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[whitespace] Tara

All in the Family

Dear Tara,
I recently started dating a man with the same last name as mine. If I were a Joe Smith, Jones or Lopez, I probably wouldn't think twice about it, but this is the first person I've ever met outside my family who shares my surname. We sound alike on the phone, and we share certain minorly telepathic powers. We can trace no immediate relations, but our origins are in the same Italian city. I am rather self-involved and am half obsessed and half weirded out. Should I nip this in the bud or marry the man?
signed, Kissing Cousin

Dear Kissing,
I can't congratulate you enough on finding your double! Plato, or one of those fags who built Western Civilization, postulated that originally all of us humans were Siamese twins joined at the back with our perfect partner. Some of these eight-limbed freaks were made of two men, some of two women, and some of a dude and a chick. But the gods thought we were getting too cocky, so they split us all in half, and that's why we feel so lonesome and blue nowadays: we've been bisected!

But you, lucky you, have reunited with yourself; you'll never know sadness or fear again. I mean, having your doppelgänger close at hand will really give you a chance to see yourself as others do. Your character flaws will loom up at you in glaring detail, your own tiresome phrases will chirp endlessly in your ear, and you'll realize at last what a cold fish you are in bed. That is, if you have bad self-esteem. But I'm sure you don't, because how could you? You are a thoroughly wonderful, lovable soul, and having another you around 24-7 will just enhance all the little things that make you both so very special.

Pity the rest of us, who flounder in the Sea of the Different. Unlike y'all, we unmatched Joes don't get to spend our lives scrutinizing our every zit and pore in the world's most accurate mirror, day in and day out, without a moment's break, obsessively.
Solitarily yours, Tara


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From the March 29, 1999 issue of the Metropolitan.

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