DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My husband of 15 years is driving me crazy. He lost his job four years ago when his boss closed up shop. We've been good with money. We own our home via my inheritance. I got some money in a disability case and I get some other money. The thing is -- he's lost at 45. He tinkers and spends time learning things like woodworking, languages and cooking. The basement seemed like a great job to do while he was "off work" and thinking about retraining. Nada! And, the house is a mess since he fired our weekly maid because he'd be home to clean. The yard is unkempt and dishes pile up. He's good with the kids -- gets them to school and does homework and does half the dinners and laundry. I'm going crazy in this house and starting to worry about money long term, and I worry about him. I wouldn't mind supporting him for retraining or if he was at least caring for the home. We love each other, but how to tell him that he needs to get going on a job or work on the house, while I'm disabled from work? Am I wrong? Whenever I say I want outside help he says he's "getting to it." -- Tired of Nothing Happening
Dear Tired: He sounds like a combination mom and dad who's great with the kids and lousy at housework. How disabled are you? The phrase "while I'm disabled" sounds like it might be temporary. It sounds like you're doing half the cooking and that's about it. If you can cook, you can help with other things. The kids can help keep the house clean and you can at least organize that. Tell your husband outright you want him to decide on a career plan for the new year -- school or work -- but it has to be something other than home help. Forty-five is too young to sit home without working or retraining for four years. He may be the kind of person who thinks he can stay away from outside work as long as you're getting by.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I went to a gay club in town with a gay friend and one other straight female friend. This younger man came over and shook my hand hard -- until it hurt -- and told me he was from the country and just wandered in and he didn't belong in a bar like this and he was really straight. He was drinking shots of something and sat down without being invited and proceeded to tell me in a nasty way, what he thought of gays. I asked him why he didn't leave. He said, "Because I've got you and your girlfriend to talk to." I whispered in my friends' ears and we all table-hopped to get away from him. He was giving us bad looks for an hour and then we left. Do you believe his story? What was going on with him? There's lots of other bars in the city for straight guy. --Scared By Him, Winnipeg
Dear Scared: You should have pointed him out to security. A guy with unresolved issues about his sexuality and anger about that, makes for a dangerous element in the club. Of course, he knew exactly where he was, and he wasn't leaving, but he didn't want a woman to see him there, so he had to come right over and insist he was straight. Drinking to lose his inhibitions, he'd probably find a man to be with at the end of the night, regret it right afterwards, and try to reassert his "masculinity" by turning on the gay man verbally or with his fists. You were right to get away from him, but you should have alerted the guy on the door, the bartender or club manager.