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The Advice Goddess: For whom the wind chimes toll
Saturday, 11 October 2014 16:07

By AMY ALKON

This girl I’m dating is truly great -- except for how she is into astrology, buys me crystals to improve my “energy” and keeps sitting me down for tarot card readings. As we get more serious, I feel like telling her I don’t believe in any of this. But I think she actually believes in this stuff and would be hurt if I came clean. 

— Rationally Based

Somehow, people who find it perfectly reasonable to ask a deck of cards whether they should invest in a 401(k) will sneer at you for asking a mailbox for directions to the movie theater. The question is, as a guy who tries to live rationally, can you respect a woman who probably reads books like “The Healing Power of Pebbles” and “How to Ask the Universe for a Pony”? (Without respect, you have contempt, which researcher John Gottman finds is the number one killer of relationships.) Figure out whether you can compartmentalize -- focus on what you love and shrug off her planning her day based around whether she sees a sign in her toast. If you stay together, gently explain that you appreciate how sweet she is in wanting to help you but that you really don’t believe in all this stuff. Over time, if you let her see your thought process but don’t hammer her with it, she may come around to the merits of evidence-based beliefs. In the meantime, do your best to be polite when she introduces you to her relatives -- all her relatives, ever. (Are you free for a seance Friday night?)

To leech according to her needs

My roommate’s girlfriend is unemployed and just hangs around our place all week, even when he’s at work. (She has her own place but is never there.) She’s very wasteful with our utilities. Yesterday, after work, I found her in the living room watching TV with the air conditioning on full blast -- even though she also had all the windows open and, for some reason, had turned on our gas fireplace! When I muttered something to my roommate about her kicking in for utilities, he retorted that my girlfriend isn’t paying any extra. Well, she is here a night or two a week, has a job, and doesn’t run up our electric bill.
—Feeling Scammed


You need to establish a new house rule: “Residents and their guests can experience only one climate at a time.”

Your problem started with going into a roommate situation without rules — without a written document spelling out how things would work between you and how they’d work if something weren’t working. Signing a roommate contract (like this example from Nolo’s “Every Tenant’s Legal Guide”: bit.ly/roommatecontract) might sound unnecessarily formal. However, it’s wise to do whenever you’re rooming with anything more animated than a cactus. Remember, to be human is to be annoying — like, for example, by letting another human move in and cause climate change in your living room.

The fair thing is to get Jackie Brownout to start forking over for the utilities — before it occurs to her to run the dryer all night because the white noise helps her sleep. But the fair thing isn’t always the smartest thing. Consider what this is costing you — and what it could cost you.

Compare bills from the previous year to get an idea of how much she’s actually sending the bill up. No, putting every power source in the house on full blast isn’t free, but her usage probably doesn’t add more than $10 or $20 to your monthly bill. And no, it isn’t fair that you’re paying half of that. However, getting into this with your roommate might lead to your putting the $10 or so you’d be saving on moocher energy charges toward doughnuts for the movers you’d be paying hundreds of dollars to haul your stuff to storage until you could find your next apartment.

If you decide it would eat away at you too much to be paying for her, say something to your roommate, but in a mellow way, over a beer. Tell him you really like his girlfriend (because diplomacy, not truth, is life’s little lubricant). As far as you’re concerned, she’s welcome to stay over as much as she wants, but you’d like a new house policy: Girlfriends who stay over four or more days a week need to kick in for utilities.

Stress that this applies to your girlfriend, as well, and add that the particular roommate, not the girlfriend, should be responsible for the payment. The last thing you need is to be going all collection agent on this woman  — preferable as it might be to asking her to cut to the chase and heat the house by burning stacks of your money on the coffee table.


Heavy meddle

Is it okay to keep your income a secret from someone you’re dating? I recently started seeing a girl I work with (at an advertising company). She believes women at our company get paid less on average, and I suspect she’s right. Yesterday she came right out and asked me how much I make. I’m pretty sure I’m the highest-paid person on our team, but her question made me really uncomfortable, and I told her I make a lot less than I actually do. I felt bad lying to a woman I could get serious with, but I don’t want her or other co-workers knowing my salary.
— Johnny Paycheck Privacy


