I’m still undecided about the election because Romney is supposed to be better for Israel but he’s obviously way worse for women. At this particular moment in time which issue (for a Heeb) do you think takes precedence?
Voter in a Purple State
I wish I could answer that; with hours to go I’m still purple myself. As a former Bais Yaakov girl, I have a slew of family and friends basing their votes on Israel who seem to me to be only marginally, if at all, concerned about women retaining ownership of their own goddamn bodies. However, as a former Bais Yaakov girl who, upon her escape, had less sexual self-assertion (among other issues) than the writer of the next letter in this column, government representatives uttering inexorable crap like “legitimate rape,” “the body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” and “there’s no such exception as life of the mother, and health of the mother, same thing” make me waste my valuable time daydreaming about being the one who walks in on these sexist unbearables having gay sex in an airport bathroom. It doesn’t help that I have relatives in Israel who fear for both their safety and women’s reproductive rights.
Fortunately, where I live my vote doesn’t matter much, except to my husband whose business it’s none of. If you reside in an undecided state, drink enough for the truth to come out, and record yourself. Don’t post the video on YouTube, though.
May the lesser of two evils, whoever that is, win,
There’s this guy I’ve known since I was a kid, with whom I’ve been friends with benefits since about a year ago. He doesn’t want to be in a relationship because he’s still not over his ex from before we started hooking up. But lately he’s started getting jealous when I hang out with other guys. It’s not like he’s trying to control me. He just gets sulky and then I feel bad, even though it’s stupid because when he sleeps with other girls I keep my jealousy to myself. Is this my issue or do I have a right to ask him to stop?
The Friend with Fewer Benefits
Duh, if you’ve been sleeping with a guy for a year you have the right to ask him anything (and he has the right to politely say “yes”, “no” or “not telling”). If you don’t feel comfortable speaking up then you shouldn’t be sleeping with him, and if I have to explain that then you should be sleeping with anybody. Also, you know why he isn’t trying to control you? Because you’re following orders all on your own. To answer the first part of your question: the jealousy is his issue, but you have a bigger one.
I suggest you leave your phone lying around one morning while you shower so he can read all your text messages from his competition. (Full disclosure: I wish I’d done that myself once upon a time.) If he has a problem with it and you can’t handle it, move on. If your moving on makes him want to be monogamous, enjoy it for a month and move on before he does. Find someone passive-aggressive in a way that doesn’t allow polygamists to hold you up as an example of what women are supposedly suited for.
Sorry I can’t come help you in person,
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy I received an email from a neighborhood message group that a temporary shelter in our area needed clothing donations. I rushed over there with a bag of stuff I had recently gleaned from my closet, including a pair of jeans, boots and a dress that would have been worth several hundred dollars on eBay. At the shelter, though, I got the vibe (from overhearing conversations and phone calls) that some people were there because their power was out, but their homes were fine and they hadn’t lost anything substantial. They struck me as the kind of people who would grab the nicer items just to be greedy, and I wound up wishing I’d saved them for eBay after all. Is that a normal reaction or am I a lot more selfish than I thought?
No good deed goes unpunished is actually in the Talmud, I think. It’s definitely more solid than folk wisdom or Murphy’s Law. Once I was on my way to get blood drawn for a TB test in order to qualify to volunteer as a reading tutor in poor-neighborhood public schools, and I got rear-ended so badly that I had whiplash for months. Luckily my afore-mentioned all-girls Yeshiva (see Question 1 of this week’s installment) had instilled in me the notion that “everything is for the best” (aka gam zu l’tovah, which is definitely in the the Talmud, though I can’t tell you where because I was never taught Talmud). Maybe not running for four months saved me from being flat-out run over.
You’re obviously more selfish than you thought, but the severity of that depends on how selfish you considered yourself to begin with. Did you go over there expecting the shelter to erect a plaque in your name? Or was this simply a lesson in the way the world works?
You could donate your life-savings to the most non-profit non-profit in the universe, and some of it will pay the salary of the charity’s executive director, and some of it will line the pockets of whomever needs to be bribed in order to get the food to the refugee camp. Alternatively, you could go to a disaster zone directly and distribute everything you own under an assumed name, after equitably determining who deserved what. Personally I’d take a marginally battered self-opinion over a lumpy cot, away from my defrosting freezer, anyday; as a learning experience, this decent-enough deed let you off the hook fairly easy.
Don’t forget to vote,