Go Ask Gale

GoAskGailby Gale Davidson

Editor’s Note:  Go Ask Gale is Hanover Magazine’s new advice column authored by Gale Davidson. See if you agree with her assurances about whether readers are on track or completely off the rails. Hopefully her words will be a compass when life, love, or work toss your sense of reason to sea.

My oldest child is four and a half. I think I’d like to home school him, but my husband is dead set against it because “public school was good enough for us.” The thing is: I used to teach elementary school – and I ended up pursuing a new career path because I was sick of the high-stakes testing, among other things. I think I would know if public school would be “good enough” for our son. How do I get my husband on board with home schooling? 

You can be super-combative and point out that you don’t show up at his workplace and second-guess his ability to do his job. That’s actually a pretty good point. But if your husband is anything like, oh, every other human being on the planet, this will likely make him dig his heels in even more.

I recommend you invite some of your former co-workers over for dinner; inevitably, they will talk shop. You can ask pointed questions to which you already know the answers. Your husband can hear them for the first time from someone who isn’t directly invested in his son. Pepper that with some strategic documentary additions (there are dozens of recent films that lambaste American public education, as you probably already know) to your Netflix list, and then let him draw his own conclusions.

About six months ago, I started my first real job in a new city and moved in with an acquaintance that owns a house there. In some ways, he’s a pretty cool landlord (I don’t have a lease, for example, and we have opposite work schedules, so I get a lot of privacy in the house). 

The rent is reasonable for the area, but is on the high end of what I can afford, since I just finished school, don’t have much savings, and will have to begin repaying student loans soon. Last month, my roommate/landlord’s girlfriend moved in with us with little warning. I would have preferred to be consulted, but I get that it’s his house, and I would have said ok if he’d asked me. 

The thing is: She doesn’t work. And all of a sudden, my roommate/ landlord is talking about raising my rent. I can’t afford more rent, and I can’t afford to move out. What can I do?  

You can’t afford not to move out. Suddenly there are three people in the house instead of two, and your rent is about to increase? That’s rich. I don’t know much about the legal ins and outs of tenants’ rights, but that sounds like extortion to me. Also, you don’t have a “pretty cool landlord.” You have a predatory landlord who’s taking advantage of the fact that nothing is in writing. Again: You have to move, ASAP. And when you do, you’ll likely have to find a new roommate. The roommates are out there, waiting, and they need roommates, too.

Move into a real apartment complex or condo with a real rental office. It might not be as nice as this house you’re currently in, but you’ll start building your credit score, you’ll be protected from something like this happening to you again, and you won’t have to live with knowing that you’re bankrolling the freeloading girlfriend. Bonus points if you manage to move out on the 30th, with no warning.

I just started dating a guy seriously, and he’s been pushing me to try some pretty out-there things in bed. Am I being ridiculous for not wanting to try new things? How adventurous is everyone else, really? 

I have no idea how adventurous everyone else is, really. This is because the definition of ‘adventure’ would inevitably vary pretty widely from couple to couple, or trio to trio, group to group – whatever people are into. See what I mean? There’s no one-size-fits-all experience of human sexuality.

I also don’t know your age, so I don’t know how ‘ridiculous’ you’re being by not wanting to try new things. But whether you’re in your early 20s or late 80s, if you like what you like, OK. That’s the end of the discussion, as far as I’m concerned.

If you take that response back to your boyfriend and he tries to persuade you otherwise, he probably isn’t compatible with you in the long run – either because you don’t share the same sexual interests, or because you don’t want to try something new with him. So which is it?

Author: HM

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