DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I had a good laugh reading about the new bride who is too delicate to wash her husband's undies. All I could think was, "Buck up, little cowgirl, because you're in for a rough ride." We'd all like to think neither us nor our partner sweats, grows hair, passes gas or uses the washroom for any reason other than to check their appearance. But guess what -- it's not true. I admit I'm a closed-bathroom-door kind of gal, but life presents you with a million opportunities to share intimate and embarrassing experiences with your partner. I'm thinking of the time my husband (then my boyfriend) helped me through a horrible bout of food poisoning. I tell you if a guy sticks around after holding the bucket for you while you violently purge from both ends, you know you have a keeper. My advice to the sweet little newlywed, yes hold on to the illusion of perfection but realize that it is not going to last long and it is MEAN to make your guy feel like he is gross, when really it is just a small detail of life with your partner. Good luck! -- Old Married Lady With No Illusions!
Dear Old: You're right about not being mean, and not making your partner feel guilty for being human. But, this guy keeps the dirty shorts in their chest of drawers. The newlywed period is supposed to be the most romantic period of the marriage -- before the babies and mortgages and fatigue and heavy responsibilities descend. A little elegance in the way two lovers live together goes a long way. Why should she have to wash his undershorts when they can both so easily do their own washing? Hopefully, they both take care of personal hygiene and make each other as appealing as possible in other ways. Yes the babies and diapers will come, and there will be times when one of the parents has a sick stomach and needs someone to hold back their hair while they're embracing the porcelain. But there's no really need to gross each other out over stained and stinky laundry.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: Most people will go to their drugstore for help to stop smoking. I tried this a few times, no success. I decided to stop being so spineless and put myself on 10 cigarettes per day. Each morning and night I looked in the mirror and said, "I'm a non-smoker and these cigarettes taste awful." This was after Christmas/New Year's eight years ago. By March I was down to three cigs a day and then had no cigarettes for a week. I became worried, and on my next grocery store visit, I bought a pack and put it in the basement freezer. I didn't ever open it, but knew it was there if I needed it. This was the easiest thing I ever did -- no outside pressures, just me. Right from the start, I've been able to see someone smoke, and have no desire myself. I think I brainwashed myself very well -- no relapse, nothing! I just lost all desire for smoking. -- Happily Brain-Washed, Winnipeg
Dear Brain-Washed: What a clever plan, madame! Millions of people have failed at cutting down, but the "brainwashing" you did took greater and greater effect at the same time as your were cutting back more. Telling yourself you were already a non-smoker worked the same way as visualization does, but you used a sound cue as well -- your voice. Your mind rejected the cigarettes that didn't fit your new self-image -- and tasted awful. The human brain rejects incongruity and also bad-tasting substances. Way to go! This method could be translated to work for weight loss, as well.
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