Asheville Daily Planet
RSS Facebook
advice Goddess: June 2015
Monday, 08 June 2015 12:00

The shoo must go on ....

Q: I’ve been dating this guy long distance for six months. He’ll often fail to return texts for an entire day or even a few days. I keep breaking up with him, but he keeps apologizing, acknowledging that he can be “distracted” and then offering convincing excuses or making me feel I’m overreacting. This is getting old.
 — Annoyed


A: Is there some crater somewhere where all his promises go to die? 

There is sometimes a good reason your boyfriend can’t return your text for days, like that it’s 790 B.C. and there’s a snowstorm and he’s sending his eunuch with the bum knee over the Alps with a set of stone tablets.

When there is no good reason, his acknowledging an error, like by admitting to being “distracted,” is a first step in mending his ways. That is, except when he shows you — repeatedly — that it’s his only step (perhaps because it’s tricky to text you back when his other, more local girlfriend is sitting right next to him). 

Getting somebody to respect your boundaries starts with appearing to have them. Sure, there are sometimes allowances to be made, like for an all-nighter at work or illness. As a friend of mine once wrote: “Sorry I didn’t respond to your email; I was in a coma.” But a man who cares about you generally acts in ways reflecting that — like by dashing off a text to tell you “sleepy - w/write u in am” or  “kidnapped. w/be in touch w/ransom demand.” Instead, this guy gives you yet another apology — which basically translates to “Sorry that it’ll be a few days before I can do this to you again.”

To have a caring, attentive man, you’ll need to make room for him in your life. You do this the same way you make room for a new TV: by putting the old broken one out on the curb.

It’s tempting to keep believing the excuses, which allows you to believe that you’re loved. Unfortunately, believing you’re loved never plays out like actually being loved. The problem is, in the moment, our emotions are our first responder, and reason — that slacker — burrows under the covers, hoping it won’t get called in to work.

Overriding wishful thinking-driven gullibility takes planning — having a pre-packed set of standards for how you want to be treated and then pulling them out at excuse o’clock and holding them up to how you’re actually being treated.

This is how you end up with a boyfriend who keeps his word. Keeps it and puts it on his phone and texts it to you — as opposed to keeping it in a drawer with slightly used chopsticks, old answering machine tapes, and a Ziploc baggie of his sister’s hamster’s ashes.

Meet Joe Blank

I’d really like the guy I’m dating to compliment me more. I know he’s super-attracted to me, but he’s not very complimentary, and it makes me feel that he doesn’t think I’m pretty. How do I get him to compliment me without the awkward “Don’t you think I look hot?” 
— Insecure


Unfortunately, men tend to do poorly at hint-taking. So, no, you can’t just stand next to the kitchen table in your cute new skirt after laying out Doritos in the shape of a question mark.

But because male sexuality is visual, it’s comforting to know that your boyfriend’s looking across a party at you and thinking “I want you” and not “I want you to move over so I can see that hot woman behind you.”

And it turns out that complimenting you is actually good for him, too. Research on gratitude by psychologist Sara Algoe suggests that the stock-taking that goes into a person’s expressing appreciation for their partner works as a sort of emotional Post-it note, reminding them of how good they have it. 

And the appreciation itself tends to leave both partners feeling more bonded and satisfied with the relationship. 



Rise and spine

 My fiance is good friends with his ex-girlfriend from college. (We’re all in our 30s.) She isn’t a romantic threat, but she’s become a source of stress. Long before I met my boyfriend, they began hanging out at a local bar together twice a week. They still do this, and I go along, but I’ve increasingly found these evenings a draining time-suck. When I don’t want to go, my fiance hangs at home with me. This prompts a tantrum from his ex-girlfriend, complete with a barrage of angry texts. I’ve tried reasoning with her, but she claims that when he was single, he “dragged (her) out constantly” so he still owes her. My boyfriend is a laid-back, nonconfrontational kind of guy and just says she needs to calm down. 
 — No Wonder They Broke Up


They’ve translated the Dead Sea Scrolls, and it turns out they’re actually a 900-page list of everything this “friend” has ever done for your fiance.  

Okay, when he was single, maybe he “dragged (her) out constantly.” Unless he did this by unchaining her from the wall and yanking her to the bar on a choke collar, it was up to her to decline. Gotta love the notion that her companionship led to some unwritten indentured frienditude contract that he still owes big on. (One person’s friendship is another’s mob extortion scheme.) 

It’s your fiance’s job to be “reasoning” with his friend, not yours. (You’re marrying the guy, not adopting him and trying to get him into a good preschool.) You excuse his passivity by describing him as a “laid-back, nonconfrontational kind of guy.” Well, there’s laid-back, and there’s confusing onlookers as to whether you’re a person or a paperweight. 

