Savage Love

Mum and Dad

Comments

1

Wow - for the first time I ever I see no comments. I almost hate to post, since I know the firdt game matters to many here (but not me), but I must admit the urge to comment into virgin space is tempting...

Personally, I wonder if letter 1 is actually real. I admit it could be, but it seems... unlikely to me

2

IKHWIB's letter boggles my mind so much I've only shuddered once so far. All I know for sure is that it sure is great that Dan
"helped create a world where forty-something couples with kids sometimes have MMF threesomes with twenty-something bisexual dudes"
!!!

/Break/
I see that RationalHuman isn't enthusiastic about @1, so just in case I will note that I renounce all future Lucky Number (including Secnod) honors, having had far more than my share of them, and of obsession with them.

3

I had a very similar experience to letter 1. I discovered my date had hooked up with my brother's girlfriend of 7+ years. While I knew they were ethically non-monogamous, and that there was no foul play, I couldn't get past the squick factor, especially since the girlfriend was also basically a part of our family. Then again, if I'd been more into my date, I might have worked harder to get past it.

4

It's quiet on here today!

I also was wondering if #1 was a fake...

2, at first I thought Dan wrapped up the advice to her a bit too quickly. But thinking about it more, I do kinda think the general idea of "get over it" is accurate. The first relationship only lasted a year, the new relationship is only 6mo along. Sometimes we get overly focused on things and just need to move on. Maybe take one day to let yourself have all the emotions about the ended relationship, then make yourself get over it. And I am someone who tends to get "stuck" on things.

5

I see no reason why WHACK should not speak to her ex, the guy who moved to another country, and implicitly ask or wait for him to draw the final curtain on their liaison. She hasn't spoken to him for six months; unless they parted under a cloud, and if she retains any feelings of friendship for him at all, she should want to speak to him--want for them to catch up. She should tell him about her new lover, and perhaps, either naturally or through her pushing it, the conversation might get to questioning whether this last relationship ended entirely for reasons beyond their control--his moving to another country--or whether it had no plausible long-term future: say, it was a fling for him (it was short and intense), or he knew he didn't care enough for her to alter his plans. The old relationship could then end where it didn't fully end before, say through a declaration of incompatibility, allowing the new one to begin.

At the moment, I see something like that as the state of play: she isn't giving the new relationship a chance because she hasn't drawn a line under the last. Maybe it represents another possibility to her if her current relationship doesn't last. It could be flattering, or play to her sense of self-worth or sense of having a capacity for adventure. Perhaps she prefers the earlier guy in some sense; maybe she's embarrassed to admit to him she's found someone else (because she did so very quickly? Because it suggests a rebound? Not having been serious about him?). But this embarrassment would be needless. If she's at all committed in principle to the new guy, the adult thing to do is to let the ex deliver the coup de grace and head into the future without illusions.

6

fredricka@4
"It's quiet on here today!"

Well, this weeks column was posted in the /morning/, about five hours earlier than they recently have been, a couple hours earlier than the earliest I recall. Most people haven't even looked for it yet.

7

Rational @1, the FIRKT is yours, enjoy!
I too was thinking, "Wait a minute, everyone thought the hot tub letter was fake but this one makes it through unchallenged"? But yeah, it's possible. And I think Dan either thinks IKHWIB is fake or wants him to dump the boyfriend, otherwise why go into such graphic detail, putting images in IKHWIB's mind that may not have even been there? Naughty Dan! I have no idea what IKHWIB should do, either. I just find myself grateful I haven't dated/boinked many people with kids.

8

BDF@7
"the hot tub letter was fake but this one makes it through unchallenged"?"

To think it was fake, I'd've had to be able to stand to think about whether someone could not just stand to think about it but get off on writing the letter.

Now that I have thought about it (thanks a lot BDF!), sure, (ick!) it could be fake.

But the hot tub letter reeked of fakeness, for the distance it went exploring classic themes from erotica as far as it could and still get into print. If this is fake, it in no way seems it (other than the single horrifying premise...that I don't want to think about anyone wanting to think about).

Now, had IKHWIB gone where Dan did, then it absolutely would've been fake.

9

Letter #1: Hats off to Dan for taking a letter that is almost certainly 100% fake and turning it in to a thoughtful rumination on family. It’s true, so much of our ability to maintain connection with the fallible people we call family depends on our ability to sometimes avert our eyes, will away discomforting thoughts, or just decide to laugh rather than flee or fight. Lots of lessons here that can apply to many life scenarios besides this one (which again, is totally fake. Really).

Kudos, also, to the mayor for addressing this (fake) letter in such a commonsense fashion. I don’t know this Mayor Hodges, but I’d vote for her based on her response alone.

Letter #2: The dear departed Dr. Joy Browne used to have a “one-year rule” which stated that one shouldn’t get involved in another relationship until a year after the end of a LTR, for exactly this reason. Doesn’t help you now, but her advice always made some sense to me.

10

@8 and 7, yeah, I think the difference between this letter and the hot tub letter is that the hot tub letter was written so salaciously that it felt like someone was getting off on it. This letter really isn't sexy at all, so I can't really imagine someone writing it as a fetish thing. It's possible that someone wrote it for lulz, I guess, but I don't know, there's nothing in it that seems impossible, or even necessarily implausible, especially depending on where they all live--queer circles can be small worlds, after all, so if Mom and Dad were out looking for a bi guy and then several years later IKHWIB was also looking for a guy, it's reasonable that there'd be some overlaps in their prospects, anyway, even if it's a hell of a coincidence that IKHWIB actually ended up for real dating the overlap (I generally refer to queer circles as being incestuous, but that seemed insensitive here).

11

camyln@10
"queer circles can be small worlds...I generally refer to queer circles as being incestuous, but that seemed insensitive here"

lol!

12

I think that first letter just obliterated any sexual positivity I once had. Like others have already suggested, I hope it's fake (but let's be real - it's not completely outside the realm of possibility). I had a brief thought that maybe raindrop wrote it as a cautionary tale of the dangers of People With Children being sexually adventurous (longtime readers/commenters will know what I mean).

13

Fox@12
"obliterated any sexual positivity I once had"

Aww, I think one can embrace the Westermarck effect and still be fully sex-positive.

I like imagining that Raindrop is Dr. Laura Schlessinger (he has quoted her).

14

Curious @13 - thanks. I think what LW1 presents goes well beyond the childish "ick, my parents have sex [with each other]" squick. Hell, he even managed to shock Dan the Man (and I thought it was kind of adorable that he claimed it was all his fault). This would be a hard one to stuff down the proverbial memory hole, indeed.

