May 08, 2007

Spring Is In the Air

News bulletin: Uncle Millie is still not dead. Despite his best efforts.

America’s best romancer, at least as measured in number of paternity suits, is still in Mexico. With the coming of Cinco de Mayo, I became concerned for Uncle Millie’s health and safety. Faithful readers of his column know that Uncle Millie loves his alcohol, and Cinco de Mayo (at least as practiced in the United States) is basically an excuse for everyone to get smashed on tequila anyway. It was shaping into a perfect storm, centered in Uncle Millie’s liver.

Fortunately, as it turns out, Cinco de Mayo is not a major holiday in most of Mexico. It is a big deal in Puebla, site of the Mexican victory over France that Cinco de Mayo commemorates, but not so much in the rest of the country. Once Uncle Millie found out about this, naturally, he rushed off to Puebla to join in the revelry. Fortunately, as faithful readers of our column also know, Uncle Millie’s sense of direction is on a par with his knowledge of the Spanish language, and he would up going in the opposite direction of Puebla. By the time he realized his mistake, he was well up the Yucatan Peninsula, and it was too late to get back. So he traveled on to Cancun, world-famous resort town. And there, he has found… well, I’ll let him tell the story.

- - - - -

Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Cancun, by Uncle Millie

Como estais, lads! (Thank you to dear PG for the language tip.) Uncle Millie is here in the Spring Break capital of the world, or at least the Western Hemisphere, Cancun! Regrettably, poor planning has caused me to miss the great fiesta of debauchery that is Cinco de Mayo. (Who knew that I’d be better off celebrating a Mexican holiday in Houston or Los Angeles, rather than Mexico itself?) However, Cancun offers quite a number of compensations, I assure you. While I am a bit late for Spring Break and a bit early for summer vacation, there are more than enough bikini-clad beauties to satisfy my needs. The weather is lovely, sunny and in the 80s. At least I believe that it’s in the 80s. The weathermen keep saying that the temperature is 30, which is obviously wrong. I suppose that they might be using the Celsius, but I never learned the conversion factor, and I don’t remember how many millimeters are in a degree and all that. So I’ll just say that it’s nice.

Since Cancun is, as I mentioned previously, a haven for college students on Spring Break, the bartenders here are stocked with a dizzying array of alcohol options. I was recently introduced to a marvelous potion called Goldschlager. Goldschlager is a German liqueur of some kind, which is not Uncle Millie’s usual preference, but it contains real gold flakes! It’s gold you can drink! What a marvelous world we live in. I tried a couple of shots of it, but alas, my good lad Fred’s expense account does not allow me to make Goldschlager a regular part of my life. Nonetheless, I shall cherish the memory fondly.

[Editor’s note: Uncle Millie does not have an expense account to purchase alcohol. In fact, he does not have an expense account of any kind. If he intends to present me with a bill for all the alcohol he has consumed in the writing of this column, words will be exchanged. At any rate, back to the column.]

There are a number of heart-rending queries in the mailbag this week, and I hope that you will be as moved by the plights of these poor lads as I am. I fear for where these lads might be forced to turn for advice if Uncle Millie were not on the scene. I realize that there is no Nobel Prize for romantic advice, but if there were, I am sure that I would receive my due recognition for the humanitarian work I provide to lads in trouble. But enough about me. Let’s look at our first letter!

Dear Uncle Millie.

I’ve always had a little trouble with women, so I decided that I would try one of those online dating sites. No sooner had I signed up than I was matched with “Marla.” We seemed like a good match: similar interests, similar backgrounds, and a few off-the-wall matches (we both want to visit Portugal, for instance). I sent her a message, and we started e-mailing back and forth. She had a good sense of humor and seemed pretty smart, but not too smart. There was definitely chemistry there.

After a couple weeks of e-mailing and a phone call or two, I asked her out. The only thing I was curious about was that she hadn’t put a photo on her profile. I thought this was unusual, but I didn’t worry about it too much; I think that our society is too fixated on appearances, and what’s on the inside matters most.

Well, when we got to the restaurant, I understood why she hadn’t posted a picture. She was, to put it mildly, not at all attractive. I don’t even think I could find her appealing over time. When the date ending, it was obvious that she wanted me to kiss her, but I couldn’t do it. It’s a shame, too, because she was still funny and smart and everything.

She had a great time, apparently, and she’s been trying to get me out on a second date. I’ve been putting her off, saying I can’t find the time, but I don’t want to string her along. She’s the right woman for me in so many ways… except that one. Should I try to make it work? Is it possible to go on dates with your eyes closed?

Paul in Muskegon

Ah, lad, you have run head-on into pitfall of online dating. A number of people use it and swear by it, but Uncle Millie is not one of them. Call me old-fashioned, but by and large, the only people desperate enough to turn to online dating are those who are socially retarded or too hideous to get dates the old-fashioned way, by chatting up drunken strangers at a bar. Occasionally, a good one will slip through the net, but as you’ve discovered, lad, all too many people go the online route for a reason.

