It’s Tuesday, rejoice, it’s time for the anonymous mailbag.
As always, send your anonymous mailbag questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, anonymity guaranteed.
Here we go:
“My wife is an amazing cook, everything she cooks I could see being served in a fancy restaurant. Here is the catch, whenever she gets done cooking it looks like a grenade went off in our kitchen, total thunder dome. Of course she expects me to clean her giant mess. The kicker is, as good as her food is I would rather eat a bowl of ramen or cereal than have her cook and deal with the mess. It is also worth noting she claims to love cooking.
O wise one, how do approach my wife and tell her to cook for me without making such a mess? Is it even possible?”
You can’t win here.
A big part of cooking is that you’re supposed to be grateful for the work of the cook.
Some cooks require that you genuflect at their cooking altar more than others, but you must be grateful. It’s why, honestly, I like eating out at restaurants more than I like feeling responsible for the time someone spends to cook.
If cooking is something you enjoy doing, why should I have to thank you all the time for doing it?
I mean, there are tons of things I like to do that no one ever compliments me for.
For instance, right now I’m watching “Succession.”
I enjoy that, but I don’t expect anyone to compliment me for doing so. “Oh, you like watching that TV show? Good for you!”
Cooking is one of those rare hobbies that someone can have that they enjoy doing and you’re also obligated to compliment them for doing it too.
I can’t even hardly think of any others, maybe gardening?
Anyway, I don’t think you can win in this situation. The moment you complain about the mess she’s going to say, “I just spent (insert number of hours here) preparing this meal and you’re going to complain about the mess?!”
Then you look like an asshole. Because all you have to do is sit down at the table and eat. (And clean too, but that’s where the battle comes.)
So while I’d like to give you a good out here, the only out I can think of is don’t let the cooking happen in the first place.
My wife doesn’t cook very often, but when she does she takes it as an insult if I don’t eat the leftovers in the days ahead until there are none left.
Worse than that, she treats me like I’m wasting money if I don’t eat the leftovers or pick something else to eat.
“Why are you eating that? We have leftovers, you know.”
What does every husband say in response to this? “I know, I just felt like something different.”
And then your wife’s all passive aggressive about the goddamn leftovers.
And you really just want to say.
“YEAH, I KNOW. BUT I DON’T WANT TO EAT THE SAME GODDAMN THING FOR THE NEXT WEEK FOR LUNCH AND DINNER.”
Because you know the immediate response will be.
“I don’t even know why I try and cook for you guys!”
This is like a solid decade of my life.
So I eat the goddamn leftovers even when I have no interest in eating the goddamn leftovers.
The worst is when my wife tries to make it seem like I’m wasting money. We spend money in my household like drunken sailors. I can’t even keep up with the credit card bill and Amazon packages arriving at our house on a daily basis.
What are leftovers worth from a dollars and cents perspective? Five bucks? Ten bucks at most?
I’m of the opinion that I should be able to eat whatever I want whenever I want to eat it, but my wife treats the leftovers like they’re stacks of gold bullion she’s throwing out if we haven’t consumed them.
Anyway, maybe this is just my house but all of these things I just laid out are why I prefer just eating dinner outside the house.
It’s more expensive, but simpler.
“I am a junior in college and have been dating the same girl for pretty much the entirety of my college life. We’ve had ups and downs but nothing major that would cause a break up. However, there is a girl I graduated high school with I’ve always been good friends with. We have always clicked and there is an obvious amount of chemistry between us. Recently we’ve gotten back in touch and even hooked up once. We talked about how the timing has never been right and how we’d both be in favor of being more than friends if the timing is ever right. I feel that there is a higher potential in that relationship than the one I’m in now. My question is do I stick with the girl I’ve been with through college, or do I take a risk, become single, and see what happens with the girl from high school?”
I don’t know if it will work out with the new girl, but you’re already cheating on your current girlfriend.
That’s a pretty good sign your current girlfriend’s not the right one and deserves better.
Also, related note, you’re a junior in college. You’re 21. Stop looking to get married right now and just have fun.
I’m not sure why you need to seriously be dating anyone at your age.
(That goes for all you college and high school kids out there reading this right now. What’s the rush? Take it from an old man like me, you have plenty of time to pick someone and get married. In fact, if you’re a guy and have a decent job, the longer you wait, the more desirable you become.)
“I play on a 7v7 coed indoor soccer team. I’ve played with the same group for years and we play year round. All of us played at least high school, and the ladies on our team can hang with the guys – well, all except 1.
We have one female player who is terrible.
It’s all for fun and none of this really matters, but it’s sort of becoming an issue for me. This gal is the younger sister of another player and just joined the team last season. She is loud and obnoxious. She either is nonexistent or she makes major mistakes.
Again, all for fun but we are in a more competitive division. Worst of all, she’s started to call me out on stuff.
I’m certainly not the best player but I am definitely not the worst. She does the same to another guy. It’s like she’s picked the 2 of us to lecture and give tips. The weirdest part – the rest of the team loves her, in sort of a Rudy way. I’d be ok with the fact that she’s terrible if she didn’t gripe to me during play and on the sidelines about how I should have done this or that. I’m usually pretty good at brushing this kind of thing off, but it’s gotten out of hand. Last game a player on another team noticed it and made the comment I should come play for them next season. What’s the play here? DBAP and ignore? Join another team?”
Am I the only person who read this email and thought the two of you like each other in an elementary school kind of way? I think there’s sexual tension here and you might need to just have sex.
It’s possible she’s even flirting with you and it’s just coming across awkwardly because she’s bad at flirting and you’re bad at recognizing flirting.
Regardless, here’s the deal you can either play coed sports or not, but if you play coed sports, trust me, it’s never that serious.
If you wanted to play serious sports you would be playing with just guys. The girls make it more fun, I get it, but the minute you sign up for coed sports you have to accept that while you all might want to win, you’re not playing incredibly competitive ball.
I played coed adult kickball for years and loved it.
It was competitive, but not as competitive as an all guy sport would have been.
That didn’t mean we didn’t want to win or try hard, it just meant things were different.
Trust me, you never want to be the guy on the team who takes coed sports way too seriously. Everyone hates that guy. And that guy hates himself too. And honestly, speaking as a friend, it sounds like you might be that guy.
You need to #dbap and also maybe make out, at least, with this girl.
“I’ve been married for 10 years, and we have three young children.
Two years ago, my wife’s father passed away suddenly. It was obviously very sad for our family, as my wife was very close to him and my kids loved him. The problem is, I feel like my mother-in-law uses it as a crutch to get her way with everything.
She manipulates my wife into doing everything for her, she tries to use his death to defend her behavior when she blows up on my wife, and when she watches the kids, they come back very whiny and they are now using, “missing grandpa” as an excuse every time they get in trouble for something, mainly because I think they’re smart and they see their grandmother doing it.
I don’t want to come across as heartless. We also lost my dad during out marriage but I feel like I’ve had to suck it up and continue to live/support our family because that’s what he would want me to do, but it’s really getting to the point where I feel like I need me or my wife to say something. Any thoughts?”
Your question boiled down to its essence is this: how do I tell my mother-in-law to quit whining about her husband dying?
You may not want to be heartless, but it’s hard to say this without seeming pretty heartless.