Also Curious, since you've relinquished all Firkt honors, can we at least give you some kind of standing title or honors for always alerting us to the new column? Town Crier? "Hear ye, hear ye..."

BDF @7 - you're awake! And I thought Dan was being more than a little knife-twisty with his superfluous descriptions, too (but it's part of what keeps us coming back, right?).

15

It’s been a while since a letter in Savaged Love shocked me, though this may have been faked by some raindrop moralist.
As for that former mayor, I don’t know anything about her and have no desire to look her up. Her laf-laf attitude may explain why she was a one-termer.

If this is indeed a true letter, I wonder who told LW about all this. BF? Parents? Did they all start laughing and kept rolling in laughter as they told him? Dad pulled him aside?
And prior to this revelation, did LW know or at least had some clues as to his parents assumed experiences? Were they always open with him about sexuality and exploration?

16

I just read the comments. f_m_f @ 12 deserves the credit for the raindrop conspiracy theory, thought I doubt he could pull this one on his own.

Cure @ 13
If the persistence on other Stranger forums I used to frequent is any indication, then he is not the Dr. I seriously doubt though that he is gay as he told us in the past, probably as an attempt to deflect criticism, and I also doubt his statement that he supports a woman’s right to choose when it comes to having an abortion.

17

Personally, I think the only thing that's really going to help IKHWIB is time. Compartmentalize to try to keep it in the back of your mind instead of at the forefront constantly, and just try not to think about it too much. After a year, maybe it won't be so awkward.

But, I suppose if it's a sex positive family, talking about it might actually help. I don't know. If it was me, I'd probably talk with my boyfriend one-on-one about it and only talk with my parents after I've had some time to process it.

18

I will admit that the first letter being faked was my first thought, however fake letters almost always have a "It was a dark and stormy night..." quality to them that this lacked. Let's face it, the only reason some of us are even considering that it's fake is because trying to even consider it being true is enough to send anyone running to the cupboard to get the aspirin. To quote Archer, upon touching his mother's dildo, "There's not enough liquor and therapy in the world to undo that..."

19

@9 resonates with me. Dan has always had a way of pointing out the power of family, and the need (perhaps even biological as well as psychological) to face familial reality head on - recognize the issue and fix it. That sweet bit of understanding can be wrapped up in the shit of so many human interactions - we just need to get past that shudder factor and get down to the truth: Family is blood, and blood is what keeps us alive. I don't think Aseop's fables are literally true, but they reflect reality.

20

Letter #1 didn't seem fake to me--the lw seemed too distressed and I couldn't detect the kind of bragging/fapping material that generally characterizes fake letters. The lw seems genuinely upset.

Which is why Dan's extremely graphic images seemed kind of a cruel and assholish thing to do.

21

IKHWIB Try not to dwell on the question of which was better in the sack, you or your Dad.

22

I personally would not be able to work through the squickiness of dating someone who fucked BOTH my parents. But I guess that's the Irish Catholic in me...

23

The first letter may or may not be fake, any letter may be fake, but the scenario is entirely credible. Nevermind how I know. (A close call, that one.)

The point about who first spilled is a good question, though. I can imagine a Danny Thomas Spit-Take scene. "Marlo introduces Donald Holliger to her parents, and when they clearly have already met, Donald has some serious 'splainin to do."

24

Fantastic @12: "I had a brief thought that maybe raindrop wrote it as a cautionary tale of the dangers of People With Children being sexually adventurous." I do know what you mean and yes, good theory! I dunno, with the popularity of incest as a porn theme this letter sounded salacious enough to me.

Fantastic @14, yes! The early posting of this column meant that I was still awake in my time zone, and checking last week's comments before going to bed, when Curious alerted us to the presence of the new column. I was unable to hold off until Wednesday morning. :) I second your Town Crier nomination.

And yeah, this isn't just "eww I walked in on my parents having sex with each other/found their sex toys" squick. This is, "My partner banged my mum." AND dad! One question is how close is this family? The less often they see each other, the more likely it is they can stuff it down the memory hole. The suggestion of humour is a good one though. My ex once hooked up with my sister, when we were broken up. They were also both mortified, and apologetic; I found it hilarious. "Ewww! You screwed my sister, lol!" And years later when she brought it up, I had completely forgotten (though admittedly he was long gone by then).

CMD @15, laughter isn't the typical reaction for people who are "mortified." I'm guessing that, if real, all three of them got shocked looks on their faces that prompted IKHWIB to ask what was up.
Good question about whether this is the first hint IKHWIB has had that his parents were/are sexually adventurous, and/or that his father is bi. If he already knew that, then the fact that their dating pool has common members, as Camlyn @10 describes, shouldn't be too surprising. If IKHWIB is only discovering his parents weren't strictly monogamous, he has two new bits of information to process.
Perhaps he should ask for the names of any other men they've slept with before he re-enters the dating world.

CMD @16, it's entirely possible that one could both be gay and a priggish prude. Personally, I don't care; he's an intentional troll and that's good enough for me to have put him on permanent mute.

Seventies @18, the reason for my suspicion is that if I were trying to come up with a letter that would shock Dan, this would indeed be the letter.

Nocute @20: "Which is why Dan's extremely graphic images seemed kind of a cruel and assholish thing to do." Exactly. Perhaps he wanted to make sure all his readers got just as squicked as he did?

25

@LW1 Faaaaaaaaaaaaaake, but also way to go mom and dad! Where's my hot mid 20's bi mmf threesome hookup?

26

Like nocute, I didn't think the first letter fake at all. If you were in that situation, what would you do? To whom would you turn? Three of the people in whom you might seek counsel for something intimate are taken out of the equation by the facts. Would you confide in a friend? You might be embarrassed; and even if this was someone you knew very well, the circumstances (being in a relationship with your parents' former threeway slut) could well become the thing that defined you for them in their mind. Your mind would recoil, and I think, desperately seeking some sort of out, trying to unthink and unknow what you cannot unknow, you might well reach out to Dan Savage.

The lw didn't seem to take any erotic pleasure in his predicament at all. There was no description of anything physical--in fact his imagination quailed from that, as has been noted (by Bi and nocute). The themes of incest porn/fantasy that are popular are: Daddy/daughter fantasy, or Daddy/stepdaughter, which on both sides plays to otherwise recognisable sexual formations of Dominating, submitting and the eroticisation of taking care of; and stepbrother-stepsister fantasy, which for young men is an unthreatening way of coming to conceive of themselves as sexual and exercising power or agency in sex. Threesomes with parents are for obvious reasons not a common fantasy theme.

