However my mother prefers blancmange and my father Angel Delight, so answer me this: which is the superior pudding?
Firstly: you are from a family of pudding retronauts.
Secondly: I discovered that blancmange used to be made with poultry or fish, which sounds even more disgusting than butterscotch-flavoured Angel Delight (which made me puke four times at my friend Olivia McLearon’s house in 1990).
Thirdly: this can only be settled democratically, so please VOTE:
Let there be light upon this question from Lizzie from London:
Regarding the glitter discussion in AMT319, Sarah from Chicago writes:
Helen compared it to a virus at one point, and in the theatre world (my profession) we have to deal with it a lot. So much that when you happen to find glitter all over everything, with no idea where it came from (costume, makeup, set, etc), it’s known as Glerpes. Glitter+herpes.
And now you know the name of the affliction your questioneer has.
Party poopers in the house toniiiiiite! Caitlin in Los Angeles, California don’t wanna have a good tiiiime! And frankly we agree with her:
I work in an office that has an unofficial celebration protocol: a group of eager party planners toss up some decorations in the meeting room, lure in the guest of honor, attendees muster a weak “surprise” and we all have brief and awkward conversation while enjoying pizza and cake until it’s back to work. Retirements, promotions, farewells, and baby-showers are handed this way. Repetitive, but fairly harmless and includes pizza.
When my supervisor became pregnant with her first child she immediately told everyone she did not want a baby shower under any circumstance. The very idea of sitting in front of coworkers as they stared at her pregnant belly made her painfully anxious. Fawning over baby-related gifts and embarrassing party games made her physically ill. And she was uncomfortable being given gifts by the people she supervises. She made me promise that, if anybody was trying to plan a baby shower, I would try to stop it and tell her. Thinking nothing of it, I agreed immediately and went back to business as usual.
Then I got a baby-shower e-vite in my work inbox. It announced a “secret” baby shower for my supervisor. I was aghast they would blatantly ignore her wishes this way. Unfortunately (but also to my relief), she had to take an early leave for bed rest. Problem solved.
Fast forward to now: she is pregnant again and the same series of events are repeating themselves: she insists to all who will listen there will be no baby shower. An urgent plea for me to tell her if our coworkers are conspiring. And another e-vite alerting people to a “secret” baby shower has recently arrived in my inbox.
I emailed the party planners and reminded them of her wishes. I suggested we plan a non-surprise party WITH our supervisor – no gifts, no games. Just food, conversation, and on with our lives. If people really wanted to give a gift, perhaps we donate to a charity in the future daughter’s name. It seemed like a good idea to me. This way, everyone gets a party and my supervisor is not miserable.
My idea was shot down completely within ten minutes. My supervisor’s supervisor, who she has told NUMEROUS times her feelings, wrote that he thinks the party should be left the way it was planned. He wrote that he felt “she will be happy and grateful. She works really hard and deserves this from us.” Everyone else agreed.
So I am back where I started two years ago: do I tell my supervisor and risk the wrath of my coworkers should she put a stop to it? Or do I leave my supervisor to the baby shower planning wolves and risk a breach of trust?
Oh noble Caitlin, your guilt is palpable even though you have done your best. Readers, guide her action with your vote:
Oh no! The romantic relationships of our questioneers are in jeopardy…because of VERY IMPORTANT disagreements. Here’s Rebecca from Chesterfield‘s:
My husband and I got married in April and so far the worst argument disturbing our newly wedded bliss is this:
When I tell my husband that I am working “next Saturday” he will then be confused as to why I then make plans for the weekend coming.
He seems to think that “next Saturday” means the coming Saturday as in “the next Saturday.
I have told him that he is wrong. That would be “this Saturday”.
Please help settle this dispute.
Fine. Readers: vote.
And now, another life-or-death point of contention from Julia from Oxford:
My boyfriend, who lives in London, is of Californian origin. We’re both flying out there this month for a holiday and I’m really looking forward to it. The problem I have is this – he is *convinced*, having lived in both the US and the UK, that American bacon is objectively superior. I like American bacon (after all, it’s bacon), but I personally prefer the British style as it’s juicier and meatier than its States-side counterpart.
I understand that tastes differ and don’t consider either type to be better than the other in absolute terms. However, I just know he’s going to go on about the damn bacon while we’re out there and insist on asking me whether it’s better every time we eat it. He’s quite reasonable about most American/British divide issues, so why on earth is he so dogmatic about this particular foodstuff? Is bacon really that polarising??
Let’s just see, shall we?
And let’s not reignite the Bacon Wars between Canada and Denmark. So many young lives pointlessly lost…
While bacon appears to be a very emotional issue in this relationship, the question Julia should be asking instead is why her boyfriend has to be right – can’t he let this matter lie and just enjoy the bacon of whichever country he’s in? What’s really going on under there?
I’m relieved I don’t live next door to them, because I don’t want to be woken at 3am by screams of “But ours is CRISPIER, Julia!”
I’m a gay man who lives in a medium-sized midwestern city. My mother lives in a smaller city, and is your typical midwestern housewife type. She is very sweet, moderately conservative and church-going. She’s a bright person, but not very worldly, and has rarely, if ever, travelled outside of her state.
Out of the blue this past year, she called me and said that she has always wanted to go to Jamaica, and that since I’m the only person she knows who has travelled extensively, she’d like me as a travel companion on her “once in a lifetime” trip to Jamaica.
I do not know why the sudden interest in Jamaica. She says it’s the beaches she’s seen in travel brochures and the adorable accents that she finds fascinating.
