I need your advice. My parents are bugging me to come home for Thanksgiving. The thing is, as a kid I always hated holidays. No, I loved holidays; what I hated was my parents. Growing up, I was ignored on holidays except when my mom would order me to wait on my brothers and dad. As an adult it's no better. My family spends most of the time talking about work, but I'm not allowed to talk about my job because it isn't a "real job," since I do low-paying social work. (My dad and brothers work in computers.) Despite my mom being so sentimental about Thanksgiving, she and my dad don't "do" Christmas because it's "too much trouble" to buy gifts. And several years ago my mom curtly told me the day before my birthday that we wouldn't be celebrating my birthday, "since no one will have a good time."
When I told them a few months ago that I wouldn't be coming home for Thanksgiving due to the complete lack of consideration for me (last time I was home my dad demanded that we all go to a steak house even though he knows I'm a vegetarian!), my mom angrily denied that any of this ever happened. When I tried to argue with her she screamed, "Are you calling me a liar?"
I'm an adult. Do I still have to swallow my mother's lies, my father's tirades, and their insistence that we're really a happy family? The only thing making me even consider going home is the guilt. My brothers are no help--they're too spineless to stick up for me. Please give counsel, and soon!
--Give Me Any Dumb Name You Want
You don't need my advice, GMADNYW. What you need is your very own spine. No one can force an adult to go home for Thanksgiving if he or she doesn't want to go. Therefore there's no need to bore me, my readers, and the whole friggin' planet with a long list of scab picking about your awful parents, your miserable childhood, your miserable holidays, dad's steak dinners, and all that unwelcome career advice. So your parents are grade-A, gold-plated, lemon-scented assholes. Then don't go home for Thanksgiving. If they lay a guilt trip on you, try saying something like, "You know what, mom and dad? You suck. The only way I'd spend Thanksgiving at 'home' this year is if I knew for a fact that Russian security forces were going to fill your house with gas and put me out of my fucking misery."
Quick etiquette question: I am house-sitting for two friends. Given that I'm using their Internet access, is it OK for me to occasionally cruise for a little porn? Nothing disturbing or illegal, and purely for self-gratification. Bear in mind that I'm not writing anything, or posting any pictures, or paying for anything. I'm just cruising for a few free pictures and stories. Is this cool? What's the etiquette on this?
--Please Opine Regarding Nudes
It's not the stories or the relatively harmless fetish pics that are going to bother your friends when they discover, as they inevitably will, what you were doing at their computer. Knowing that there was porn on their screen doesn't bother most people--it's knowing what the user was doing while looking at it that unnerves. No one likes to sit down at their PC and think about the trace DNA samples a "friend" may have splattered all over their keyboard. If you just can't live without your daily dose of Internet porn, PORN, do what I did: buy yourself a laptop and take it everywhere.
I totally agree with you that PISSOFF, a Canadian, was coming across as smug in his/her letter re: America's religious jackasses. True, the United States has a lot of freaks and extremists, but what country doesn't? That said, why did you attack French Canadians in your response to PISSOFF? How could you imply that there's no difference between French Canadians and your country's religious jackasses? Granted, French-Canadian history is deeply rooted in Catholicism, and that fact used to impact their government, but they've come a long way:
1. Quebec is leading the way on gay marriages.
2. French Canadians are more sexually liberal and tolerant than most.
3. The legal drinking age in Quebec is 18.
4. Lap dances at strip clubs in Montreal are on average 50 percent cheaper than at clubs here in Toronto.
Granted, you're more likely to get hit by a car in Montreal or see someone with a mullet or acid-washed jeans, but Quebec is a fun place, and religious jackasses exist, of course, but they're ignored. Were your misguided rantings due to the Xanax you were popping on that plane? --EGM
PS: I agree with you about Canada importing a new royal head of state. I vote for Prince Harry. His older brother is going to be King of England and Harry won't have anything to do. He also might enjoy our more lenient pot laws. Furthermore, he's starting to become cute in that "we-never-see-the-sun-here-in-England" sort of way.
Thanks for writing, EGM, and a shout out to all my Canadian readers who took time out of their busy fur-trapping, dope-smoking, same-sex-nuptials-attending schedules to send me E-mail complaining about my Xanax-impaired jab at French Canadians. ("Yes, you've got fewer religious jackasses and you've got porn and pot and you'll have gay marriage a lot sooner than we will down here. But you also have a lot of French Canadians up there. As far as I'm concerned, French Canadians and religious jackasses are six of one, half a dozen of the other.")
For the record, I never meant to imply that French Canadians were religious jackasses, even if that seems to be what I wrote. (Damn Xanax!) My point was that French Canadians, like America's religious jackasses, can be annoying. Just as ARJs annoy the shit out of everyone down here, French Canadians annoy everyone up there with their constant threats to break away from Canada, not to mention all those bilingual toothpaste tubes, cereal boxes, and road signs. Still, I believe I speak for the overwhelming majority of Americans when I say that we would gladly swap Canada our ARJs for your French. We'll take Quebec off your hands--we know how to deal with secessionists down here, let me tell you!--if you'll take Jerry Falwell and all of his followers off ours. Is it a deal? (In all seriousness, EGM, one of the great tragedies of U.S. history is that we got stuck with the pleasure-hating Puritans and you Canadians got the fellatio-loving French. It's just not fair!)
Finally, I agree that dreamy Prince Harry would make an excellent choice for Canadian head of state--provided, of course, that he will marry a French royal and produce lots of bilingual royal babies. So how do we get a "Make Prince Harry the King of Canada" movement off the ground?
Confidential to Justin at the HH: "Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help your pursuit of happiness during your stay." Geez, Justin, do you know what kind of trouble a line like that can get a guy into?
Dan Savage's new book, Skipping Towards Gomorrah: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Pursuit of Happiness in America (Dutton), is on sale now.