The thing is, whether somebody gets to abuse you is usually up to you. In other words, your fiance needs to grow a pair (or at least crochet a pair and pop ‘em in) and then get on the phone. Tell him that he needs to tell this woman —calmly and firmly — something like, “You know, lovey, I’ve got a fiancee now, and I can’t be as available as I used to be.” He needs to shut down the abusive text storm the same way, telling her, “Not acceptable. Cut it out,” and then block her number if she keeps up the telephone thuggery.  

Sure, it’s uncomfortable standing up to a person who’s been treating you badly -- an uncomfortable and necessary part of adult life. It’s how you send the message “Nuh-uh…no more” instead of “Forever your tool.” And here’s a tip: You don’t need to feel all cuddly and good about confronting somebody; you just need to do it, as opposed to cowering in fear as the Bing! Bing! Bings! of their texted multi-part tantrum come in on your phone. Start encouraging assertiveness in your fiance now, and keep letting him know how much you admire all the steps he takes. He could soon be a man who’s got your back when there’s trouble -- and not just in the corner of his eye as he curls up in a fetal position and whimpers, “Donnnn’t hurrrrt meeee!”


To boldly no where no no has gone before  

I’ve started seeing this wonderful guy. There’s no official commitment yet, but I have no interest in anyone else, including the two guys I was casually seeing from time to time. When they text me to try to hook up, I won’t respond or I’ll say I’m busy, but they don’t seem to be getting the message. Admittedly, in the past, I’ve said “no more” and then caved when I’ve gotten lonely or had a few glasses of wine. Also, how do you say “beat it” without being mean?
 — Go Away Already! 


There’s little that tempers a man’s enthusiasm for a late-night shag like responding to his “want 2 hook up?” by texting back, “YES! i’m ovulating & dying 2 have a baby!” 

But it shouldn’t have to come to this — that is, if you start by actually saying no instead of starting a game of “Guess why I’m not returning your texts!” An ambiguous no — not responding or saying “I’m busy” — is not a no. This is especially true of your ambiguous no, which, in the past, has translated to, “I’m not drunk/lonely enough. Try me later.” Because of this, you may need to repeat even a firm “I’m no longer interested” a few times for these guys to get that you aren’t just confused about what you want or playing hard to get. But in general, the unevasive no eliminates the need to make your point repeatedly, in turn curbing the likelihood of your getting mean on the phone (or, worse, hiding under the bed when you hear the ladder being leaned against your upstairs window).



Two Brokeback girls

I’m a butch lesbian with a crush on a (supposedly) straight married lady who’s very tomboyish. She has a number of lesbian friends, and I suspect her husband is in the closet. I keep telling her she’s “culturally gay” (because she dresses “soft butch” — combat boots, cords, etc. — and because of some of her attitudes), but I actually think there’s more to it than that. She insists she’s straight but seems weirdly upset by my comments.
 — Be Who You Are


Why not just say it right out: “There’s the closet. Could you please sit in there for a half-hour and come out ready to leave your husband?” 

I personally find it tragic when gay people feel they have to “ungay” themselves by living straight, but respecting another person’s privacy means accepting that they get to choose which parts of their life they’ll be taking commentary on. In other words, by picketing a baker who won’t make a cake for a gay wedding, you’re exercising your free speech rights, but it’s way out of line for you to effectively picket somebody’s relationship: “We’re here! We’re queer! And guess what: So are the two of you!” And no, this isn’t justified by your creation of an updated Kinsey scale — one that measures female homosexual desire based on a woman’s choice of footwear and whether she accessorizes with a welding mask. 

So, instead of trying to drag this woman (by her wallet chain) out of her marriage, turn your attention to a woman who’s single and out. Respect that for your friend, Prince Charming may very well be that dude from the Disney movies, determined as you are to recast him as a soldier of fortune crossed with a lady gym teacher. 

(c.) 2015, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA  90405, or e-mail



Wedding vows exchanged ‘Star Trek’-style
Sunday, 07 June 2015 17:19
j This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Resplendent in their favorite science-fiction uniforms, the captain and a member of the Asheville Star Trek Club exchanged wedding vows on May 23 before a gathering of about 60 people at Jubilee Community Church in downtown Asheville.

The bride and groom were Diane Stanton and Richard Heim — and they invited the guests to wear their favorite “Star Trek,” sci-fi, science, or superhero outfits — and many did — to share in the theme of the wedding and share in their “feeling of awe and adventure of science.”

 Officiating was the Rev. Howard Hanger, Jubilee’s pastor, who walked in last, wearing a flowing white robe, a burgundy sash, a broad smile — and pointed Vulcan ears, in the style of Star Trek’s Mr. Spock.

“Marriage, the final front, this is the voyage of Richard and Diane,” Hanger intoned, imitating the dramatic beginning of the original “Star Trek” series.

At one point, Hanger said, “Richard and Diane would like to extend their gratitude to you for your presence at this event establishing their life-merging. I ask that you join me in wishing that they both ‘Live long and prosper’ — a key phrase in Mr. Spock’s signature Vulcan salute on “Star Trek.”

