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Ask Anyone

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I need advice on how I can get girls to like me for me and not for looks.

—She’s So Vain

The Straight Skinny says: guess you’re saying you don’t consider yourself a good-looking guy. Because unless this is a Disney film starring Zac Efron, I can’t imagine why you’d care that girls liked you because you’re handsome.

The answer is that you can’t “get” girls (or boys) to like you at all. You can’t really force the issue. Sure, it helps if you’re funny. It helps if you’re kind. (It can also sometimes help, with a certain kind of audience, if you’re a little bit bad—but then you generally have to be handsome, too.) My first piece of advice is that you not assume girls (or boys) don’t like you. (And I am aware of what we mean by “like” here.) Certainly don’t make any assumption as to why they don’t like you. No one likes their motives to be pinned down that way. Worse, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: If you assume people don’t like you because you don’t feel good-looking, then you will behave as if people don’t like you. That will make people uncomfortable, and believe me, they’ll hate you for that.

So my second piece of advice is to lighten up and be patient. The right girls (or boys) will come along. They almost always do.

the rapid regift

I am so broke this Christmas, I am entertaining a plan to ensure I get through the day.

I have to go to my father’s house for Christmas Eve, then my mother’s house for Christmas Day. My parents are both remarried and neither aren’t on speaking terms. Neither do they speak to each other’s spouses. I think I have discovered a benefit to this. Since we open presents at Dad’s X-Mas Eve, my plan is to return home with the loot and rewrap it to take to my mom’s Christmas Day. I’ll give my mother whatever my dad and stepmom gave me, and I’ll give my stepfather whatever they gave my husband. They’ll never see each other so it’s pretty failsafe. There’s almost no way I will get busted.

The only thing that really bothers me about it is this: My kids will be at both events and are bound to notice my scam. How can I explain to them that this is really the best way: It saves me money and provides my mom and stepdad with presents they will actually like instead of whatever cheap items I can actually afford this year.


The Gay Perspective: Your children have probably observed you in action before, and are well aware of your values and sense of ethics. You have no worries there. The value of a Christmas gift, of course, is supposed to be immaterial. The children might enjoy giving hand made gifts, such as candies, soaps, candles. Maybe you can take a copy of Martha Stewart Living from a doctor’s office waiting room or from another relative get some ideas.

The Practical Cogitator says: Oh, the tangled web we weave…You are going to get caught. There is no question about it. One of your darling young children is going to open her big-kid mouth and say, “Didn’t Grampa give you that last night?” and then your mother is not only going to be mad at you, but she’s going to hate the gift, since your father bought it, and no one will have a merry holiday at all. The gift will end up in a cluttered closet, you won’t have it, your mother won’t use it, and everyone will feel resentful.

If you are low on cash, you are not alone, Have the kids draw a picture, bake some cookies, make a card, buy them a plant…but do not re-gift gifts to enemies.

The Straight Skinny says: I see no problem with this. Of course, one Christmas in the late 1970s I gave my eldest brother, Dave, a Spanish-language Charlie Brown book that was inscribed inside “Merry XMas, David, Christmas 1965.” So maybe I’m not the right person to ask.

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