I don't know what the lw should do. Perhaps a conversation with his parents would reassure him that there was nothing either emotionally intimate nor exploitative in the threesome, and that his relationship is of a different order. But he knows this already...--and the difficulty is getting what he knows out of his head. If this is impossible, I don't think anyone would blame him for having to give up on his formerly adventurous lover.

27

There were 332,915,073 people drawing air in the US last I Googled, not to mention how many uncounted and visiting at any one time. Odds are that four of them probably fucked each other some time in the past, so even IF the letter is fake, somewhere, sometime, it happened. But, as Pumbaa would say, “You gotta put your behind in the past”. And, if you just can’t get it out of your head that “you fucked my mom AND my dad when I was fourteen and probably sleeping in the next room” there are still 332,915,069 other people out there you can still bump uglies with. Puke and move on.

28

camyln@10 Part 2
"the difference between this letter and the hot tub letter is that the hot tub letter was written so salaciously that it felt like someone was getting off on it. This letter really isn't sexy at all"

This letter has a similar difference from the Rear Window letter. Though shares it's statistical improbability.

CMD@15
"If this is indeed a true letter, I wonder who told LW about all this. BF? Parents? Did they..."

If we'd have gotten some of those details, I'd have thought it were fake (because then it could have been salacious).

nocute@20
"extremely graphic images seemed kind of a cruel and assholish thing to do"

Yes it did seem that way. But I have two defenses for Dan.

One:
Savage Love needs to entertain readers to exist.

Two:
Simply suppressing things isn't the healthiest approach, it's best if one processes them a bit. The best way to get over a psychological barrier is through it.

JohnBalz@21
"Try not to dwell on the question of which was better in the sack, you or your Dad"

lol
See, Dan could have gone further!

BDF@24
"The early posting"

Excellent; it did occur to me that no normal person would check for a column posted hours earlier that usual. So it was up to me.

"he should ask for the names of any other men they've slept with"

Only if he's a masochist.

"an intentional troll...on permanent mute"

I muted Rainy for a while. But his Comments are at least brief. And his writing isn't painly unclear.

"the reason for my suspicion is that if I were trying to come up with a letter that would shock Dan, this would indeed be the letter."

That is plausible. In that case writing it without any details to get off on would be a smart way to avoid appearing fake to get it published.

29

@28 p.s.
"plausible"

I'll change that to likely.
As I wrote @8, I just don't want to think about it.

30

Honestly, the more I think about it, the more I think that LW1 is real. I thought at first that it was statistically unlikely that IKHWIB happened to start seriously dating the guy that his parents had had a threesome with, but it's not like we know for a fact that this is the only guy his parents have had a threesome with. Maybe 75% of the bisexual men in town have fucked IKHWIB's parents! Given that there are gay men who are up for MMF threesomes, and also IKHWIB's parents are not strictly monogamous and his dad is at least heteroflexible if not full-on bi, it's possible that a significant percentage of the gay men in town have fucked at least his dad and possibly his mom as well! If IKHWIB's parents are still going through their big bi slut phase (and all power to them if so, though maybe leave some queer men for your son), then maybe this situation is actually very statistically likely. As seventieslilo@18 said, I think the instinct to say this is fake comes more from us not wanting to think about this situation being a real thing that happened, rather than its inherent implausibility.

31

camlyn@30
"maybe this situation is actually very statistically likely"

OMG, that's a great argument. Maybe it's not statistically unlikely at all.
Aaargh. Now I'm going back to not thinking about it.

32

Well, Dan, if LW 1 didn't have graphic mental images of the sex they all had, he does now!

Anyway, Dan's right. This is a (very intense, granted) version of what we all do - refuse to have mental images of our parents and our adult children fucking. Whether or not you get over it is more about how good you are at compartmentalizing than anything else. Good luck!

33

Camyln @30, perhaps they need to pick an arbitrary year of birth and divide the men. Born before Arbitrary Date and the parents can bang them. Born after, they have to leave them for Son. ;)

34

I assume Dan has some reason to think Letter #1 is real since he usually calls out fakes.

The second letter writer may want to consider ending this relationship and thinking about the intensity of her relationships going forward. Some people can go 0 to 60 in a few months (after all, it was all dating in 1940) but others can't. She may not be best served by that and might be better off working on moving more slowly in intimate relationships. Moving fast is not a sign of immaturity or anything but moving fast and then fixating on the idealized past relationship kind of maybe is?

35

Re: WHACK - agreed with Ens @9, Larry @34, and anyone else who's already brought this up (sorry y'all, I tried scrolling and giving everyone credit), WHACK probably jumped into this new relationship way too quickly. Or it was a rebound fling that wound up having legs and now she's in a bit of a pickle. She mentions feeling skittish about making a commitment, but doesn't mention her current BF pressing for commitment. If he's not pushing for it, I think WHACK should chill; if he is, she should be honest and say she's not ready.

I get the sense that WHACK is young and fairly inexperienced in the LTR department (she says "twenties" and goodness knows there's a world of difference in maturity and worldliness between 21 and 29, say). I hear her saying that she's not sufficiently "over" her ex, and six months after a year-long relationship (with zero time being single and processing the grief/loss/experience before jumping into the next one) doesn't sound unreasonable to me. I don't think she should overly beat herself up over "not being over it/him." I think she's un/subconsciously stoking the embers by feeling bad/guilty for still having lingering or unprocessed feelings for her ex. Maybe she isn't very experienced in being dumped or having her heart broken, but I don't think there's anything unusual or "indicative of something deeper" to have lingering feeling for a person or relationship that felt it ended without a satisfying amount of closure.

Another thing, and I think to some extent this is a generational thing that I'm * just * old enough to have it rub me the wrong way, but I agree with Dan that WHACK is being kind of whack with describing both of these BFs as "partners." It seems younger folks ascribe a different definition to the term "partner" than even someone like me (mid 30s) would ascribe. A, I remember when this term was used exclusively for queer folks and business partners. B, to me it has connotations of deep commitment and a significant intertwining of the two people's lives. So maybe I'm old and out of touch (probably), but I think WHACK needs to slow way down with that word. She may find she makes things easier on herself by using a less loaded word.

36

Speaking as someone who found out that the guy I had been dating for a few months had had a one night stand with my mom about 6 months prior to us meeting, I find this letter believable. And still horrifying.

37

@15: Really now. I'd rather pull weeds than take the time to fake letter to savage love.

