March 06, 2007

Uncle Millie Settles His Debt

Loyal readers of this site may have noticed the quasi-triumphant return of America's favorite fugitive romantic columnist, Uncle Millie, a couple weeks back. You may also recall that I made mention of a $500 debt he owed to me. Well, despite his best attempts to evade me afterward, I managed to track him down again. Apparently, a middle-aged gringo with a fake Irish accent doesn't exactly blend in well in Guadalajara, especially when he's too drunk to remember who he's supposed to be running from.

At any rate. After a protracted negotiation, during which Uncle Millie offered to send me "All You Can Drink" happy-hour coupons for the cantina at which he has taken up residence and I demanded something more in the way of hard currency, we struck a compromise. You see, after Uncle Millie emerged from the woodwork, my inbox was deluged with letters from the lovelorn, who have apparently been hoping fervently for Millie's return, so that he could provide his unique brand of insight on their situations. I have agreed to forsake the debt if he would answer some of the questions I've received.

Therefore, what follows is the first installment of Uncle Millie's repayment, if you will. His columns will appear on an irregular basis until I decide that he has paid me back sufficiently, or until he becomes sober enough to flee elsewhere successfully.

Without further ado, I once again present... Uncle Millie!

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Love Hurts, Especially If Her Husband Catches the Two Of You In Bed Together, by Uncle Millie

Hello again, lads! Greetings from glorious Guadalajara! If you ever have a chance to travel south of the border and pay this city a visit, I heartily recommend it to all of you. Guadalajara is a truly gorgeous place, at least the part I can see out of the window of this cantina. For I have not moved from this bar in three weeks, lads. Three weeks of solid drinking and inertia! Life is beautiful, indeed.

Well, my good lad Fred informs me that many of you have sent him romantic queries, in the hope that I might help you through your plight. Fear not, lads, your Uncle Millie would not forsake you in your respective times of need. With a glass or twelve of inspiration at my side, I shall endeavor to once again assist you in finding your way through the battlefield of love and romance. As you know, there is no soldier more veteran on this battlefield than yours truly. If love is a battlefield, think of me as a five-star general. Sort of Dwight Eisenhower with a harem.

And now, let us consider our first letter.

Dear Uncle Millie,

I have been married for 10 years. Our marriage was great at first, but in recent years, things have gone downhill. All we do is fight, it seems like: over money, chores, the kids, etc., etc. Sometimes, whole days go by where we hardly speak to each other, except to argue. And forget about sex. We're basically roommates at this point.

In order to deal with the loneliness, I began a discreet affair with "Margaret" about a year ago. Margaret is a young woman my wife and I knew socially for a long time before the affair began. She's everything my wife isn't: funny, sweet, creative, and not 25 pounds heavier than when I first met her.

Our relationship went along great for months, until Margaret started putting pressure on me to leave my wife. God knows I wanted to, but I decided that I couldn't do that to my kids, so I broke things off with Margaret instead. As far as I can tell, my wife never suspected a thing.

Even though the affair is over, I find that it still bothers me, and makes it hard to sleep at night. Sometimes I think I'd feel better if I just confessed. Do you think I should tell my wife what happened?

Damon in Steubenville

Oh, lad, lad, lad. It's a fortunate thing that I have returned, so that I can show you the error of your ways before it is too late. This is the reason I entered the romantic-advice business in the first place: to help well-meaning but misguided lads like yourself.

First of all, I want to commend you for your wise decision to break things off with "Margaret." In my vast experience, there is nothing worse than a mistress who does not recognize her place. Just as coaches wish to be general managers and actors wish to direct, too many mistresses wish to be wives. A perfect mistress knows that her role is to be available, discreet, and undemanding. Alas, too many of them forget this and start thinking marriage, which spoils everything. Once they get the idea in their heads, there is no stopping them, and they can cause a lot of trouble for you and those around you. I know from first-hand experience just how hard it is to give up on a particularly delightful mistress who fails to recognize her place, but it must be done. So good on you, lad, for carrying it off.

Having done so well in that regard, why would you want to ruin it all by confessing to your wife? Honestly, she's better off not knowing. Put yourself in her place for a moment, lad: imagine that your husband told you that not only had he been carrying on behind your back, but that he'd manage to deceive you completely, thus making you a cuckold and a fool at once. How would that make you feel? Why would you want to hurt her in that way? If she is particularly distressed by the news, she may even divorce you, which would cause the harm to your children that you worked so hard to avoid, and will leave you without your wife, your mistress, your children, and half of your property. Not a wise decision, lad.

More importantly - you got away with it! You had an affair and didn't get caught. You are a hero to men in loveless marriages everywhere. Do you realize how many men would give years off their life to be in your position? You cannot let these men down, lad. Besides, if you confess, even if your wife does not leave you, she will no doubt begin playing Sherlock Holmes in a skirt, as women are wont to do, and examine every aspect of your life with a fine-toothed comb. You'll never be able to get away with anything again, should you decide to begin another affair in the future (which, believe me, you will). In addition, she'll surely hit you over the head with this in every future argument, which will become tiresome. Think it through, lad!

None of this will help you sleep at night, I realize. Should you find yourself in a situation where you simply must confess in order to ease the burden on your conscience, do not tell your wife. Instead, seek out a trusted and discreet professional to whom you can confess with confidence. I find that bartenders are ideally suited for this purpose.

Dear Uncle Millie,

A couple months ago, "Lisa" started working at my office. And I've been in love with her since the moment I saw her. She's beautiful and charming, with a smile that makes me weak in the knees and a laugh that lights up the room. We've talked a lot since she started, and we have so much in common: same taste in food, movies, music, even the same favorite color! ("purple")

Needless to say, I really want to ask her out. But here's the awkward part: I am Lisa's boss. Besides the inevitable awkwardness if she says no, we work together every day and so wouldn't be able to avoid each other. (And I wouldn't want her to quit, because she's a great worker and I don't want to lose her.) And if we do start a relationship and our coworkers find out about it, I'll get the HR smackdown faster than you can say, "Your place or mine?"

