My brother is gay, but I'm the only one in the family who knows about this. Our parents are rather closed-minded. My mother, in particular, is totally riled up about the gay marriage issue. Every time she rants about it in front of my brother, I know it hurts him deeply. He has asked me to not say anything, but I feel badly knowing that her hateful words are going to make my brother feel he can't be open with his family. Any suggestions? HEARTBROKEN
It would be in bad taste for me to offer any advice to either you or your brother. In more general terms I will tell you that, to me, it is such a non-issue. It's like someone telling me they've got hair in their armpits. People are not homosexual, bisexual, heterosexual or asexual. People, my dear Heartbroken, are sexual. I wish the world were kinder, more understanding and more open. It's okay to strap a bomb to your body and blow up a bunch of kids, but two fellas marrying each other? Come on, people, where's your sense of decency? You see, the world revolves around fear. When you point a finger at somebody, look closely, because there'll be three fingers pointing right back at you. Your parents are missing out on a wonderful guy's life. It's a shame what fear can and will do on both sides -- not just your parents'.
This past year I've discovered a side of my personality that I'm a little disgusted with, to be honest. I used to be great friends with this other woman at work. A few months back, we were both competing for a new position. I completely stabbed her in the back on a number of occasions so that I could make myself look like the stronger candidate. I got the job, but I feel so horrible about it, I can't even look her in the eye. She has no idea that I've been duplicitous, and keeps asking me what's wrong and why we're no longer friends. What do you think I should do? ASHAMED
Who are you people? What did your parents teach you, or did the Mafia raise you? That has to be it -- you were raised by Scarface and Hell's Angels. Cripes, you're destined for disaster. You have to know that your character is indeed your fate. Everything that you do is written down on a cloud, folded up and put into a jar somewhere in your life vault. You are a miserable excuse for a human being. You will never truly feel successful, happy or satisfied with your ill-begotten job -- and so you shouldn't. You people always get ahead, but not a single soul shows up for your memorial. Someone is patiently waiting to stab you in the back, and, personally, I can't wait.
Page 1 of 2DEAR JANN:
I've been in a steady relationship for six years. Lately I find myself fantasizing about having affairs with different men (no one I know). I feel guilty being unfaithful in my mind. Do you think it's wrong to fantasize about someone other than your partner? ROMANTIC
I think it's perfectly harmless to fantasize about other people. (Be sure not to call out their name while in the throes of passion, as that would be problematic.) I have had fantasies about everyone in my band -- including myself (don't tell anybody that). It's healthy and fun and pretty darn interesting. I'm no Sue Johansson, but I bet it's a surefire way to spice up a lukewarm sex life. It's very hard to maintain sexual intensity -- I find a weekend pretty much does it for me -- so I give you credit for hanging in there for six long years. You're not cheating. My God, if everyone knew our every thought, chaos would reign! Have fun with your mind and with yourself; both you and your partner will benefit.
After the tsunami, I decided that I wanted to go to Asia this summer and volunteer. I talked to one of my friends about this, and her response caught me off guard. She thought that my desire to go there was all about me feeling good about myself. She said it would be better to donate the money, if my purely unselfish desire was to help people. Do you agree? DO-GOODER
Philanthropy is not just about giving money -- it's about giving your time. Time is more precious than money could ever be. My volunteer work with World Vision is one of the most selfish things I have ever done. It makes me feel good, and I will never let anybody make me feel bad about that. Go to Asia if that's what you want to do. The world needs people like you who are brave and unselfish enough to take life head-on. Good for you; shame on your blind, jealous friend. If you ever need help moving, tell her to give you $90 and she can stay home -- see what I mean? What would mean more to you, her money or her time?
Photo courtesy of Ivan Engler
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Ask Jann, ELLE
25 Sheppard Ave. W., Suite 100,
Toronto, Ont., M2N 6S7