The waters of romance are treacherous seas. Consuela is prepared, once again, to serve as your chaperone through the shoals and eddies of love's tempestuous currents. Here are the distress signals she received this month:
I have been seeing a very “special” man—a sales representative for a large frozen food company—for several months now. We have become so close that I recently felt comfortable enough to go to the bathroom at his apartment. When I had closed the door behind me, I felt an irresistible urge to look inside his medicine cabinet—don't ask me why. Anyway, I discovered to my dismay that it was chock full of mini soaps and shampoo bottles that he has presumably collected from his travels around the country. Consuela—is it right for him to take these little beauty products from hotels and motels? I think this reveals a defect in his character that I am uncomfortable with. Shouldn't he at least turn them over to his company?
Margaret Alice Cummings, Chicopee, Mass.
Dearest Margaret Alice—
The “rules of the road” permit hotel guests to take toiletries that they have sampled when they go, as long as they pay their bills in full. I'd say your “beau” is the thrifty sort, and a good marriage prospect. Catch him while you can!
My dearest Consuela—
I graduated last spring from a school of mortuary science and am back in my home town hoping to catch on with one of the local funeral parlors. My mother recently assisted me in my quest for a job by inviting Mr. and Mrs. Claude Muckerman, co-owners and funeral directors at Muckerman's Funeral Home, to dinner along with my brother Clell and me.
Consuela, for reasons I do not want to go into in a newspaper column my nickname when I was a little girl was “Doody”. Anyway, halfway through dinner when I thought I was making a good impression, Clell up and says “Hey Doody—can you pass me the three-bean salad?” which started off a big to-do about how I got my name, etc.
I was mortified, and there are only two other funeral homes in town. How can I prevent my brother from embarrassing me again?
Nae Ann Pfeiffer, Cape Girardeau, Mo.
Dear Nae Ann—
“Pleasant in public, pointed in private” is my motto. If I were you, I would stop Clell before he even gets started next time by saying “Clell, I am a professional woman now and I would appreciate it we could speak of something else at this juncture.” I have discovered that most people appreciate this sort of candor, and will modulate their behavior accordingly. If that doesn't work, take him aside afterwards and say “Listen, you little _______. The next time you say something like that in front of company I'm going to rip off your _______ and hit you with the bloody stump of it—got it?” I have found that this is also effective.
I work at an insurance company where I sit right near the copier and printer. Sometimes if somebody else prints something out and I see it laying (lying?) there in the tray, I will pick it up and take it to them.
Last week a nice young fellow who just started with us as a claims adjuster sent something to the printer that was coming out ahead of an endorsement on a homeowner's policy I needed. I turned it over—and it was a poem! My heart leapt up as this is also my secret passion.
Anyway, I delivered it to him very discreetly and haven't mentioned a thing about it, but I feel a yearning need to communicate with him, soul-to-soul. I have written the following, and am thinking of sharing it with him:
Whither thou goest, thither goest I.
Where ‘er thou wanderest,
Wander also I.
‘Neath grey skies and blue
(the color of my eyes!)
Yadda yadda yadda
Something something prize (?)
As you can see, I am stuck on the last two lines. I would like to work “zither” in there somewhere, but can't think of a way how to. Any suggestions you can give me would be appreciated.
Sue Ann Winkle, Paducah, Kentucky
My Dear Sue Ann—
Such a lovely poem, and just like your crush on your office mate, at present it is incomplete! Here is something I thought of off the top of my head apropos of your “sky” imagery:
In the west, at sunset, the sky turns to red—
Don't get your meat where you get your bread.
There's a little “truth” in my work of “art”, if you catch my drift.
I went through grades K to 12 with a boy whom I will call “Nelson”. He never showed any interest in me the whole time and the feeling was mutual. After we graduated I lost track of him until last Friday night, when I stopped in the Quiki-Mart out on the interstate for a Royal Crown Cola and he took me hostage as I came out the door.
We went back to his parents' house and they were gone crappie fishing so I had to spend the whole weekend alone with him. He treated me pretty well, although I got tired of hot dogs and Hungry Man dinners. I didn't have anything lined up for Saturday night, so I figured it wasn't a total loss.
When his parents got back on Sunday they found out what had happened and called the sheriff. ”Nelson” is probably looking at ten years at the Neosho County Medium Security Prison, which isn't a bad place but if you had a choice you'd live somewhere else.
Anyway, I'm thinking I don't have that many prospects in this town and maybe I shouldn't testify against him. There's Furman Morton whose dad owns the Chevy dealership, but I would have to pry Linda Dickman off of him with the Jaws of Life, and I don't work for the Highway Patrol.
What would you do?
Sally S. Montgomery, Hoxie, Arkansas
Why Sally! What a wonderful story! Love finds us in the most unusual places, and you are to be congratulated for making lemons into lemon meringue pie!
My suggestion? Marry “Nelson” quickly, as most courts will not allow a wife to testify against her husband! And may you have many years of connubial bliss thereafter!
Available in Kindle format on amazon.com as part of the collection "Take My Advice--I Wasn't Using it Anyway."