Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Woman Who Has A Real Clown For A Neighbor Is Not Amused

Dear Tazi:

I have a terrible neighbor that is driving me nuts and I cannot take it anymore! He is not doing anything illegal, so I cannot take him to court, but I feel that he is thumbing his nose at my complaints.

“Harold” is a single man who is self-employed as a party clown. As if this isn’t enough to give me the creeps, he enjoys decorating his yard with large inflatables for every holiday imaginable, with the most extensive of the lot being dragged out for Halloween and Christmas – two holidays that are centered around children.

Every Halloween Harold gives out full-sized chocolate bars to the neighborhood children; at Thanksgiving he dresses in his clown suit and goes around the neighborhood collecting food for less fortunate families in our town (is the clown suit really necessary?); at Christmas he dresses up like Santa Claus for the local community center and lets the children sit on his lap; and at Easter he holds an egg hunt in his yard (while dressed as a clown and emceeing the events, which include games and  prizes at the end).

I am positively convinced that this man is secretly a sexual predator or worse! What grown man without such proclivities would do so much for children when he doesn’t even have any? This is bothering me even more than the tacky yard décor that I have asked him to take down (and to which his response was to put up more). I have contacted the police and asked them to keep an eye on “Mr. Harold” but without any evidence against him the police said that there is nothing they can do, that he is not doing anything illegal.

I have asked my children not to allow my grandchildren near Harold, but they both say that Harold is a perfectly nice man and that visiting with Mr. Harold is one of the things they look forward to when they come to visit me. With Halloween and Christmas coming around again I am beside myself when I think of what could possibly happen to my grandchildren, who are now all between the ages of 8 – 12 – the perfect age for a predator to take advantage! How can I possibly reveal this man for who he really is – before it’s too late?

Done Clowning Around

Dear Done Clowning Around:

Why, aside from your own annoyance with his yard décor, are you convinced that your neighbor Harold is some kind of criminal deviant? Do you have a pathological fear of clowns that has left you prejudiced against this man? Have you heard rumor or seen something that would lead you to believe that he is laying a plan to predate on the neighborhood children? Or do you just have a problem believing that a man who works with children for a living must have some sort of ulterior motive and is laying a trap like the witch and her candy house in Hansel and Gretel?

Or does he look like this?

Since there have been no complaints about Mr. Harold, since the police see no reason to detain him, and since parents seem to trust him I think you should dig deep inside yourself and ask why you have it in for this man. As a self-employed party clown, Harold must constantly promote himself in order to keep his business afloat. What better way to do that than to endear the neighborhood children to him by giving out full-sized candy bars at Halloween and hosting an egg hunt every spring? Personally, I think it’s marketing genius. So long as the children are attended by a parent or other responsible adult, I see nothing wrong with this kind of outreach.

With regards to Harold’s community service, I think it is a wise choice to dress up in his recognizable costume that brings people joy when he goes to collect food for the less fortunate – when people are in a good mood they are more likely to be generous. As for his dressing up like Santa Claus for the children: visits with Santa are an age-old childhood tradition. The fact that Harold seeks to participate in this tradition is sweet; those Santa suits and beards can be hot and itchy, and you will not find too many men willing to give up their day off to don one while squirming kids sit in their lap – all for the good of the community. Speaking of sitting on Santa’s lap, did you allow your children to sit on the lap of the Santa at the mall, even though you knew nothing about him? Did you ever accuse Santa of trying to cop a feel when he steadied your children on his lap?

I suggest that you lay off of Harold before you find the police at your door, delivering a no-contact order to keep you away from Harold. Your comments and accusations are based upon nothing and could be considered harassment if taken too far. Your concerns, while admirable, appear to be misplaced.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Multiple Divorces Leave Man Feeling Cheated Out Of Children

Dear Tazi:

I am 45 years old and recently married for the third time. While my first wife and I were still dating, we discussed my intense desire to have a large family and to start having children right away; she agreed with me, saying that she too, wanted children. When we were married for a year and were still not expecting, I pushed “Danielle” to talk to her gynecologist about her inability to conceive.

When Danielle returned from the doctor she told me that the doctor said it was not uncommon for women who were under stress to be unable to conceive, and not to worry but to stop putting so much pressure on herself to start a family – that it would happen when her body was ready. I was a little upset with this hands-off approach, and made an appointment for Danielle with a different doctor so she could get a second opinion. She claims to have forgotten about the appointment and never went. After 18 months and still no conception, I drove Danielle to the doctor myself to make sure she went and demanded that she ask the doctor for fertility testing.

As I suspected, Danielle has fertility problems and would be lucky if she is able to conceive at all. I felt like I had been lied to, like this was something Danielle knew about or should have known about all along but chose to ignore, and trapped me into a childless marriage for her own selfish reasons. I of course filed for an annulment to the marriage, which Danielle fought since she would have fared better in a divorce, which she eventually got.

A few years after my divorce from Danielle I met “Sharon”. We fell in love, and she was aware of my desire for a large family, but shortly after our wedding she was diagnosed with cervical cancer and had to have a hysterectomy. She begged me not to leave, saying we could adopt children, but I want my own children not somebody else’s, so I again filed for a legal annulment and again things ended in divorce.

I am now married for the third time, and this time I was smart about it: I made sure that my wife, “Emily” had a full physical complete with fertility testing before our wedding. Everything seemed to be okay, but even after a year of regular relations we still had not conceived. Additional medical tests came back normal, so I reluctantly got tested only to discover that my sperm count is now dreadfully low!

I feel as though I have been cheated out of the large family I have always wanted. I cannot sue either of my ex-wives for fraud (that was what I tried to do in order to get my legal annulments but was unable to prove foreknowledge of the facts) so I cannot even feel the satisfaction of their punishment for wasting my healthy years. Adding to my misery is the fact that I heard through mutual friends that Danielle is re-married and expecting a child while Sharon has gone through with her plan to adopt. I feel as though both of these women owe me something for the misery that I has been inflicted upon me and I cannot stop hoping that something terrible happens to their children! I know I need help, Tazi; I am not a bad man, just broken-hearted. I am not even sure why I am writing to you. I doubt there is anything you can say that would heal me.


Dear Childless:

On the one hand, you have my sympathies; nobody who sincerely wants children should have to go through the pain of infertility. On the other hand, your attitude is in severe need of adjusting. Twice you married and divorced because you felt you had been cheated by the women you married, but neither time did you bother to have your own fertility checked. You laid the pain and suffering of your childless state squarely on the shoulders of your wives, who had no foreknowledge or control over the situation. When these women needed your emotional support all they got was the sound of the door slamming as you walked out of it and out on them. Now that their dreams are coming true and yours are not you are dreaming of harming the innocent? You need to run, not walk, to the nearest in-patient therapy program and seek treatment before you make your wishes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You don't want to turn into this guy...
A therapist will help you to see your situation more clearly, to overcome the anger within you, and to help you deliberate the different paths available to you. Low fertility is not the same exact thing as infertility, and there are medical procedures that can assist you and your wife to conceive. I beg you to get the assistance you need to help overcome your pain, confusion, and hard feelings before looking into the process of assisted conception. You need to cross this first bridge before setting your sights on another.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Separated From Wife, Man Wonders If Baby Is Really His

Dear Tazi:

About a year ago, my wife and I separated. We were headed for divorce when she called me out of the blue and asked me to come over so we could try and talk things through. I still loved my wife, in spite of our problems, so I did. One thing led to another and we ended up in bed together. I was hoping it would be a fresh start for the two of us, and it was – six weeks later she told me she was pregnant.

One of the issues in my marriage was that we had been having trouble conceiving, so of course I was thrilled that this hurdle had been overcome…then I noticed that my wife was showing a little too soon, and was carrying a little larger than I thought normal. I started to suspect that the baby was not mine and that my wife had been fooling around with another man. I asked “Wanda” if she was playing me for a fool, and she denied it; acting very hurt and suggesting that I was looking for a way to abandon her during her pregnancy.

