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.
Am I A Jerk For Threatening To Evict My Tenant For Bringing Meat Into Her Apartment?
I rent out a studio in the basement of my house. Is it very explicitly stated in the lease agreement that tenants are not allowed to bring any non-vegetarian foods onto the premises.
About a week ago, I saw what was clearly a meat package inside of a grocery bag that she was unloading from her car. When I confronted her and pointed out the lease agreement, she gave me an extremely bewildered look. She claimed ignorance, which I told her was no excuse whatsoever since she willingly signed the agreement. I pulled the agreement out on my phone and showed her the clause. I told her to immediately either discard the package along with any other non-vegetarian foods inside the bag into the outdoor trash bin, or take it off of the premises. I also told her to do the same for the apartment within 3 days, after which I will conduct an inspection. She screamed at me and told me to go to hell, refusing to discard the package that she was carrying.
When I conducted the inspection, I very predictably found several meat packages and a carton of chicken broth inside of the refrigerator. I documented what I saw and gave her an official 15-day notice to quit, after which I will begin the eviction process if she does not comply. When I handed it to her, she went hysterical and started crying. She's claiming that I'm violating her "human rights" and that she'll starve to death.
The commenters on the r/AmItheAsshole subreddit agree that the letter writer is, indeed, the asshole. "It clearly doesn't actually matter to living in the apartment, because otherwise you would have noticed before," one of them writes. "Also [you're the asshole] for threatening to evict someone over that during a coronavirus pandemic." Read the rest of their answers.
How Can I Back Out Of Godmother Duties After My Friend Sprang The Godmother Role On Me At The Christening?
I have a good friend of five years. She had a baby and invited me to his christening. Five minutes before the christening ceremony started, my friend's mother looked at me and told me that I, the godmother[,] needed to get inside the church as the ceremony was about to begin. I looked at my friend's mother in shock as I didn't recall her mentioning anything about being the godmother much less asking me to be her son's godmother… Annoyed that she had made a decision for me without asking, I nevertheless took part in the ceremony to save my friend from embarrassment in front of the church had I said no…
I visited my godson twice in the following weeks right after the ceremony. My friend told me that I needed to spend more time with my godson and started to pressure me to come over to her house more, she then compared me to the godfather saying he was visiting his godson far more than I was…
I withdrew for a while because I was pissed to talk and I really did not know how to say to her (as it concerned an innocent baby) that I was upset that she had felt it was ok to make a life long decision for me without consulting me on the matter. After some time had passed, I contacted her and she was upset because I had withdrawn. I decided to visit her and when I reached the house I got a verbal lashing from her husband for not coming over more. At my godson's first birthday, my friend's husband criticized the train set I had bought for him. I have a low tolerance for drama combined with my depression[.] I really don't know if I can deal with this situation anymore, I think the situation is awkward for me because it concerns me being upset over a decision involving an innocent baby. I still feel resentful.
Jennifer Peepas urges the letter writer to initiate an open conversation with her friend about what happened and to resist further manipulation from her friend. "The danger of ongoing manipulation is that the longer it goes on, the more the targets and bystanders succumb to a situation where it becomes obvious that extremely obvious questions simply must not be asked," she writes. Read the rest of her answer.
As An Alpha Male, How Can I Find A Woman Who Understands Me?
I'm a single man in my late 30s who never has really been close to marriage. I'm very much an alpha, and while I have had many girlfriends and lovers, I'm getting to the point where I would like to find someone to settle down with. My problem at this point is my options. I am employed by the federal government. When I first started way back in the early 2000s, I was a basic employee. So finding women at work was fairly easy—but now I'm in an upper-management position. And as part of my code of conduct, I cannot date anyone who is a subordinate (even though I've broken that rule in the past). So that cuts my options at work to practically nil. However, I will get women subordinates flirting with me, making suggestive comments like "You have big hands," "What's your shoe size," etc. I don't even acknowledge them for fear of being a #MeToo statistic. So, it brings me to my next point. I know that as an alpha male, I can be difficult to be with in relationships. I'm sure you know all about alphas, and I don't need to explain the reasons. How do I find someone who can understand me and mesh with me so I don't get on their nerves too much? And what type of women, personalitywise, should I be searching for? I'm tired of driving women away, but I can't seem to help it. Does it have anything to do with my younger years, when I preferred jumping from girl to girl and not wanting anything exclusive? Or is it just part of being an alpha male?
