Archive - May 2006

Hey!  That IS Better!

Growing up poor can shape your future relationships.  Especially if you get involved with someone who’s not poor.  Take me and my wife, for example.  Now, I won’t say her family was rich, but they certainly did reside on the other end of the middle-class spectrum.  My Mom, she would call them rich, but I’m starting to believe that she felt that way about any family that was able to have both of their cars in proper running condition simultaneously.  (I must admit that has caused a ground swell of jealousy in myself on a few occasions.)

When my wife and I moved in together, our first year was a rough one for our relationship.  I was surprised by how much of a shock it was for her.  Being poor, that is.  Between you and me, I don’t think she cared for it at all.  My take was always more along the lines of, “Of course we’re broke.  What kind of a question is that?”  In my twenty six years, there had never been a different answer. 

We argued about shoes, and pants, and food, and beer (gotta have beer, being poor AND sober is just wrong).  We fought about the phone bill and the rent, but not the electric bill.  I had grown up without air conditioning – in North Carolina!- and I refused to suffer through that again, even if it meant skipping lunch, and breakfast (but not beer).  Many a battle was waged on such wasteful frivolities as the oven door. 

The oven door?  That’s right.  The oven door.  I was constantly opening the oven door after baking something (usually a pasta-laden casserole designed by my mother to feed seven people on two dollars).  And she was constantly shutting it.  Not in my house.  In my house, you kept the oven door open in the winter, because, by God, you paid for that heat.  See.  I thought everybody did that. 

The most embarrassing moment came when one night (I can’t recall what season it was), when I made Steak-Um sandwiches for dinner.  Mmmm, good.  Sautéed onions on top.  I proudly presented my evening’s labor to my beloved, who lifted the top bun to sprinkle some salt, and laughed.

“What?”  I asked.

“What the hell is this?”


“Yeah.  And where are the rest of them?”

In case you don’t know, the Steak-Um food stuff comes in a box of seven or sixteen.  In our case it was seven.  I had diligently fried up one Steak-Um for each sandwich (just like dear old Mom).  It was the sight of a single, solitary Steak-Um trying desperately to cover an entire bun like a washcloth trying to hide the girth of a naked fat man in a hotel hallway that my wife found amusing.

“In the freezer.”

“For?”  She looked at me like I was hiding something from her, some perverted little secret.

“For next time.”  I looked back at her like she had just said 2 + 2 = purple.

She laughed again, and explained it to me.

It turns out, Steak-Um sandwiches are immensely better with more than one Steak-Um on them.  I guess that’s how the rich folk roll.

That was eight years ago, and she still gets a shit-eating grin whenever we have Steak-Ums.

I make my meat-resembling sandwiches better now.  I still keep the house cool in the summer.  And I damn sure still tell her to keep the freakin’ oven door open, for God’s sake.


Remind me some time to tell you Mom’s secret for getting eight hamburgers from half a pound of ground beef.  (Hint: Bread can really fill you up.)

If I learned any one lesson from all those years of suckling at the teat of my mother’s penny-pinching, it’s that being poor sucks.  And maybe that was her point all along.

Dear Llama,
My husband recently had the experience of opening his web browser and discovering that Howard Stern is currently dating a blonde hottie with the same name as someone with whom he attended high school.  After a good deal of Googling, he determined that the Beth in question was not the same Beth he knew 20 years ago.  Although he conceded that his Beth had had the potential body and personality of an arm-dangler, Mr. Stern's Beth appeared to be younger.
My question is this:  if Mr. Stern's Beth had been the old high school classmate of my husband's, should he have attempted to contact her?  They weren't especially close in high school and haven't spoken since, but if she were dating Howard Stern, don't you think there would have been grounds for some sort of renewed relationship there?
Thanks for your help.
NJ in MN

Dear NJ,

There certainly was ground for Googling.  But as for a renewed relationship, I'll have to say probably not.  I suppose if your husband were (for whatever reason) a big Howard Stern fan he may have some cause to follow up.  Or perhaps if your husband were serving on the board of your local Make-A-Wish Foundation, he might want to explore it on the grounds of satisfying so dying child's dream.  Otherwise, I see no point in pursuing a renewal of ties with a vapid whore.  (I pray I'm not overstepping bounds.)