Heim, the groom and captain of the club, is a meteorologist for NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which has its National Climatic Data Center located nearby at 151 Patton Ave. Heim is considered one of the world’s experts on droughts, several attendees of the wedding noted.

As a result of Heim’s weather connection, the turnout included an estimated 12 NOAA employees, including some who wore “Star Trek” uniforms.

The ceremony featured science-fiction music mostly, although father of the bride Donald Stanton, dressed as the Phanton of the Opera, sang a surreal version of Elvis Presley’s classic, “Love Me Tender.”

Among the often-cosmic readings, maid of honor Debra Stanton read a poem she wrote titled “When Passion Meets Passion” as follows:


“When passion meets passion

Two positive people

Caress and share kisses in bliss


“When passion meets passion

Excitement explodes

Such a jubilant journey is this


“When passion meets passion

We manifest magic —

An awesome awareness arrives


“When passion meets passion

Drab worlds disappear

As we rise to sail up to the skies.”


Meanwhile, best person Deni Niethammer told the gathering of how she first joined the Asheville Star Trek Club several years ago — and Heim “quickly became one of my closest friends.” With a laugh, Niethammer noted that she was the proofreader for Heim’s posting, which read: “I’m a combination of Einstein and Leonardo da Vinci.”

“I told him it (the posting) sucks,” Niethammer quipped.

However, within an hour of posting the ad, Stanton responded and the couple instantly bonded and have spent the last five years getting to know one another thoroughly.


The couple dated for two years and then moved in together in Canton, where they have lived for three years, Niethammer noted. Every room in their home is decorated with “Star Trek” memorabilia.


“Diane and Richard, I love you both. We wish you a long and prosperous life together,” she concluded in her remarks.


During the exchange of vows, the bride and groom — in the spirit of “Star Trek” — each said, “I will make it so,” rather than the traditional “I do.”


Hanger then said, “Let these vows sink in and the magic begin.”


He added with a smile, “I encourage you to give these rings a twist on a daily basis — just to remind you of what’s important.”


As Heim carefully placed a wedding band on Stanton’s finger, Hanger half-joked, “All the way on — we want a good marriage.” The gathering erupted in laughter.


As the vows concluded, Hanger said, “I want you to do more than just be here and eat their (wedding) cake.” He asked the attendees to pledge “their love to support them,” to which the gathering responded, “We will!” One person added, “And make it so!” triggering more merriment.


At that point, Hanger asserted, “Amen — and oh, yeah!”


After a pause, the minister said to the newly married couple, “I’d say you’ve got a relationship that’s truly out of this  world.”


After the traditional kiss, Heim and Stanton each placed a hand on the other’s head, symbolizing the Vulcan mind meld, made famous by Mr. Spock — and triggering cheers from the attendees.


Earlier in the ceremony, Heim gave a lengthy and impassioned address. He first spoke of why the wedding had its unique theme, noting, “The great astronomer Carl Sagan said (that) the very atoms of our bodies were forged in the hearts of stars. We are made of star stuff. Through the magic of carbon and biochemistry and evolution, we are the universe becoming aware of itself. Expressed another way, Eckhart Tolle said (that) you are the universe expressing itself as a human for a little while. This is awesome, almost spiritual!


“So we are special, in the cosmological sense. Jesus said (that) we are but children!


“Gene Rodenberry, creator of ‘Star Trek,’ built on this idea when he said, ‘I believe in humanity. We are an incredible species. We’re still just a child creature, we’re still being nasty to each other. But we’re growing up, we’re moving into adolescence now. When we fully grow up — we’re going to be something!’


“And that was Gene’s philosophy in ‘Star Trek.’ It was a positive philosophy. He said:


• “‘Star Trek’ was an attempt to say that humanity will reach maturity and wisdom on the day that it begins not just to tolerate, but take a special delight in differences, in ideas and differences in life forms.


• “‘Star Trek’ speaks to some basic human needs, that there is a tomorrow — it’s not all going to be over in a big flash and a bomb, that the human race is improving, that we have things to be proud of as humans. No, ancient astronauts did not build the pyramids — human beings built them because they’re clever and they work hard. And ‘Star Trek’ is about those things.


• “It is important to the typical ‘Star Trek’ fan that there is a tomorrow. They pretty much share the ‘Star Trek’ philosophies about life: the fact that it is wrong to interfere in the evolvement of other peoples, that to be different is not necessarily to be wrong or ugly.


“Charles Shaare Murray and Mike Marqusee said: ‘In the annals of science fiction, where dystopias rule the imaginative roost, ‘Star Trek’ stood nearly alone in telling us that our future would be better than our past, that our common problems would be solved, that we, as a species, were fundamentally good, and that the universe would reward us for our goodness.


“That is why a ‘Star Trek’-science-science-fiction-superhero them” was featured at the wedding, Heim concluded.



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