News, music, movies & restaurants from the editors of the Silicon Valley's #1 weekly newspaper.
Serving San Jose, Palo Alto, Los Gatos, Campbell, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Fremont & nearby cities.

News and Features
August 30-September 5, 2006

home | north bay bohemian index | features | north bay | advice column

Ask Sydney

This advice column is penned by a Sonoma County resident and our new weekly sage. Go ahead! Ask her anything.

Dear Sydney, About three months ago I had a drunken one-night stand with a friend of mine. I'm now pregnant with his baby. My problem is his girlfriend forbids him to have anything to do with me or our unborn child. He loves her and has agreed to this. What can I do to change his mind? I don't want my baby to be raised without a father. I never had a father and can't bear the thought of my child going through the same neglect I experienced. What can I do?--Worried Mother

Dear Worried: Right now, the only thing you need to be worrying about is your baby. You have no way of predicting how your "friend" will react to the birth of his child. Three months is not very pregnant, and at this point he is still probably in heavy denial. If he is such a good friend that you felt moved to have unprotected sex with him, then he must have some redeeming qualities. So first off, let's cross our fingers and hope that he comes around and realizes that he has far too much to lose in being, well, a loser. Though you two may not end up together, he still might choose to play a role in the child's life. He has six more months to reconsider. No matter what his decision, take your multi-vitamins, eat well, exercise and get ready to have that baby.

The most important thing is for you to be patient, not embittered, and to spend more time focusing inward. Don't waste your precious energy obsessing about a situation over which you now have very little control. Instead, focus on your own well-being and that of the baby's. And remember, growing up without a father may be the pits, but growing up with a shitty one is even worse.

All babies are born deserving perfection, and as parents, we do as well as we can with the tools available to us. Of course you want your baby to have everything--to live in a clean, safe, pollution-free world, with two loving parents and a kid-friendly dog--but things don't always work out the way we want. And, hey, just because the biological father doesn't want to deal with the aftermath of his drunken one-night stand doesn't mean that Mr. or Ms. Fantastic won't stroll into your life, and fall madly in love with you and baby, too. Stranger things have happened.

Dear Sydney, I'm in a spiritual crisis of sorts. I love my partner and we get along fabulously, but the sex has become less frequent than I would like. Now, I am the kind of person for whom sex keeps me connected not only to my partner but to myself as well--spiritually, I mean. In other words, it's not just a good fuck I'm looking for. I have a good life in many ways, and I don't want to throw it all away because of this issue. On the other hand, I feel tortured by the dilemma of not knowing how to get my needs met. Can you help?--I Know I'm Not Alone

Dear Crowded: Your question raises some delicate and complicated issues, and while I sympathize with your frustration, I urge you not to be rash. I think that the most telling phrase in your question is, "I feel tortured by the dilemma of not knowing how to get my needs met." Because of this one statement, I can honestly say that, no, you are not alone.

But let's face it, maybe your partner really isn't interested. Maybe the problem has been going on for so long and the issue is so loaded that just bringing it up is enough to kill the libido for weeks. Without the details, it's difficult for me to say. What I do know is this: If you are genuinely unhappy to the extent that you would seriously consider giving up on the love that you claim to enjoy in every way save one, then at some point you will begin to make decisions that will gradually or dramatically bring about that change. And if you don't? Maybe you don't want it as badly as you think you do.

In the meantime, give yourself and your partner a rest. Masturbate more and stop stressing out so much. There's nothing worse for your sex life than stress. And while you're at it, if the relationship is so great and you aren't ready to call it quits, why not lay on some extra charm? Mount your own private seduction campaign directed at your partner, but keep it a secret. Cook meals designed to seduce, slip damiana into your partner's tea, offer him or her a Viagra (good for male or female) instead of an aspirin, plan a romantic weekend away and go heavy on the backrubs. Ply your partner with alcohol if that's what does the trick or, what the hell, jewelry and lingerie. You get the general idea.

Ultimately, if you feel that what you are requesting is necessary to your greater well-being and that you are not being unreasonable or overdemanding with your needs, then your partner has as much of a responsibility to compromise as do you, whether it's about sex, finances, communication or whose turn it is to scrub the toilet. Now, if what you're asking for is a daily whipping or consistent early morning rim jobs, maybe you need to choose future partners with more attention to detail and give the poor, overworked soul you have now a well-deserved rest. You be the judge.

Dear Sydney, I was pondering and wondering, can the elderly offer relevant advice or wisdom for a modern world they probably don't even understand? I read something from such a person. In fact, she is so elderly she is dead. Here is the idea from this old person: In our essential being, there are motives for action that are ethical and directly good. The impulse toward evil arises only because in our thoughts and sensations we silence the depth of our own nature.--Eternal Optimist

Dear Eternal: Are you asking me if the elderly can offer wisdom and advice to younger generations, or are you telling me that they can? Considering the quote you provide, I will assume that you think they can, which means that your question isn't can they, but why won't anyone listen? You and I are both participants in a culture that is not well known for its respect of the elderly. We detest and fear the old. We live in a country built on the essence of the new. We love new, we want new, we understand new. We do not like old, unless it's an antique hutch, and sometimes not even then if it's cheaper at Ikea.

The solution is plastic surgery or a movement toward compromise. The younger generations must be willing to listen and show some deference for the wisdom that experience can impart, and the elderly need to try to understand the ever-evolving modern world, one that they are just as much a part of as any living person. I don't care if you're 95 or 15--if you're not willing to try to understand who I am, I'm probably not going to be very open to what you have to say. After all, we tend to respect those who respect us.

No question too big, too small or too off-the-wall. Ask Sydney.