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Sunday, May 19

Gapers Block

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Sour Bob has no professional qualifications of any kind. He's a divorced, underemployed, impoverished, chronically depressed cracker with a drinking problem and a surly disposition. All that said, he is, in fact, a bartender, and like all other bartenders is frequently approached for advice on all topics personal and interpersonal.

Maybe you already have a favorite bartender you go to when you need a kind ear and a sage word. Maybe you don't.

Either way, maybe you'd like to ask Bob.

Go ahead. He's listening. (More or less.)

Dear Bob:

There's some serious drama going on with my boyfriend and it's really messing with my head. We've been together for nine months and until two weeks ago, it was nothing short of amazing.

We met at a little neighborhood festival. He wasn't my typical type (I'm sort of a granola gal and he's from Bangladesh), but for some reason he caught my eye. Maybe it was his eyes--so beautiful! Before long, we bought ourselves a pair of funnel cakes and slipped away to the beach, where we stayed up all night, kissing and talking. It was really obvious right away there was just this amazing connection, like nothing I've experienced before. Ever since then we've been inseparable. Every morning he calls me to wake me up and wish me a good day. Every night he calls to tuck me in. Many times, he's even popped into my office unannounced bearing a bouquet of gardenias. (How did he know they were my favorite?!?) We laugh at the same jokes, we love the same books, and my mother just *adores* him.

So what's the problem, right? Well, he's marrying someone else. Last month he turned 25 and his mother and father called from home to tell him it was time for him to start a family. They've chosen him a wife and they're sending her to the States in two months. He's going along with it because he feels he has to, but our connection is still very much alive. I'm trying to make sense of everything but still he calls me every morning and every night and we're still seeing each other regularly.

I'm just not sure how to wrap my head around all of this. What do I do?

Dumbfounded, Unsure, and Hurt

Dear DUH:

From a practical standpoint, your letter basically boils down to this:

Blah blah blah, blah blah blah, my boyfriend is going to marry some other broad, blah blah blah.

The other stuff is just noise you're using to distract yourself from an obvious answer you're just not ready to face. Maybe he's hedging on this too, stringing you along a bit, and maybe that's making it tougher for you to admit out loud what some part of you must already know: it's over. Those early morning wakeup calls and late night tuck-ins might be tempting, but remember this: the only thing worse than a guy who breaks up with you to marry some other girl is a guy who marries some other girl and doesn't break up with you.

Get the hell out of there, doll.

Dear Bob,

My best girlfriend's guy is a total douchebag and I don't know what to do about it. They've been carrying on a long distance thing for three months. (He lives in Washington, D.C. and she lives in Charleston.) Even during this short time, he was already showing emotional issues. He'd freak out about tiny stuff then cry and ask for understanding since he was "having trouble adjusting after his divorce" and he was "going through a tough time." Honestly, I think girlfriend sort of got off on it. She happily played Florence Nightenfreud to all of this guy's screwy divorce issues, determined to nurse him back to mental health through the power of love.

But then, a few weeks ago he comes out and says that, "technically" he and his wife aren't divorced, though they are, he claims, legally separated. It turns out he also lied about what he does for a living. (OK he didn't lie about this one exactly but he knew darn well what she thought he did when he told her he "worked at a law firm.") She cries and cries but when I push her on it she says all couples have their problems and they're working through it. My friend is kind of a lonely person who has never dated much but I hate to see her wasting her time on a psycho. She even talks about marrying him! I'm on the verge of telling her I can't be her friend anymore if she's going to engage in this kind of stupidity. What can I do?

Down with DC Douchebags

Dear DDD,

First thing you want to do is punch the guy right in the gut. You wanna get him to double over, so you to pull his shirt over his head and use it to pin his arms...[CUT]

On second thought, it's just not practical to beat the crap out of every jerk boyfriend who's asking for it. There's too many of 'em and the law doesn't always appreciate what a fine thing a justly rendered ass-whooping can be. Granted, this guy sure could use one. (Hell, I'll lay you even money he isn't even separated.) When you're talking about a guy who starts off by lying about his marital status and occupation, you're probably safe using a word like "sociopath" and yeah, your friend is going to end up hurt.

What can you do to stop the madness? Probably nothing. You're her friend, and you're entitled — as long as you try and be as diplomatic about it as you can — to tell her you think her man is a douchebag. (Here's a tip: maybe try and find a gentler term than "douchebag.") But that's it. That's where your rights end.

Late bloomers sometimes have trouble seeing a disaster in the making. A lifetime of watching crap romances where love conquers all, a couple dozen years of unsatisfied hormonal urges and a lack of real-life dating experience can combine to make an otherwise bright soul into a complete and total dumbass where relationships are concerned. You might think beating her over the head with this until she gets the message is your only recourse, but just remember how little that helped when your dad tried yelling about that loser who took you to prom.

Your friend is going to have to figure this out on her own, and likely the hard way. When she finally does, she's going to need you around. Make sure you don't sandbag the friendship right before she really needs you.

Dear Bob:

My younger brother never seems to get on track with girls and I'm not sure what the problem is. Girls seem to like him. He has a great job (stage manager for a respected local theater). He dresses well, he's respectful to women, he's handsome and he's always in great shape to boot. Even with all this, he never seems to find a girlfriend. I'm not even sure he's taking time to look.

I've offered to set him up with some of my girlfriends dozens of times and he just laughs and says he's too busy. I know he works a lot of hours at his job but he always seems to find time to hang out with the boys. My baby brother is wasting his prime dating years and it drives me crazy!

You'd think I'd be used to it, as he's always been this way. Even in high school he was like this. I nagged him and nagged him to get a date for senior prom so we could double date and when he finally did agree to go he took a fat little freshman girl from down the street.

He's getting to the age where he at least needs to be dating some and getting the hang of things if he ever hopes to have a lasting relationship.

Why can't I get baby brother to show some interest in girls?

Agonized Sis in Schaumburg

Dear ASS:

Your brother is gay.


Have a question for Sour Bob? Email it to and it may appear in a future edition of Ask Sour Bob!


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