Friday, February 27, 2015

Bisexual Woman Just Wants To Be Friends, Girlfriend Does Not Understand

Dear Tazi:

I am bi-sexual and am in a long-term, committed relationship with my girlfriend. I love her very much and would never cheat on her. Too often, people think bisexuals switch-off with a man one night and a woman the next; nothing could be further from the truth. We simply have sexual attractions to both men and women, with a general preference for one or the other. Like homosexuals and heterosexuals, once we are in a committed relationship we stay committed! My problem is that my girlfriend, “Janie” is insecure, a lesbian, and afraid that I will one day leave her for a man.

I returned to school last year to take a few classes towards my professional certification and that is where I met my friend “Rob”. I enjoy his company, and although I am not physically attracted to him we do have a connection; I can see our friendship becoming a solid one and would like to try to integrate him into other areas of my life, you know, outside of school. My problem is Janie.

I have mentioned Rob in casual conversation before and Janie has visibly bristled. I took Janie with me to a college movie night where we ran into Rob, and Janie actually yanked me backward when I leaned in to give him a hug hello. After polite introductions were made Janie told me she needed to speak with me privately and asked me if I was cheating on her with Rob! I told her I was not, and awkwardly avoided him the rest of the night, hoping this would comfort Janie. She only said that this proves I am trying to keep the two of them from talking to each other and “comparing notes”.

I have never had a problem like this before because I have never dated someone who was not bisexual, like me. I have tried to explain to Janie what I stated at the start of my letter, and she says she understands but adds that Rob “just might be the exception to that rule”. I have been with Janie for almost two years and I cannot imagine breaking up over something like this, but my certification program is going to take me three years to complete, since I am only studying part-time. I cannot imagine having to put up with Janie acting like this for the next three years, nor do I want to be the cause of such unhappiness; however, there are certain things that are non-negotiable with me: I will not quit my program in order to ease Janie’s fears. My career is important to me, and this certification is important for career advancement. Second, I do not like the idea of Janie telling me who I can and cannot have as friends. She has female friends who are lesbians, and I point out to her that I do not get jealous or possessive, but she claims that this is different; that I am able to fulfill all of her needs, but that she feels she cannot fulfill all of mine. This reasoning takes us full-circle back to what I have already said (here, and to Janie ad nauseam) and nothing gets solved.

I feel that I have tried to compromise by introducing Janie to Rob, but as she pointed out – correctly – that I want Rob to a part of my inner circle, so it really wasn’t much of a compromise at all. Can you think of any way to resolve this issue? Or am I going to have to call it quits with someone?

Torn Between Fidelity And Friendship

Dear Torn Between Fidelity and Friendship:

You have a sticky situation that is not uncommon in any circle, heterosexual or homosexual. You do, however, have special circumstances because Julia – like many people – does not understand the emotional mechanics of bisexuality. I thank you for explaining it here so succinctly!

Since you have explained to Janie than your sexual interest in men is rather low and your connection to Rob is platonic re-explaining it over and over will only result in further frustration. I realize that your greeting to Rob (a hug) was innocent, but you must put yourself in Janie’s place to understand how it looked to her. You mention that Janie is insecure; now, imagine how she must feel to see you wrapping your arms around a man! Ask any woman whose boyfriend/husband was secretly gay and left her for another man and she will tell you how devastating this is. As one woman put it, “When he told me ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ he really meant it! I knew that, and it felt horrible knowing that there was nothing I could do to make the relationship work. I was devastated.” In her insecurity, this is Janie’s worst fear: that you will leave her for a man.

If Rob is as great a guy as you obviously think he is, I do not think he would willingly work to break up your relationship with Julia. In fact, if he enjoys your friendship as much as you enjoy his, he may be hoping to be invited into your inner circle. I suggest you ask Julia to give him a chance. Let her know that you will be in school for the next few years, and that with school comes Rob. Tell her that you would appreciate it if she would try to get to know him because you consider him a good friend. Let her know that he is not a creep looking for a threesome (this could also be a concern of hers, my sources tell me) but a classmate who, like you, is looking to make new friends. Most importantly, continue to include Janie in your school’s events and activities whenever possible. When you started school you started a chapter of your life that does not include Janie, which could be another source of stress on her insecurity.

In the end it will be up to Janie to decide who she can accept into her life, but it will be up to you to decide whether or not to accept her rejection of your friends. I hate to say it, but if she cannot control her jealousy and insecurity your relationship may not be able to last. Couples counseling may be able to help the two of you.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Being A Friend Means Standing By During The Painful Times

Dear Tazi:

Do you know that old Beatles’ song “With a Little Help fromMy Friends”?

Well, I do sing out of tune, and my friends did get up and walk out on me! I was so humiliated! A local bar has a regular karaoke night, and I have always wanted to try but was too scared to try. I made a New Year’s resolution that this would be the year I got up and sang, so I chose a song that is always popular that I didn’t think would be too tough to learn (“Jolene”, by Dolly Parton) and I practiced it on and off, in private, for six months. My plan was to WOW my friends, since I am normally shy and only sing in the shower when nobody can hear me.