The only just course of action, had this been the same person, would have been to wait.  Spotlight romances always end in disaster.  And such a disaster would undoubtedly provide much fodder for the open bar at the next high school reunion, which is, as we all know, merely a  conduit for our dreams of seeing that the "cool" kids have become fat, bald, and poor.  Or, in other words, their personalities have manifested themselves in the physical realm.

Hope that helps,


Dear Llama,
Last October, I started taking classes in an obscure, Korean martial art when some friends of mine opened their own dojang (martial arts school).  I had all the usual doubts about getting involved with martial arts, the obvious geekiness being a significant negative, but these were good friends, and I wanted to support their new business.
Then, after about a month, I started to have a major crush on my instructor, the male half of this husband and wife team of black belts.  He's really not my type -- he's kind of got that eyelashless blonde look -- but the guy can run straight up walls, jump over my head, and I've got to think he's as physically capable in bed as he is in class.  We've gotten to be even better friends in the last few months, which only feeds my fantasy.  Yeah, yeah, I'm married, but my husband knows I'm an incurable flirt.  His take on the whole thing is, "Well, if it cuts down on the amount we have to pay this guy in class fees every month...."
In a few days, I'm going to a conference with this guy's wife.  Since I believe that all the power in any sexual relationship rests with the women, I'm wondering if I should approach her about my lust for her husband.  Or should I be sneaky and try to get this guy out of his dobahk (uniform) on my own?
Kam sa ham ni dah (thanks),
Begging for a Black Belt

Dear BfaBB,

I'll leave the "studying an obscure Korean martial art" part for another day.  Perhaps shortly after I address "Why Star Wars Groupies Are The Coolest" and "Chicks Dig Dungeon Masters."

I applaud your husband's attitude toward the financial perks possible here.  Though I do wonder if they are such good friends, why they are  charging you in the first place.

However, I believe you are barking up the wrong the tree here.  I'd like to see you go after the wife at the conference.  Ostensibly, she's just as agile, plus there's that whole girl-on-girl thing that just everybody appreciates.  It won't harm your marriage, and will most likely help, especially if cameras are involved.  (Please let there be cameras.)

Hope that helps,


Hey dude,

Funny site.  So I'm 24, own my own business, so I need to look professional right?  I've always been huge on personal hygiene, except for one thing I still struggle with.  Ever since I was little I still tear
and pick my fingernails and cuticles.  How do I stop an annoying habit like this? I do it all the time, not just when I'm nervous.  It looks bad, I want long pretty nails (they are strong, they just won't grow and once they do I rip 'em off).

Is it that important or do I need to get over it?

Queen Picker:)
Nashville TN

Dear Queen,

It could be important.  Depends on your job.  What is important is that it bothers you.  And that's why I'm here.

It would be easier to handle if you were a nail biter.  I'd just tell you to stop washing your hands after you go to the bathroom.  Or to routinely cup barehanded the gonads of men you pass on the street.  That'll cause you to pause before placing your fingers in your mouth.

But picking and tearing requires a different approach.  What you need is a diversion.  It'll require that you want to change.  Try this for a month.  Every time you feel the desire to pick at your nails, masturbate.  To completion.  Eventually you'll be too happy or too tired to worry about your fingernails.

If that fails, get a hold of the woman above (Begging for a Black Belt).  Perhaps she would be willing to kick you every time you tried.  Or she may be up for some other kind of diversion.  (I think she's game for the "tender side of love.")

Hope that helps,


Dear Grumpy Llama,




Dear Anonymous,

First, are you hitting on me?

And secondly, I have been advised not to admit, and certainly not to reveal specifics, regarding any dreams I might have about 17 year-olds.

Hope that helps,


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