Ask J-Ro: Pet Peeves

Our neighbourhood cat Simon uses us for our food, he sleeps on our couch, urges us to lavish him with petting and ear scratches as he eats our food then ups and leaves. Are we stupid to indulge this selfish cat in the hope he may one day love us?

 
Pic by Ken Coleman
“In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this.” – Terry Pratchett.
Ah, cats. Bunch of divas, the lot of ’em. Can you tell I’m a dog person? Don’t get me wrong, cats are great while they’re deigning to acknowledge your existence, letting you rub them while they act all snuggly and cute…with the emphasis on the word ‘act’. Don’t let them away with that shit for a SECOND.
Did you ever see Mean Girls? This cat is the Regina George of the pet world. We’re all their adoring fans just throwing ourselves at their feet begging them to love us. Sometimes it works and they’ll be gracious in their mercy by acknowledging your existence; other times they’ll start cleaning their assholes right in front of you, like “This is WAY more fun than you will ever be.”
If Simon was a dude, you’d tell him feck off and get his own food. He knows he’s on to a good thing here. By being a slave to his flighty affections, you’re only enabling what is sure to be a future dictator when The Cat Revolution starts. When that day comes, you’ll be the one shitting in boxes of litter while buck-naked, being filmed every second of your existence in case you do anything worthy of YouTube. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.
In the meantime, take all the cuddles and snoozy cat-purring you can get. You can’t beat animal-lovies when you’re feeling blue. Make the most of his superficial attention and make him work for his food by snuggling you guys like a mad bastard. It’s all about Give and Take, you know.
(Until the Revolution, but that’s for another time)

Ask J-Ro:  No Laughing Matter

Jen, I’ve been a bit down lately due to homophobic comments slipped into normal conversations with a friend. They pass them off as humorous, but it’s still quite uncomfortable to say the least. I only recently started coming out as gay but he makes me feel ashamed of my sexuality. Thoughts?

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First things first; don’t EVER feel ashamed of your sexuality. Your friend is clearly the uncomfortable one, not you. As us Limerick women say about people like that, “He’d want to go away and have a chat with himself”.

You made a seriously courageous decision to come out as gay, and your friends need to have a bit of understanding in how difficult it must have been to take the leap and tell them. In groups of friends, there tends to be a lot of mental categorising of individuals; the funny one, the mad one, the Star Wars nerd etc…and nobody likes it when the balance is upset because it shakes up preconceived notions about who people are. The reality is you’re still you, and you’re still their mate whether straight or gay.

If it’s just the one guy responsible for the homophobic comments, then he’s got his own issues that are feck-all to do with you. Not that it hurts any less to know that. Maybe he’s an out and out homophobe, or maybe you’re his first gay friend and he’s all discombobulated (Been waiting to use that word!). Or maybe he’s not secure in his own sexuality. Either way, totally HIS problem.

Whatever the reasons are behind his obviously shite attempts to disguise his discomfort with ‘jokes’, it needs to be nipped in the bud ASAP. If for no other reason than to save him from losing a hell of a lot more friends down the line if he keeps it up.

Phase 1 would obviously be to talk to him one-on-one, not in an aggressive confrontational way. Tell him you find the jokes that he makes really hurtful, and as a friend he should be aware of what it took for you to come out, and hearing stuff like that won’t help ANYONE who’s thinking about doing the same. If he’s your true friend, chances are he’ll be thoroughly ashamed and won’t have realised he was hurting you. Then he’ll hopefully beg your forgiveness and find another source of ‘comedic’ material. If, however, he gets defensive and says things like “too sensitive” and “only a joke” etc, it means you’ve hit a nerve and he doesn’t like being called to his account for his behaviour. In which case you can move swiftly to Phase 2.

For Phase 2; I would suggest a subtle push of reverse peer-pressure. Have a chat with one or two other mutual mates in your group whom you consider to be loving, supportive friends to you. Let them know that what he’s saying is not funny to you, and is really hurting your feelings. If he’s saying these things in a group, and nobody is calling him out on it, they are complicit in his actions. So a simple request for others to call him out on his crappy homophobic comments – or, worse yet for him, not laugh or find it funny – could be the kick into the Personality Hole this fella needs. No harm for him to know what it’s like to feel real shame.

If he persists in being an insensitive gowl-bag after all that, feel free to tell him go fuck himself. There’s a whole world out there waiting for you to live a fantastic authentic life. Hop to it!

