Asheville Daily Planet
RSS Facebook
The Advice Goddess: April 2017
Wednesday, 05 April 2017 10:52

Insecurity blanket

Q: I’m extremely insecure about my looks, though objectively, I know I’m pretty. I constantly ask my boyfriend for reassurance. He gives it to me, but feels bad that I feel this way. Now I’m worrying that I’m making such a good case for what’s wrong with me that he’ll start believing me. Possible?
— Bag Over Head

A: One oft-overlooked beauty secret is to avoid constantly giving a guy the idea that you might actually be ugly.

People will sneer that it’s “shallow” to care about how you look, and they’re probably right — if it’s all you care about. However, research confirms what most of us recognize about the especially eye-pleasing among us: They get all sorts of benefits — everything from social perks to job opportunities to discounts when they act like dirtbags (with judges assigning them lesser fines and a lower rate of bail for misdemeanors).

As a woman, being babe-alicious is a pretty vital tool for landing and maintaining a relationship, because the features that men — across cultures — evolved to consider beautiful are actually health and fertility indicators.

So, for example, full lips and an hourglass bod are basically evolution’s bumper sticker: “Your genes passed on here!”

Not surprisingly, psychologist Tracy Vaillaincourt, who researches competition among women, explains that women attack other women “principally on appearance and sexual fidelity” because men prioritize these qualities in their partners. 

One way women chip away at rivals is by trash-talking another woman’s looks to a man — suggesting he really could do better. That’s what you’re doing — but to yourself. It’s the relationship version of “Ewww, you’re not really gonna eat that, are you?” (And you’re the fricasseed crickets.)

Beyond that, constantly begging a romantic partner for reassurance — while being kind of a black hole for it — can be toxic to a relationship. 

Also, the fact that your need for reassurance seems bottomless suggests it’s not your exterior, but your interior that’s in need of work. Get cracking on that, and try to remember that your boyfriend is with you for a reason — and it probably isn’t that your mom and grandma are crouched behind your sofa, holding him at gunpoint. 


Rebeauty and the beast 

I’m a woman in my 30s. I was married for five years, but now, thank God, I’m divorced and about two years into a wonderful new relationship. Disturbingly, I occasionally call my boyfriend by my awful ex-husband’s name. He laughs it off, but it really freaks me out. Should I see a neurologist? Is my memory going? Or — gulp — do I miss my ex on some subconscious level?
 — Disturbed


Right about now, you’ve got to be recognizing the unexpected benefits of those gas station attendant shirts with the guy’s name sewn onto them.

As with dead bodies carelessly submerged after mob hits, it’s unsettling to have your ex’s name bobbing up when you love somebody new. Naturally, you suspect the worst — that you’re subconsciously pining for the ex. But — good news! — the likely reason for your name swapperoos is something you should find comfortingly boring. According to research by cognitive scientists Samantha Deffler and David C. Rubin, we’re prone to grab the wrong name out of memory when both names are in the same category — for example, men you’ve been seriously involved with or, in the pet domain, gerbils you’ve dressed in tiny sexy outfits.

You might also keep in mind that your ex’s name was the default for “man in my life” for more than twice as long as the new guy’s. Other memory research suggests that especially when you’re tired, stressed, or multitasky, it’s easy to go a little, uh, cognitively imprecise. You send your mindslave off into your brain — back to the “My Guy” category — and the lazy little peasant just grabs the name he spent five years grabbing. So, you might think of this as a mental workforce issue. The Department of Emotions isn’t even involved.

However, research by cognitive psychologist Robert Bjork suggests that you can train your memory to do better through “spaced retrieval” — correcting yourself just post-flub by asking and answering “Who is the man in my life?” and then letting a few minutes pass and doing it again. 

But considering that you have a partner who just laughs at your errors, your time would probably be better spent appreciating what you have: an easygoing sweetheart of a guy and no readily apparent need for a neurologist. 

Bottom line: Your calling the guy by the wrong name probably points to a need for a nap, not unwanted company — as in, a tumor named Fred squatting in the crawlspace behind your frontal lobe. 




Hello hath no fury

Though my boyfriend is loving and attentive, he’s bad at responding to my texts. He’s especially bad while traveling, which he does often for his work. Granted, half my texts are silly memes. I know these things aren’t important, so why do I feel so hurt when he doesn’t reply? 
 — Waiting

 You’d just like your boyfriend to be more responsive than a gigantic hole. (Yell into the Grand Canyon and you’ll get a reply. And it isn’t even having sex with you.)

What’s getting lost here is the purpose of the GIF of parakeets re-enacting the Ali/Frazier fight or the cat flying through space on the burrito. Consider that, in the chase phase, some men text like crazy, hoping to banter a woman into bed. But once there’s a relationship, men (disproportionately) use texting as a logistical tool -- “b there in 5” -- while women continue using it as a tool for emotional connection. That’s probably why you feel so bad. Feeling ignored is also not ideal for a relationship. In research psychologist John Gottman did on newly married couples, the newlyweds who were still together six years down the line were those who were responsive toward their partner’s “bids for connection” -- consistently meeting them with love, encouragement, support, or just attention. 

Explain this “bids for connection” thing to your boyfriend. (That mongoose in a dress is just meme-ese for “Yoo-hoo! You still there?”) However, especially when he’s traveling, a little reasonableness from you in what counts as a reply should go a long way. Maybe tell him you’d be happy with “Ha!”, “LOL,” or an emoji. You’d just like to see more than your own blinking cursor -- looking like Morse code for “If he loved you, he’d at least text you that smiling swirl of poo.”