38

Continuing from my @35, if WHACK finds that it really is eating her up too much and truly adversely affecting her current relationship (or even just her day-to-day mental state), she should take some time to be single and really process the breakup with her ex. There are many valid reasons why all the best advice recommend not leap-frogging from one relationship to another. I disagree with Dan that the best way of getting over her ex is by continuing to get under her current BF. Especially with how loaded her terminology is with her current guy. "I want him in my life..." girl, you've only known him for six damn months. Considering your last relationship was "short but intense" (notice a pattern here?), I think it may be most healthy and helpful to take some time to be single, lick your wounds, and figure yourself out independent from your connections/relationships with men for a while.

39

nocute @ 20
As curious2 noted few posts after yours I don’t think Dan was mean. It has been a long SL tradition to describe acts and bodily functions for the entertainment sake of it. If anything, Dan’s graphic descriptions in this case may indicate that he also thinks the letter is fake.

BDF @ 24
My laughter speculation was in relation to laflaf mayor. If I was one of the people involved, either the bf or one of the parents, I would have probably overcome the initial shock and pretend to continue as if we really don’t know each other and signal to the other two to go along.
I may have come up with an excuse later on as to why I don’t want to see the parents if I’m the bf, possibly end the relationship. As a parent I would tell my son I heard some things about bf if I wouldn’t like them to continue the relationship.

The fact that LW does not mention how he found out is actually telling, as I stilI suspect this letter was not faked in order to get a sexual hit.
raindrop @ 37
I never thought it was you who wrote the letter and have also indicated that. I still think it could have been written by some pretentious moralist.
And gardening is something I always enjoyed, pulling weed included.

H_b_t_b
I find the idea of an older woman having sex with a younger man, or woman, exciting both in real life as well as in porn. In porn there is often an incest element to those videos which is a turn off for me, but there are also videos where real people with real bodies enjoy being with each other.

DoubleM @ 37
I’m aware of the strong ick factor on your part, but if you’re ok with it would you be willing to share how you found out and how relationship with both mother and ex proceeded?
Beyond being nosey, which admittedly I am, I think your experience may be valuable to LW if they are indeed real.

40

@1 RationalHuman: WA_HOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Congratulations on scoring our highly sought after FIRDT! honors and leading this week's Savage Love: Moms & Dads thread. Bask in the glory and savor your newfound numeric accolades. :)

Griz will need to play catch up on the comments and LWs. There is a new annual ritual I have now every August 4th since one year ago. I shall return.

41

As for my comment above to BDF:
On a second thought I wouldn't tell lies about bf if I'm one of the parents. I may attempt to reach out to him discreetly and ask that he will not disclose to my son what happened between us regardless if they break or not. I would also limit my time with him in order to make it slightly less awkward to all involved.

42

@39: Actually, I like pulling weeds too. But so much freaking ivy and blackberries in this part of the world. But I digress.

(I overlooked that @12 brought up that conspiracy theory. I should take it as a compliment.)

43

Larry @34, agree. Perhaps WHACK just needs to read some blog posts about being "off the escalator." She's enjoying this relationship but "finding it hard to commit." Why does she feel the need to commit? Is he pressuring her or does she just think this is what relationships need to do? WHACK, you are only in your 20s. Why pressure yourself to "commit" to someone you love spending time with? Why not just enjoy your time together, while allowing yourself to have a completely realised emotional self that is not tied to this relationship? To feel your grief over your lost love without guilt? Let go of that expectation that your current partner should be the only person taking up space in your heart. If this guy's a keeper, he'll recognise that of course you still have feelings for your ex, feelings you can't turn off like a switch, but which will fade in time. Stop trying to round him up to The One and let him but Mr Right Now until such time as you WANT to progress up the escalator -- if, indeed, you ever do.

Fantastic @35, the "partner" debate has come up before, and it's not possible to ask whether they're using it in the "step above boyfriend/girlfriend" sense or the "gender neutral term for person I'm in a relationship with" sense. Anyone someone is sleeping with is a sexual partner, right? So I think that word in and of itself isn't necessarily indicative of someone moving too fast in a relationship -- but the rest of the letter hints that she may be.

DoubleM @36, given your use of the past tense, it seems you were unable to get past this?
I'm also curious as to how this affected your relationship with your mother.

Fantastic @38: ""I want him in my life..." girl, you've only known him for six damn months." She's only been dating him for six damn months. Who knows how long they've known each other? Good catch though that her last relationship was "relatively short but very intense," and she's feeling she needs to "commit" to this guy six months in. That does suggest a pattern. WHACK, indeed, stop overthinking and enjoy your twenties. (I wouldn't advise her to be single -- I would have advised her of that six months ago, but that advice applied currently would be to dump this guy, which seems unnecessary and unfair. Dial back the relationship to casual, sure -- and if this one ends, take time out without dating anyone. Or without seeking to date anyone -- we've probably all experienced that cliché that one meets someone when one isn't looking...)

CMD @39, I was referring to your comment: "If this is indeed a true letter, I wonder who told LW about all this. BF? Parents? Did they all start laughing and kept rolling in laughter as they told him?" From the letter, I think that's a no. And I'm doubtful that you -- that any three people -- would have the presence of mind, in this completely unanticipated situation, or the acting skills to suppress any reaction so that IKHWIB wouldn't have noticed. A ruse like you suggest could only happen if the three had known in advance they would meet again under these circumstances, and could have colluded, which wouldn't have been possible here. If the parents had a similar big bi slut phase, in future they may ask for more identifying details of IKHWIB's boyfriends before meeting them.

44

Fantastic @38 cont, I don't think six months is too short a time to know you want to keep someone in your life. It's double the money-back-guarantee period. She's not saying she wants to marry him or move in with him. I think she is just feeling guilty for having feelings for more than one person, and she needs to know that that's completely natural and completely OK.

45

Another suggestion on why L1 is fake: Surely people get to the "post photos/announce relationship on social media" stage before they get to the "meet the parents" stage, and surely most twentysomethings' parents are on Facebook. It seems unlikely the parents wouldn't have seen photos of the boyfriend before meeting him.

Slutty parents, always stalk your kids' social media to see who they're dating!

46

25 years ago I started dating a girl that was 2 years older than me. We were on about our 3rd date when we started talking about other people we were seeing. She mentioned an older guy, recently divorced, she wasn't serious about him because she felt like he was a player (do people still use that term). It turns out the guy was my uncle. He lied to her, he wasn't divorced from my aunt at all. I had trouble thinking of my uncle fucking this woman that I was too. Eventually we stopped seeing each other.

47

@BiDanFan I have kids (nieces & nephews too) in their 20s. While I have a Facebook account I'm rarely on it. The kids don't use Facebook, they prefer other platforms. I have never seen a pic of the bf/gf my young relatives were saying before meeting them.

48

Dashing @46, brings this song to mind:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iePeytSpng

Fair point that social media may not preclude this from being a real letter.

