Op Ed

Ask STFU Jezzies 1/5

Cat with a frustrated expresionHey everyone! It’s Ask STFU Jezzies time!  I’m ready to answer your questions about life, moral dilemmas, manners, whatever! So let’s get to today’s questions.

My roommate is 21 going on 14 and decided to get kittens (a brother and sister) right after I moved in. I’m pretty sure she got them purely for the cute factor. Four months later she still has not gotten their vaccinations or fixed. AND they came with fleas. She buys them flea stuff but it sucks and basically doesn’t do anything. I should also mention that these are indoor cats. They are about 6 months old now and I’m sure that they are going to make incestuous kittens. I already feel like the bitch of the house because I get on her all the time about the cats but this not being fixed thing is really getting to me. Specially after I saw the male mount the female on top of my t.v. Money is not an issue for her since her parents still support her but money is an issue for me and I can’t move out to get away. So is there a nice way that I can tell her to get the cats fixed or give them to someone who will take care of them properly?


Don’t Want To Be A Den Mother

Roommates are the worst. Seriously.  Even if you have really great roommates, there is still a lot that really sucks.  Having shitty roommates can really negatively impact one’s quality of life.  So..about the kittens.  My first reaction is to tell you to be straightforward with her.  The nice way would be to say, “Hey roomie.  I saw your cats trying to do it the other day.  Since that’s how kittens are made and since we don’t want more kittens, please go get them fixed or give them away before it’s  a problem.”

But if you decide not to do that, or it doesn’t work, your roommate will learn her lesson on her own.  They’re not your cats, and you shouldn’t feel like you need to be responsible for them.   If the cat gets pregnant then it’s your roommate’s problem, not yours.  If it eases your mind at all, I don’t think incest carries quite the same taboo in the feline community.  Also, female cats can have litters by different fathers, so they may only be half-brother and sister!

Good luck with your roommate!

I have an overbearing/controlling father-in-law. He lives 5 blocks away. He shows up unannounced, calls on Saturday morning and tells us we need to come over (and then calls again in 15 minutes to let us know we’re moving too slow), and constantly gives us guilt trips if we don’t do as he pleases. I feel like there are 3 adults trying to make the decisions in my marriage. My husband agrees, but insists that confronting his father won’t do anything, but make the situation worse. I feel like we should kindly, but firmly let him know that we are adults and we do not need him to make our decisions for us.

What say you?

Signed, Debra Barone
I can’t imagine anything more horrifying than living in Everybody Loves Raymond world.  I feel like you could probably watch that show and see your father-in-law in Ray’s mom.  In order to not spend the rest of your life (or until your next move) simmering in resentment, you’re going to need to set boundaries.   Setting boundaries in all relationships is one of the hardest things for people to do.  It’s not going to be easy and it will be the most helpful if your husband can back you up.  Ideally, it will be him who is the “messenger” of the boundaries.  In the long run, this will affect your marriage, since you didn’t sign on to be married to father and son.  Assuming your husband wants to stay married to you, it would be in his best interest to work with you on finding a solution that you both can deal with.  It sounds like you’ve already been honest with your husband about your concerns, which is a great first step.  He can’t help if he doesn’t know what’s wrong.
One can set boundaries without being rude.  A good place to start is letting him know that you want to schedule times to see him.  If he calls on Saturday morning, try saying (or hopefully, having your husband say), “Thank you for the invite, but we are planning on spending a relaxing morning at home today.  We’d be happy to schedule brunch with you next week.”   It will take some time, and at first he’ll probably ramp up the guilt trips.  But guilt trips are the problem for the person doing the trippin’.  Let him guilt you for a minute and then cut him off.  Try that and see how it works, and if your father-in-law questions why you’re doing it, be honest! Say you want your time together with your husband and would prefer to feel more independent.
Good luck!
I am one of those older “accidental virgins” or whatever they’re called, and lately it’s been giving me a lot of anxiety. The “Popping Your Cherry” article on Jezebel was dumb and unhelpful, and I was hoping you could give me and others like me better advice, or at least some reassurance. Thanks, and I really love your blog as well as Persephone Mag!
Signed,  Steve Carrell
I’m going to give you similar advice to that I gave a reader last week.   The thing that’s holding you back at this point is probably your anxiety.  I have known a lot of “accidental virgins” or women who lost their virginity at an older age and one of the most common concerns was “what is this person going to think if I tell them I’m still a virgin?”  So next thing you know you’re the 40-year-old virgin and Jane Lynch wants to have sex with you.  I think that’s how it goes.
Anyway, the advice I give is to just date.  When you say accidental virgin, it seems like you’re not holding out until marriage for religious or personal reasons.  If it’s within the realm of acceptable behavior for you, I recommend just doing it.  Go on a date, invite a man or woman home who you’re reasonably attracted to and just get it out of the way.  They don’t even have to know it’s your first time.  They likely won’t even be able to tell.
If you don’t see yourself just giving it up to just anyone, and you want to at least have commitment, my advice is still to just date and keep dating!  If you want a serious relationship before you have sex, you want the person you’re in a relationship with to not care if you’re a virgin.  So the ideal person to have relationship-sex with is going to be sensitive and caring, so that takes some pressure off.
And remember to have fun!

How do you reply to a friend who makes generalized “snarky” statements such as, “wise men….ha ha ha, yeah right”. Or other standardized “men suck” kinds of statements? I hate these generalizations because I hate when they’re done about women, but I haven’t figured out an effective way to help her see how stereotypical (and stereotyping) it is.

Oh, one of those. It’s like your own real-life Lockhorns comic. I have two suggestions, which I don’t know if you’ve tried.  One is to try to start a discussion with her about how dumb stereotypes like that are.  There are about a billion movies where part of the premise is a woman making jokes like that about men.  You could try something like “Oh I see that they are making Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus into a movie.  I think that book really promotes some old stereotypes about men, what do you think?” Most people (not just men. ha!) are too dense to realize you’re talking about them, so you could even try adding “oh sometimes you make those jokes about men, I don’t know if you really believe that or not though.”
I also tend to think that a somewhat passive response like “well that seems like a generalization” or “well I don’t think all men are like that”  can make your point without being overly confrontational.
And remember: You can click here to submit questions anonymously to Ask STFU Jezzies.  See you next week!

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