The Son Remains the Same
Should my fiance take a paternity test?
—About to Crack
Judging from the letters I receive, every office in America is required to have someone who chews like a buffalo, hums like a swarm of mosquitoes, and grunts like a walrus. Since not everyone is equally annoyed by these sounds, could you possibly change desks with someone who doesn't mind the mouth of hell? If that doesn't work, turn to technology. You could spend a couple of bucks for earplugs, or buy one of those expensive noise-blocking headphones. You'll hardly look eccentric since these days everyone has devices attached to their ears. And if for some reason that doesn't solve the problem, you could delicately raise the issue with the offender. Try something like, "I hate to bring this up, but unfortunately for me, I am supersensitive to distracting sounds. You're probably not even aware of it, but could you try to tone down the [insert behavior driving you berserk]?" You may get no response, or even a hostile one, but there's a chance you'll—even temporarily—enjoy the sounds of silence.
I am having casual sex with this guy. I really like him. He says he isn't ready for a relationship. How will I know when he is?
When he stops having casual sex with you, you check out why, and you learn he's in a relationship with someone else.
Photograph of Prudie by David Plotz.