49

@several I think LW1 is not as unlikely as it sounds. First, not too many people engage in MMF threeways. First, it involves bi or bi-curious 2% to 10% of folx. And then, it's a small fraction of those. Even in a "world city" in social events you see the same folx at varied LGBTQ social events and there's a ton more people who go to social events than three-way hookups. Second, some people move every few years but others stay for decades in home city. So even if a large city, this could certainly happen. Small town, perhaps it's LIKELY it happens. See @46 Dashing can also happen in more garden variety situations.

Getting over it: Depends on the wiring of the LW's brain which is a neurocognitive difference. Some people visualize something they're told and the resulting mental image is like youtube on a loop a shallow memory hole. Other folx you can live through it and 10 minutes later the "picture" in the mind is a fuzzy sketch everything goes down a bottomless memory hole. Pros and cons. A shallow memory hole you can't forget bad shit but have a great spank bank, a deep memory hole bad shit is not traumatizing but not much spank bank.

50

Delta35 and others have convinced me: There is a non-neglible chance letter #1 is real. Given the relatively small percentage of the population likely involved in such activities, the statistical mountain is not as high as I assumed at first.

51

Yeah, it's a small world--or at least when it comes to people who have threesomes. Or who swing; or who are open in any of multiple ways. Even the biggest city has its micro-communities, and the situation of a bi man in his early 20s going through a slutty phase hooking up with a couple in their 40s who happen to have a young teenager doesn't seem at all unlikely to me.

I have stumbled into more than one "six degrees of sex/separation" in my life--some funnier or more embarrassing than others. It kind of comes with the territory if you're at all slutty. And if you only date people with whom you share some interests and they also tend to date people with similar interests, the world shrinks again. Add the bi/gay/open-to-threesomes elements in, as others here have noted, and it becomes still more plausible. In all of my cases, it was easy enough to laugh it off. But then none of those involved my own parents.

As far as not being able to get mental images out of his head, well, we all do that most of the time: we avoid imagining what our parents do in bed (or how they do it); we try hard to not think graphically about what our children's sex lives are like. Most of us, even monogamists, are usually able to refrain from thinking too hard about what our current partner's past sexual experiences were like in detail (unless that turns us on).

And when we do occasionally stumble into more knowledge than we would prefer about our relatives' sex lives, we find a way to glide over it--we kind of have to. There are lots of ways to get knowledge we'd rather not have: people can be seen, overheard, walked in on. Emails, texts, photos or videos, diaries, drawers full of sex toys, basement "workshops" that turn out to be dungeons, search histories or open tabs--all of these enable potentially disturbing information and accompanying mental images. We find ways to deal with it. Personally, I know more about my parents' sex life and one brother's than I would like, and one of my kids knows WAY more about my sex life than either I or they would wish.

I don't know if any of the people in this situation would be able to put those memories into a deep corner, but it's really the lw who has the hardest job. If it were me, the factors that would most come into play would be the depth of my feelings for my bf (or how serious or long-lived the relationship was) and how many times my parents and bf had sex (or how casual v. serious THAT relationship was). Personally, I would be laughing about this, but obviously others feel differently.

@BiDanFan: Just as Dan is incorrect when he says that everyone has sexted or that everyone wants to fuck the barista, it's not true that every 20-something posts photos of their love interests on social media and that their parents are active on their child's social media platform, and vice versa. I use Facebook, as many of us olds do; my kids have Facebook accounts (made when there weren't many other social media platforms and the kids were pretty young), but they NEVER use them. I don't even know if they're on Instagram or Snapchat or TikTok or what. But I have taken the occasional glance at their social media when they wanted me to see something, and they don't post pictures of the people they're dating--nor do I, on my social media. It's extremely easy for me to imagine that Mom and Dad had no idea beforehand whom their son was dating.

And I'm assuming that several shocked looks of recognition were exchanged and an uncomfortable vibe sprang up, rather than that the parents and boyfriend started laughing and exchanging knowing glances.

52

I have a happy-ish story of dating coincidence.
A third of a century ago I was dating a spectacular lesbian who had divorced an asshole husband.

I turned turned out that the ex-husband was my dad's loathsome boss' boss. I told my dad just so he could (I figured) enjoy hearing that his son was fucking the woman who dumped his asshole work-superior.

53

Dan says "I mean, it’s only been six months. A little soon to be tossing “partner” around, if you ask me, which you did." Didn't Dan and his husband move in together shortly after they met?

54

The fantastic_mrs_fox @35 pointed out that it's normal to still have feelings for someone when you haven't gotten "a satisfying amount of closure"

And BDF @43 recommended that WHACK allow herself to feel "grief over your lost love."

I agree with both, and will bring in Dan's frequent saying that closure is something you give yourself, rather than something you get from your ex.

My advice would be for WHACK to schedule some time by herself in a new or well-loved location, maybe a long weekend or even a week away. If she's the type, she might have a small memento to burn or toss in a lake, or she could write herself a little list of her ex's good and bad points and then burn that. Or light a small candle and think of it as watching the old relationship melt away. If she has friends who are good at processing grief with laughter and hikes and ice cream, they can come too.

The point is to take a given amount of time (more than an afternoon) to really let the grief pass through your body. That doesn't mean the grief won't ever pop up again, but honoring the feeling with a good chunk of time and some ritual is likely to make it more manageable in the future.

I don't think she needs to break up with the current guy, just tell him that she's been unable to move forward because of how quickly the new relationship followed the last, and so she's taking some time to give herself that closure.

55

Dan the Man: Thank you, too, for sharing the clever and so spot on verse by poet, Phillip Larkin.
I copied it down--it's a keeper! :)

56

EricaP @54, I love this idea of taking some time by herself to ritualistically process the grief and let her lingering feelings free in a symbolic and meaningful way.

I did something similar to process my shit when I found out my husband was being unfaithful - took a trip to a lonely little spot on the beach all on my lonesome, took some beautiful photos, did some beachcombing, and stared at the ocean and felt insignificant in a comforting way (the enormity of the ocean makes me feel small, yet cared for/connected to nature in a way that is hard to describe). Recently the photos I took on this trip popped up in my FB memories; my initial reaction was "shit, I did not need to be reminded of that," then that thought was immediately followed by this tremendous sense of peace and healing. Seeing those photos when I wasn't expecting to made me realize how far I'd come since then, that I'd let go of keeping tabs on painful "anniversaries" from that time period. Sorry this is a ramble that doesn't really have anything to do with the letters, other than yes to the enormous healing potential of taking some time to oneself to really feel one's feelings.