My son was born a few weeks early, which has fed my suspicions that he is not mine. Yes, he resembles my side of the family, but he does not completely resemble me. Wanda has always been close to my two brothers and I am starting to suspect that maybe one of them is the father of my child. I am trying to work up the courage to confront them, but every time I reach that point I lose my nerve. I, too, am very close to my brothers and I just can’t believe that one of them would betray me like that…but then I look at my son and I start to wonder all over again. Of the three of us, I am the less attractive brother and I have always wondered why my wife chose me over them. Now I am wondering if she chose both of us.

My wife does not know of my suspicions and she has chalked my moodiness up to being a new parent and not getting enough sleep. My son – if he is mine – doesn’t deserve to be raised in such a stressful environment. I need to know the truth, but how do I find it?

Daddy Or Uncle?

Dear Daddy Or Uncle:

Genetics is a crazy thing…we all carry dominant genes that are expressed physically and recessive genes which are part of our makeup but not our physical looks. This is why you and your brothers look different from each other – two of them have one set of genes expressed while you have the other; even though you all have the same parents, you look different because your parents gave each of you a unique combination of genetic material.

It is possible that the recessive genes you carry are being expressed in your son’s physical appearance – which would explain why you see a family resemblance in him, but not an exact resemblance to you. Ponder on this for a while before you make accusations (outward or inward) against your brothers. I suggest that you and your wife seek marital counseling to work on the problems that separated you in the first place. You mention that an inability to conceive was one of the problems, but separating was not the way to solve that issue! Could trust issues be another problem that caused the breakdown of your marital bond? Once you are comfortable discussing things with a counselor, you can bring up your suspicions – if you are still experiencing them; they may only be a part of the insecurity you are feeling about your marriage in general.

In the end, you must remember that the father of your child is the one who raises him; the man who is there to change his diapers and comfort him when he is crying; the man who teaches him how to ride a bike and throw a baseball; the man who instructs him in the rules of good manners and good citizenship. In short, the man who helps him to become a man himself while experiencing the joys of childhood along the way. Do you really want to allow your doubts to take all of that away from you?



Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Friend Needs Patience, Not Scorn, When She Gets Lost In Translation!

Dear Tazi:

This is probably going to be the stupidest letter you have ever received, but I am going to write it anyway because something tells me that “El Gatito Negro” knows more Spanish than he lets on! Am I right?

I have a friend who is Latina, who grew up in a very poor area of her country, and who came to this country as a teenager (we are now in our twenties). While her English is quite good, she has a bad habit of pronouncing English words with a Spanish pronunciation – “y” sounds like “j” and “v” like “b” and a few other idiosyncrasies that drive me nuts. The worst is how she pronounces the name of the gelatin dessert, Jell-O. She pronounces it “YAY-o”.

“Élla” loves Jell-O (she is particularly fond of lime, which she calls lemon) and when we go out to eat she will always ask if they serve “lemon yay-o” for dessert. I redden and explain that she would like lime Jell-O, then turn to Ella and give her a critical smile. If she stops in to the grocery store where I work she will ask if we have stocked up on “lemon yay-o” for her. I remind her that we always have plenty of lime Jell-O in stock.

Élla has asked me why I make such a big deal out of how she pronounces her favorite treat, which she has called "yay-o" since she was a very young child, and has asked me how I would manage with the Spanish language. I realize that I would probably make a fool out of myself, but that is why I am always correcting Élla – because I am afraid she is making a fool out of herself. Élla tells me that I am being too sensitive. Am I?

Not A Big Fan Of YAY-o

Dear Not A Big Fan Of YAY-o:

Your letter is not the stupidest I have ever received, but is one of the funniest! Is it possible that Élla grew up in the Dominican Republic, near the Haitian border, where everyone loves Jell-O, but would maybe pronounce it differently than Americans pronounce it (because in Spanish "Jell-O" is geletina and a child would not know how to correctly say "Jell-O") and where limes are called límons? This would explain the cultural gap that you and Élla are experiencing.

You are correct in assuming that I, El Gatito Negro, know much more Spanish than I let on; I spent many a night sitting on my Mommie’s Spanish textbooks and absorbing the lessons within. Soy un gatito muy intelligente y muy guapo! But enough about me…let’s talk about you:

...and my personal love of lime Jell-O

I think you owe Élla an apology of your intolerance for her accented English. English is not an easy language to learn, especially as a teenager or an adult, and the varied regional accents make it all the more difficult to know which pronunciation is right and which is wrong. (For example, how do you say the word “aunt”? Is it “ant” like the bug or “ahhnt” like you are from Boston?). Add in the ever-changing American slang with words like “iight”; the fact that many Americans have terrible grammar and poor spelling habits; and that the English language is itself an amalgam of various languages, and I think Élla should be allowed her little idiosyncrasies. Enjoy them – it is what makes Americans so unique in this world!


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Dislike Of Name Drives Wedge Between Mother And Daughter

Dear Tazi:

My mother saddled me with a name I hate. I know it was my great-great-grandmother’s name, but “Mildred” is very old-fashioned sounding and makes me sound like I am eighty and not eighteen.  In high school I always went by my first initial, “M” and people thought my name was “Em” and that it was short for “Emily”.  Only people who had known me since I was a little kid knew I was really “Millie” (to them) and “Mildred” (to my Mom) and thankfully they kept quiet about it. I guess it’s because they had embarrassing secrets, too.
I moved away to college this year and everyone here knows me as “Em”. My mother recently came up for Parents Weekend and was very upset over this fact, and insisted on referring to me as “Mildred” the entire weekend, which confused people. When she said she was “Mildred’s Mom” nobody knew who she was talking about and she would get upset with me all over again.

Before she left for home on Sunday we had a huge fight over my name with Mom telling me how important my name was to her and that I should value it. I told her that I never knew my great-great-grandma Mildred and that the name may be important to her but it means nothing to me; that I have been “Em” for years now and that I would legally change it if she continues to give me [guff] about it. Obviously, Mom left in tears and I was left feeling like a jerk.

Tazi, short of taking on a name I hate is there any way to build a bridge between me and my Mom on this issue?


Dear “Em”:

A person’s name is something deeply personal to them, so to not like it can make for misery. My official name is King Nebuchadnezzar, and even though I love my name it is far too formal for everyday use so I go by “Tazi”, which fits me quite well! I can still humble others with a glance from my tower of Power, and that is what matters to me! Since you feel that Mildred does not fit you it is very reasonable that you would prefer to go by your first initial. Point to you on this one!

"King Nebuchadnezzar" on his throne

Obviously, Mildred is a name that is very important to your Mom; otherwise, she would never have graced you with this name. Her great-grandmother must have been someone very special to her! Point to Mom on this one!

You allude to the idea that your great-grandmother Mildred died before you were born and say that her name “means nothing” to you. Have you ever thought to ask your mother what made Granny Mildred such a special person? Maybe she was a suffragette in the fight for women’s rights; maybe she was a war widow who raised seven kids on her own; maybe she was just a sweet, little old woman who baked cookies every time her grandchildren came for a visit. The compromise you seek can be found in asking your Mom why her great-grandmother was such a special woman.

Once you understand the meaning behind your name, you might not mind it so much. In the meantime, I suggest you allow your mom to call you Mildred, since she is going to do it anyway. In return, ask that she respect your wish to be called “Em” among your friends.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Aunt Wants Motherhood, Baby Of Her Own - Not Teen Niece And Her Problem Pregnancy

Dear Tazi,

I have been trying to get pregnant for several months now without much luck. I had an abortion as a teenager, and I am afraid that it may have left scar tissue in my uterus. My gynecologist reassures me that this is not the case – that the amount of scar tissue is no more than one would expect from any D and C, be it post-abortion or post-birthing, and that I should not blame myself.

My older sister’s daughter “Regina” is now a teenager herself, and is pregnant. My sister is bemoaning this fact, like a baby is a curse and not a blessing. She is hassling Regina into having an abortion, but Regina is refusing. My sister has threatened to kick Regina out of the house, and Regina has asked if she can come and live with me and my husband, since we have an extra room. She has no idea that the “extra room” is the one we were hoping to turn into a nursery for our own child…someday.

I want to do the right thing and be there for my niece; I don’t want her to face future fertility problems from a teenage abortion, but I am not sure I would be able to stand having a baby other than my own living in my house. Not right now…it would be too painful. My husband says he understands my feelings, and he will leave the final decision up to me, but he thinks having my niece live with us would be good for me. He believes that mothering Regina will fill the void I am experiencing and relieve some of the stress I am putting on myself. Regina is awaiting my answer and I don’t know what to tell her!