It’s normal to keep some personal information secret from the person you’re dating – like your exact income or the fact that you belt out Lynyrd Skynyrd in the car every day on your way to work. Unfortunately, your girlfriend decided it was time to bridge the gap between conversation  and colonoscopy. She snookered you into going along by asking you point-blank how much you make. This is really rude — on the level of yelling across the office, “Hey, Steve, ya still got that weird rash on your balls?” Because of that, it catches a person off guard, leading to a reaction like yours — stammering out an answer, but not the one the prying person actually deserves: some version of “Up your butt with a coconut.”Maybe she doesn’t believe you’re entitled to boundaries in a relationship, or maybe she decided she could erase yours for a good cause. And sure, you, like most people, probably want the person you’re with to really know you. But really knowing the person you’re dating means understanding their hopes and dreams, not having the same information you’d get if you duct-taped yourself to the awning of the ATM just before they deposited their paycheck. Beyond one of the biggest problems with lying — the tendency to get caught — by not standing up for your right to keep select areas of your life private, you’re paving the way for future info-hooverings. To dial back your privacy settings, tell her you only revealed your salary because you were so unprepared for her to ask about it.Request that she keep a lid on it, and let her know the boundaries that work for you — like that the woman in your life has a right to know how much you make when you’re sharing a checking account, not a cubicle.You don’t have to turn your pay stub drawer into a petting zoo to show her you care about her concerns. You could offer to help her come up with tactics for negotiating a raise.Keep in mind that research shows that women tend to take the salary, raises, and opportunities they’re offered instead of trying to negotiate for more.A book you might get her is “Ask for It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want,” by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever. Finally, prepare yourself for being put on the spot by her or anyone with what I call “The Power of Not Right Now” — recognizing that you can decline to answer a person’s question right then and there (perhaps with the exception of inquiries like “You gonna give me your wallet, or do I have to gut you with this rusty screwdriver?”).


Curl, interrupted

The girl I’m dating wears hair extensions, and feeling them creeps me out. She’s very pretty, and her hair is lovely without the extensions. Can I tell her they make me uncomfortable?
— Mr. Natural


When you’re running your hand through your girlfriend’s hair and a bunch comes out in your palm, it can be hard to keep straight whether you’re making out or snaking the shower drain.

Your girlfriend joins an increasing number of women in planting non-native foliage in her hairgarden, probably because men tend to be attracted to long, lush hair.

It’s actually an evolutionary sign of good health. (Hair suffers when a person eats poorly or has a disease.)

Because complaints are most productive when reconstituted as compliments, start by telling your girlfriend she’s a natural beauty (as opposed to “If I wanted a girlfriend with interchangeable hair, I’d date Mrs. Potato Head”).

Add that you’d love to run your hands through her real hair, and ask whether she’d consider going without the extensions.

If she agrees, be sure you effuse when she’s hair naturelle so she’s inspired to keep it up.

 All in all, a little mystery is a good thing in a relationship, but it’s best if you’re wondering whether your girlfriend got her pretty hair from her mother and not suspecting she hired somebody to take a big scissors to Seabiscuit’s tail.

(c.) 2014, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA  90405, or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (advicegoddess.com). Weekly radio show: blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon



 
A review: McCartney tribute show scores hit
Saturday, 11 October 2014 15:31
By DAVE ROWE
Special to the Daily Planet 

 A world premiere took place Sept. 27 in Asheville, but few people witnessed it.

The show, “The Many Moods of McCartney,” highlighting the work — via classical music — of Sir Paul McCartney (formerly of The Beatles), played to only half a house at the 2,300-seat Thomas Wolfe Auditorium.

Those who did attend heard two classic McCartney  pieces, “Nova” and “Tuesday.” Both were played by members of the Asheville Symphony under the direction of Daniel Meyer, and both were rich, romantic and enjoyable.

An American premiere of a McCartney piano composition called “Leaf” was performed without sheet music by a stunningly beautiful pianist, Yongmei Hu from Shanghai, China. She made her instrument conjure visions of a leaf rustling in the wind.

Drawing a bigger response from the crowd was the work of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Little Anthony Gourdine. With 56 years in show business under his belt, Little Anthony, in his trademark high falsetto, sang his hits from the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, including “Tears on My Pillow” and “Going Out of My Head.” 

He also sang “A World Without Love,” written by John Lennon and McCartney in 1964, back in the days the two collaborated. Most experts contend the duo wrote — for the most part —  separately in the final years of the band’s existence.

If that’s the case, it was a bevy of strictly McCartney tunes that pianists Roger Kellaway and Peter Betts played as they faced each other behind their keyboards. With a jazz inflection, the two played fragments of “When I’m Sixty-Four,” “Eleanor Rigby” and “Got to Get You Into My Life.” The show was produced by Kellaway who is a Grammy Award-winner.

Also appearing was vocalist Bobby Caldwell who crooned well on the ‘40s standard, “Come Rain or Shine,” but butchered McCartney’s “Blackbird” by starting to sing before the acoustic guitar introduction was completed.

Playing the guitar was Dennis D’Amingo, the show’s producer. He brought the show here from New York, based on a recommendation of a friend who lives here. “I came to town to check it out and I liked it. Daniel Meyer (ASO music director) has been a pleasure to work with,” D’Amingo said.

As for Paul McCartney, at age 72, he is still at work — currently on tour, playing nearly 40 songs a show. He looked and sounded spry on national TV on January’s  televised commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’s first appearance on the “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

McCartney’s Asheville tribute show, which ran for two hours, was a fundraiser for the Manna Food Bank, the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservatory, the Asheville City Schools Foundation and the ASO.

 



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