57

IKHWIB: Dan replied "Yours is a much heavier lift than most".That's a hella lift, Oedipedal in its heft. I would not attempt it without the support of a therapist.

58

FMF @56: That was a lovely ramble. I grew up by the ocean, and miss it. I get it.

59

fantastic_mrs_fox @56, yes, I also took some time alone by the shore to process a tangle of feelings. Highly recommended! And this is a great way of putting it: "felt insignificant in a comforting way."

60

Who's hungrily salivating over this week's Lucky @69 Award? Tick...tick...tick.....

61

Griz @55, the rest of Philip Larkin's "This Be The Verse" can be found here:
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/48419/this-be-the-verse

Fantastic @56, don't apologise! What a lovely story. The reason I spend so much time here is not just Dan and the letter writers, but folks sharing their own personal experiences. I too thought EricaP @54's suggestion to have a formal "funeral" and processing experience, away from her boyfriend, was a great one, and I'm glad something like it worked for you.

62

One of the things I loved most about Fox's story, is that she was away from her husband. I imagine that also gave /him/ an opportunity to consider what it would be like to lose her.

/Break/
Processing is so important. Once after a difficult breakup (with someone at work), unrelated circumstances (long story short) conspired to give me three months off work, which I used for a very meditative experience. My dog and I took a driving vacation/road trip to pretty much everywhere in the Rockies from Canada to New Mexico. That was priceless in every way.

63

Thank you Fubar, EricaP, BDF, and Curious for the kind words. I enjoy hearing other people's personal stories here, too; quite a few helped a lot in my healing journey as well.

Glad to hear other people understand my vague and inadequate description of how the ocean makes me feel. Personal problems seem smaller and more manageable in the face of the mighty and eternally changing quality of the ocean.

Curious @62, the time away from one another was hugely important for me and my husband both. At that time, being at home and being around him was enormously uncomfortable painful, and it was impossible for me to think about things clearly while mired in the muck of the situation. Getting away for a few days gave me enough distance to better process my hurt feelings, and to realize I wasn't nearly as ready to throw in the towel on our relationship as I thought I was. It gave me a chance to get my head on straight and finally get to a point of telling myself, "look, you're feelings are rightly hurt, but you can't just stay mad forever. Staying angry and hurt isn't going to change the past. What are you going to do * now * in order to move forward?" It was probably the self-caring-est thing I've ever done for myself.

64

Curious @62, your prolonged road trip with doggo sounds amazing and very healing. It's awesome when the universe conspires to give you a break to gather one's thoughts and feelings. I was lucky to have been in an (unusual for me at the time) high-paying job and enough PTO that I could financially afford to take a few days off work and pay for an Air Bnb by the ocean. That was a luxury that previously would not have been an option without running up credit card debt or asking family to borrow money.

And when I was locked out of said Air Bnb with zero cell phone reception and was unable to look at my confirmation email for the passcode to the room, who helped me out from afar and found the information for me? Mr. Fox.

65

Fox@64
Aww, I'm touched that Mr. Fox was there for you in that time.

I don't know how I can ever repay the universe for my three months off. Three solid months of almost complete solitude amid nature and mountains was heaven. And a needed break sitting in the same room at work with my ex.

I broke my left hand playing softball. (Slipped on a wet patch rounding the bases.) So I couldn't do my job as a computer programmer.

But the best thing about it was, that the softball game was at the annual office picnic, so it was covered by Workers Comp, and for three months Workers Comp deposited checks electronically into my account which I withdrew from ATMs all over the continent while resting my cast on the drivers door. Since my doctor signed off on the three months, I was free to be completely honest about it, and I didn't have to use a second of accrued vacation time.

I wanted to play softball at the picnic the next June, which led the boss to cancel the game. He first told me I couldn't play, to which I replied he couldn't tell me that (which I had the freedom to do because I was the union Shop Steward), but he won after all. I do feel bad no one got to play.

66

Zaddy Dan, you said last week that SLLOTD is coming back! Are you edging us? ;)

When it does return, please ask the Stranger web wizards make it easy to bookmark / find.

67

SLLOTD has always shown up on https://www.thestranger.com/archive/savage-love
Though if you want to see it the instant it goes up, use https://www.thestranger.com/authors/259/dan-savage

68

Curious @65, Mr. Fox was certainly in a position that he could have told me "too bad, so sad" and left me to fend for myself. I was touched at the time as well.

That sounds like the most fortuitous hand-breaking of all time! On the company's dime (and union steward to boot)! Three months away from sharing the office with your ex sounds deeply healing indeed.

69

Mrs_Fox@68
Please remind me: do you two have little Foxes?

70

Curious, WAHOO on landing on 69! And to continue the metaphor, yes, Mr. Fox and I have a couple of pups (they were no small factor in my decision to stay and work on the relationship; also taking time away from parenting and care giving for a few days was a much-needed respite to really process my thoughts and feelings).

And I just learned that a group of foxes is called a "skulk," and I just really like the sound of that word. I might have to start referring to my family as a skulk now.

71

@56 fantastic_mrs_fox: What a beautiful story! Bless you for sharing. My beloved Love Beetle and I find solace at the beach, as well. Big hugs, positrons, and VW beeps. :)

@69 curious2: WA-HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Congratulations on scoring this week's luscious Lucky @69 Award numeric honors! Savor your envied good fortune and bask in the glory. :)

@70 fantastic_mrs_fox: That is interesting that a family of foxes is defined as a skulk.
Foxes are quite good at skulking (also stealthily keeping out of sight).
I saw my first real-life red fox at the tender age of five, fifty-two summers ago, when our family moved north of Seattle, and made a weekend beach house five miles west of La Conner, Washington, our permanent home. There was a roadside cafe just down the road from us. My older brother and sister and I took a short walk to Rosie's Cafe to buy candy bars. I glanced over in the direction of the ditch at the edge of the woods, and there he was, a red fox. A handsome guy--ruddy coat, white on his chin, neck, chest and tip of his tail; black legs. He knew he was a gorgeous creature, too, however sly .He glanced back up and saw me staring at him in wonder (the only previous foxes I had ever seen before that day were in picture books--mostly written and illustrated by Richard Scarry). His initial 'Oh, shit!" look of surprise turned quickly to cunning. Slowly backing into the woods he looked back as if to say"Ssshhhh-----you didn't see me. I know you're just a pup, but this will be our little secret, okay?" Back into hiding he went, possibly in search of a nearby chicken coop to raid later that evening.

72

I am sorry but L1 has Yale University written all over it.

73

@67 curious2 thanks, I hope they keep this so easy to find.

@72 Robin8 - I don't get the Yale reference, please explain?

