When talking with friends over dinner the other night it occurred to us that you never see an advice column written by a man. The underlying premise of this is twofold. First, only women seek advice, and secondly, no woman has confidence in the opinions or advice of men, including (or especially) her husband.
There is a simple reason why men don’t seek advice. We don’t need it. That’s because we can pretty much figure things out for ourselves; like figuring out the directions when we’re driving someplace where we’ve never been before.
Guys do sometimes seek instruction on important projects, such as a challenging car repair, or with setting up home beer brewing equipment. But the purpose of seeking instruction about projects such as these is to gather technical and procedural information, not advice.
Women on the other hand are advice seekers. This deep seated need to seek advice always has something to do with relationships. Occasionally the relationship issue concerns another woman, but more likely it concerns a woman’s relationship with the man in her life.
I’ve also observed that when a woman is seeking advice she almost always begins her sentence with the words, “I feel like…” It really doesn’t matter what words follow “I feel like” because the subject and substance of her plea for understanding (which she can count on from another female) are always the same – “How can I change him to be the compassionate, thoughtful, attentive, caring, considerate, sensitive, and warmhearted good listener I want him to be?” (Simple translation for men – “Understand how she feels.”)
These perspectives on the value of male advice columnists notwithstanding, I’ve decided to offer my services to the community by using this space as an advice column from time to time. I’ll be glad to tackle advice inquiries by both men and women. As a sample of my approach, here are two examples of how I would approach being an advice columnist.
Dear George: I hope you can help. My wife keeps moving the furniture for no apparent reason. What does this mean and what should I do?
Signed: Mystified in Milford
Dear Mystified: My wife does the same thing. I don’t have a clue why she does it or what it means. I heard her and a friend talking about being nesters, but I think more likely it’s hormonal. Anyway, as long as she doesn’t mess with your chair, the TV or the remote, the best thing to do is to remain calm, and with as much sincerity as you can muster tell her the new furniture arrangement looks nice. Try to use a soft sensitive tone that conveys thoughtful understanding and appreciation for her hard work. By the way, if you don’t have a travel trailer you might want to invest in a small one that you can easily set up in the backyard to stay in for a few days if your attempts to convey thoughtful understanding don’t work. Hope this helps, George
Dear George: I hope you can help. The other day I told my husband I was going shopping for a few hours. I hadn’t gotten more than a mile from home when the car sputtered, stalled and stopped for no apparent reason. Since I wasn’t too far away I walked back home to ask my husband to come and look at the car.
When I arrived home, to my surprise, I found him and the single lady that lives next door sitting in the backyard laughing and drinking beer. I confronted him and he assured me nothing was going on. I don’t know what might have happened if I hadn’t shown up when I did. We’ve been married for 46 years and I’ve never known him to be unfaithful, but now I’m not sure I can trust him. What do you think I should do?
Signed, Bewildered in Williamsburg
It’s hard to say what made your car stall and stop for no apparent reason. It would be easier to diagnose the problem if I knew the make, model, and year of your vehicle. It could be something as minor as a loose gas cap or as major as a blown head gasket. If your husband hasn’t already fixed the car, I recommend taking it to a reliable ASE certified mechanic.
Hope this helps,
Readers, I welcome your letters anytime. Please mail or email them to my attention at The Clermont Sun.
George Brown is a freelance writer. He lives in Jackson Township.