Original "Tell Me About It" columns will appear in Sunday Source while Carolyn is on maternity leave. The following are excerpts from spring 2003 live discussions on washingtonpost.com.
My wife hates sex. Period. I have tried reading book after book. We have gone to counseling. Yet, she still isn't interested and refuses to do anything else about it. She claims this is the way she is and I should learn to live without sex. What now? Cause for divorce? I don't know what else to do. I feel a need for that closeness and for the sex and she refuses. I want to give up! Can you talk some sense into these women who refuse their men sex?
Rephrase that to, "Can you talk some sense into these people who refuse even to try to make their spouses happy?" and the answer is a dispirited, "I've tried, I've tried." Your wife did try counseling -- give her credit for that, at least. But she is who she is, and any decision you make now needs to be based on that, not on hoping that she'll come around. I'm sorry.
There's this girl in my office. She's white and I'm black. We get along at social events with the office and I so badly want to ask her out. But I'm afraid of not just the rejection but the emotional effects of being rejected because I'm black.
Then just assume any rejection will be personality-based. If she doesn't like you, it's your personality. If she doesn't like your skin color, it's hers.
I want to ask a girl to the prom, but I don't really know how to dance. The one time I went to a dance, I was told I looked like a dork. But I don't want to miss my prom either and it's coming up soon. Advice for a left-footed dork?
Ask someone, and warn her you dance like a dork. It'll be endearing. I can't think of too many people who'd want their dancing videotaped, if that makes you feel any better.
About to go to my five-year college reunion, having just decided to quit grad school and change my entire life plan. No new life plan exactly in the works yet. Will I be the only one there afraid I've wasted these five years?
No, you won't be the only one afraid of that. But you haven't wasted five years, you've spent five years figuring out that you needed a new life plan.
Some people sink in 20 before they get to that point -- and even they shouldn't be embarrassed, because all that says is they needed those 20 years to figure themselves out. You needed only five! Wow. Life is long. Stuff happens for a reason. Relax.
How do you politely tell a friend to stop e-mailing you pictures of her kid? I can see e-mailing everyone in your address book the especially cute ones (birthday, Halloween, etc.), but I don't really need five or six new pictures every day.
Is there some polite way to say thanks but no thanks?
1. Say your dial-up connection chokes on them.
2. Say nothing and delete them.
3. "Wow, they've really grown since yesterday."
Write to Tell Me About It, Style, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, or firstname.lastname@example.org, and join Carolyn's live discussion at noon Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com/liveonline.