74

Griz @71 - thank you for the kind words and for sharing your magical fox experience! I have never seen one IRL (perhaps at a zoo once upon a time, but I can't be sure). Your experience, especially being young and on a trip, and being the only one to spot him, sounds so magical and touching. It would have made an impression on me too.

Not a fox, but I did see a huge otter at the beach during my alone-to-process-feelings trip. He was walking along the sand, rolling joyously in the surf as the water came up, and snatching big mouthfuls of whatever small creatures the tide was bringing him. It felt like a very magical moment, seeing this rare creature looking as if he were living his best life with absolutely zero cares; it contrasted strongly with the very heavy feelings I had at the time, and seeing him happily roll around in the surf made me feel so much lighter.

75

Priorities.
xxx
LW1, I am so sorry.
xxx
Of all the possible letters to which to return after falling extremely ill three Tuesdays ago (I spare the assembled company the details), three days later being hospitalized for four days and then sent to a fourth-choice rehab centre ever since (the staff are almost all kind but the facility is underfunded) where I have to spend most of the day LYING down (no descriptivist excuses, please! the other is deliberate Prole)...
xxx
I cannot really read with both eyes open and it has been two hours since I began the column, so that I may have missed or forgotten something, but colour me unimpressed by the Guest Expert (I am guessing that her qualification consists of having married her son's [let us hope ex] boyfriend; apologies if it was provided and I missed it. While kindly meant, the tone of her reply made me think she would be the target audience for a hypothetical production of King Lear with Sir John Gielgud in the title role and Cordelia played by Vivian Vance (or Mss Vance and Ball as Goneril and Regan).
xxx
Mx Wanna raises an interesting question; what if the meeting had somehow passed off without explicit detection on LW1's part; what could Ps1 or F1 reasonably ask of LW1 or BF1? Or what should BF1 have the grace to do unasked? Something to ponder during my next sleepless bout.
xxx
To a point I can agree with what feels like a tonal point of A1; BF1 would have to be about a .85 or higher to be worth the attempt.

76

OMG, I've been wanting to post for weeks asking if anyone knew how Mr. Venn was.

Whatever the illness (Covid-19 Delta?) I'm hoping that Mr. Venn's recovery becomes swift, comfortable, and complete!

77

@61 BiDanFan: Thank you for sharing the Phillip Larkin link!
Here is English poet Phillip Larkin's spot on classic poem, originally published in 1971 in its entirety:

This Be the Verse

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.

"....Get out as early as you can
And don't have any kids yourself."

WOW. Was I ahead of my time by keeping my foot down on remaining childless by choice?
This reminds me of the typically ongoing head-butting I had during my adolescence onward (it got steadily worse up to my mid-forties, and particularly awful during my one toxic marriage and after my divorce) with my mother when I was about 15. She and I rarely saw eye to eye.
One day, as usual, according to my mom I just could not do anything right, let alone fast or obediently enough. All day long, she'd lay on her tiresome condescending lectures, nagging, scolding, and being harshly judgmental in a way she never did towards any of my three older siblings. By the age of thirteen I was convinced that she didn't want me, but....(long aggravated sigh) ....had me anyway (she got pregnant with me in late October, 1963, despite my father's vasectomy a year earlier). Anything that happened unfavorably or embarrassed her was automatically considered my fault.
I must have said something particularly inflammatory to my mother one day, for she haughtily responded with triumphant glee: "I can't wait until YOU have a daughter of our own!"
My calm response: "Fine. Then I just won't have any kids."
"UMPH!" she cried out, with a shocked expression before hotly pursing her lips.
But my takeaway was that, whatever my own faults and shortcomings, my mother could never be so negative about any daughter or son I might have had and reared. And neither of these would-be children nor I would be shamed. blamed, ridiculed, scorned or humiliated by her or anyone else in front of or unfairly compared to any of my existing nieces and nephews.

@74 fantastic_mrs._fox: And thank you for sharing your equally sweet experience with the otter at the beach! Otters really do seem to have not a care in the world, rolling back and forth in the surf. :)

78

@75 vennominon: I haven't heard from you in a while. I hope all is well your way and if not, getting better.
Sending big cyber hugs, positrons, and VW beeps.

@77 curious2: Thank you for the reminder regarding vennominon.

79

LW 1: DO Not introduce your BF to any other family, brothers, sisters, aunt's, uncle's, cousins, etc. until you break out the family photo album in a private setting with just him and you, alone.
Run down the family tree together, privately, to spare anymore shock and awkward/embarrassing situations.

That way at least you will have the opportunity to process the knowledge and not be blindsided.

You may want to run through a list of your and his previous lovers as well, since your BF was so "frisky" in his younger days.

I had a similar, yet much less substantial experience. I was dating a woman whom my older brother had a one night stand with years before, when I was 19. We didn't realize the predicament until a family picnic where she found out who my older brother was.
Quite an awkward situation all around....

80

Venn @75, I'm so sorry you've been so ill! I'm wishing you a speedy recovery.

81

@73 Delta35, it used to be kind of a rite of passage for Yale frat boys to get a fake letter to Dear Abby or Ann Landers published, back in the day when the only place to see such a letter was in a print newspaper. Sometimes Ann printed the letters and then busted them in her reply. It's my way of saying a) I'm old and b) I think the letter is fake.

82

It seems that turning to water bodies while looking for inspiration and healing is a universal phenomenon.
I’m reminded of a script writing teacher who advised their students to take the characters they’re developing “to the beach,” where they can reflect about their lives, look for clarity and define their action.

83

@61 BiDanFan (re @77): Please forgive me for getting long-winded about my turbulent teen years and beyond. Phillip Larkin's literary masterpiece struck a resonant chord with me, particularly at the end of the poem.

84

@75 vennominon: Oh, dear. My heartfelt apologies for not reading your comment more carefully. I had primarily responded to curious2's comment @76. I did not realize that you had become quite ill and have been hospitalized! Sending kind thoughts, positrons, and cyber hugs, and hope that you will get well soon.

85

Joining the others in wishing Mr. Venn a rapid and full recovery.

86

I had been wondering if you were alright, Mr. Ven, and I'm simultaneously concerned for your health hearing how serious it was, and relieved that you're doing well enough to let us know. I echo the rest with wishing you a speedy and complete recovery.