Hoping To Expect

Dear Hoping To Expect:

Letters involving infertility always break my heart; to want a baby and not be able to have one is one of life’s greatest miseries. As I am sure your gynecologist has told you, a couple is not considered to be infertile unless they have been trying consistently to conceive for at least twelve months; that these things can take time sometimes and that stressing over a lack of conception can actually lower the chances of conceiving.

You do not say how old Regina is; just that she is a teenager. If she is under the age of 18 your sister may not have the legal right to kick her out of the house and could be charged with child abandonment. Regardless of the legalities, morally your sister is in the wrong.

Since you are unsure of how you would feel having Regina and her baby living with you, I suggest that you try having her stay with you for a weekend. During that time you can welcome her into your home and lay down the ground rules that would exist if she is to live with you full-time. The House Rules could be a combination of things that are for the good of the home as well as for Regina’s future. I suggest Rule #1 be that she stay in school and graduate high school, followed closely by Rule #2 – no alcohol and no drugs. A baby needs a healthy, educated Mommy if s/he is going to have a chance in life.

You may discover that having Regina around actually increases your stress levels, at which point you need to be honest with her and tell her that you are trying to conceive without much luck, and having a pregnant woman around the house is doing a number on you emotionally. Offer to help her reconcile the differences she is having with her mother and/or to help her find a place to stay. There are a lot of organizations, both religious and secular, that cater to the needs of pregnant teens, including Problem Pregnancy which has offices in New England, and may be able to direct you to offices in your area - wherever that is.

You may also discover that caring for Regina is the outlet you need for your motherly yearnings and that your stress levels decrease when you are with her and preparing for the arrival of her baby. Although I cannot say that you will conceive if you do this, reducing one’s stress levels can help make that happen.

I wish you all the luck in the world! Please write back to let me know how things turn out for all!


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sibling Needs Help Taking Care Of Aging Parents, Receives Excuses

Dear Tazi:

I am one of ten children; I have six brothers and three sisters, all of us grown. My parents are both older, and are getting frail in their later years. It is quickly becoming obvious that they will be unable to live independently much longer, yet they are too healthy for a nursing home and would not be able to afford assisted living (and they outright refuse to allow me to pay for it). While a visiting nurse is a possibility, such services would not be available around the clock and are really not what Mom and Dad need. They just need someone to help with their meals and to look in on them during the day, and then to help with chores such as laundry and housework.

For the past several years I have been giving up my free time to assist Mom and Dad with the yard work and the bills, while my wife and two daughters help with the house chores and the cooking, freezing meals to be eaten during the course of the week. My daughters are in high school, and the eldest will be graduating high school this spring with her sister graduating next year. Both are planning on going away to school, so they will not be around to help. My wife, who also works full-time, has been offered a promotion that will require more time of her, leaving less time to help care for my parents.

Seeing the writing on the wall, I have asked my nine siblings to come together and think of a way to help Mom and Dad, either by taking them into their homes (the ideal decision) or by giving a helping hand to allow them to stay in their own home. All I got was excuses about why they could not take Mom and Dad in and why they had not the time or money to assist with Mom and Dad’s care. Tazi, I am completely disgusted!

I would take my parents in myself, but a home with two active teenage daughters is not the place for them. My father can be very rigid, and I can foresee issues cropping up around my daughters’ busy schedules and dinner being late because of them. I will not put my children through this, not during their last years at home with their mother and me.

Five of my siblings all have at least one spouse who is home during the day, and two eldest brothers are retired. All have refused to let Mom and Dad live with them, claiming that they just don’t have the room (in spite of the fact that all of their children are grown and have left the nest). One of my sisters actually said that she needed to keep her daughter’s old bedroom open in case a grandchild comes along. Tazi, my niece (her daughter) has frequently expressed her displeasure about children and how she never hopes to have any.

Mom and Dad are both close to 90, and I have no idea how many years they have left but I doubt it is going to be more than 10, probably a lot fewer. My younger daughter has offered to take a year off of school to live with and care for them, but she is a young girl with her life ahead of her – this should not be her responsibility!

While I cannot force any of my siblings to take Mom and Dad in, I can make life very uncomfortable for them. Of the ten of us, I am by far the most financially comfortable due to a very successful law practice and my wife’s income as a middle-manager (soon to be executive) with a large corporation. In the past, we have always offered financial assistance with no strings attached because we are family. When my youngest sister got divorced I not only paid for her attorney but I gave her the money to buy her ex-husband’s share of their house so she and the kids would not have to move. \

My other siblings have also been on the receiving end of my financial largesse, and until now I have never thought twice about it. Now, I am considering telling them that the Bank of Brother is closed until they step up for Mom and Dad. Like me, they all have kids who are in or headed for college and graduate school. I don’t want my nephews and nieces to suffer for their parents’ selfishness. My wife says we should just set up trust funds for the kids, ignore my parents’ objections and pay for the cost of assisted living, and write off everyone else. I rather like the idea of trust funds for the kids, but the rest of her idea is pretty drastic. What do you think?

A Lawyer In A Muddle

Dear A Lawyer In A Muddle:

Situations that normally appear black and white turn all shades of gray when our emotions are involved, don’t they? You sound like a man who is generous of heart and of wallet; your parents raised you well, and you are a credit to them. It is obvious you are very close to your parents, so perhaps you are unable to see their flaws as well as your siblings can see them.

You mention that your father is “rigid” and would not stand for meals being served late or for living with two active teenagers. Is it possible that his rigidness is what is keeping his children from taking him into their homes? Could it be that they fear he will try to take over as the Man of the House and turn them into children once more? There is more here than meets the eye, and it would do everyone a world of good to sit down and discuss the real reasons they do not want your parents living with them.

Your wife’s idea of disowning your siblings is extreme, but may also result in them buckling and taking in your parents – but at what cost to your Mom and Dad? You would essentially be blackmailing your siblings into taking them in; are you certain that they would make your parents feel welcome? There is nothing worse than feeling like a guest in what is supposed to be your own home.

You are an attorney, so I am going to make a wild assumption that you are used to negotiating, debating, and convincing opposing sides to come together in compromise. Try to think of your family as a box full of jurors who need convincing that your client deserves justice. Remind them of the fact that family members help each other, and that you are now asking them to come together and help their Mom and Dad. Do not lord over them the fact that you have given them large sums of money in the past; they are already very aware of this. If, in the end, not a single one can be convinced to assist your mother and father you will have to arrange to pay their expenses at an assisted living facility. If they balk, tell them it’s a loan and that their estate can pay you back when they are both gone.


P.S. If you want to set up college trusts for your nephews and nieces, make that a separate issue, lest it sound like a bribe.

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Football Widow Needs More Than Husband Is Offering

Dear Tazi,

Football season is here again, and once again my husband is glued to the TV whenever a game is being televised. Over the years, I have learned not to make plans with “Joe” on weekends during the fall because I know he will refuse to leave the living room unless we are going somewhere with a TV that will be carrying the game. I had adjusted to his obsession, and made adjustments for it – once going so far as to lie to a family member about why Joe could not make it to her wedding (I said he was sick; he was home watching an “important” game). Now that our children are growing up – they are 6 and 8 – I want Joe to start putting them first, not football.

When Joe and I made our admittedly odd arrangement, football was usually constrained to Sunday afternoons and Monday nights. Since that time the NFL schedule has changed, with games now being televised all nights of the week. Joe has also picked up the habit of following college football, so no matter what day it is there is always a game that needs to be watched.

Last year, after Joe missed an important family event, I put my foot down and told Joe that we needed to renegotiate our deal. I told him that I wanted Saturdays as a family day and that any family gathering supersedes football – from weddings and funerals to children’s’ birthday parties. He hemmed and hawed, and sulked but finally agreed to cut back on the amount of football he consumed. I should have got the deal in writing…

This year nothing has changed. No, it has changed; it is worse than ever! Joe decided to subscribe to the sports package our local cable company offers (he “got a good deal”), so now we have both the NFL Channel and NFL Red Zone. Football games are now on every Thursday night in addition to all day Sunday, plus every Monday night and the occasional Saturday. The Red Zone channel has no commercial breaks, so when Joe is watching it he doesn’t stop! At least with over-the-air games I could look forward to half-time and commercial breaks! I have told Joe that he is breaking our deal, but he told me that he has paid for the sports package and that he wants to get his money’s worth out of it.

