Advice column by Tim White, PhD, LPC, NCC.
Tim White, PhD, LPC, NCC offers advice on family planning and parenting, LGBT issues, disability issues, education and work issues, relationships, ethics and "unusual" social issues. Send questions to Tim for future columns through his website.
I'm a woman in my late 20's. My boyfriend proposed to me about six months ago, and we'll be married in May 2015. He really is a great guy, so keep an open mind about my story. I've been complaining a little too much about my weight. Even though I'm only carrying about an extra 20 pounds, I've been obsessing on it and so he set a goal for me to get my thigh gap back, which is something he finds attractive on women. He cut out some magazine pictures of women with thigh gaps and posted them all over our apartment for inspiration. He got a measuring tape so we can check my progress. I feel like this is my fault for making a big deal out of my weight, but now it feels like he's going a little overboard. What do you think? — Thigh Aspirations
Hi Thigh Aspirations,
When did the "thigh gap" officially became the new virginity? There is a silly, general assumption that all women had one previously, if only at 8 years old! You were being a normal, nervous bride-to-be by worrying about your weight but his response indicates something troubling. So I am making a new goal for your fiancée. He is now expected to grow a third arm out of his back. No excuses! He needs to figure out how to make that happen. Post pictures all over your home of attractive men with third arms to inspire him (you may have to do a little photoshopping). After all, men with three arms are much more handy around the house and able to do more of everything. If your fiancée cannot grow a third arm out of his back, he must be weak and inadequate! Notify him that when he achieves a third arm on his back, you will get to work right away on attaining that hallmark of feminine excellence and completeness; the sacred thigh gap he requested that will make you worthy of him. If this man does not love you exactly as you are today, and he needs to prove it very convincingly at this point, tell him to take his pathetic little measuring tape and stick it in his own nether regions before walking out of your door for good.
Lumbered and Encumbered
What is wrong with my husband? Normally he's neat and clean but for the past year he dresses in lumberjack clothing like flannel and hiking boots and grew a long beard, it looks ridiculous, scratches and I hate it and he won't shave it off! He's made friends with some like-minded guys and all they want to do is go camping and fishing, yuck! They even microbrew beer. Please tell me this is a phase! — Lumbered and Encumbered
Hi Lumbered and Encumbered,
The Lumbersexual movement has arrived, and it is a thing although it appears to be more linked to fashion than lifestyle. Except for your guy; he actually wants to spend more time outdoors, in nature and enjoying exercise and simpler things. If you meditate on that for a while, you may see a benefit or two of this behavior becoming permanent. As for the beard, men grow them for a variety of reasons including No Shave November but sometimes only as a novelty and mostly during the fall and winter seasons. Once the summer sun fries that fuzz, it will become uncomfortably hot, 1,000% itchier, sweaty and therefore impossible to ignore all the bits of food and fluff caught in it. The car heater may even produce the same effect long before next summer. Unless you were saying yuck to beer as well, crack open a few of those microbrews for yourself and relax. If you do not make an issue of his funny facial fur, he may grow tired of it much sooner.
I am a woman in my 30's working in a large office space. I believe a male coworker is taking creepshots with his phone camera. He always appears to be checking and scrolling on his phone, but he's noticeably different when there's a woman sitting across from him. He even hides the phone in his lap, with both hands there, while talking to her! He has done this with me twice but tends to do this more when the woman is one of the racier dressers, and now more recently a couple of times he has even suspiciously "dropped" his phone and reached to pick it up while it is under a skirt at gatherings and in the elevator! Should I report this or try to get him on video, or could I be overreacting? — Unwilling Model
Hi Unwilling Model,
I have to ask why someone in a professional environment is allowed to fiddle with his phone all day! I would not recommend taping him as his behavior is escalating and it should not be much of a chore for someone from your Human Resources office to capture one his many perverse, part-time porn productions. If caught in the act by authorities, his phone will likely be swiped clean. In other words, yes, report this to your supervisor and Human Resources immediately. There is absolutely no reason at all for surreptitious videotaping of coworkers, period. However, even if there is somehow a logical explanation for his hijinks, at the very least the report should inspire a long-overdue mobile phone policy limiting usage so that employees stop fooling around and get back to work!
Editor’s Note: The opinions offered in this blog are the author's alone. Tim White, and any experts he may consult and/or quote in responses to letters, will never provide medical or psychological advice, diagnoses, treatment, or counseling of any kind. General advice, opinions, and suggestions may be offered with no obligation on the part of readers to accept or act upon the content published within this column. Anyone in immediate crisis and/or mental/physical distress should call 911 or related resources of assistance.
Photo by Fotolia/Sylvie Bouchard