(Editor’s Note: This post is part of a semi-regular series in which Ryan takes an actual letter written to “Dear Abby” and answers it himself. For further background see the introductory post here, or maybe also here.)
Well Ms. Dear Abby, you’ve been a good sport and worthy adversary over the past four years since I made my TWR debut by dropping advice bombs with more wisdom than Miss Cleo reading “Chicken Soup for the Soul” with a Magic 8-Ball in hand. So I can think of no better way to sign off TWR than one last “Dear Abby is Off” post.
Letter #1, dated April 26, 2016:
DEAR ABBY: For the last five months I have been talking to a guy I met via a dating app. We live a few states apart and have yet to meet in person, but we communicate regularly.
With my tax refund this year, I’d like to do something for me. He suggested that I visit him. I don’t get any red flags from him, and I’m sure I’d be 100 percent safe while I’m there. However, I’m anxious about taking a trip by myself to visit a guy I’ve developed a massive crush on. I have thought about offering to pay his way here instead, or simply not going at all. I asked my friends and family for their opinions. Some of them think I should go, while others say I should pay his way here. I need advice from an outsider’s perspective. — CONFUSED AND CRUSHING
DEAR CONFUSED AND CRUSHING: That question is as excellent as it is misplaced. You want to do something for yourself with your tax refund? Buy something cool like a new phone, some designer clothes, or some of that fancy four-ply toilet paper. Treat yo’ self! Homeboy should be getting a tax refund too that he can spend on visiting you. Unless homeboy isn’t working, in which case you don’t want to set the precedent of being his sugar momma on your first inter-state date. Maybe that’s the purpose of the app, in which case sign me up because daddy needs an upgrade to four-ply!
Regardless, even if he has a job and is offering to spend his tax refund to fly you out, I’d have him visit you first to be safe. First dates are like a battle: you want every conceivable advantage at your disposal, and having your love match on your home turf gives you a decisive edge. Another reason they’re like a battle: they often involve sword fights and guttural cries of victory. BOOYAH! (Sorry, I couldn’t go four years without sneaking something low-brow in here)
Letter #2, dated April 8th, 2016
DEAR ABBY: Can you really learn to love someone you don’t find physically attractive? — TWITTER FAN OF ABBY
DEAR TWITTER FAN OF ABBY: Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! After all, is not love but a feeling that sets the heart, and not the loins, aflutter? Was it not love rather than lust that led Romeo and Juliet to take their own lives upon seeing their paramour expired? Did Turner not adore Hooch despite his constant slobbering and uncouth demeanor? How in the hell else are we to explain Beyonce and Jay-Z??? Call me a romantic, but I believe love knows no bounds, plays by no rules but its own, and sees naught but what Eros reveals to it. Also, totally unrelated, but Sue, if you’re reading this, we should talk before our dinner tonight. It’s not that I don’t love you. It’s just that I’m not in love with you. Also I’m going to be traveling a lot for work, it’s not a great time for me, and so forth.
Last but not least, in a throwback to my first ever post (advice about hugging), a letter written April 17, 2016:
DEAR ABBY: I have encountered an “over-hugger.” I hug often, but respect how others feel about it. This person does not extend that courtesy. His typical hug involves picking the recipient up off the ground, which I think is his way of showing off. The last time I saw him I offered my hand. Instead, he yanked me in and said, “We give hugs here!” It felt invasive. I know he is trying to show love, but he puts his own desire before the needs of others.
I want to tell him not to hug me anymore. However, it’s complicated because we are part of a loose-knit athletic community, and people hug left and right at our events. I hug a lot of people, but I’m polite about it. Not only would I likely have to declare “no hugs” to him in front of others, but it would become obvious that we don’t hug. Am I odd to not want him to hug me? Would I be wrong to just tell him I’d prefer a handshake? — OVER-HUGGED IN TEXAS
DEAR OVER-HUGGED IN TEXAS: Ok, can I just say what we’re all thinking here? Brothers don’t shake hands brothers gotta hug! Phew, got that out of the way. Now on to your problem. See, in many cultures a hug, sometimes even an “over hug,” is the traditional manner of greeting. For example, hugs are commonplace among the Inuit (the non-politically correct term is an “Eskimo handshake”), a small tribe of perverts in northern New Jersey, and of course hippies and drunkards worldwide. Same goes for the “loose-knit athletic community” in which you live. Athletes, whether living in loose-, tight-, or husky-knit communities prefer hugs to handshakes, and high-fives to letters of recommendation. It’s ingrained in their culture, and it would be insulting to insist on a “no touching” policy around these
If these “over hugs” make you uncomfortable though, may I suggest the as potential compromises the bro hug (one-armed hug), the double fist bump (no hug required), or the Jennifer Grey (no hug but choreography and sexual chemistry required). If none of those work, I’m sorry to say it but you may need to pack up and find a different, less tactile community to live in. I know, I know. Uprooting yourself is tough. Would a hug help? Fine, we can kiss instead.