This past Thursday Joe missed our 8 year old daughter’s dance recital because a football game was on TV, and he wanted to catch “all the important pre-game action”. He claimed that he had a long day at work, and was tired and wanted to come home and relax with the game; that he had made a wager on it with a co-worker and that meant he would be able to concentrate on nothing but the game, even if he was at our daughter’s recital. I knew enough not to drag him along – the last time I did that (to my father’s funeral) he streamed the game online through his phone the entire time.

You are probably asking yourself why I don’t leave Joe, and the truth is that he is a great husband and father during the off-season; I just wish he could be the same during football season. Can you help me to figure out how to pry my husband away from the TV and back to reality?

Football Widow

Dear Football Widow:
Your husband is more than obsessed with football; he is addicted to it, and it is an unhealthy addiction at that. Missing a wedding because a football game is on TV? Streaming the game at your father’s funeral??? I realize that you may not want to put your foot down, for that would be treating your spouse like a child, but you do not have to cover for his behavior!

I suggest you sit down and have a heart to heart talk with Joe. Tell him that your daughter was very disappointed that her Daddy was not there to see her dance recital. Ask him if he would like to tell her that he missed it because a football game was on TV. Only a man with a heart of stone would be so cruel as to tell a child this ugly truth, but this should at least get your husband thinking about the effect his behavior is having on the children. Tell him that you are tired of him putting football before the children and that you are no longer going to stand around and watch it happen, that you are no longer going to defend his actions to others – and that includes your children. Tell Joe that if one of the children asks why Daddy isn’t there, you will tell them to ask Daddy – and then follow through. He needs to see the looks of disappointment that he is causing.

If ever a marriage was in dire need of counseling, yours is. If Joe refuses to see a marriage counselor, go alone. A counselor can teach you things like coping mechanisms to deal with the things you cannot control or change and how to be assertive without treating your spouse like a child, which will further alienate him from you. Once Joe sees you are serious about talking to a counselor it is possible that he will decide to join you – if only because he wants to tell his side of the story. You humans cannot stand the thought of someone telling tales about you!


P.S. If it is possible, you may want to cancel that cable TV sports package that is feeding your husband’s addiction! --TK

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Woman Seeks Guilt-Free Way To Cheat On Her Boyfriend

Dear Tazi:

I have a new co-worker at work and at first I thought he was a real jerk but I have gotten to know him and have discovered that he is actually a nice guy. In fact, he is a very nice guy and I think I am falling for him. I think he might like me, too. The problem is that “Ralph” and I are both in committed relationships. I can’t speak for him, but I know I do not want to give up a solid and certain thing for something that might not work – then I would be left all alone and who wants that?

I am considering asking Ralph if he wants to get together after work for a drink or to watch the game (whatever game is on) or something like that, but even that feels too much like cheating, so I am organizing a karaoke night for me and all of my co-workers; a night to go out after work just us (no partners) so we can blow off some steam at the end of the work week.

Some of my co-workers have complained about not being able to bring a date, while those who are married with kids are looking forward to a night put without their spouses and kids. Ralph is still not certain if he will be going; he says he has to think about it because he would feel badly if he went out and had a good time and left his girlfriend at home alone. I have suggested that she make plans to go out with her friends, but he said it “wasn’t like that” with them. Huh?

I have worked really hard to put this karaoke night together, arranging with the club to have extra staff on to handle the crowd from work and passing the hat to pay for a hot and cold buffet. I have done all of this in the hope of spending some time with Ralph outside of work, and now he might not even come to the karaoke night???? Tazi, can you think of a way to convince Ralph to show up for the party – without his girlfriend? I really need this.

Reevaluating My Relationship

Dear Reevaluating My Relationship:

Just because you are reevaluating does not mean that Ralph is, too. It is possible that he enjoys your company as a friend without having a romantic interest in you; it is also possible that he has a mild romantic interest in you, but nothing so pulsating that he would leave the woman he loves to be with you.  Let Ralph be to make up his own mind about whether to attend your karaoke night and then let the chips fall where they may.

Whether you want to admit it or not, your grand scheme for a karaoke night is nothing more than a guilt-free plan to cheat on your boyfriend. I suggest you remove Ralph from the equation and ask yourself if you actually want to stay with your boyfriend or if you are only with him because you are afraid of being alone. If you truly do love your boyfriend, work on your relationship; if you are only with him because there is no alternate to take his place, you need to make a tough decision – recommit to your relationship with your whole heart or leave; leaving things as-is is not going to work because sooner or later you will give in to the urge to cheat – if not with Ralph than the next attraction that comes along.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Tazi’s Corner #62 – Breast Cancer Awareness Backlash

Dear Readers:

This month, I have been promoting the fact that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and have added a page for people to snag a pinkribbon gif for their social media; leave a comment on who they are remembering; and in general encouraging people to talk about this disease in an effort to raise awareness of the fact that breast cancer is a very treatable illness if caught early. In return, I have heard numerous voices in support of these efforts, but also quite a few voicing a backlash against it.

One reader wrote, “Why is breast cancer so special? Why does it get its own month? What about prostate cancer or colon cancer? Why don’t men get their own month? This campaign is sexist, but I doubt you will say anything about it because it is sexist against MEN!”

My response to this rant – and others like it – is that you must be the change you wish to see in the world (Thank you to whoever tweaked Mahatma Gandhi’s words for that eloquent quote). Once upon a time, not that long ago (but well before Johnny used to work on the docks…) it was considered shameful to discuss subjects like breast cancer because the word “breast” has overtly sexual connotations. Women did not give themselves monthly self-exams because such an exam involved touching oneself in an intimate area.

Women were literally dying from embarrassment – the embarrassment of systemically checking their own bosom for changes in shape or unusual discharge; the embarrassment of talking to their doctors about a family history of breast cancer; the embarrassment of speaking about their own health because the affected part of the body was seen as shameful. (Former) First Lady Betty Ford started the movement to end this shame by coming forward and announcing to the world that she was being treated for breast cancer – in 1974.  That’s right; it was not the 1950’s; it was almost a decade after the tumultuous years of the 1960’s got started when women were finally encouraged to come out and speak about a cancer that will infect approximately 1 in 8 American women over the course of a lifetime.

In 1982 the Susan G. Komen Foundation (now Komen for a Cure) was founded – by a woman and in memory of a woman to raise awareness and research monies for a cancer whose victims are 90% female! By comparison, the American Cancer Society has existed for 100 years (it was founded in 1913), yet their drum to champion the cause of this very common cancer (Making Strides Against Breast Cancer) only started in 1993 – eleven years after Komen for a Cure was founded by a woman whose sister died from breast cancer and the lack of readily available preventative information about it, and almost twenty years after Betty Ford pulled back the curtain and brought the illness out of the shadows. Only now that Komen’s Pink Ribbon campaign has raised billions  on behalf of this (predominantly) women’s cause do you cry sexism – against men? For shame!

Women have always had to carry their own banner in the fight for equality. It was Abigail Adams, not her husband President John Adams who fought to see that the Founding Fathers “remembere[ed] the ladies” in the fight for women’s suffrage; it was Susan B. Anthony and her cohorts who organized the convention at Seneca Falls, not their husbands and fathers, and while large numbers of men eventually came to support the cause of women’s suffrage it was only after the cause had become large enough to earn their notice. The same can be said for the fight to fund research for and awareness of breast cancer.

I am not unsympathetic to the men who are fighting, whose lives have been claimed or inextricably altered by the scourge that is prostate and colorectal cancer. However, perfectly healthy men should not expect the women of the world to rise up and start a campaign for awareness on their behalf. Gentlemen, the time has come for you to take up your own banner and make your voices heard. Express your fears about the effects of prostate cancer surgery. Is the possibility of being left impotent a fate worse than death? (I am being serious here…I was neutered before I reached sexual maturity). Are you so afraid that someone is going to question your sexuality because you had a scope inserted into your rectum that you are willing to forego a medically recommended colonoscopy? While it is discomforting, I can assure you that colon cancer is much more painful! By speaking out as one, together you can overcome.