That said, I wouldn’t be so quick to write off “Marla” simply because she is, let us say, a bit canine. As you yourself pointed out, there is more to a mate than mere beauty, and it’s quite possible that your lady friend has important compensating qualities. For instance, perhaps she is quite good in bed. Understandably, this may be hard for you to determine, given the fact that you find her appallingly ugly, but I urge you to find out. Fortunately, our society has devised a wonderful way to make otherwise repulsive people seem acceptable: alcohol. For hundreds of years, it has allowed millions if not billions of ugly lads and lasses to get some action between the sheets. Sure, “Marla” may be a woofer now, but after a beer or twelve, she’ll look like Scarlett Johansen to you, at least if you squint a bit. Trust Uncle Millie on this. There have been many times when I have used the water of life to lower my standards. Particularly that one time in New Orleans… but I digress.

If you find that you cannot drink her pretty, or that you cannot hold your liquor well enough to manage it on a regular basis, there are alternatives. Fortunately, American culture associates low light with romantic situations (also with episodes of “24”). Take your lady friend to a candlelight dinner, or to the movies, or to a jazz club. When you get her home, turn out the lights and tell her that the two of you will have to feel your way toward each other. She’ll think that it is foreplay. Or you can try blindfolds, if she is into that sort of thing.

Why am I so insistent that you try to make it work with “Marla,” lad? Well, you said yourself that you find her good company. And if it turns out that she is a good lover, then you’ve got a keeper, even if you can’t take her out in the daylight. Uncle Millie has found, again through experience, that ugly women are often the best in bed. They know that they can’t rely on their looks to attract men, so much like Avis, they try harder. That time in New Orleans certainly convinced me of it.

Uncle Millie is certain that he will hear from the feminists about this, but I would argue that this is actually a pro-female position. After all, what would a typical female advice columnist have to say to this lad? Probably something like this: “If you don’t think she’s pretty, you don’t deserve her. Do her a favor and cut her loose so she can find someone who will find her attractive.” What sweet, well-meaning, soft-headed poppycock. If this lass is as ugly as the lad says, what are the odds that she will find someone who finds her attractive? Slim and none. If the lad followed the feminists’ advice, who knows when this poor lass would find herself a mate? If he follows my advice and discovers her compensating virtues, however, everyone goes home happy. If Uncle Millie were truly the heartless chauvinist that the feminists claim, I would surely advise him to kick her to the curb and find a woman who didn’t make him wince. So stay your poison pens, my dear lasses, for Uncle Millie is truly a ladies’ man at heart.

Dear Uncle Millie,

I’ve been seeing “Erica” for six months now. She’s wonderful, tons of fun; every time I see her, I get a big goofy grin on my face. Whenever we’re together, everything is great; she’s the life of every party. She’s the woman of my dreams in so many ways.

But. (You knew there was a “but” coming, right?) She does ecstasy. I found out when we ran into a friend of hers at a restaurant last week, and the friend mentioned that they’d done it at a rave. When I asked Erica about it later, she said that she does it recreationally, a few times a year, and that it was no big deal.

Well, I think it’s a pretty big deal. It’s illegal, for one thing, and if she gets caught she could go to jail. Also, I know her office does random drug screenings, and if she takes one and fails, she could lose her job. More importantly, it’s dangerous and it could kill her.

Erica thinks I’m being a worrywart. She says she takes precautions, drinking water beforehand and so on, and she doesn’t do it often enough to be a health problem. When I mention the possibility of being arrested or losing her job, she laughs and says, “What fun is life if you don’t take risks?” That may be true, and I know she’s a free spirit, but it seems to me like a stupid and dangerous risk to take.

I don’t want to be her dad or the morality police; I just care about her and worry about her future. Should I keep bringing it up, or let it drop? If she still ignores me, should I take bigger steps (like trying to get her into NarcAnon)?

Doug in Charlotte

Lad, are you familiar with the Biblical question “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Let me assure you, lad, that you are not your lady friend’s keeper. Let the lass have her fun. What harm?

I will do all you lads the favor of sparing you my lecture on the silly and hypocritical nature of American policies on drugs. While Uncle Millie favors the old-fashioned, societally-sanctioned methods of diversion and amusement – namely, alcohol and lovemaking – I do not stand in judgment of those who find their sanctuary with Mary Jane, or Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, or any of their illicit cousins. As long as people are adequately informed of the risks – and it sounds as though your lady friend is well aware – I believe we should all be adults about it. You pays your money and you takes your chances.

More to the point, how is “Erica’s” drug use impacting your life, lad? Is she forcing you to do drugs with her? No. Is she even doing them in your presence? No. Is her behavior while on drugs causing you embarrassment in public? Not that you mentioned. Most importantly, is it negatively affecting your sex life? Again, not that you’ve mentioned. If anything about her drug use is going to negatively affect your sex life, it will be you nagging her about it to the point that she stops making love to you. Fortunately, you don’t seem to have that problem yet. So get off her back, lad, before she exiles you to the couch or worse.

