Squeak truth to power
An incident with a bodyworker and another with my husband have me questioning everything. Upon entering the bodyworker's apartment, you see a bunch of nude photos of him. He makes you strip to your underwear and stand there while he "evaluates" your body structure. Later, you get on your hands and knees in your panties so he "can work on your back." I know of two women he offered to draw a bubble bath for after their massage. He seems to cross certain professional boundaries that should be in place to make women feel safe. When I mentioned this, he got incredibly offended and said it was my issue. Am I crazy? Prudish?
My husband, who I've found myself supporting financially since we married six months ago, also made me feel like the crazy one. He just moved out — after informing me that my 6-year-old daughter has an energy field that shocks him and that she "can't connect with the divine." Am I doing something to cause this stuff? Why can't my husband just love me or be kind? — Bewildered
Going along with whatever you're told can really muck up your life (or your afterlife, if you believe in that sort of thing). Take the jihadists. They're told they'll go to heaven if they blow themselves and a bunch of other people up for Allah. As for what they'll get upon arrival, it's 72 ... well ... it turns out there's some dispute about the translation: It's either 72 virgins or 72 white raisins.
Meanwhile, back at bodyworker ranch and nudie museum, you, too, were just following orders: "Back problems? Just strip down to your panties, get on your hands and knees, and bark like a dog." No, he didn't ask you that last bit, but if he did, I have a sneaking suspicion your response would've been "Pekingese or Chinese Crested?"
Like too many women, you can sense trouble, but care more about not seeming like trouble. You finally hinted that you were uncomfortable, but he only had to get huffy, and your self-doubt made you quick to give him the benefit of the doubt. Being so compliant doesn't just lead to creepy experiences but to dangerous or deadly ones. As Gavin de Becker writes in The Gift of Fear, "The first time a woman is hit, she is a victim and the second time, she is a volunteer."
Unfortunately, your actions don't just affect you; there's the love child of Adolf Hitler and Freddy Krueger (also known as your 6-year-old). Not only does your new husband believe, sans evidence, in utter crap, he weaponizes it and uses it against your kid. Now, it'd be one thing if he'd pointed out little Priscilla skinning the neighbor's cat. Instead, he announces that her "energy field" is "shocking" (pink?) and she "can't connect with the divine." Please. Whatever "the divine" is, she's 6. She can barely connect with silverware.
You end up in these situations because you have the ability to reason but you live like meat meandering through life. Your husband didn't become a mean mooch; he always was one. Why are you only noticing now? Well, it's a little hard to see when you close your eyes, cross your fingers, and hope for the best. Figure out who you are and what you value, then develop the self-respect to stand up for it. It beats believing everybody but you is a guru. That's the kind of thinking that'll have you taking your daughter in to have her "aura" steam-cleaned, and maybe even taking advantage of the special: Not only will they discover you have cancer, for just $3,999.99, they'll cure it by waving a chicken foot over it while you wait.
I met a guy on an Internet dating site, and had two great dates. It's only been a couple days, but the interaction has changed. He isn't initiating contact, just replying to e-mail I send him. Should I call to ask what happened since that second date? — Flummoxed
The ability to interrogate is something so many men look for in a woman, and the sooner the better: "It's been two whole days since our second date. Exactly what are you doing while you're not calling me?" On the Internet or off, only if a guy initiates another date should you consider him a possibility. But, the Internet dating venue could be part of the problem. In a bar, there might be another cute girl or two; on the Web, there are always 10,000 more where you came from.
Studies by social psychologist Sheena S. Iyengar and others suggest humans want a vast array of options, but with more than a handful, tend to choose poorly and be unhappy with their choices. And, you know what they say ... misery loves company — providing it's spiritual but not religious, toned/athletic, and not into games.