This advice column is penned by a Sonoma County resident and our new weekly sage. Go ahead! Ask her anything.
Dear Sydney, I have a friend who always wants to make out with me when she's drunk. I'm a lesbian, and she's "straight"--unless she's drunk, that is! I used to go for it. Who am I to reject a horny, pretty girl? But lately I've been getting a little sick of it, so the last few times we've gone out, I've rebuffed her advances. The last time it happened, she ended up pouting and not talking to me the rest of the night. But the next day, she acted like nothing happened and we were best friends again. I'm not sure how to deal with this. Is she secretly a dyke, and it takes alcohol to release the real her? Is she just putting on a show for the guys or what? We've never discussed it openly, so I'm sort of embarrassed to bring it up. Should I just not go party with her anymore?--Feeling Used
Dear FU: If alcohol really brings out the "real" us, then this speaks sadly of the human race. There is no greater fool than the drunk. People do things when they're drunk that bring disaster not just to themselves, but to everyone around them. They kill people by driving, they get in stupid fights, they go to bed with people they can't remember in the morning, they lose their jobs, they alienate their friends, they say insensitive and belligerent things. The list goes on and on.
The question isn't whether your friend is secretly a lesbian because she wants to get it on when she's drunk. The question is, who cares? Anyone who only wants to get it on with you when she's drunk doesn't deserve your lovin'. What you need in your life are pretty girls who are into you when they're sober and when they're drunk. Keep rejecting her. You're on the right track. If she doesn't like it, then maybe she should get some balls (take that figuratively or literally) and stop playing games with your friendship.
Dear Sydney, I'm scheduled to go on my first airplane trip since before 9-11. Sort of sad, I know, but I don't get to travel much. I've heard all sorts of horror stories: no shoes, no water bottles, no bathroom bags, no anything. I've been reading the papers and, frankly, I'm close to just canceling my whole trip, I've gotten so nervous about it. Do you have any advice for the trepid traveler? I wish I could just drive, but I've already bought my ticket, and the place I'm going is too far away. I'm losing sleep over this and wish I had never made those damn reservations.--Scared
Dear Scared: Your fear is something that many, if not most, of us share. Hurtling through the air, high above the clouds, in a flying eagle made out of steal is just a little bit freaky. There's no getting around that. Add to that the fact that airplanes are sometimes used as weapons to destroy things and the people who are in them, and what was sort of freaky before is now simply terrifying. Well, here's the deal: It's not just airplanes; it's life in general. Anyone of us could die any minute, any second, and it would be over. A meteor could come crashing through my roof right now as I sit writing this and pierce me through the top of my skull. This could be my last column. So flying on an airplane may be risky, but so is walking across the street, so is getting up in the morning, so is breathing. But we keep getting up, we keep breathing, and, yes, we keep traveling. Why? Because it's worth the risk!
This doesn't mean you shouldn't be as proactive about making your flight as enjoyable as possible. Bring your pillow and your immunity-boosting tincture (all that recycled air, you know), and consider the possibility of taking a simple medication that will make you drowsy. I'm sure your neighborhood pharmacist could offer some over-the-counter solutions. The best way to get it over with is to try and sleep through as much of the flight as possible. However, if you are traveling with small children, best to avoid anything with a tranquilizing effect, unless it's homeopathic, and just deal with the anxiety. If you have children with you, you need to put up a brave front. Pull it together for the kids. You've done it a thousand times before, you'll do it a thousand times more.
Dear Sydney, what do you do when you have a child who is flunking out of high school? I don't know what to do. I try just not to care, to stay distant from it, but I have a hard time not getting upset. But then, nothing I have to say seems to help anyway. She just gets angry with me, and then we fight. I feel like I'm the one who is failing.--'F' Mom
Dear 'Fabulous': If you have a kid who is flunking out of school, the first thing to do is find out why. What's the problem? Is it boredom, resulting in apathy? Is it a learning difficulty of some kind? Is she just too stoned? What's up? Find out. Ask your kid, and if she won't tell you, then find someone who will. Talk to her teachers, talk to the counselors at school, talk to her friends. Then deal with it based on your new understanding.
Remember, if your child is failing out, this is a waste of her intellectual capabilities. You have to find another way for her to experience school, something that works with her type of intelligence. School can only be useful if one engages with it; without engagement, it has no meaning. We all deserve to be engaged. If your child is not succeeding within the infrastructure that is her school, find something else, somewhere that she will succeed. If there isn't anything, then maybe she should study for the GED or proficiency exam, pass through, and get a job. What's the point of sitting braindead in the classroom all day when you could be working and learning something?
And never forget classes at the JC. If there's one thing we've got in this country, educationally speaking, we have a fantastic junior college system, and one of the best in the country happens to be our very own local Santa Rosa Junior College. Get a catalogue and see if there is anything--anything!--in there that interests her frustrated mind. And if she refuses all of your ideas and inspirations, if she is committed to failing, then just make sure she's getting enough protein. Sometimes that's the best you can do.
'Ask Sydney' is penned by a Sonoma County resident. There is no question too big, too small or too off-the-wall. Inquire at www.asksydney.com or write firstname.lastname@example.org.
No question too big, too small or too off-the-wall. Ask Sydney.