Should My Husband And I Do A Photoshoot To Announce His Vasectomy, And Other Advice Column Questions

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There are too many excellent advice columns to keep up with, so we're committed to bringing you links to the best advice column questions and answers every week. Here's a roundup of the most interesting, thought-provoking and surprising questions that our favorite columnists (and subreddits) addressed in recent days.

Should My Husband And I Do A Photoshoot To Announce His Vasectomy?

I'm a woman in my late 20s, and my husband, who's in his early 30s, is scheduled to get a vasectomy within the next month or so. Excited about this decision, I asked if we could do a "We're not expecting" photo shoot after his procedure. Like the compassionate sweetheart he is, he said he liked the idea, but wanted to be sensitive to people who physically can't have children (we have at least one such couple in the family). While I understand and feel the same way, I'd still like to be able to celebrate our decision the way any family might announce a new addition. I also expressed some frustration that, between those who have children and those who can't, I'm stuck in the middle as someone who made the difficult but very active decision not to procreate, and feel pressure to just shut up about it. I obviously don't want to push my husband to participate in a photo shoot he doesn't want to, and it's not really about that—it's about feeling free to celebrate a milestone in our life. Am I being insensitive and selfish? Should I just be quietly happy and watch everyone else make their big announcements? 


Jamilah Lemieux sides with the letter writer's husband. "I know it feels like everything needs to be an Instagram moment, but there are ways to celebrate your decision that don't involve a photo shoot, such as a baecation or a small dinner with close friends and family who wouldn't feel some kind of way about fêting your choice," she writes. Read the rest of her answer.

Was It A Jerk Move To Wrap Up A Brick As A Christmas Present For My Sons?

I have two sons from a previous marriage ages 8 and 9. I've had full custody for the last three years and it's just the step mom and me now. Their mother is no longer in the picture.

They were so excited about christmas last year. There were many presents for them under the tree from the grand parents and us, and they were constantly checking them out trying to guess what was in them.

They could hardly wait for Christmas day and begged us to let them open some presents early. So we allowed them to open one present that was gifted to both of them. It was the heaviest package under the tree and you could feel their excitement when I told them they could open it on Christmas eve. They tore into it like a couple savages. I'd wrapped it very well to make it take a little time to get at the goods.

As the final paper was ripped off the present, the oldest was going like "it's's a" and the final paper came off, "brick". I thought it was hilarious. The looks on their faces was priceless. Unfortunatly they were somewhat upset, tears were shed etc. So we let them open one more present to calm them down.

Am I the asshole for wrapping a brick as a present?

[Reddit via Twitter]

Many members of the r/AmItheAsshole subreddit share memories of feeling terrible after parents did similar things to them in their childhood. "Pranks like that only work when everyone is mature enough to appreciate the joke… All you did was shake their trust and embarrass them, which feels extra awful coming from a parent," writes one of the commenters. Read the rest of their answers.

How Can I Curb The Impulse To Get Four Haircuts In The Same Day?

I got my first paycheck from my new job yesterday and ... I went a little crazy. Long story short, I got four haircuts from four separate barbers. I don't know why I did it — I wanted to treat myself but I think I went a little too far. The first haircut was not a lot of money, $25 including the tip. I was in a good mood so I went to another highly rated barber and got another haircut, and then another, and then another. It added up quickly, and now I have spent my entire paycheck in one day and my hair is as short as it can be without being bald. I'm fine with the money I have now, I'll be able to make it to my next paycheck, but I feel depressed and empty knowing that all of the money that I worked so hard for went to waste on four haircuts. It hurts even more knowing that I could have just gotten an extra-short haircut the first time and not paid for the other three haircuts. Also, I didn't even use one of the haircuts to shave my facial hair, so I almost went to a fifth barber for the shave before I realized that I had spent my entire paycheck. How can I cheer myself up after this and how can I better budget myself in the future? 


Nicole Cliffe suggests making a budget for future paychecks. "If this, or any variation of this (buying 100 watermelons) happens again, get thee to a therapist," she adds. Read the rest of her answer.

Should I Tell My Employee I've Noticed He Only Hires Exceptionally Attractive People?

I'm pretty confident one of the managers who reports to me is (consciously or not) biased towards hiring really good-looking people. He's hired just under a dozen folks over the last year, and to a person, those hires are extremely attractive women (and one man who made an early-career switch away from literal modeling), in a way which feels way too overwhelming and consistent to be a coincidence…

To be clear, I also haven't seen any signs that this manager is behaving creepily or inappropriately towards his staff, and I've looked carefully; in fact, they seem to have a great team dynamic, and do really good work. I just think that he's (perhaps subconsciously) making hiring decisions based on who he thinks would be fun to work across a table from.

Do you have any advice at all for what I can do without coming across incredibly badly? Should I just leave it alone until next time his team adds someone, at which point I'll get more involved than usual?

[Ask A Manager]

Alison Green agrees with the letter writer's idea of taking a more active role in the next round of hiring for this person's team. "Sit in on interviews, watch for differences in how candidates are treated or assessed, ask probing questions about his leanings on each candidate ... and generally see what's happening and if your involvement steers things differently," she writes. Read the rest of her answer.

How Can I Find A Significantly Younger, Polite, DECENT Woman To Date?

I am asking for an idea, not bullshit. I have never been married. I don't smoke or drink alcohol — both really stupid habits — and it's hard to meet really DECENT women. I am over 45, but I won't waste my time trying to date women my age. A friend suggested this zoosk website — well, its filled with losers!! I am financially very well-off. I like really polite women. Not many of them left either. So, dating expert: I would like to meet a woman who is really interesting, between 30 to 35 — someone with a life! I will pay to meet you in person if you can help me find someone! Wendy, let's talk. If you want my cell number, just ask.

[Dear Wendy]

Wendy Atterberry offers the letter writer a reality check. "The real waste of time isn't pursuing women your own age — although I can certainly appreciate that you've likely had bad luck with women who have enough experience to sniff out the bullshit very quickly," she writes. "The real waste of time is being so rigid in your expectations." Read the rest of her answer.

How I Broke My Husband's Cellphone Addiction

I am an older woman who finally got fed up with my husband's cellphone addiction. Since he would no longer speak to me but spent all his time scrolling on his device, I went out and bought a realistic-looking baby doll. When he pulled out his cell, I pulled out my doll. I talked to it, fiddled with its buttons and carried it everywhere. He finally yelled at me, "It's not real!" to which I replied, "It's real; it's just not alive. LIKE YOUR CELLPHONE." 

This final scene was played out in the dining room of our country club, which was filled with members. The phone and "baby" stayed in the car after that. We laugh about it now, and she's resting comfortably in her carrier, just in case she's ever needed again.


Abigail Van Buren published this letter even though it doesn't contain a question, and so shall we, for what we hope are obvious reasons. "I hesitate to endorse implied threats in marital disagreements, but your solution worked — brilliantly," writes Van Buren. Read the rest of her answer.

LV Anderson is the news editor at Grist and an advice column aficionado.

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Did my mother ruin Martha Stewart's marriage?" Now I needed to know. After all, I'd used the line often enough at cocktail parties down the years, when people still had cocktail parties: "My mother ruined Martha Stewart's marriage."

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