October 19, 2010

Dear Delphi,
I detest my brother-in-law. He is close to 40, unemployed, lazy, and arrogant. I don”€™t know why my sweet little sister married him. Luckily we do not live in the same city, but family holidays are becoming a real problem. Forget about being able to hold a conversation; I can”€™t even look at him. What can I do?
“€”Brother-in-Law Blues in London

Dear Brother-in-Law Blues,
Under no circumstance are you allowed to be rude or impolite. There shall be no humiliating him, blatantly ignoring him, or general man-bitchiness of any sort. You must be civil at all costs. The last thing you want on your hands is a martyr. In the church they are made saints, in politics they are the most catered-to minority groups, and in relationships they are the ones that never get left.

Never complain to your sister. Women want everyone to love their husbands. Think of her as having just bought a new car. She researched the MPG, she thought about color”€”yellow, white, or black”€”she agonized over the interior, she made hard decisions about optionals, and she test-drove it. She slowly assembled her perfect car and bought it, right or wrong.

Now, you know she made some serious errors in her decision-making process. She should have gotten a 4-wheel drive vehicle with a navigational system, because roads can get rough and sometimes you need help finding your way. Her thought process was, I want the leather interior and not the felty crap because it still looks and smells good, even when it gets old.

If her husband is as bad as you say, she is going to want to trade in, so just wait and help her pick out a new model when the time comes. She is going to need your help.

“€œBe mad at the masochists in Hollywood and network TV. They have managed to convince the better part of the world of all sorts of idiocies.”€

Dear Delphi,
I am 22 years old and I just had a baby girl. My problem is that a good friend, unfortunately also a smoker, came over the other day to see the baby for the first time and actually asked if she could have a cigarette!!! I was so caught off-guard that I said yes. What do I do now? I don”€™t want this friend smoking around the baby.
“€”Smoked in Mobile

Dear Smoked in Mobile,
One would think that after the world of shame that has been heaped on the smoking population, you would have no problem telling this cancer-blowing three-headed dragon to get away from your baby. This leads me to the conclusion that a) you are an ex-smoker or b) you simply don”€™t know how to put new rules on old friendships.

If you falter because a) you are an ex-smoker: We all know smokers never like to be told that they cannot smoke where and when they please, especially if they are in a legally designated (or thus far not restricted) area, but the bottom line is it’s your friend, your baby, your rules.

If you falter because b) you are bad at making rules: It is too late. You need to learn now and in a hurry. If your friend can”€™t or won”€™t respect your rules, drop her!

Nobody, and I mean nobody, should stop you from keeping your child away from what you believe to be a harmful situation. Even if you happen upon a 300-lb., four-pack-a-day habit in baggage claim after an international flight, stand your ground.


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