, I see we’re getting low on mustard. I brought in this jar, but would you mind picking up another one so we don’t run out?”

Our Two Cents: You’re so busy being non-confrontational that you’re stewing in your own passive aggressive juices. If you can’t let it go (how much is mustard, anyway? $3.49?) and you can’t convince your office to shell out for some communal condiments (yay!) then yes, do as Aunt Prudie suggests.

Ask Amy in the Chicago Tribune

The Complaint: I have what some might consider an “untraditional” question. I am a very undersexed single woman. A female co-worker and I became very close friends this year, and I am steadily becoming close friends with her husband as well. I’m interested in pursuing a threesome with this couple, but I don’t know how to ask. Certainly, directly asking seems to be the best way, but I’m worried that I might ruin this relationship. They are a very liberal couple, but how do I bring this up without offending anyone or losing my friends?

Amy’s Advice: If you need a stapler, look for it at the office. A threesome? Not so much. Intimately engaging with this couple would interfere not only with your friendships and your professional life, but also with their marriage. I believe the protocol here is for you to wait for them to invite you. Be forewarned — even if they do invite this entanglement and it does happen, your relationship with both parties will change and (I believe) eventually suffer.

Our Two Cents: We need a little more info, Undersexed. Where do you work together? A diner? Or a phone sex hotline? Because that’s a pretty bold way to make new friends at work.

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