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Dear Anyone - Love Advice
Love Advice


Coady of Conduct - Advice Column by Lynn Coady

Vol. 1(1) – June 16, 2005

Coady of Conduct:

I am a 28 year-old woman, and I have been married for four years. My husband and I are planning to have a family very soon, but we have one big challenge: I have a hereditary eye condition and I may lose my sight in the next few years. My vision is already impaired, and I’m worried things might deteriorate quickly. I really want to have a family, but I’m not sure if it’s fair to the children if I know I’m likely going to lose my sight. I might not be able to work or care for the kids. Fortunately, my parents are fairly young (in their early 50s), and they’ve expressed a willingness to help raise the kids should anything happen, but I’m not sure if they’ll feel the same way once reality hits. I also don’t want to leave my husband with a huge burden, taking care of me and any future kids, and working, too. Do you think it’s wrong for me to have children?

Looking for Answers in New York

For the love of god, lady, you're a human being with a stable marriage and a presumably functional uterus. Of course it's not “wrong” for you to have children. The only people who would think so are the same righteous souls who advocate sterilization of the poor, and as your personal advisor, I would advise you not to listen to them, as they have writhing clumps of maggotry where their heads and hearts should be. Also, there are some highly capable visually-impaired people out there who would bristle to say the least at your suggestion that their children represent moral lapses, and their very being “a huge burden.” If you really want to have kids, you need to start adjusting your perceptions now. Learn what it takes to become one of those highly capable visually-impaired people. These folks hold down jobs, go for walks, read books, enjoy life. Find out how they do it. If it sounds like too much work for you, then and only then do you have my permission to forget about having children—because that particular gig isn't going to be any easier, with or without the 20/20 vision.

Coady of Conduct:

I am a 15 year-old girl, and my mother and father have been having marriage problems recently. What I really hate is that my mom is constantly bad-mouthing my father behind his back. She’s always going on and on about what a selfish, mean “bastard” he is. I know that my mom doesn’t have many other people to talk to, and I want to help her out, but she’s putting me in the middle and making it hard for me to see my dad the way I want to see him. My mom tells me a lot of adult stuff that I don’t want to hear, but if I tell her to stop talking about her marriage troubles, I’m worried that I’m going to make her feel more isolated than she already is. How do I get out of this jam?

Caught in the Crossfire in D.C.

I don't advise this kind of thing often or lightly, but some situations fairly scream out for a good shit-fit, and you, being 15 and not yet having the oppressive burden of adult rationality weighing on your head, are in a perfect position to execute one. Here's what you do. Mom starts ragging on Dad. You put your fingers in your ears and sing-song very sweetly: "I can't heeeear you!" Mom will pause, raise her head, look at you queerly and then resume. You start singing something cloying like "The Mockingbird Hill" or "The Candy Man" (you'll have to look up the words and music online) and the next time that word "bastard" hits you, you hit her again with a louder, reedier "I can't HEEEAAARRR YOU!!" At this point one of two things will happen. Mom will ask: What the hell is wrong with you? or else she'll be so wrapped up in her own bile and bitterness she'll just keep on with the Dad's-a-bastard patter. Take either as your cue to detonate. Say everything you said in your letter, only screamier. Turn purple. Shed a few tears. Mom will be gobsmacked. She'll stand there thinking, holy crap, I've driven my kid insane with my selfish, self-absorbed bitching. She will do everything in her power to calm you down. She will swear never to utter a bad word about your father in your presence again, and what's more, she'll mean it. She will probably even get you a bowl of ice-cream, or take you shopping.

But remember, the shit-fit is a powerful weapon, to be used rarely, and only for good. You haul it out ever time you want a new piercing, it's off to the Ritalin man for you, young lady.

Coady of Conduct:

I am a happily married man. However, I have become smitten with a co-worker. She is young, attractive, shapely, intelligent and funny. She has a great personality and we get along together well. I am self-conscious and awkward when I am with her because I want to be charming and interesting. Oh, to be single again! But I do not want to jeopardize my marriage. I want to know if this woman finds me equally appealing. I just want to feed my ego and move on. How can I find this out without giving the impression that I want to cheat on my wife? Or am I asking for trouble?

Playing with Fire in the Big Apple

Feed your ego and move on. Right, sounds like a solid plan. But let's play this little scenario out, just for the hell of it. You're strolling past your shapely co-worker's desk one morning in the hope of discovering whether or not she finds you attractive. After some innocent, flirty chitchat, you're ready to take decisive action. "Warm today, isn't it?" you query, locking-eyes with the beauty and casually removing your shirt. This, of course, after having spent the wee hours of dawn at the gym, blasting your pecs, lats and biceps. "Ah, I've spent all morning blasting my pecs, lats and biceps," you confide to said colleague. "I'm very. . ." you pause for a moment, pretending to search for the right word. . . "stiff." Again, you lock eyes with your now somewhat slack-jawed co-worker. Apologetically, you begin to flex and rub your muscles, making relieved little oohing and ahhing noises as you work out the knots. "That's better," you murmur, shrugging your shirt back over the dual hams of your shoulders. And finally, before you depart, you favour the young lady with one final soulful, significant look. And what do you see? Beneath the honey-glaze of her eyes, between her lush, parted lips, a bead of moisture. Of drool. Is it the spittle of distain? No. Intuitively, you know it to be the slobber of a profoundly aroused young woman. She meets your eyes. Pure sexual electricity zaps your spine.

Oh good! Now you can move on.


Have a problem? Need sage smackdown?

Write Lynn at lynn @ dearanyone.com.

Lynn Coady is the author of the novels Strange Heaven and Saints of Big Harbour, and the story collection, Play the Monster Blind. She edits and essays on the side, enjoys escapist TV and telling people what to do.

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