There are too many excellent (and crazy) advice columns to keep up with, so we’re committed to bringing you links to the best advice column questions and answers every week. Here’s a roundup of the most interesting, thought-provoking and surprising questions that our favorite columnists addressed in recent days.
Should I Tell HR That My Boss Showed Me A Real-Life Video Of Someone Getting Murdered?
I work as a banquet server at a large hotel and convention center. Yesterday, my manager, Fergus, approached me while I was setting up for an event and said. “Come look at this video, this wife cheated on her husband!” and proceeded to show me a real-life video on his phone of a man being brutally murdered with a machete while the wife looked on and tried to stop the attack (her husband attacking her lover). Disgusted, I said “What the f***!” and walked away. I later saw him proceed to show the video to nearly every other server working. I did hear him preface the video before showing it to other people by asking, “Are you okay with gory things?” after he showed it to me. My issue isn’t really with the gore, though that’s not really appropriate either, it’s with the violence. Lots of people are not squeamish and would probably say “yes” to that question because they don’t mind watching gory things in the context of a scene from a horror movie (which is fake) or a medical/surgery video (where someone is most likely being helped, not hurt), but wouldn’t want to watch a real person getting murdered.
How should I address it now, after the fact? Should I bring it up with him, his boss, or HR? I think what he did was really inappropriate, but I don’t want to get too involved or be the reason he loses his job.
Alison Green encourages the letter writer to speak up. “It’s unlikely he’s going to get fired over this; a stern talking-to and warning is far more likely,” she writes. “But if for some reason he did get fired, you wouldn’t be the reason for that — his own behavior would be.” Read the rest of her answer.
Should I Believe My Husband When He Says He’s Been Hacked Every Time I Find Evidence Of Cheating?
I’ve recently caught my husband of two years (father of our two sons) cheating. This is the fourth time I’ve caught him. The first time was just after our older son was born, 18 months ago. Our second baby is just three months old.
Every time this happens, he claims he has been hacked.
I have staggering evidence every time that the pictures and the conversations are genuine — they contain things only he would know. But he is always able to show me some proof that he was hacked.
I always choose to believe him, because cheating doesn’t even match his behavior or personality, but eventually I look again, and there it is — all over again.
When I confront him, he deletes Facebook and beefs up the security on his phone, although he never lets me see it.
Even if I choose to believe him, is it right for him to hide his phone activity from me when this is a recurring issue?
Amy Dickinson advises the letter writer to stop believing their husband’s far-fetched excuses. “The way to recover from cheating (or handle unfounded accusations of cheating) is through complete transparency,” she writes. Read the rest of her answer.
Should I Have Spent $400 On Hair And Makeup For Me And My Kids To Be In My Brother’s Wedding?
My younger brother is getting married in June, and my three children and I were asked to be in the wedding party. My daughters are 10 and 6 and my son is 4. My sister-in-law-to-be signed a contract with hair and makeup stylists months ago without consulting the bridal party about the associated costs. When I learned that it was going to cost me $200 for myself plus another $100 each for my daughters, I called her and told her that I’d be happy to get my hair and makeup done at my local salon at a cost that is more comfortable for me. I let her know, politely, that it is out of my budget to spend $400 for hair and makeup for myself and two children (and my 6-year-old has chin-length hair!) but that we’d show up at the hotel all done up and ready to go, with time to spend taking pictures with the rest of the bridal party.
Prudence, she threw a fit! She told me that since I have a job, I should be fine paying for this. I should mention that I am a decade older than the rest of the wedding party, and the only one with children and a mortgage. I reminded her that she signed a contract without consulting us, and I never consented to spending that kind of money. She gave me an ultimatum that if I wouldn’t do this, I “didn’t need” to be in the party. I said nothing. Then, last week, she told me that the children and I are no longer part of the wedding party.
We haven’t spoken since, save for a nasty text from my brother, calling me a f–king b—h and a c–t for “making his fiancée cry.” How should I handle this situation moving forward? They both live in my brother’s childhood bedroom at my parents’ house (25 minutes from me, where I visit frequently). What if she asks me to rejoin the wedding party? I certainly don’t want to, but I don’t know how to gracefully handle all of this.
Daniel Mallory Ortberg agrees that the brother and his fiancée have wildly unreasonable expectations of their wedding party. “You didn’t make her cry, she made a wildly unreasonable request, you politely demurred, and she lost her shit,” he writes. “Count your blessings and keep your distance.” Read the rest of his answer.
Should I, A Male College Professor, Advise My Female Students To Lose Weight To Attract Men?
I’m a college prof. Several female students have confided in me they’re having trouble finding guys. (They’re not hitting on me—and even if they were, no way am I dating a student.) These girls are smart, nice, interesting, and usually obese. You and I both know that in this imperfect world, many (most?) people place importance on looks. But how do I tell them that? A straight, single, male professor telling a female student, even gently, that dropping 20 pounds might help her dating prospects is extremely risky.
“Oh my god. Keep your mouth shut,” replies Dan Savage. “First, because it’s an asshole thing to say — never mind the professional risk — and second, because it’s not true.” Read the rest of his answer.
Was It Rude For A Stranger To Let Me Know She Understood Me When I Spoke To A Restaurant Owner In Italian?
My adult family and I went to dinner at an Italian trattoria. When the owner led us to a table near a family with bouncy children, I asked, in Italian, if he could seat us someplace quieter. He did. After we were seated, the woman from the table with children came up to me and said: “Don’t worry. We’ll be leaving soon.” She had clearly heard and understood me. I think she crossed a social boundary. You?
Philip Galanes opines that it would have been fine to ask for a different table in English and that it wasn’t reasonable for the letter writer to assume that no one else in earshot would understand their request. “Was it teensy bit aggressive? Sure,” he writes. “But no worse than assuming you’re the only person worldly enough to speak Italian.” Read the rest of his answer.
Shouldn’t My Mom Prioritize My Kid’s College Honor Society Ceremony Over A Funeral?
My mother committed to going to my son’s first College National Honor Society induction ceremony. My brother’s wife’s grandmother passed away, and her wake/funeral is the same day. My mother backed out of her commitment to my son and is now going to the wake/funeral. Should I feel angry that she did this? Which event should she commit to?
Abigail Van Buren notices that the letter writer described the ceremony as “my son’s first,” which suggests there will be more in the future. “Your mother will have but one opportunity to pay respects to her in-law, which is why she changed her plans,” she writes. Read the rest of her answer.