87

Thanks for all the kind wishes; one of my bridge players has lent me her backup laptop and I wanted to make it clear I hadn't died or left in a huff. Nothing Covid-related; severe dehydration and a mysterious near-complete loss of balance.
xxx
L1 is still making me so sad for LW1; somehow it feels worse that nobody's done anything wrong. It feels rather Greek and also reminds me of how I once tried to get over my aversion to bananas and decided it wasn't worth the effort. As the Prince of Arragon mentions while rejecting the lead casket, "You shall look fairer ere I give or hazard."
xxx
I remember Ms Robin's column mention - the last I saw in print was a clear crib of the Merry Wives of Windsor.
xxx
My overall spirits are not too bad, although having no idea when or if I'll ever get my balance back is getting to me a little.

88

@87 vennominon: Venn--so good to hear back from you, that you're okay, and that your hospitalization was not COVID-related. I have gone through physical therapy this last year after a fall (no broken bones, though I sadly lost a pottery teapot I won as a door prize at a local high school music concert). Sending big hugs, positrons, and VW beeps for a speedy recovery. :)

89

In celebrity birthday news: Oscar-winning actor Dustin Hoffman turned 84 today.
Another movie night for Griz with red wine, sunglasses, and leopard spots--starting with The Graduate (1967). Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson!

90

@75 Mr Venn - best wishes to you!

@81 Robin8 interesting! A book of the unpublished ones would be a fascinating study of that era's Yale frat boys' privileges and their perceptions of then-contemporary society's sensibilities.

91

Mr. Venn@87
I very much hope they figure out what the heck is going on with you, and fix it!

My dad had balance issues from dehydration, it would be great if hydrating alone did the trick.

I have a friend with 'benign vertigo' (BPPV); they're supposed to treat it with head movement exercises (to reposition tiny particles in the inner ear).

92

WHACK: It's only been 6 months; it's only been 2 years max for both these relationships. IMO everything is pretty normal. You're feelings for your ex will fade, or you'll be in the same area again and rekindle things, or maybe you'll start thinking about your current BF in the same way you do your ex. I don't see your feelings as unusual at all. It's possible you should have waited a bit longer for a new relationship, but it's too late for that. You're in your twenties, you'll fuck one or two of them up, everyone will survive. Do your best to focus on the good times you had with either partner and not to hold them in conflict with each other.

The guy sucking off his mother fucking boyfriend: Just break it off. You ain't getting married (and 99% sure the letter is fake)

93

@91 curious2: Agreed and seconded regarding vennominon's current condition.
Thank you, too, for a reminder to drink more water--especially in the hot summer months. :)

Who is hungry for this week's Big Hunsky numeric honors? Tick...tick...tick...

94

@61 re @77 BiDanFan: To further clarify: did I mention that my parents married and had their first three of four children before my mother turned 21? Mom was still in high school and a month shy of 18 when my oldest sister was born. Of course, my parents weren't the first to conceive so young; plenty of people have married and had children early in life. I was unplanned and came along so much later.
If I have regrets, I wish I could have been closer to my mother, and that my parents were more supportive of my real abilities rather than, along with so many other people, insisting I pick up where my mother left off around the house when she couldn't manage--especially with three older siblings to more equally share the load, but often didn't.

There was so much role playing in my family. My oldest sister, at the same time, kept butting heads loudly with our father over mom. I wonder if my mother was jealous over my being closer to my father? How can one be close to a parent who acts more like a parole officer, especially when the so-called 'high-strung rotten kid' did nothing so morally wrong ( i.e.: robbing a bank, holding someone at gun point, committing murder, caught embezzling funds, etc.)? Just before joining my mother in October 2010, my Dad confirmed this: 'What did you ever do that was so wrong?' What was it about me that made my mother so graciously accommodating toward my older brother, sisters, and seemingly everyone else---neighbors, contemporaries, kids at my public school, and even total strangers---when she had so little patience for me? It saddens me that my parents didn't really fully appreciate my real strengths------especially those artistically----until the very end of their Parkinson's Disease shortened lives. Neither parent made it to 80.
Eleven years later, I still wish I knew.

95

@94: Griz just got enlightened by a comment made in a SLOG AM-PM article. I just learned a new word: mollycoddle. verb.: to indulge, spoil, cosset, or pamper to the point of overprotecting. I am so impressed by this new word, I have found an immediate use for it.
Apparently, since my three much older siblings were born so closely together, they must have been mollycoddled growing up, and never had to lift a finger to help with household chores.
I, on the other hand, the last of four children at home with two parents by age 10--was suddenly outnumbered 2 to 1---and stuck having to fend for myself with no-one at my back. I don't believe I was mollycoddled--but I lived a sheltered upbringing. Neither of my parents seemed to want me to have what mattered to me most---freedom to seek my passion of music, and being able to live on my own. Acquiring what had originally been my mother's car was a big milestone toward independence. As a result, I am so fortunate to still have this car today---a loving symbol of independence.
For me, that explains a lot of things. It may have been "easier" for my mother to simply have done everything around the house when my sibs were little than try to get three kids to pitch in. Once they had graduated from high school and were out of the house, my mother must have thought she'd been too lenient. With just one kid left in the house, she could starting cracking the whip, barking orders and finding fault with everything I did or didn't do--especially around others. And all she had to do to bring me to heel was egg me on, nipping at my heels, shaming and blaming until i'd cry out, "I know--I know!" out of sheer exasperation. Then she'd go running off crying phony tears to my father. Dad would blow his stack and yell at me. Horribly cruel, vindictive punishments were promised; cheap pot shots made at my expense. Yet my mother kept insisting she was my "pal", getting all defensive when her most spiteful of Mommie Dearest actions were impugned.
No--sorry. She was my mother, NOT my "pal". BFFs don't pull such bratty middle school level shit on their closest of friends.
I think my mother finally realized this before she died. She had been quiet all week at home before passing away quietly and peacefully in her sleep on August 7, 2008. I could not get away to see my parents on my 44th birthday due to work and performance obligations, I did go see my parents at my first opportunity two days later. Lying abed in the living room, she cried out happily when she saw me come into my parents' house through the back door. I gave her a hug,. Her eyes were misted. I think she had feared that she would not have gotten the chance to say goodbye. That was when I finally knew that she did love me, despite our clashes.
My father's last words two years and two moths later to me were, 'Your mother and I are proud of you.' I love them and I know they loved me, however strange their ways of showing it.

Okay---enough with Gris's latest novel on the story of her dysfunctional upbringing. But there is my two cents' worth on this week's SL: Mum & Dad.

96

@87. venn. Get well soon!

97

@ Mr. Ven -- Have had limited internet for the last few months, but have a few days with it and want to join everyone in saying get well soon -- we are all thinking of you!

98

Mr. Venn @75: I'm very sorry to hear you've been ill, and secnod those who've wished you a speedy recovery.

99

A new column is up!

100

A new column is up.