When I got up to sing my song, one of my friends decided to step outside to have a cigarette. His girlfriend joined him, and another friend had to go to the bathroom at that exact moment – something about the bar food disagreeing with him. My only other friend who was with us felt “awkward” sitting there by herself so she joined the others outside.

I got a smattering of applause after I finished my song so obviously I wasn't a total train wreck and I should feel good about myself, but I am really hurt that my friends didn't stick around to hear me sing! It took a lot of courage for me to get up there and do that, and none of them hung around to watch me. I told them afterwards how hurt I was and they told me not to make such a big deal out of it – it’s just karaoke, not an American Idol audition and that I can sing it again the next time we get together. I would like to try and sing again, because it was fun and since it was dark in the bar I didn't feel like everyone was staring at me, but I don’t want to be known as a one trick pony; the person who can only sing the one song that they have prepared. And what if someone else sings my song first? Then I won’t be able to sing at all!

Am I being unreasonable to ask my friends to apologize for their inconsideration?

Shy Dolly

Dear Shy Dolly:

I would first like to congratulate you on overcoming your fear and performing! I, for one, am quite impressed (and if you have ever met a cat you know how hard it is to impress one!). While it would have been nice for your friends to stick around to watch your moment in the spotlight, it is possible that they thought their presence would make you nervous and uncomfortable. This could be why the smoker chose to leave at that exact moment. The friend with intestinal distress should be excused regardless! A shy person should understand why the friend who was left alone felt awkward about sitting there by him/her self; perhaps a little more understanding on your part is what is needed to get your friends to see your point of view. I realize that you were hurt by their absence, but it sounds like you lit into them without giving them a chance to explain themselves (although the friend who needed a bathroom offered what I feel was a very acceptable explanation, and no apology is needed from them!).

There are a lot of people who sing karaoke regularly, and they come prepared with a few “regular” songs that they have rehearsed and know how to perform well. While Jolene is a commonly sung song in many bars – particularly now since an altered version of the song has gone viral – it is a popular one that people like to hear.

If you are not comfortable with the idea of being thought of as a “one trick pony” than don’t be one; learn another song or two that you can add to your repertoire as either a second piece to sing or as a back-up song should your first-choice already be taken. Since you have gotten up to perform once already you now know that you can do it; doing it again will be all the easier, and letting your friends know that their support and attendance is important to you should be enough to keep them in their seats for the five minutes it takes you to perform. I suggest you calmly tell them this and ask that they stay seated during your next performance.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Thin Wife "Too Heavy" For Waif-Loving Husband

Dear Tazi:

I am the type of man who is attracted to extremely thin women. When my wife and I were married 7 years ago, she was a size 00 and I was never more attracted to her! Now, two pregnancies later she is a size 3 – creeping up on a size 5 – and my attraction for her is waning.

I realize that a size 5 is not heavy, and that many women dream of being a size 5, but for me it is just a little too much meat on the bones. My wife is 5-feet, 2-inches so she is still quite petite, but she no longer has the emaciated look that I fell in love with. I realize that having children has changed her body a bit, but I think with a little effort she could get back into a size 0 once more.

I have gained my fair share of weight over the years, so I feel like a bit of a hypocrite asking my wife to lose weight but she tells me that she likes my “extra padding” and that as long as I remain physically healthy she sees nothing wrong with it. A part of me wants to believe her, but the larger part of me thinks she is just trying to fool me into letting her stay at her current weight.

I suppose you are going to paw slap me for this, Tazi, and I suppose I deserve it, but I would like to ask my wife to go on a diet or to even consider plastic surgery to lose the excess weight. At a size 3 (and growing) I am no longer sexually attracted to her and it is taking a toll on our marriage. Do you think it would be okay to ask my wife to do this – for the sake of our marriage, and our children’s well-being? If my marriage falls apart, I fear my children will suffer in a broken home, so in the end this is really about the children, not me.


Dear Waif-er:

I would love to offer you s Paw Slap of Disgust, but since you realize that your request is worthy of one, yet you still cannot get over your disgust, I believe that you are suffering from an obsessive fetish, which will require counseling – not a Paw Slap – to overcome.

At 5’2” and a size 3, your wife is very petite. If he bone structure is also petite, then he weight is fine as it is; she is possibly even a little bit underweight, a problem that can cause serious health issues. She should not even be considering weight loss, let along plastic surgery to remove what you call extra weight and what the medical community sees as important body tissue.

You try to make your desires to be about your children, but in the end they are not; they are still all about you, regardless of how you twist them. You are right that children need a loving home, so I suggest that you take steps towards providing one. If possible, why don’t you and your wife join a gym? Exercise is a wonderful way to stay healthy and live a long and energetic life. You may lose the extra padding that you have put on and your wife will be able to add lean muscle mass to her petite frame, as well as short-circuit the chance for osteoporosis that people of petite bone structure often suffer later in life. Exercise while young is a great preventative for bone degeneration when old. A side affect will be a healthier sense of self-esteem, due to all those endorphins that are released during exercise.