(c.) 2017, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA  90405, or e-mail


That old ring-a-ding-ding still shines
Wednesday, 05 April 2017 10:15

‘The Rat Pack’ show swings despite lacking Sammy fill-in

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

HENDERSONVILLE — “The Music of the Rat Pack,” featuring hits by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and (at least in theory) Sammy Davis Jr., was often toe-tapping, finger-snapping fun during a swinging performance of the tribute show on March 17 at Flat Rock Playhouse’s downtown Hendersonville venue.

Highlights included an unforgettable rendition of Sinatra’s “That’s Life,” with two of the singers providing ethereal falsetto backup harmony, to a terifically bluesy lead, a spot-on version of Sinatra’s “My Way” and a cover of Martin’s “Sway” that captured the song’s essence.

The show, which ran May 9-19, mainly featured songs by Sinatra, with a sprinkling of Martin — and, sadly, only “That Old Black Magic” by Davis.

Of the three featured singers, Matt Faucher resembled Sinatra — and Adair Watkins looked somewhat like Martin.However, the other key member of the Rat Pack — Davis, a 5-foot-5 African-American who not only could sing but could dance magnificently — was not represented. Indeed, Greg Frens, the third singer in FRP’s version of the Rat Pack, is a bearded and very tall white man.

Frens did not resemble Davis or any of the Rat Pack members, even the extended version that included Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop.To his credit, Frens has a powerful voice and admirably sang his share — and more — of the show’s renditions of songs.

Early in the show, Faucher noted that, “obviously,” it is “not a traditional tribute act,” in that Davis was not represented in the trio, but that the show instead was intended as a more general tribute, emphasizing the music and vocals of the Rat Pack.

The two-set, two-hour show ended with “New York, New York,” which triggered a standing ovation from the roughly two-thirds filled auditorium that seats 250 people.

The singers and band stayed on stage, bowing, and then asked the auidence if it would like to hear one more song. The crowd cheered for an encore.

The group then launched into “My Way,” which could be said to be Sinatra’s signature song. The audience once again stood to applaud, but this time the singers and band bowed —and left the stage for good.

The tight-sounding band was top-notch and included Nathan Hefner, keyboards; David Gaines, synthesizer; Bill Altman, guitar (and the show’s music director); Ryan Guerra, bass; and Paul Babelay, drums.

During the performance of the songs, the trio members often would take turns singing the verses, while, on other songs, there would just be one lead singer. A show highlight for the vocalists was their impeccable three-part harmony and ability to sing falsetto.

Earier, the show began after three dapper-looking men strode onto the stage, looking elegant in their black tuxedos, black bowties, black trousers and black shoes, accented by white shirts and white pocket squares.

The band struck up the music and the trio lauched into two Sinatra hits, beginning with “The Best Is Yet to Come,” followed by a sizzling “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.” 

At that point, the singing trio noted that they are part of the group, The Garden State Guys, which got its start on the Flat Rock Playhouse stage in 2012 and has experienced much success ever since, performing a tribute to the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons all over the country.

They also noted that Valli and his group made “Ive Got You Under My Skin” a top 10 hit with their falsetto rendition in 1966. But it was Sinatra who made it one of his signature songs in 1956 with a definitive big-band arrangement by the late great Nelson Riddle.

The show’s third song was Bobby Darin’s 1959 classic “Beyond the Sea” — a bizarre choice, given that Darin was never accepted by the Rat Pack, according to a Darin biographer.

Other first-set songs included “You Make Me Feel So Young,” “Smile,” “Luck Be a Lady,” “Summer Wind,” “The Lady Is a Tramp,” “Foggy Day,” “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” and “World on a String.” All of the songs were Sinatra hits, except for “Kick in the Head,” which was a Martin hit.

The second set began with “That Old Black Magic,” followed by “That’s All,” “For Once in My Life,” “Just in Time,” “Fly Me to the Moon,” a Dean Martin medley, :”When You’re Drinking,” “I Love Vegas,” “You’re Nobody ‘til Somebody Loves You,” “Nobody Reprise,” “Sway,” “Where or When,” “Come Fly With Me.” The regular show concluded with “New York, New York.”

Throughout the show, the vocal trio encouraged the audience to dance on the expansive floor in front of them, but the crowd seemed reluctant until later.

While the trio did a good job of mixing drinks and joking in the background during the songs (a la the Rat Pack), it was puzzling to see them without cigarettes in their hands. For Sinatra, Martin and Davis, cigarettes were ever-present.

And a pleasant surprise in the show was Faucher’s wife Anne Marie, who sang — movingly — several Rat Pack songs. She also was stunning-looking, with a red 1940s knee-lengrth dress — and her hair was styled in victory curls.

The otherwise terrific show would have been better with the addition of two of Martin’s greatest songs, “That’s Amore” and “Volare.” And it would have been wonderful to hear a rendtion of Davis’ version of  “Mr. Bojangles,” which became his signature song; along with his biggest-seller, “The Candy Man.” Also, it would have been a joy to hear other Davis hits, such as  “I’ve Gotta Be Me” and “What Kind of Fool Ami I?” 

Next for the Music on the Rock Series at the downtown Hendersonville venue are “The Music of Simon and Garfunkel” from March 30 to April 9 — and “The Music of Johnny Cash” from May 4 to 14.



contact | home

Copyright ©2005-2015 Star Fleet Communications

224 Broadway St., Asheville, NC 28801 | P.O. Box 8490, Asheville, NC 28814
phone (828) 252-6565 | fax (828) 252-6567

a Cube Creative Design site