I feel like I'm tiptoeing through a minefield. But she's so wonderful! Should I ask her out?

Ben in Los Angeles

Ah, lad, the office romance. As amazing as it may seem, Uncle Millie has never had one of these, due to the fact that I've never had an office job, thank the Lord. Nonetheless, they are as American as baseball, apple pie, and French ticklers. And indeed, given the workaholic culture in America, how could most of us meet mates, if not at the office?

The chain-of-command issue is a tricky one, though, one that has blown many a worthy relationship to smithereens, and you have the right of it to be afraid. But when God drops a gift like "Lisa" into your lap, so to speak, you'd have to be a monk or a fool to pass up the opportunity.

As to your specific issues: you need not worry that she will turn you down. Power is an aphrodisiac, after all, and since she's new, I can't imagine she'd be willing to risk her position by saying no to you. So you needn't concern yourself there.

Once your relationship begins, there is a certain risk, naturally. But bosses and subordinates have been carrying on for as long as there have been women in the workplace, and only rarely does it come to grief. The key, of course, is discretion. If you make love in the office (and really, who hasn't?), make sure that you lock your door first. If your door does not lock, prop a chair under the knob. If you work in a cubicle, you should avoid the office-lovemaking scenario, or at least wait until everyone has gone home. Follow these tips, and you can enjoy "Lisa's" company to your heart's desire. Go forth and be fruitful!

Oh, and if you need further tips on discretion, I believe the lad in the letter above yours could offer a few pointers.

Dear Uncle Millie,

Are those of us who are losers in love destined to always be losers? I've always had bad romantic luck. When I was a dateless loser in high school, everyone said, "Don't worry. When you get older, women will start to appreciate you." Well, I'm 35 now, and they never did start. I've only had a handful of relationships in my life, none for more than a couple months.

I read an article about a study someone did, that supposedly shows that lucky people are lucky because they believe they're lucky. If that's the case, I'm really screwed, because I've always believed that I walk around with a black cloud over my head. "Think positive," people say. But how am I supposed to think positive when my romantic history is a pile of fly-blown roadkill with the buzzards picking off the best parts?

I'm starting to think that I'll never have a long-lasting relationship. Since you're the master of romance, I'm hoping that you can share some tips on how to get the women, so that I won't die old and alone.

Charlie in Cynthiana

Aye, lad, 'tis a tough situation. Uncle Millie has never experienced a slump anything like yours, of course, but I have known many fine fellows who, for whatever reason, never seemed to have the knack with the lasses.

I agree with the article you read that love is a confidence game. Myself, I've never lacked for confidence. But then, with a list of lovers that would make Wilt Chamberlain blush, it's easy to be confident. For someone with as sad a history as yours, lad, not so much.

Nonetheless, I have some advice. When a baseball hitter is in a slump, he often starts to press. He begins to think that he must hit a home run on the next pitch. What usually happens in this instance is that he grits his teeth, grinds his bat handle into sawdust, and produces yet another strikeout.

I suspect something similar is happening to you. When you see a pretty lass, do you start hearing wedding bells in the background? Do you feel like you simply must make it work with her, or you'll wind up single forever? I know you do, lad. And that's your problem. You're pressing.

What you need is something, or more accurately someone, to break your losing streak. The best way to do this is to set your sights a bit lower. Rather than striving for a "home run" - a lifetime of romantic bliss and companionship - shoot for a "single" - a night of erotic and hopefully disease-free amusement. Fortunately, singles bars were practically invented for this purpose. I'll bet that you've never considered that route, lad, but consider: an overcrowded room full of hormonal young lads and lasses, having a few drinks to grease the rails a bit, all looking for a night of fun. Believe me, lad, after a certain point, women will go home with anyone who can walk out under his own power, or at least crawl. Granted, you may have to wait a while for this to happen, by which point your pickings may be a tad slim. You may have to settle for someone who isn't quite as pretty or as smart as your ideal, or who may be missing certain teeth. But it's that snobbish insistence on perfection that put you in this slump in the first place, no? Remember, all hits count the same in the scorebook.

You may protest that you're not going to find your true love in some dive bar, and indeed you will most likely not. But this is not the point. Just as a hitter in a slump may take a detour to the minor leagues to regain his batting eye and confidence, you're trying to boost your numbers sufficiently that you will have the confidence necessary to attract the woman you really would like to have for yours.

And if you arrive at the singles bar and still find yourself unable to make a move, have a few drinks. If you've already had a few, have a few more. Remember, lad, they don't call it a "shot of courage" for nothing.

With that complete, lads, I must away. There is much drinking to be done! I must say that I am beginning to settle in here in lovely Guadalajara. I believe I am gaining the acceptance, respect, and even love of my compadres here. They have even seen fit to give me a nickname, "El Borracho." I am deeply moved.

Until next time, lads, happy hunting!

Posted by Mediocre Fred at March 6, 2007 12:36 PM | TrackBack

Another inspired column! (By "inspired", of course, I mean "liberally juiced with tequila") It's easy to see why Uncle Millie is America's most beloved romantic advice columnist, the paternity suits and alimony bills notwithstanding.

Posted by: PapaShaft at March 7, 2007 11:31 AM

Well, he is different from most advice columnists, that's for sure. I can't think of another straight male columnist writing on romance/ sex. And columnists tend to be settled down; even Dan Savage, who advises much more screwed up people than Uncle Millie, has been with the same guy for over a decade.

Posted by: PG at March 7, 2007 07:03 PM
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