If, down the road, your lady friend develops a problem that actually affects your relationship, such as gaining 50 pounds, then feel free to write Uncle Millie back. Unless that happens, though, laissez les bons temps roulez! (which, as we all know, is Spanish for “if you dig it, do it”)

Dear Uncle Millie,

I’m in a bind, and I hope you can help. Last year, I was set up on a date with “Rachel” through friends. Rachel and I saw each other a few times over a month or so, but frankly, I didn’t feel any sparks and I didn’t think the relationship was going anywhere. When she told me she was breaking up because she was “too busy right now,” I figured that she’d noticed the same lack of sparks and was trying to be polite. I didn’t mind. Frankly, I was a little relieved that I didn’t have to dump her myself. Neither of us made an attempt to contact the other, and I let it drop from my mind.

Fast forward a year or so, and out of the blue, I get an e-mail from Rachel. She said she was sorry if she hurt me, but that her life had become less busy, and that if I was interested, she’d like to resume our relationship. Well, it’s true that she didn’t hurt me, but frankly, that’s because I didn’t care all that much. She’s nice enough, and I respect her, but I haven’t been pining for her. On the other hand, I’m not seeing anyone now, and Rachel wasn’t bad company or anything. I could think of a lot worse ways to spend an evening than with her. Still, she treated me well in the break-up, and I wouldn’t want to hurt her by playing around with her heart. (She’s been hurt before by guys who played with her like that.) Every time I think about it, I go around in circles like this.

So, Uncle Millie, what should I do? Should I tell her I’m not interested? Or should I give it another whirl, maybe see if I feel a spark this time?

Will in Chicago

Ah, lad, Uncle Millie has faced this dilemma many times before. As you may have noticed, I am a legend in the romance department, and my motto is, “Always leave them waiting more.” I do, and they do. As a result, I’ve had any number of lasses come running back after we parted ways, realizing that they just can’t recreate the Millie Magic with anyone else. So I certainly know whereof you speak, lad.

Now, you mention that you are currently without a lady. This is a direct violation of Uncle Millie’s commandment that you never allow yourself to be caught short, but no matter. For you have your deliverance at hand, in the form of “Rachel.” Now, it seems clear that she is not destined to be your lady love. But she will suffice perfectly as a place-holder. Have you ever noticed, lad, that men with lady friends are invariably more attractive to other lasses than those without? (This is one reason I recommend that you never allow yourself to be caught short.) Sure, Rachel may not be your ideal mate, but she will provide you with the company necessary to make yourself more appealing to the lass who is your ideal. In this way, Rachel could be far more useful to you than she was the first time around.

Just do not allow yourself to get sucked into some romantic fantasy that you’ll “discover the spark” on this go-round. Uncle Millie has spent a great deal of time rubbing sticks together in the hopes of producing a spark, and let me assure you, lad, that if there was no spark previously, there won’t be one now. This is not a problem, provided that you understand it and set your sights on short-term amusement only.

You mention that you don’t wish to hurt this lass, and you may feel that this attitude is hurtful or that you’re “using” her. I assure you that this is not the case. If you don’t believe me, consider: Why did she suddenly pop out of the woodwork after a year of radio silence? You’ve made no attempt to contact her in all this time; she can’t possibly believe that you have spent a year lighting candles and praying for her return. So why now? Uncle Millie knows: Like you, she finds herself companionless, and she is feeling a bit lonely herself and seeking some company (or, better yet, casual sex) with someone she knows and trusts. She cannot expect any more to come of this than you do, unless she is too crazy or stupid to be a suitable companion anyhow. There is no shame in what I advise, only short-term happiness and the possibility of something finer, if someone special takes a shine to you. So Uncle Millie blesses a happy reunion. Go forth and live it up, lad!

That concludes the advice portion of this column. I did want to close today with a message for my beloved Aunt Beatrice. Despite my heartfelt appeal a couple columns back, my good lad Fred tells me that he has heard nothing from you. Perhaps you were offended by my gentle joshing that I missed Irish whiskey more than you, my love. If so, allow me to assure you that this was simply my rapier-sharp wit at work. I miss you far more than Irish whiskey. Besides, now that I am in Cancun, I have found several purveyors of my favorite thirst-quencher. But I still have not found you!

Are you still upset about my roving eye? A trifle, my sweet, a trifle. Surely you do not believe that those other women meant more to me than you? Believe me, lad, you mean far, far more to me than Shelly. Or Tricia. Or Roxie. Or Vanessa. Or what’s her name, the waitress at that Polynesian bar in LA… Kathy? Katie? Kelly? No matter. Next to you, they are nothing. Come back to me, my love, and I will show you how true that is.

In the meantime, I must away. I have been asked to lend my expertise to judging a wet T-shirt contest. Happy hunting, lads!

Posted by Mediocre Fred at May 8, 2007 12:36 PM | TrackBack

I think the solution to Uncle Millie finding Aunt Beatrice is to go underground. I hear there's this new team out there that might work, if you have a problem, if no one else can help. If he can find them, maybe he can hire them. Can't remember what they're called, though. I'd say he should check the phone book. Start with "A".

On online dating, I am surprised that Uncle Millie didn't bring up the best alternative of all - online speed dating. While drunk. In doing this, I'm sure any reasonably imbibed male would be able to attract the best of the social trainwrecks of the female universe. Why settle for one, when you can have dozens? Quantity over quality, after all. As he says, never be caught short.

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