Be the change you seek to see in the world. Every cancer has its own color ribbon; its own research foundation (and no, colon cancer’s ribbon is not brown as my smarty-pants Uncle suggests!). Make a donation. Wear a ribbon and when people ask what it is for, raise awareness telling them! Ask those who inquire to support the cause, too, by making a donation to research or volunteering to assist someone stricken with the illness or by participating in a walk to raise both funds and awareness or to join you in the planning of one. Ask people to do something to earn the right to wear the ribbon!  (Survivors and their loved ones, you have already fought and earned that right). Whatever it is you decide to do, don’t decide to leave it up to someone else to do it for you and then complain when it doesn’t get done. Sexism my left hindquarter!


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Husband And Wife Disagree About What A Found Penny Brings

Dear Tazi:

My wife and I are having a silly argument and would like your opinion. I have been picking up found pennies (and other coins but mostly pennies) since I was a kid. My Grandma taught me “Find a penny, pick it up; all day long you’ll have good luck!” Old habits die hard, and this little ritual reminds me of my late Grandma and makes me feel close to her.

My wife thinks my picking up loose change is a disgusting habit, that the money is covered in germs and makes me look cheap. I argue that money is covered in germs anyway and that she has no idea where the money in her pockets has been before she received it but she isn’t afraid to handle it just the same. She says that is completely different, that the money in her purse was in the bank or a store register and not on the ground where a dog could pee on it or bugs could crawl on it. I argue that it could have been there before it reached the bank or the register and she just gets aggravated and tells me to stop exaggerating and to stop picking dirty money up off the ground. We each think that the other is being ridiculous. What do you think?

Lucky And Wife

Dear Lucky And Wife:

The little rhyme you recite has its roots in superstition, when people believed that witches used pieces of shiny metal to cast their spells. By picking up a coin you found you prevented a witch from finding it – thus improving the chances that a spell would not be cast upon you.

Studies have shown that the money in our wallets is covered in germs and is probably one of the most unsanitary things we touch on a regular basis. I cannot see how a coin dropped on the ground could be any worse; in fact, it may be a sight cleaner if it were to remain outside during a rain shower. While it is true that a dog may have peed on your lucky find, the odds of that are unlikely; a penny is a pretty small target!

Since your penny-picking ritual has so much sentimental value to you I suggest that you compromise with your wife. You can continue to pick up found money so long as you immediately wash it or rub hand sanitizer on it when you find it in her presence, thus killing the germs that so disgust her.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Mother's Favoritism Is Not Going Unnoticed

Dear Tazi:

I am feeling like the worst mother on the face of the entire Earth, the worst mother who has ever lived! I have two children, spaced sixteen months apart. Both pregnancies were wanted and planned, so I have no excuse for the way I treat my children.

For my first son, “Abraham” I did what every new parent does – went all out on everything, from the deluxe baby book; portraits every month; and the most adorable layette you have ever seen. Abraham’s first birthday was celebrated with a huge party, for which I rented a hall and invited family members from all over the country (in spite of the fact that I was pregnant with my second son, “Isaac”).

When Isaac was born, I simply did not have the energy to do all that I had done for Abraham. I did not make a baby book, did not carefully stitch baby clothes – in fact, Isaac barely got anything new at all; most of what he wore were hand-me-downs from Abraham – and I did not invest in the expensive monthly portrait package that I signed Abraham up for before I even came home from the hospital. Isaac’s first birthday party consisted of cake and ice cream in the backyard with my parents and my brother and his family.

This pattern of spoiling Abraham and shafting Isaac has continued over the years, with neither my husband nor I taking any real notice of it, since we figure that Isaac has had advantages that his brother has not, like us not worrying as much about his every move as we did with Abraham and giving him the freedom to do as he pleases in his dress clothes (which are Abraham’s old dress clothes).

Last year, Abraham had a milestone birthday – 10 years old! We threw him a big party, with pony rides and everything because that is what he wanted. We figured we would do the same thing for Isaac the following year until we discovered the overwhelming stress of hosting such a huge party and the difficulty of bringing in one pony for several children. My husband said never again, and I was silently relieved.

Isaac’s 10th birthday  is coming up, and he keeps excitedly talking about the pony rides and other great things that will be a part of his birthday party, not realizing that it took us months to plan Abraham’s party and that we simply don’t have the energy to do it again. My husband, in a fit of annoyance with Isaac’s excitement, told him to cool it; that he will not be having a pony at his party after the “disaster” that it was at Abraham’s party. Isaac was devastated, and told us that he hated us, that we were the worst parents ever and that Abraham gets everything. Tazi, I feel like Isaac is at least partially correct.

Isaac’s words hit me hard, and I looked back at how we made all of our mistakes as parents raising Abraham and were certain not to repeat them with Isaac, but in doing so we never realized that we were short-changing our younger son. My husband says I need to get over it; that Isaac has benefited in ways Abraham did not but I am not so certain. I have been talking to friends who all say they have done the same – gotten in over their heads with their first children and then laid off with their second and third children. While it is true that I got in “over my head” with some of my plans for Abraham, I never meant to hurt Isaac! I just don’t have the energy to go through it all again!

I have always heard that birth order makes a big difference in a child’s life, and that only children and first-borns grow up to be the leaders – and I think I am seeing why! I feel like my husband and I have given all of our energy and nurturing to Abraham and left Isaac out in the cold. My husband says I am making mountains out of molehills, that by the time his birthday rolls around Isaac will have moved on…and that may be so, but how can I move on? His birthday is the weekend before Thanksgiving and I haven’t got anything “special” planned – just a party at the house. Invites need to go out by November 1!

Worst Mommy In the World

Dear Worst Mommy In the World:

I would not say that you are the worst Mommy in the world; that title is reserved for women who smoke crack while pregnant and beat their children raw. You are, perhaps, a misguided Mommy, who has not yet figured out that you cannot give your children everything they want all of the time. Sadly, it is your elder son who is reaping the rewards of this ignorance and your younger son who is reaping its pains. If you continue with this pattern you will sow enmity not only between yourself and Isaac, but possibly between Isaac and Abraham.

I wish you had written to me earlier; I have a four to six week lead time before letters are published, but I bumped yours up to print the week it was received because a child was involved (you’re welcome). You need to be fair to both of your sons. The next time some ah-MAZ-ing idea for Abraham crosses your mind, ask yourself if you will have the energy and resources to repeat this plan for Isaac. Set aside the rose-colored glasses and be completely honest with yourself. If you have even the slightest doubts then work on a Plan B that involves something equally ah-MAZ-ing for Isaac; it does not have to be the same plan, just an equal plan.

Your children are reaching an age where they are acutely aware of what is fair and not fair. Is it fair that Abraham gets treated like a prince while Isaac gets the leavings? I don’t think so, nor do I think it is fair that Isaac has to watch Abraham get a part with pony rides – PONY RIDES!!!! – while he has to settle for something less, in spite of his desire for the same. Autumn is apple picking season. Might it be possible to plan a party for Abraham at a local apple orchard – one that has a pony or two available for guided rides? You could have apple themed games like apple bobbing, Pass the Apple (which is Hot Potato, only with an apple); apple treats like cider and pie á la mode (instead of cake); and every child can take home a bag of apples that they picked themselves! And, of course, there could be pony rides. (PONY RIDES!!!).

Um, no; not this kind of pony!
(I must speak to my Editor!)

I suggest that you take your husband’s advice and stop beating yourself up over what you have done in the past and concentrate instead on how to avoid making the same mistakes in the future.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Germaphobe Crosses The Line Of Common Sense

Dear Tazi:

Cold and flu season is approaching, and I would like to keep my family healthy. We are taking daily doses of Vitamin C with rose hips, a multivitamin with zinc, upping our intake of foods rich in antioxidants, seasoning everything with fresh garlic, and using hand-sanitizer after washing our hands with soap and warm water.

I would like to refrain from shaking hands and hugging people during this time, but my husband says I am being ridiculous and he is not going to risk offending people – especially business contacts – by refusing to greet them in a customary manner. I have told him that if he refuses to follow this simple request that we will not be having intimate relations until the spring and that I will be sleeping in the guest room to ensure a minimal exposure to these seasonal germs. I do not want to alienate my husband, Tazi; in fact, the reason I am going so far to protect my health is that I would like to have another child and do not want to risk miscarriage due to illness. Can you think of a way to get my husband on board with things?

