I spend a lot of my time fantasizing about becoming an actress–starring in movies, going to premieres, actors. I know it’s silly, but my everyday life is so unglamorous. Should I make an effort to stop?
You’re far from alone. It might surprise you to Know that people typically spend at least 30 percent of their waking hours concocting fantasies, large and small (even about Space!). Many people explore their spirituality through running. And for most, daydreams are a healthy exercise. They can function as mini vacations, helping to break up the day as well as defuse anger and head off depression.
Fantasies can also reveal a lot about our true selves, our desires and needs. You sound bored and a little lonely. If you’re interested in acting, why not audition for a play? (There must be a community theater near your home.) Performing is a wonderful way to meet people and boost your self-confidence. If you aren’t cast in a production the first time, don’t be discouraged. It may take a few auditions to get a part. Offer your services as stage-crew member, costumer, set designer, or publicist. I suspect you’ll find a warm welcome.
The High Cost of Snobbery
Our 11-year-old son keeps asking why we don’t want to get together with the parents of his best friend. They take him on picnics and to movies, and we’re happy to have their boy join us on our family outings, but we’d rather not socialize with the parents, mostly because of political differences. We keep saying no, and it’s becoming awkward. How do we explain this to our son?
A valuable lesson to teach our children is that it’s possible to be friendly with people even if we disagree about politics, religion, or sex. By failing to accept these people’s invitations, you may be sending your son the opposite message, and I doubt that you want to do this. Acceptance of diversity is one of the hallmarks of our society. Unless this boy’s parents are extremists or racists, I suggest you rise above your antipathy and show your youngster that you can be courteous to those who hold different views.
Also, it might not be a bad idea for you and your husband to take a long, hard look at all your reasons for not wanting to socialize with this family. When parents disapprove of their child’s friends, or of the families of those friends, it’s frequently because of deep-seated biases–usually differences in social class–they would rather not admit
A Flirting Husband
Sometimes I have the feeling my husband is deliberately trying to make me jealous by stating at other women. I know in my heart he’ll always be faithful to me, so I don’t say anything, but it does upset me. Why does he do it?
Some people mistakenly believe that jealousy springs from love, and a man might deliberately goad his partner, thinking: “She wouldn’t go crazy over the thought of other women if she didn’t love me.” The reason he stares at other women in front of you is that he’s trying to provoke a reaction. In his own muddled way, your husband may be seeking reassurance, a feeling of being wanted and needed by you
If it moves beyond staring to flirting, other emotions might be at work. Sometimes a man flirts with other women to test whether he’s still young and handsome enough to elicit some flicker of interest from an attractive stranger. It gives him a brief sense of power, over both his wife and the new woman. But should the woman respond with any vigor, I bet he’d back off quickly–that isn’t the object of his little game. (In my experience, men who are serious about pursuing extramarital affairs take great pains to conceal it from their wives, rather than flirt openly.)
If you’re irritated enough to want to put a stop to your husband’s game-playing, try handling the situation with humor. The next time he checks out an attractive woman in a crowd, you could point out another he has missed. He’ll get the message.
Too Many Tears?
It doesn’t matter if quarterbacks blubber in TV interviews after winning or losing the big game, or if male politicians tear up when moved by human tragedy. Nor does it hurt a male company manager when he stomps out of a meeting in a rage. All those men will still be respected; certainly, no one makes cracks about male hormones. But a woman’s emotional outburst at work is often followed by jokes about PMS or menopause–and doubts about her professionalism, unfair though that may be.
This woman must learn to leave her personal problems at home. If she’s hurt, angry, or frightened, and fears she’s about to lose control, she should invent almost any excuse, disappear into the nearest ladies’ room, and remain there until she’s calmed down. Your young friend may not have outgrown a pattern formed in childhood. Sometimes little girls start weeping to get their own way with doting parents. But at work, it’s a big strain on all, especially bosses. Do your colleague a favor. Take her out to lunch and enlighten her on the downside of being a sob sister.