Rich Juzwiak encourages the letter writer to let go of being alpha as the primary way he defines himself. "If you're alienating people and not getting what you want, how alpha are you, actually?" he writes. "What separates the illusion of superiority and endless confidence from straight-up delusion is net results." Read the rest of his answer.
Was I Wrong To Report The Man I Met On A Dating App To The App Because He Said He's Attracted To Trans Women?
Recently I joined a dating app to spice up my solo quarantine and try to find straight men who were interested in Victorian-style epistolary romance. I matched with a professor at a nearby college whose second message told me he was "trans amorous." Did I do the wrong thing by reporting his account to the app? I'm not trans (not that it was any of his business). The term really rankled, and I can only imagine how it might affect someone else. I was left in a swirl of questions about how I present and how people see me versus who I am. I regret not directly challenging him in the moment. "Trans amory" is fetishistic bullshit, right? Should I have said something? I reported him, but I did not reach out to his employer, who I was easily able to find with a Google search. Ugh! I'm just trying to find love and wear utility ponchos.
Danny M. Lavery rules that reporting this man to the app, and considering complaining to his employer, were both inappropriate responses. "Reporting someone's profile simply because he's interested in dating trans women is not an act of solidarity with trans people," he writes. "Some cis people (and trans people!) do fetishize and objectify trans women, but simply expressing an interest in dating trans women is not itself 'bullshit' and doesn't merit a report." Read the rest of his answer.
How Should I Respond When My Father-In-Law Compares My 2-Year-Old To His Wife, In A Negative Way?
My wife's parents have been married for almost 40 years. My father-in-law recently told my wife that he plans to divorce my mother-in-law, and then move away. He has not told his wife yet, but his unhappiness is obvious, due to the rude comments he frequently makes to her.
He will openly criticize traits of hers that he doesn't like, and he does it in a very disrespectful way. My wife and I have been married for five years, but all of the family members I've met say my mother-in-law's personality hasn't changed over the years, so why this sudden harshness toward her?
My father-in-law has started making similar rude comments about our 2-year-old daughter, "Clara." Clara has a big vocabulary and is very strong willed. She can be demanding and will throw temper tantrums — just like any other toddler.
When she displays these behaviors, my father-in-law will start making the exact same remarks about her that he does about his wife. He will even call my daughter by his wife's first name and talk about how they're exactly alike.
They live nearby and we see them almost daily, so this happens often.
I want Clara to grow up to be a strong-willed woman, so I don't want anything to quell her spirited nature. I also don't think it's appropriate for a husband/grandfather to be talking to his wife/grandchild the way he does.
How should I handle this?
Amy Dickinson speculates that the father-in-law is experiencing some form of cognitive decline. "Yes, this could be the behavior of a crotchety, rude, and verbally abusive older man — but you should consider that there might be something else going on (and possibly a combination of the two)," she writes. Read the rest of his answer.
How Can I Get My Boss To Stop Responding To Everything I Say With 'Calm Down'?
I am a woman and am very reserved in my work life. I work as a sales assistant to our sales team, so me keeping a cool head is very helpful (I think).
I have an issue with my interim boss. My new boss should be starting soon. This was an issue before we started working from home, but now that the majority of communication is email, I find myself grinding my teeth on the daily. Essentially, the interim manager responds to every email from me with, "Calm down." That is, without fail, his first line in every email. Even if he is copied on an email to me and I respond to someone else, he will tell me to calm down. He does this whether I am bringing up a concern ("I think X will happen") or just asking a question ("should X be like this or that?").
I have no idea how this started, but now it happens daily. He must think this is funny, but I hate it. It's not funny. But I don't know how to tell him to cut it out. It seems like it has gone on too long. Is there a script I can follow to get him to stop, or do I wait until my new manager is hired, sees this on an email, and ask him to address it?
Alison Green advises the letter writer to politely ask her boss to stop doing this. "Personally I would also add, 'I know you strive to support women and would never want to inadvertently reinforce something so sexist' because I enjoy watching people feel obligated to live up to a compliment they don't deserve," she writes. Read the rest of her answer.