Temporarily Germaphobic

Dear Temporarily Germaphobic:

Can you see the major flaw in your plan? You do realize that suspending marital relations with your husband is a sure-fire way to guarantee that you will not get pregnant, right? While I can appreciate your desire to stay healthy, the steps you are taking to boost your immune system should be enough to stay healthy during cold and flu season; there is no reason to avoid physical contact with people who are quite possibly taking similar precautions against illness.

Is there a deeper reason for your fear of germs? Is there something you are not telling me? Have you or someone you know miscarried in the past due to illness? A few sessions with a counselor or a frank discussion with your gynecologist may help to alleviate your fears and put you on the right track to getting pregnant and experiencing a healthy pregnancy. While no pregnancy is guaranteed, proper medical care; a lack of stress; and healthy habits can reduce the risks of miscarriage. Good luck!


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

When Buried Secrets Are Unearthed, Disaster Ensures

Dear Tazi:

I am sick, sick, sick of my sanctimonious aunt telling me how to live my life! “Aunt Clarissa” is the youngest daughter of the eldest son, and I am the eldest daughter of the youngest son, so we are only separated in age by four years, but we are ages apart when it comes to seeing reality.
Clarissa grew up with all the privileges because her father had all the privileges of being the eldest child. He had his life settled when his parents passed away, and used his inheritance to start his own business; my father on the other hand was in college when my grandparents died and had to use the small inheritance he was left to pay his way through his last two years of school. These fortunes found their way to the next generation, with Clarissa going to exclusive private schools and having her college tuition paid for her (Ivy League, of course!) while I wet to public school and took out loans to pay the balance of my tuition that wasn’t covered by financial aid (at the state college).

My whole life I have had to deal with Clarissa telling me what to do and how to do it if I wanted to succeed in the “upper circle” in life. She would criticize my clothes, my hairstyle, my friends, my study habits – you name it! By the time I got to college I was used to her “guidance” and could tune her out whenever she tried to “advise” me on what courses to take. She didn’t even have the same major as me!

After graduating college, Clarissa went to work for her father’s company in a job tailor-made for her. She was given a huge salary and a corner office. When she decided to go out on her own, it was with her father’s blessing – and start-up funding! After a rough first year she managed to get her business on track and is quite successful, and I am happy for her. I really am; I am not so aggravated that I would wish failure upon her.

I graduated college two years ago, and am ready to leave the entry-level job I have been working but am having trouble finding the right job in this difficult economy. While I would love to eventually open my own firm, the time is just not right – I still owe around $20,000 in student loans and I need a new car. I would like to pay off my student debt, buy a car, and have some savings to cushion me before I take on a business loan and a new venture. I made the mistake of mentioning these goals to another (older) aunt at a recent family get-together when Clarissa swooped in with her advice.

In front of my whole family, Clarissa started to lecture me on how you need to seize the moment; that if you wait for the perfect time to start a new venture you will never begin it. She then used herself as an example of someone who “made the leap of faith into the world of entrepreneurship” and how it was the best decision she ever made. Tazi, I am embarrassed to say that I lost it on Clarissa. I told her that she was nothing more than a spoiled little rich girl who has always had everything handed to her; I pointed out that she graduated college debt-free, accepted an overpaid job with her father, and then took his money to start her own business, risk free. It was at this point an uncle spoke up, and things got even uglier.

“Uncle Joe” accused Clarissa’s father of taking advantage of their parents’ finances in order to “fleece them blind” before they died. Apparently he had borrowed quite heavily from them to purchase his first home, which he flipped for a whole lot more money; when Grandma and Grandpa died (in a car accident) nobody knew about the debt until several years later, long after the estate was settled and it was too late to seek reimbursement. Before too long, it became a free-for-all with everyone attacking Clarissa and her father – Clarissa for her attitude, her father for his dishonesty. I felt like a jerk for starting it all and quietly slipped out of the party and went home.

It has been three weeks since the blow-out, and Clarissa has not been seen in public. She has not shown for work and her business (an exclusive boutique) has not been monitored. Her salesgirls say that the books have not been balanced because the registers have not been cashed out and that sales are down because popular inventory cannot be replaced because suppliers have not been paid. Much of what she sells is hand-crafted by local artisans who sell on consignment! The salesgirls have actually had to take money from the registers to pay themselves; leaving slips in the drawer with the amounts they were owed!

I would like to call Clarissa and at least offer to get her store back in shape (I am an Accountant) but I am afraid of how she would react if she hears my voice. I have asked other family members to call, but they have said that what Clarissa does it her business, and that they are far too upset with her father to do anything about the situation. One uncle is talking about suing Clarissa’s father for repayment of the loan he took all those years ago, with interest and penalties. The whole situation is such an embarrassing mess for Clarissa that I can see why she doesn’t want to be seen in public; ours is a small town, and gossip travels fast. Should I call Clarissa? Walk into her store and take the reins until she is ready to return? What?


Regretful Niece

Dear Regretful Niece:

I think the first thing you should do is call the police and ask them to do a welfare check on Clarissa. The fact that she has been incommunicado for the last three weeks – neglecting her business and her bills – screams for an intervention. With any luck, she had just been hiding and has not done anything to harm herself.

I think the second thing you should do is stop by her house and tell her that you are sorry that you blew up at her, that you had no idea things would explode so horribly all over her and her father, and to tell her that her business is in need of attention and that you will see to it until she is ready to face the world again. Seeing someone else take charge of her business may be what Clarissa needs to be jolted out of her shock and depression. If it is not, follow through and see that the registers are cashed out, the books balanced, the payroll completed, and the artisans paid. You may need to take some vacation time if you cannot complete all of this in your down time, but that is all a part of being a family – making the uncomfortable sacrifices in order to come together during hard times.

Try to understand Clarissa’s point of view: this princess has been knocked off of her throne. She has just discovered that her father is a thief who built his fortune on the rightful inheritance of others. Her entire life has been built upon that theft; everything she thought she knew about her father and herself has been tossed about like confetti into a strong wind. Until now, she has had the cushion of her father’s money to soften life’s blows; now, even that is poison to her. I know it will be difficult, but try to take the high road and find it in your heart to feel some kind of compassion for Clarissa; she is going to need it.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Disney Wedding Is A Wish Her Heart Makes

Dear Tazi:

I have always wanted to go to Disney World, ever since I was a child. My parents never had much money, probably because I am one of eleven children, so our vacations were mainly “staycations” and I never got to go further than the community pool.

I am now in my mid-twenties and with the man I believe I will be marrying – “Jake” and I have talked about marriage, and we are quite compatible, right down to our love of all things Disney. I know that Disney has both wedding and honeymoon packages, and I would love to get married in the Magic Kingdom and then sail off into the sunset on a Disney Cruise. The problem is that Disney weddings limit the number of guests allowed in your package and charge a great deal extra if you go over the set number. I have gone over our finances and crunched the numbers and in order to have my dream wedding Jake and I would only be allowed to have ten people – total – at our wedding, and that includes us, the bride and groom. I wouldn’t be able to invite all of my siblings to be there for my big day!

I suppose I could have a Disney themed wedding, but I wanted the characters there at my ceremony and I don’t think my guests would be too thrilled to dress up as various characters for the day. I have thought about hiring a wedding planner for when the time comes, but that would take money out of my budget so I am going to have to plan this on my own. Well, along with Jake, but you know what I mean.

You have such great ideas, Tazi; your answer to the woman who wanted a Wizard of Oz themed wedding was perfect, and the letter from the woman who was upset about the Elf and Fairy theme wedding was also great. Do you have any ideas on how to put me on the right path to my dream wedding?

Hoping To Be A Bride-To-Be

Dear Hoping to be A Bride-To-Be:

First let me congratulate you on your good financial sense. A lot of people are willing to go into deep debt to pull off their dream wedding and end up starting off their married life arguing about money. I am no wedding planner, just an imaginative little kitty, but since Disney is a choice for many brides there is a lot out there for you to work with as you plan your special day!

