Be careful where cleaning impulse leads you
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DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I found a little black book full of numbers and email addresses when I cleaned out my boyfriend’s car. He was in Vancouver for work. I still don’t know how current that little book is (gulp). I teased him about it, and his face went cold.
He thanked me in a flat voice for cleaning out his dirty car, but he didn’t sound happy. Did I do something wrong? His car is always grubby and I just thought he’d like it better looking nice.
— Stepped in it? Charleswood
Dear Stepped: You definitely did something wrong. By the tone of your letter, you already know that, too.
How would you like it if your boyfriend babysat your apartment, and took it upon himself to clean out your chest of drawers with the hidey-holes in the back? What might he find there — embarrassing lingerie, old love letters, faded photos, jewelry from old boyfriends?
Respecting your sweetheart’s privacy is not always easy when he’s far away and you have the keys, but consider how you’d feel if he’d gone through all your old stuff, and had the nerve to tease you about what he found?
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My mother is embarrassing the whole family with her new love affair. She left our sweet dad alone in the family home and got her own apartment.
A 50-ish “boyfriend” has suddenly appeared from nowhere. We don’t like him. I’m beginning to think they’ve been together secretly for some time. She pretty much just picked up and left to live in her fancy apartment. She seems to be doing just fine — disgustingly happy, in fact.
I’m concerned about my father being left with the family house, garden and pets. Mom did everything for him — always waited on him hand and foot.
I thought Dad would be devastated, but he’s acting suspiciously casual about all this. Is he in shock? My brother and I are in our early 30s and we’re shaking our heads. Why would a man married for so long to the same woman not be upset when she leaves him for a new guy?
When I asked how he was feeling, he smiled a strange little smile and said: “Whatever will be, will be.”
My husband says my father is acting like a guy who has a woman stashed somewhere. He thinks my dad is just waiting for the storm to blow over, before he brings her out of hiding.
Ha! I doubt that. My father? Never. What is going on?
— Daddy’s Girl, St. Norbert
Dear Daddy’s Girl: Parents have a hidden world their kids often don’t know much about — relationships, disappointments and sometimes very bad experiences. So, you might consider the possibility Dad also has a new lady, and is surviving nicely. There will never be a good time to ask him about it, so just come out with it and say: “Dad, you don’t seem very upset about the breakup with Mom. Do you also have somebody new?”
If he doesn’t deny it right off the top, you might be on to something. Also consider this: He may have his eye on someone he fancies, and has just not made the move yet. It’s also possible your dad may just be relieved to be free, as his relationship with your mother may have worn out long ago.
What’s the worst thing that could happen if you ask? Maybe he’ll say, “It’s none of your business.” You might reply: “Maybe not today, but my door is open for another talk about this one day soon.”
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: If another woman slaps your face for no reason, can you slap her back? I don’t imagine men can get away with face-slapping a woman in public, any more than they could get away with punching another man in the face, but I’m a woman and this woman I know was crazy drunk and slapped me in the face at my favourite bar. Could I have hit her back? Then at least it would have been fair. Now, I feel I owe her one.
— Bruised Face, Downtown
Dear Bruised: Keep your fists to yourself and you’ll keep your bar privileges. If you had let loose, there might have been consequences — from chucking you both out for the night, to barring you both from the premises for good. The bar owner might even have called the police. Think about it! You don’t really want revenge that badly, and police have more important incidents to attend to. Just be glad that altercation is over, and don’t go looking for foolish revenge now.
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.
Updated on Wednesday, July 27, 2022 6:10 AM CDT: Fixes byline