The Advice Goddess

By Amy Alkon

Amy Alkon drags people, kicking, screaming, and laughing, out of their misery with her behavioral science-based advice column, which runs in about 100 newspapers.

Buy her science-based and bitingly funny new advice book, "Good Manners For Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck" (St. Martin's Press, June 3, 2014).

Got a problem? E-mail Amy at AdviceAmy@aol.com.

Scoot Force and The Awful Poof
November 20, 2014

Scoot Force

My husband's been saving for a motorcycle, and I was excited about riding on the back, hanging on to him — sexy and fun! But then he came home with a Vespa, the little Italian scooter. It just seems so girly. The tiny wheels make it look like a toy, and he's a big guy, so it looks like he's borrowed a little kid's bike. How can I get him to take it back?
— Disappointed

 

If you aren't European or a hipster married to another hipster, it's a little dismaying when your husband's new ride looks like it came in a pink package marked "Barbie doll sold separately."

Men who ride Vespas and other scooters will tell you that they are secure enough in their masculinity that they don't need their transportation to be all hairy-chested and gladiating. But the reality is, image matters, especially a wife's image of her husband. And motorcycles are iconically manly and badass, while Vespas are… well, it's the imagery of Hells Angels, "Easy Rider," and "The Wild Bunch" versus the My Little Pony of ground transportation.

Your husband wasn't wrong to want a Vespa. But he isn't a bachelor anymore, so he shouldn't be making major financial decisions like a guy who's still eating cold cereal over a toilet. Not even when he's spending his own money. It isn't that he should ask your permission. (You're his wife, not his mommy.) He just needs to remember that he's in a partnership and act like it — consult you on major purchases and decisions and make sure you fully understand what he is (and, by extension, you are) getting into. Sometimes, you may not agree with some course of action, and he may still decide to go through with it. But asking for your feedback will at least make you feel respected and part of the process. And it's essential in heading off problems — like being a big bruiser of a guy spending thousands on a vehicle sized for Italian slicksters who subsist on olive oil and cigarette smoke.

As "not his mommy," you don't get to tell him to trade in the horsiepower for horsepower. Instead, tell him there's a problem, and lay it on the table for the two of you to take apart and solve together. This requires making compromise your collective goal (though this may be more successful in spirit than in practice). Can you, for example, think a little more, uh, expansively about masculinity? Realistically, maybe not. Would he consider returning the bike, or would that be too huge of a financial haircut? Or… is there some solution that works a bit for both of you, like his renting a bike on some weekends — the kind that looks like it runs on gas, not rainbows and unicorn farts?

At the very least, L’affaire Vespa could serve as a reminder to take a more partnered approach to both conflict resolution and impending major purchases — before you get all excited about his new sports car and he drives up with the sport package… in the mom jeans of motor vehicles, the minivan.

 

 

The Awful Poof

A female friend set me up with one of her girlfriends, and we went for drinks. There was no love connection, though there was some light kissing afterward (for maybe 30 seconds). Neither of us reached out to the other post-date. Well, my friend just yelled at me for "ghosting out" on her friend. Do I really need to "break up" with somebody after one date?
— Chastised

 

This friend's notion of what you owe somebody after the first date verges on expecting you to march up to strangers in the supermarket and announce, "I've decided that I'm just not that into you."

She's accusing you of "ghosting," which describes disappearing on somebody you've been dating or in a relationship with without so much as a text goodbye. Being ghosted is humiliating; it's the statement without the statement that you not only have no value but have ceased to exist.

However, in order to ghost someone, there needs to be a relationship of sorts and some expectation you'd be seeing each other again, which, on the first date, you really can't have. Sure, some kindly worded goodbye is in order if you have sex on the first date or if your date texts, calls, or emails you. But otherwise, there's no obligation for closure after the first date, because, well, nothing was really opened yet. It's essentially the dating version of those free samples at the supermarket. After you take that toothpick of beef sate, the lady in the white apron and the paper hat just smiles and says, "Enjoy!"; she doesn't chase you through the frozen foods section, demanding to know whether you're going to take the whole cow.

 

 

It's Amy Alkon's Advice Goddess Radio — "Nerd your way to a better life!" with the best brains in science solving your love, dating sex, and relationship problems. Listen live every Sunday — http://www.blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon/ — 7-8 p.m. PT, 10-11 p.m. ET, or listen or download at the link, at iTunes, or on Stitcher.

 

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(c)2014, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com (advicegoddess.com). Weekly radio show: blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon

Order Amy Alkon's new book, "Good Manners For Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck" (St. Martin's Press, June 3, 2014).

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