Miss Mary's Advice to the Lovelorn
Hello you lucky things, and welcome to the couch, the confessional, the FAQ section of our chat room. Until you write columns will be fictional. This week, questions those around me might ask if they could speak.
Chere Mary, I’ve gotten very interested in someone at work, but I’m not confident of my read on the situation. All the signs are good: long, sweet eye contact, his body angled towards me, all that, and he’s sent verbal signals that he may be single, for instance mentioning a “recent ex.” We have also exchanged some friendly email. But when I invited him out with a group recently, he was indecisive, and later bowed out. We don’t see each other all the time. If he was as into me as he should be, he would have either jumped at the invite or tracked me down—but he only has to be interested, not as crushed out as me, to be fun. Some days I try to accept that the chemistry isn’t strong enough, and some days I think he’s just clueless and waiting to be plucked. yrs in Hope and Quivering Need, Crushed Out in the Next Cubicle Over
Dear Crushed, Your flirtatious man would come up in one magazine quiz as 100% Yours Go For Him, on another as Not Interested Give Up. Maybe he angles his body towards every passing gal; maybe he was interested, then gave you up for that recent ex; maybe he’s too shy or out of the loop to realize that you’re interested. We could consider the evidence all day, as it sounds like you have been. Exhausting. Stop Already. It’s his turn. Flirt if you like, but leave no emails or invitations. In fact, make yourself very, very popular elsewhere. You’ll enjoy it, and if your interest is unabated after eons (i.e. two weeks or so) of not being sought out by this unworthy creature, consider acting like the good fairy that you are, and giving little bunny Fufu one more chance, so you can’t imagine later that if he’s only known you liked him like that. And think (as you’ve been doing) ahead, so that you don’t give away how much you like him. Speak carefully and slowly, and, if you have it in you, go ahead and wink at your own putting the moves on—you’ll feel braver, and you’ll have one up on those straight faced Rules girls. Then, if he says no without making a rain date, take it at face value, and don’t sexually harass the man. Now that you’ve been out every night while you were waiting for him to make a move, you know just where to go to soothe your wounded ego. Good Luck. M
Mary, Maria, Dollface, I know we’re family and I shouldn’t be talking to you about this, but I’ve been having a lot of meaningless sex lately. I know, I know, I just gave in. I wasn’t finding what I wanted—spunky, smartypants, literate ladies ready to lunch. But these grade-B lunchers are trouble—they don’t seem to feel good about themselves, and they’re not thinking or expressing themselves clearly about what they want. With the guilt about my not expressing that all I want is sex, and the passive aggressive crap that starts when they start to see that, things can get messy. Whaddo I do? Thanks, Yr Devoted Sib
Ugh, I’m torn between family and gender loyalties. Of course you’re frustrated, but oh are you ever gross. You could solve most of the problems here, including make yourself less gross to women of all levels of quality, by establishing early on in your barroom courtships that your (in fact very honorable) intentions are short term mutual pleasures. You don’t have to specify that you don’t plan to return calls, but you might want to suggest that you mean sex, sex, and sex. Lots of Grade-A—to use your terminology—girls like that, as long as they’re honorably forewarned. If you are too chicken to start this program, pay me or someone else to come out with you and whisper in the girls’ ears that you’re a rake, thus enhancing desirability and perceived virility while reducing expectations, until you’re strong enough to do it on your own. You’re welcome, brat. M
Dear Mary, I am about to marry a woman I’ve been with for five years, a woman I’m not afraid to say I love. I was Mister Zen until last week, when the dreams started. I wake up after the officiating clergy asks for reason that my fiancée and I should not be joined in holy matrimony, just as someone starts to tell the story of my eighth grade Halloween. It isn’t much; we were scrounging costumes from somebody’s basement, when one girl got the idea to dress me in her clothes instead. There I was in tight jeans, a pink sweater, barrettes, and blue eyeliner. It was scarily Miss Realness, but I went out for the night. I have seen a lot since. I have had my share of sexual satisfaction. Why is this on constant replay? Sincerely, Pretty Hippie
Hello My Pretty, What a pleasure to hear from you. If you are being true to yourself and your columnist when you say you haven’t thought about cross dressing for years, years when you had a satisfying sex life, then late onset gender dysphoria isn’t likely. Nevertheless, check that you are not burying a serious involvement with ladies clothing, one that you and your intended should know more about before you marry. Drag and the fear of discovery seem much more likely to be dream vehicles for your fears of commitment. Hitch your destiny to someone else’s!? Who could go into that without a few nightmares? Let’s check into that transformation motif: Are you asking yourself if marriage will turn you into someone else? Taken more literally, the question might be: will your new spouse dress you funny? What about the public revelation thing: Are you worried about concealing your past, or showing parts of yourself heretofore inaccessible to your fiancée? More literally, does she know about all the satisfaction you mention? Or was it the girl whose pink sweater you wore—Have you carried her torch all this way? Best wishes on your upcoming commitment. Yrs, M
Chere Mary, He never calls. He never emails. He never sends skywriting planes up to declare his love. Signed Miserable Missy
Dear Missy, Call him! M
Chere Mary, She never calls. Signed Ahmed all Alone
Dear Ahmed, Can’t you two get together on this? Is everyone out there so sorrowfully lonely just because you’re all afraid to say hello? Smart sporting analysts blame a steady increase in ties and overtime in professional athletics on caution seeping down from financially conservative team owners through managers to coaches and players. People who think they can’t afford to lose don’t take any risks. Quit playing defense, or no one gets laid. Call her. Call him. Call each other. Talk to the cutie at the bar who looks vaguely familiar. Talk to the cutie you’ve never seen before. Why? It’s for your own good. Because I said so. Good Luck Babies, xoM
Mistress Mary is dying to hear all about it, particularly the dirty part. Please write and tell her, at [email protected].
unpretentious thingsBy Shelly Bhoil
APRIL 2023 | Critics Page
What is surrendering yourself completely to unpretentious things like the chair in the corner that invites you to sit down and lean on its back when you are tired.
Mel Kendrick: Seeing Things in ThingsBy Joyce Beckenstein
DEC 22–JAN 23 | ArtSeen
Mel Kendrick: Seeing Things in Things presents a riveting survey of works, from 1983 to 2022, by an artist who absorbed minimalisms quirky mystique as he unabashedly broke most of its codifying rules.
By Tom McGlynn
Les Problémes du Confort
APRIL 2023 | ArtSeen
Mary Joness newest paintings perpetuate the pas de deux she has previously choreographed between collaged and readymade photographic sources and bravura painterly passages. Her process typically integrates the two via a wide array of technical interventions, activating these elements into a series of staccato movements that refer to the aleatory nature of the cut-up but also to genealogies of expressionist painting.
Michael Seidenberg’s Unsolicited Advice for the End TimesBy J.T. Price
NOV 2022 | Books
I dont care what Bob Dylan said, Michael writes in Unsolicited Advice. I say do think twiceat least twice. He was never not one for doubling back.