Opt for gentle advice before tuning out wife’s playing
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DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My wife has taken up the piano now our last kid has left home. She’s a perfectionist, so if she hits one wrong note, she goes back to the very beginning — again and again.
It drives me crazy. I find myself praying she’ll make it to the next bar of the song. As a professional musician, I’m finding it painful to listen, but I can’t chance saying anything! What else can I do?
I do have one idea, but it’s kind of sneaky. I have longish hair and was wondering if I should take a chance and secretly use some earplugs. I don’t want to hurt my wife’s feelings, but her practising is driving me crazy. What do you think?
— Sonic Victim, River Heights
Dear Victim: Listening to beginners practise can be particularly rough for a musician. It’s worse if the newbie is battling her way through pieces, note by painful note.
Your wife could do with some gentle advice — not criticism — on how to work through a tough new piece, and still love it in the end.
Talk to her about the advantages of barrelling through those first mistakes, so she gets the overall feeling of the song. Then, she can practise the rough parts and put the whole song together at the end.
Of course, she may dismiss this old musical practice idea out of hand, as in, “What do you know, husband?”
So, if you still need earplugs, buy the small ones, and don’t make them obvious.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I’m a female business owner and I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve developed a crush on a male employee — easily the smartest and nicest guy I’ve met in years.
I’m having difficulty hiding it, and pray to God he hasn’t noticed. The only thing I do differently is I’ve started dressing carefully for work and doing my hair.
By the way, he recently divorced.
I have the utmost respect for him and would never hit on him or any employee. I just can’t help the way I feel inside. Sometimes I catch him looking at me and I feel flustered. I fancy he’s interested in me from the way he smiles. Does his knowing smile mean anything?
— Embarrassed Boss, Winnipeg
Dear Embarrassed: His smile is likely a reaction to your gazing at him. Experiments have proved people can feel someone staring.
Even though he smiles back at you, that doesn’t mean he wants the flirtation to go anywhere. It wouldn’t be good for him or for you, work-wise.
So, what can you do as the boss in this scenario? Very little! Just enjoy the attraction vibe a little, and let it go by. Anything else could be construed as harassment.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My daughter’s first boyfriend is a goof and not suited to a bright girl.
I know she desperately wanted to have a boyfriend, like all her friends at school, and I guess this guy just had to do. I don’t think she even likes him that much. He’s gawky and goofy, and she barely tolerates him touching her.
Should I have a talk with her about choosing guys more suited to her?
— Concerned Mom, North End
Dear Concerned: Your daughter is young and brand new in the dating world. Count your lucky stars she picked an awkward young guy she isn’t strongly attracted to. You don’t have to worry nearly as much as the parents of daughters with wannabe hotshot boyfriends who are slick talkers.
Having this guy in her life is your daughter’s entrée into the girls-with-boyfriends club. She may not be crazy about her first boyfriend, but he likes her and that works well enough.
Save your mother-daughter talk for a time when you see she’s crazy about a new boyfriend who does suit her.
Please send your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or Miss Lonelyhearts c/o the Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6.
Maureen Scurfield writes the Miss Lonelyhearts advice column.