Best of Luck <3

Ask J-Ro: A Platonic Dilemma

Jen,I’ve been very attracted to a friend for years. In the early part, my marriage was falling apart but now it’s been over for five years. I’ve admitted to her directly a few years ago how I felt but she didn’t respond how I’d hoped. I’m afraid if I say something again it will ruin our friendship.

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Sorry to hear about the end of your marriage; it’s not easy to call an end to a union you believed would be permanent. However, you’re living proof that there is still good times and great connections to be made if you do become separated / divorced, so give yourself credit for wanting to get back in the game!

I can only imagine how painful & complicated a process it was to get to where you are now, and the fact that it’s been five years tells me that the feelings for your friend seem to be more than just a rebound straight out of your marriage. I think in a case like this though, there’s a few factors at play here. I don’t know if you told her about how you felt while you were maybe still in the middle of the messiness of ending the marriage, or if you were free and totally single at the time. If it’s the former, I think she was probably right to knock you back because you might not have been in the best mindframe to launch into a relationship, especially with a friend, because the consequences would have been disastrous.

It’s a tough one. She sounds like a fantastic person who was there for you during one of the most stressful & emotionally demanding times anyone can experience, and the value of that should never be underestimated. She’s obviously aware of your feelings from before, and the fact that a few years have passed tells me that she’s probably happy with things as they are right now.

It can’t have been easy for her to turn down a friend who was openly hurting and just getting back into dating, so I imagine it was a decision she didn’t make lightly. The last thing she would have wanted to do was add to your hurt, so the fact that she did knock you back may mean that she really was happy being your friend, and that was enough for her. You guys are still very close by the sound of things, so it seems she may have made the right call.

It’s been a few years since you ended the marriage. Have a think about where you are relationship-wise. Have you been dating since the marriage ended? Anyone serious? Have you met new people or socialised differently to how you would have done before? If you’ve been out & about expanding your horizons, and you still have strong feelings for your friend, then maybe it’s worth testing the water, but in a subtle way. Pick a friend who knows you both well and can be honest with you on the QT about whether they think it’s worth the risk. In the end, only YOU will truly know in your gut whether your friendship is open & honest enough to not be ruined by a second overture. But tread very carefully, because this sounds like a friendship worth keeping.

Whatever else you do, be kind to yourself. Don’t put yourself in a position where you may be rejected outright again. Nurture what you have right now, and if there’s something more there, a natural dynamic will take over. Relax and be happy you know someone like her, she sounds like good people. But, whatever else you do – DON’T DO OR SAY ANYTHING IF YOU’RE DRUNK.

Best of Luck!

Ask J-Ro: A Nuptial No-No

I am head over heels about this guy and he is mad about me too, but he’s married!! What do I do, am I mad to pursue it?

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pic by Ken Coleman

You’re not mad, but you will be very, very unhappy. No good will come of this. But you’re smart, you don’t need anyone to tell you it’s not a good idea to hook up with a married man. So let’s step away from the moral quandary for a minute and look at the practical aspects.

Brutal truth: If he was as mad about you as he says, he would not be with his wife. Or at the very least he would be a stand-up man and not let anything happen with you until he has been honest with his wife (and kids if he has any) and started making arrangements to separate and sort out places to live, financial arrangements, custody agreements if needed, and a million other heartbreaking world-shattering things he would have to do out of respect for everybody involved, including you. Is he willing to do that? Because that’s what it would take for you guys as a couple to have any kind of chance out in the open.

Next thing you need to ask yourself: Is his time more valuable than yours? Because if you guys DO go down the road of getting involved while he’s still married, then the answer to that question is going to be yes, unfortunately. You’re the one who’ll be second fiddle to everything organised, lest his plans are uncovered and you both get found out. Fuck that. You’re NOBODY’S lesser priority.

Ultimately you want someone in your life with integrity, and who puts you first. You’re not just a distraction for a man looking to alleviate some boredom in a marriage that, let’s face it, could be getting a lot more attention on his part and thus be far more rewarding.

Nothing wrong with thinking a married friend is hot, and there may even be a bit of chemistry, but write it off as human & evolutionary responses and look forward to the real thing that isn’t hindered by life-long vows of faithfulness to someone else 🙂

PS: If they did it WITH you, they’ll do it TO you. You’ll never have a moment’s peace or trust ever again. Not worth it really is it?

Lastly; what would you tell a friend who came to you with this?

BEST OF LUCK! <3