Many women keep a wedding binder – even before they have met their Prince Charming! These binders are organized with everything from dress ideas to reception music, so starting one now would be a good idea; it will let you know how much you need to save, where you can splurge and where to cut back, and give Jake the general idea that you would be amenable to a marriage proposal!

Although they can be expensive, Disney has a line of weddingdresses based upon the dresses worn by their animated princesses – from Cinderella’s wedding gown (sigh…) to Ariel the mermaid’s bridal dress. If you are going to splurge on something, the dress is where to do it! Start saving!

Since you are going for a full Disney theme, why not have your bridesmaids dress up like Disney princesses; your groom as Prince Charming; and the groomsmen and his footmen or other leading male characters to match with the bridesmaids? Although it would be incredibly tacky to have the officiate dressed like Mickey Mouse, you can carry a “mouse ear” themed bouquet with Disney-themed ribbons and the reception can have an entire Disney theme to it – complete with life-sized cardboard cutouts of Mickey and the gang to a visit from the Mouse himself (you could hire someone to dress up like Mickey and greet your guests as they arrive or rent a costume and find a willing friend to do the honors). There are even Disney-themed wedding cakes, so you are covered there, too, and your music list can include songs from Disney movies – “Candle on the Water” (from Pete’s Dragon) is a beautiful love song; “Bear Necessities” (from The Jungle Book) is just plain fun!

Or you could take the low-road to Tacky-ville

An easy way to defray the cost of the wedding, so you can splurge in other areas, is to plan for a Friday night wedding or a Saturday morning event, avoiding the traditional (and much more pricy) Saturday evening. If you have a morning wedding with reception to follow you could serve brunch instead of dinner, saving on the cost of the overall menu while still providing a delicious meal and an enjoyable experience. I suggest you search for a few wedding planning and bridal websites that will help you with organizing your dream wedding.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Monday, October 14, 2013

High School Dropout Needs To Face Opportunity Head-On

Dear Tazi:

I have a secret that nobody knows: I never graduated high school and I don’t have a G.E.D. My current employer requires all people have a diploma or equivalency and I got around that by lying on my application, figuring they wouldn’t bother to check (which they didn’t). I have done quite well in my job because I work hard and follow orders, and I don’t mess around when I am supposed to be working. I am polite and respectful to our customers, and am good at solving problems. I am so good at my job that my Manager wants to recommend me for a promotion; she told me that the job requires a degree, but for the right person they could work around that and I could take the job and work towards my degree at the same time. When I told her I didn’t have the money to go back to school (which I thought was a convincing excuse) she told me that the company would pay my tuition, so I shouldn’t have to worry about the cost of it.

Tazi, I am in big trouble! I can’t get into college without having a diploma or G.E.D. and if my company finds out I don’t have either I will be fired instead of promoted! I immediately looked into getting my G.E.D. and the process would take too long to finish before my company would expect me to start taking classes. I told my boss that I had thought things through, and felt that the promotion was not right for me, that I am happy working where I am. She was disappointed, and couldn’t figure out why I would turn down a better job that paid a lot more money, and so far she has brought up the subject twice – the first time right before the company hired someone else, the second time after that person wasn’t working out well with the other employees. I hate disappointing my boss like this, but I don’t know what else to do! Do you?


Dear Caught!:

Do you want the promotion you are being offered? Do you want the opportunity to go back to school and further your education? If the answer to both of these questions is yes, then you are in luck. Community colleges do not require you to have a diploma or G.E.D. to take courses there. Federal law requires you have one in order to receive financial aid, but since your company would pay for the classes you can skirt this issue; your academic records are your private information, and you do not need to reveal to them the information on your application for admission.

If you want the promotion, or any other kind of job advancement, you will need to talk to your boss about the types of classes you will need to take; if you need to be in a degree program or if you can take a few classes first before deciding to enroll as a matriculating student; and how long the company will give you to complete the degree requirements. At this point you can discuss your academic strengths and weaknesses with your boss. You do not have to reveal your lack of a diploma if you feel it will cost you your job; you can simply say, “It has been a while since I have seen the inside of a classroom, and I may need some remedial coursework in a few subjects.” Community colleges usually offer remedial classes, although not for college credit because the work involved is on the junior high and high school level and is intended to prepare students for college level work. Your company will probably pay for these because it increases your chances of doing well in the degree level classes you will need to take.

A lie, once said, cannot be taken back without repercussions, something you are discovering the hard way. You seem remorseful for your untruth, so I will not paw slap you over you, but encourage you to go forth and correct your mistakes! Don’t let fear hold you back, especially when you have your boss on your side!


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Tazi's Corner #61 - Dates From Hell (Part I)

Dear Readers:

Having recently been discarded by my lady friend for her latest flavor of the month (sigh…I am a bit bitter about it) I unexpectedly find myself on the dating scene. While perusing the lady cats on Twitter I saw a gorgeous female that I would have loved to pursue if not for the distance between us. Since I hate to travel any place further than my Mommie’s voice will carry, I immediately realized that a relationship between me and this lovely Queen could never be… [Big moping sigh]. I found myself wondering if this is what you humans go through in your search for love from someone other than your loyal pet (as if ANYONE could love you more than us!) and put on the call on Twitter for bad date stories and tales of unworkable love. My mailbag was filled with your tales of humor about your romantic woes that I am sure were not humorous at the time. I actually received enough material to write several columns, so I chose my favorite ten tales to share. I will present the first five this week, with my remaining five faves to follow sometime next month.

Our first tale of woe (or should I say “whoa!”) comes from a woman who discovered that her blind date had a completely different definition of “horseback riding” than the rest of us!

Dear Tazi:

You asked for “bad date” stories and have I got one for you! I placed a personal ad on [a popular dating site] and centered my ad around the theme of horses and riding, since I rode competitively as a teenager and still enjoy riding for fun and exercise. I mentioned that I stable my own horse and was looking for someone with the same interests.

I got several responses, most from men who don’t ride or have not ridden in years, judging by their physical condition or ability on the back of a mare. One guy seemed great on paper, and after emailing back and forth about how much we both liked horses I agreed to meet him. He really seemed to know his stuff, and sounded like an active rider. It turns out he was part of some sexual underground movement where men wear harnesses and bits and women are their “grooms”. He showed up at the stable naked under a trenchcoat, except for some kind of leather, S&M -looking outfit and a harness and bit worn over his head. 

Did he look something like this?
He looked at me, confused by the look of shock and horror on my face, and asked me why I didn’t have my crop with me! He told me he was a “mustang” in need of breaking and pretended to rear up and even whinnied! I stammered that there must be some confusion and high-tailed it out of there!

While I am not here to judge, dear readers, let this be a lesson to you all in clear communication! Our next “date from Hell” story is from a man who learned – the hard way – the difference between being a “non-smoker” and “tobacco free”.

Dear Tazi:

After my divorce last year I decided to ask my friends to set me up with any desirable women they knew and thought I would like. My one stipulation was that she be a non-smoker, because I have asthma and cigarette smoke can set it off so bad I end up in the emergency room.

A friend of a friend, who I know through my weekly poker game but not beyond that, told me he knew a woman who was looking for a good man and that he’d see if she was interested in meeting me. He showed me her picture from her Facebook page, and she looked terrific! Long legs that go on forever, stylishly cut chestnut hair that flowed from a cowgirl hat, and a sweet smile; the fact that she didn’t show her teeth in any of her pictures should have been my first hint that something was wrong with this picture!

“Sandy” and I had our first date at a Saturday night Rock ‘n’ Bowl, which I figured would be a nice way to spend the evening – it wasn’t too intimate, bowling was fun, and we could have a few beers while enjoying the music. It turned out that Sandy didn’t like beer all that much, but she loooooved dip! [Ed. Note: “Dip” is chewing tobacco]. It was only after I had ordered us a pitcher of beer that I realized that Sandy hadn’t wanted a beer but the cup I was planning on pouring it in; the pitcher was halfway gone when I saw that I was the only one drinking and that Sandy’s beer cup was still full while a second, empty cup was slowly filling – with a brew that was much darker than the draft I had ordered for us. Sandy caught me staring just as she spit into her cup, and asked if I minded “a girl who dug dip”. It was then that I caught sight of her teeth – a mouthful of tobacco stained enamel and gums. I didn’t even want to think about her breath, and started dreading the thought of her asking me for a kiss goodnight. I just smiled nonchalantly and asked if this could be our last game, that the loud music was giving me a headache and I was feeling a little nauseous (it was true; the sight of her teeth made me want to throw up).

And people say cats have bad breath! Harrumph! Here’s a date from Hell that would leave a bad taste in anybody’s mouth!

Dear Tazi:

My date from Hell was not a first date but actually a last date. I had been with “Marcia” for a few months, and the chemistry wasn’t there – for me, at least; had I known how Marcia felt about me I would have broken up with her before I allowed things to go too far. Yes, I was sleeping with her, but I didn’t realize it meant so much to Marcia; it certainly didn’t to me (at the time. I am older and wiser now, so no paw slaps of disgust, please. My wife already gave me one when I told her this story).

Sex was the deal-breaker for me. Marcia was awful in bed, but I didn’t want to break up with her after sleeping with her only once – I didn’t want to be “that guy” that women trashed on the ladies’ room walls. I did mention to a buddy of mine, who was dating an acquaintance of Marcia that I was going to break up with her; that I didn’t feel a spark with her and the sex was bad. I am guessing that is how word got back to Marcia.

I was biding my time, avoiding Marcia so a break-up would not be too painful for her, and hoping that we could just casually drift apart when Marcia called me and insisted that I come over her house so she could make me dinner. She said she had a special evening planned, and she was making a special dish just for me. Being a bachelor who could not cook (still can’t) I am a sucker for a home-cooked meal, so I made the date, figuring I could always break up with Marcia the following week.

Dinner was fabulous – Marcia made a complicated veal dish that she had pulled from a gourmet cookbook. The side dishes looked like something that you would see on a cooking show, and the bread was homemade. I was starting to have second thoughts about breaking up with Marcia, when she served the dessert.

Marcia had baked a beautiful cake, complete with butter-cream frosting and what appeared to be a thick layer of lemon pie filling between the cake layers. Marcia told me that it was “lemon flavored jelly” and she wasn’t lying, she just wasn’t being entirely truthful. It turns out that the lemon jelly she used to fill the cake was made with petroleum jelly, dyed yellow and flavored with lemon Jell-O mix. As I choked on it and tried to get the sticky stuff out of my mouth Marcia freaked out on me, calling me every name imaginable as she grabbed me by the shirt collar and threw me out the door, yelling after me about how evil I was for telling her friends that she was bad in bed. Like I said, it was the last date we had. I never did call her to apologize (this admission just earned me another “paw slap” from the woman the woman I married). If Marcia is reading this, I hope she knows that she got the last laugh and that it was on me.

Am I an evil kitty for laughing at your misfortune? I understand that bad sex can be a deal-breaker, but under the circumstances I think you got what you deserved! Speaking of deal-breakers, this next story is full of them.

Dear Tazi:

My friends always tell me that I am too picky when it comes to guys and that I need to lighten up a bit. I don’t like the idea of wasting my time with someone who I know will not be a good fit for my life, so I have always kept high standards for myself: non-smoker, light drinker; never married, no kids; college educated or at the very least professionally employed. When my college roommate told me she had the “perfect guy” for me I was a little leery, but agreed to meet him because Valentine’s Day was coming up and I didn’t want to spend the day alone – again.

My first date with “Chad” was a coffee date at a coffee lounge near campus – comfortable couches, low lighting, and folk music playing in the background. I was in between classes and only had an hour to spare, which made for the perfect “out” if things did not go well. My first impressions of Chad had me silently thanking my roommate for setting us up, and I was reluctant to leave after the hour was up; Chad was equally interested, so we agreed to meet for dinner that weekend.

That Saturday, I spent the day getting ready for my big date with Chad – I got a manicure and a pedicure, bought a new dress, had my hair professionally styled, and made certain that I looked perfect; when Chad told me how great I looked, I thought that all my efforts had been worth it. Boy was I wrong!

Over dinner, Chad opened the conversation by saying, “Now that we have gotten to know each other I don’t feel uncomfortable asking you a few personal questions. Shall we have a drink? I don’t want to waste my money on dinner if you don’t measure up to what I am looking for in a woman.” I was floored! I had just spent a few hundred dollars and an entire afternoon getting ready for our date and he didn’t want to plunk down for dinner unless I met his qualifications? Not knowing what else to say, I agreed.

Chad started asking me several deeply personal questions – from the intimate to the downright embarrassing, like if I wanted children, and if so how many, to how many men I have slept with and if I have (or ever have had) a sexually transmitted disease. When I told him I wasn’t comfortable answering these types of questions on a second date Chad told me he “needed to know” because he didn’t want to sleep with me if it would result in an STD or an unwanted child. I frostily told Chad that it was too soon for him to even be thinking such things about me when he interrupted me and told me that we may as well end our evening here; that he wasn’t going to spend “upwards of $50 on dinner if sex wasn’t on the table”. He then threw a $5.00 bill on the bar and wished me a good night and good luck finding “the one”. The $5.00 didn’t even cover the cost of our bar tab, and since he had driven us to the restaurant I had to call a cab to get home!

I wish I could say my night ended there, but the story continues. After I got back to my apartment my roommate told me that Chad had called and given her an earful about my “high standards” and how I wouldn’t even give him a chance, about how I shut him down every time he tried to start a conversation with me. Just as she started to lecture me I walked to my room and shut the door. I’d had enough for one evening!

I guess there are worse things than spending Valentine’s Day alone, huh? Here is one woman who may have preferred to do just that – if things hadn’t had a happy ending after all!

Dear Tazi:

My date from Hell happened one Valentine’s Day, before I met my husband and was desperately single. I used to hang out at the bar of a local restaurant, and it was there that I’d met a guy who seemed a little off around women, but I figured he was just shy. I was amazed at his fine taste in clothes, is perfectly manicured fingernails, his knowledge of fine wine, and just about everything else you would see on a TV show like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, which was popular at the time.

“Harold” asked me out the weekend before Valentine’s Day, apologizing for the late invite but explaining that he had been shy about asking me out. I thought that was cute, so I said yes. It was Valentine’s night, and Harold took me to a very expensive, very exclusive restaurant. I assumed that he must have made the reservation months in advance and was flattered by the advance planning he did in hopes that he could overcome his shyness and that I would say yes. I guess I was so desperate I would have believed anything.

Dinner was sensational, and our waiter was very handsome and attentive but the maître d’ kept giving us dirty looks, like we were something the cat had dragged in (sorry Tazi. I am sure you only drag in the finest of dead creatures!). The evening was pleasant but uneventful until our waiter presented us with a dessert menu. At that moment, the maître d’ stormed over to our table and said, “Go ahead and stuff your face with it, you fat cow!”

I was horrified and was about to say something when Harold burst into tears and yelled back at the maître d’, “You know I am an emotional eater! If you weren’t so verbally abusive I wouldn’t be so fat!” It was then that I realized that Harold was gay, and that the maître d’ had been, until recently, his boyfriend, which explained why he was able to get such a great table; whoever made the reservation knew he had connections.

As the fracas continued, I wanted to melt into the floor. Harold’s boyfriend had broken up with him because Harold was still closeted from his family; his boyfriend had accused him of being ashamed of being gay and secretly liking women; I was Harold’s “revenge date”. Seeing how I was caught in the middle, the waiter gracefully offered me his arm and escorted me from the table, joking that he would be applying for the “newly opened maître d’ position”. Lucky for me, my story has a happy ending!

Before walking me out, my waiter offered me a free piece of strawberry shortcake to make up for my trouble – all he needed was my contact information, to give to the General Manager. As it turned out that waiter paid for the dessert out of his tips and kept my phone number for himself – and am I ever glad that he did! We have been happily married for seven years now!

P.S. My husband never did get the maître d’ job, but he never expected to, either; the maître d’ was the restaurant owner’s nephew!

What a great love story! I do hope that Harold and “the maître d’ ” were able to work out their differences, but I am glad that their differences worked out for you!

Snuggles to all who shared, and you my dear readers,

P.S. Got a "Date From Hell" to share? Contact me via the form on this site or send me a tweet @TaziKat!

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.