As a gay man, I have a problem with Jamaica, as it is a homophobic country. I’m not usually very political, but I don’t like the idea of spending tourist dollars in a place that is so culturally backward when it comes to gay rights. That said, my mother insists that she pays for everything, as this is her treat, and as both a birthday gift for me and a thanks for accompanying her, so it’s not really my money.
I asked if she’d like to see any other Caribbean islands, or if it has to be Jamaica, and she simply replied “I want to go to Jamaica.”
So answer me this: do I stick to my political beliefs and refuse to go to Jamaica, even though I’m not paying for it, or do I honor my mother’s wishes, hold my nose, and go anyway? I know that my mother is not aware of the ways GLBT men and women are treated in Jamaica, and isn’t interested in supporting it, but she’s also very fixated on this vacation.
Also, if I do go, is it fair that I talk her into getting cornrows done in her hair, as so many women who visit the islands do, as a wicked revenge?
Readers, help out.
Obviously whichever option you choose, she’ll be having the cornrows as well. Dyed to match the rainbow flag.
We’ve heard of sock monkeys, but not shocked monkeys, until we received this email from Larry:
While driving around with my teenage son, Peter Gabriel’s “Shock the Monkey” came on the radio. After 4 minutes of being told over and over to shock the monkey, we’re not quite sure what he wants us to do. Is this an expression with some other meaning? Or is Mr. Gabriel suggesting that we toss a plugged-in toaster into the tub the next time a chimp takes a bath???
I’ve tried reading through the lyrics, but all I can gather is that Peter Gabriel has probably dropped a lot of acid in his lifetime.
Firstly, Larry, thankyou for directing our attention to this song which we’d never encountered before. The video looks like Peter Gabriel is starring in a Matthew Bourne ballet alongside the Pixar lamp.
Difficult cohabitation has been a theme at AMT lately, and like many of you, the communal living situation is stoking murderous rage in Amanda from Virginia:
I live in a big house with my fiancee and three other roommates. We’re all students in our late 20s. When my fiancee and I moved in here, we were too poor to afford anything else. I’ve got a well-paying full-time job now and go to school online.
I HATE LIVING HERE. My roommates are ridiculously messy. I’m no neat freak, but this house is fucking disgusting. I clean all the time only to find the house trashed again within hours. My roommates also go around all winter long leaving windows and doors open, saying the cold air will rev up their metabolisms and make them skinny.
The problem is our upcoming wedding. If we want a decent wedding and honeymoon in Mexico (which we REALLY want), we’re going to keep living here another year in order to afford it. We haven’t really set a date yet, so I suggested postponing the wedding so we could afford to both move out AND go to Mexico. My fiancee doesn’t want to postpone the wedding at all. I dread my own home. Answer me this: what should we do?
I don’t know how you can postpone something which has not yet been organised, but if another year of domestic dread is likely to damage your relationship so much you never make it as far as the wedding, MOVE. Meanwhile, I assume you’ve eliminated the following possibilities:
1. Evicting the roommates and drafting in super-neat new ones;
2. Finding somewhere else cheap to live;
3. Having a smaller budget for the wedding, because weddings – and particularly American ones – are NEEDLESSLY EXPENSIVE.
Anyway, Amanda, your living arrangements are now in our readers’ hands, as I invite them to vote:
Whatever you do, don’t move out into a commune. Something tells me it wouldn’t suit you.
Cait from Bristol but currently in Orlando got a little wild in her hotel room and now is suffering the shame that inevitably follows:
I am staying in a hotel and have just accidentally got chocolate all over the white bed sheets. Unfortunately, the chocolate looks a lot like I’ve shat myself.
So please answer me this: do I leave housekeeping a note explaining that it’s chocolate and not shit? Do I do nothing and let them think I pooed the bed? Or something else?
It’s so delightfully British of you, Cait, to think of leaving a note! If it makes you feel better, by all means do that – or leave the chocolate wrapper in the bed as an indicator of what has gone on in there (NB also a useful cover in the event of you actually shitting the bed).
However I imagine that the average hotel housekeeper has far too many rooms to clean to spend much time analysing your suspicious-looking stains, or sniffing them to ascertain their origin, or sending off a sample for lab testing. Moreover, they will have surely seen so many scenes of filth and degradation during their careers that your little one-woman scat party would barely warrant an eyebrow-raise.
Wedding planning! So fraught. What if the band doesn’t match the chair-bows? Who has to sit next to racist Aunty Denise? And now Ross faces a problem that Queen Victoria didn’t have to consider prior to her nuptuals. He says:
I’m getting married in December and my girlfriend (we don’t use the ‘f’ word) and I both want quite a relaxed, non-traditional wedding that’s fun for us and our friends. However, I think some of her plans might have gone too far that route so please answer me this: should I let her book the bouncy castle that she wants for our reception?
I’m firmly in the ‘no’ camp because the men will be in suits, the women in dresses, they’ll all be hammered and I don’t want to have to clear vomit off a bouncy castle.
Also it’ll be December, and anyone who has ever bounced on a bouncy castle covered in rain and icicles knows THAT IS WHEN BROKEN NECKS HAPPEN.
Now, I’m all in favour of fun at weddings – everyone at mine thought that sitting mock Maths A-Level papers between the dinner and the dancing was a neat idea! – but I agree with Ross’s qualms about how this might not be the optimal type of fun. For a bunch of adults. Formally dressed. Who have been drinking for six hours already.
Instead I’d recommend diverting the bouncy castle funds towards the cheeseboard. The cheeseboard at my wedding was EPIC. Ask anybody who was there (apart from the two vegans).
In the interests of democracy, however, I invite you readers to vote: