J a n u a r y   2 0 0 5

No time for love

A ménage à trois to save the relationship
Dear Dr. Jones
by GZO Jones

rom his backwoods outpost in Brazil, GZO Jones has been dispatching skewed musings and so-called advice since he contacted us by e-mail back in 2001. Ever since those halcyon days, Jones has hinted at some sort of literary pedigree reaching back to the Beat Generation. Sounds more like delusions of grandeur to us. Even so, the guy tickles us from time to time, he has yet to miss a deadline and he works awfully cheap.

Dear Dr. Jones,

Is it my imagination or have there been an unusual number of natural disasters in the last year? Is God mad? And if so, what should we do?

Weather Man

Dear Mr. Man,

I'll assume for the record that you refer to the recent tsunami, the Iranian earthquake roughly 12 months back and everything in between (earthquakes in Japan and Morocco, Floridian hurricanes and Mount St. Helens, to name but a few).

Indeed, this sweet planet seems to be fighting back. A recent essay in the New York Times swears that Old Faithful spurted more frequently and furiously following some distant Alaskan temblors in 2002. And that 1906, the year of the Great San Francisco Earthquake, was similarly rife with natural disasters.

Whether or not you believe it's all connected, the Times essay concluded, there will be a next time.

Is God mad? If so, she's probably mostly upset at the hubris of humans to assign her with such time-wasting human emotions.

What to do? Same as ever: Live and love as though everything ends tomorrow.

– Jones

Dear Dr. Jones,

I wanted to write while the memory is still fresh. Every year it's the same thing – I travel a long distance to hook up with my family for the holidays and then there's nonstop strife. We just don't get along. I'm not interested in affixing blame, just looking for solutions.

Same ol', Same ol'

Dear So So,

A few obvious solutions come to mind. For one, you could do a seasonal shift and change your annual sojourn to summer, when there's far less commotion. For another, you could move to Brazil and just phone home.

Or, you could glean some advice from a blue-collar friend of mine who checked in last week with an interesting yarn. Seems he was shooting the bull with a pair of workmates on this very same (and very popular) topic.

Apparently, coworker No. 1 was lamenting the annual gatherings of his own clan – they, too, fight like Arabs and Jews. On and on he went, describing at great length the years of unholy wars. When this fellow was finally done kvetching, my buddy asked the other workmate if he dreaded the holidays for the selfsame reasons.

"No," said a reflective worker No. 2. "We all smoke pot, so everybody gets along."

OK, I'm not necessarily saying that grandma should sprinkle her hydroponic harvest into the razzleberry dressing. Or that you should slip one-hitters and nickel bags into the Christmas stockings of all those hyperactive nieces and nephews you see but once a year.

Not necessarily.

But what I am suggesting is this: Find as extreme a collective activity as your fam can stand, then dive in!

– Jones

Dear Dr. Jones,

I'm a 34-year-old guy who's never been wed. I've been dating this girl for several months now and, while I like her a lot, she's been pushing to have a three-way with a yet-to-be-determined woman. She's also been pushing to get married. I'm into the second but not the first. Is there something wrong with me? Any thoughts?

Man Oh Man

Dear MOM,

Contrary to popular belief, not all guys are into the fabled ménage à trois. In fact, I'm guessing that the popularity of the three-way scene is vastly overrated. So, for starters, there's nothing wrong with you.

But the problem, my friend, is this: Your gal will never forget about her unrequited hankering. If you deny her curiosity, it's bound to bubble up somewhere down the road. And if you take her up on the offer, you risk repulsing (or surprising) yourself.

Nevertheless, I suspect that she really does already have someone else in mind. So the first thing I'd do is find out. If she does, you're flirting with the double trouble. And you're probably best off headed back to the drawing board, the personals, your own right hand or whatever else it is that newly single guys are doing these days.

Yet if she really is interested in finding a total stranger as a willing one-time third party, well, maybe (just maybe) you should bite the bullet and take one for the team. See if it gets the carnal craving out of her system.

My honest hunch, however, is that you and your gal aren't likely to see 2006 (much less February) together. But if you do, you'll have built a solid, honest (albeit unlikely) relationship. Which is no small accomplishment.

At the moment, though, I'm afraid you're facing a most interesting dilemma – a ménage à trois to save the relationship. I say just grin and bare it.

– Jones

Examine more advice from GZO Jones, visit his Web site and e-mail your question, large or small, to gzojones@hotmail.com.

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