Sounds Like A Plan

| 11 Nov 2014 | 02:12

    Dear Mark, I’m dating this guy who’s not that smart. He told me he’s never read a book and never bothered to learn long division. I really like him though—what can I do to feel like we’re on the same intellectual level?

    First of all, you should be careful how you define your man. Is the problem that he isn’t smart, or that he isn’t curious? Because not bothering to read or solve math problems could be a sign of laziness, not sheer stupidity.

    If there’s something about your boyfriend’s mind that turns you on—and I’m assuming there must be, unless your entire relationship is based on hot monkey love—then why don’t you get him talking about the things he’s interested in? If you don’t know much about his favorite subject, ask him questions.

    If you’re experts in the same things, start a debate. Even better, let him know what you’re interested in. Ask him to read a book that matters to you, as a way of getting to know you better.

    And if all else fails, tell him it would turn you on to see him nerd it up.T.I.’s song “Whatever You Like” gives you the perfect segue: Next time it’s on the radio—which will be 15 seconds from now—wait for the part where T.I. says, “Shawty you da hottest/ Love the way you drop it/ Brain so good/ Swore you went to college.”

    That’s your in:Tell your man that you are like T.I.You also like a good brain. (And not in the slangy way.) Is that a cheap ploy? Yes. But if the promise of library nookie doesn’t get him reading, then your man will never be a scholar. It’s best to know now. And what if he doesn’t use his brain? Or what if he really is dumb? You need to accept that and not judge him for it. Does this guy have enough good qualities to make you like him anyway? If so, then focus on them. But if you think the lack of witty banter will eventually make you crazy, then break it off now. Somewhere, there’s a hunky man in eyeglasses who can give you whatever you like. ------

    Dear Mark, I have a dog—a Chow that I am completely in love with.The problem is that my boyfriend is nuts for her also, to the point where sending her out into the hall when it’s time to get romantic is out of the question. It creeps me out to do it while she’s in the room, but she cries when I kick her out, and he thinks I’m a jerk.What is a girl to do? Her snoring is unbearable not to mention a major distraction!

    I don’t think poochie’s got a leg to stand on. (Or shake with. Ha!) If you feel weird having sex with your pet in the room, then send her packing. Is it going to kill her to be outside for 20 minutes (or 60 if you’re lucky)? No. It isn’t. She can use that time for personal pursuits like barking at the cat in the apartment across the alley.

    And I’ve got to believe your boyfriend doesn’t begrudge your “humans only” sex policy. Any partner worth keeping is going t put your needs above the dog’s. If your fella really takes chooses her over your sexual needs, then you’ve got some intimacy issues to sort through.

    If you state your antidog case and your man doesn’t listen, it may be time for a Paula Abdul intervention.There’s a song on Forever Your Girl called “One or the Other,” in which Paula gives her twotiming man an ultimatum.

    “You can only have one or the other,” she says. “Is it gonna be her, or is it gonna be me?” Substitute your dog for the other woman, and you’re in pretty much the same place. Don’t be afraid to draw the line. ------

    Now I’d like to share a question I asked myself last week: Dear Mark, I’m thrilled that Obama got elected, but I’m scorchingly disappointed about Prop 8 and the other anti-gay legislation that just got voted into law. How can I celebrate our new president and his promise of change without choking on all that homophobia?

    Dear… um… me, I understand your dilemma, but first and foremost, we should look at Nov. 4 as proof that things are getting better.When my parents were children in the south, they drank from different water fountains than black children.Things have changed.

    And despite the hatefulness of laws like Proposition 8, look at how different life is for gay Americans in 2008 than it was in 1998, in 1968. A setback in California (or Florida, or Arkansas or Arizona) does not signal the death of gay rights.

    Think about how many defeats America endured on its way to electing a black president.There were (and are) racist laws and racist people fighting every movement forward.There will always be stones in the road, but they cannot stop progress.

    Don’t laugh, but I take solace in “You Can’t Stop the Beat” from the Broadway version of Hairspray. The opening line says, “You can’t stop the avalanche when it’s racing down the hill,” and that’s right.You can’t. In Hairspray, the “avalanche” is a landslide of power for the disenfranchised.The show concludes with black people, overweight people, poor people, women, drag queens and kids grabbing the authority that had previously belonged to white, straight, rich oldsters who didn’t want anything to change.

    “You Can’t Stop the Beat” is their battle cry. Even better, the song doesn’t villainize the vanquished. In the Broadway musical, the final verse lets the bad guys (racist Velma von Tussle and her classist daughter) sing their own verse. Instead of getting pushed off the stage—like they do in the film version—the von Tussles become part of the empowerment party.

    That’s the kind of change I can believe in:The kind of change that makes room for everyone.The kind of change that doesn’t elevate one group of people at the expense of another.

    That’s the kind of change I think is coming, and it will eventually right the wrongs of those homophobic laws.

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