I strongly suggest that you see a counselor to deal with your lack of attraction to your already slim wife. I am not entirely certain that her body size is what has killed your attraction to her, since sexual attraction is mental as well as physical. Seeing her as a mother instead of your wife could be a part of your issue, as could a sense of anger that the attention that once belonged solely to you is being split between your children. Your attempts to control your wife’s physical appearance may be seated in a deep rooted desire to control her.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Mother Cannot Bear Daughter's Bare Feet

Dear Tazi:

I cannot get my five year old daughter to wear shoes for anything. I have tried punishment, withholding privileges, and even grounding but nothing works; she hates wearing shoes! While I am okay with her going barefoot inside the house, it upsets me that she insists on going outside barefoot. I am afraid she is going to contract ringworm or cut her foot on a rusty nail and get tetanus. My husband says I am being overprotective, and that playing outside while barefoot is a simple childhood joy. He argues that as long as she washes her feet when she comes in side (which she does) she should not contract any kind of life-threatening disease.

I never went barefooted as a child, and think that in a civilized society people should have their feet covered at all times. Am I overreacting? Or am I right?

Always Shod

Dear Always Shod:

Are you the kind of person who wears socks to bed? As a cat, I am always barefooted, and I can understand why you humans would like to keep something on your feet while there is snow on the ground, but I pity the person who never gets to feel the sweet, newly mown grass on his or her paws! In my opinion, your husband is only half-correct; going barefooted is not just a childhood pleasure. It is a pleasure that many adults enjoy, too. There are even organizations dedicated to living a barefooted life!

I also enjoy sitting in the grass when it needs to be mowed...

So long as your daughter thoroughly washes her feet regularly and your house and yard are free from sharp objects on which she could step, I do not see a problem with indulging her on this one. As a parent, you need to learn to pick your battles. Is this really one that is worth fighting?

If your daughter is refusing to wear shoes altogether, including into public places than this is a larger problem that needs to be fixed. Inform your daughter that a lack of shoes on one’s feet is often times a reason to deny someone access to a public building, and that she must wear something on her feet while out in public or she will not be leaving the yard.

I strongly suggest that you get your daughter’s feel professionally measured and fitted for shoes. (Any shoe store can do this for you). Your daughter’s refusal to wear shoes could be due to a painful fit. If they are too small or too narrow, shoes can be downright painful to wear! The practice of foot-binding is not traditionally practiced here in America!

In the end, if you are adamant about your daughter wearing shoes at all times, I suggest you allow her to choose them for herself. Sandals make for a great compromise.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Old School Bully Is A New Man

Dear Tazi:

This week I got an invitation to my 10 year high school reunion. It is the first reunion my class is having, and my wife is looking forward to going. We met after college, and she wants to see "who I was" in high school. Tazi, this is why I don't want to go; I am not the same person I was back then.

Growing up, both of my parents were alcoholics and I used to bully the other kids in school. I guess it was my way of dealing with things at home. I got a lot of detention, which was great because it meant I wouldn't have to go straight home after school, but it also left me surrounded by a bad crowd. I scraped through high school and went to college as an excuse to live away from home without having to pay my own way. I racked up a lot of student loans to pay for my room and board.

When I was 21, I saw my best friend die of a drug overdose, and I realized I needed to get my life straight. I went to counseling, started to take school more seriously, and even qualified for some scholarship money! I live a clean, sober life and work hard to support my wife and our young family. I have no desire to re-visit my past full of mistakes. I feel like I have lied to my wife by not telling her about the man I was back then - all she knows about my younger days is that my parents were alcoholics (still are, which is why I have no contact with them) and that I led a troubled life of my own.

Am I lying to my wife, Tazi? Should I go back to my roots and hope that those people can accept me for who I am now, and forget who I was back them?

New Man

Dear New Man:

The great thing about reunions is that they offer us a chance to catch up with people; to hash over old memories; and even to apologize for old hurts. I suggest you go to your reunion, but first prep your wife by telling her the truth about your less than savory past. As your wife, she has the right to know about who you are - past and present. Let her know about the events that molded you as a child, and those that molded you into an adult. I get the sense that she wants to go to the reunion to find out who you were because she is curious to know you better.

People change over the years. The class clown might now be the Vice-President of an Accounting firm; the ugly duckling may now be a total swan; the nerd you picked on may now keep company with the likes of Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates...and the school bully who picked on everyone may now be a stand up guy, who feels the need to apologize to those he hurt when he was young. Attending your reunion is an opportunity to give closure as well as get closure on your past. I sincerely hope you choose to attend.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Contrary Attitude Can Be Overcome With Love And Reassurance

Dear Tazi:

My husband contradicts everything I say. When I point this out to him, he denies it - a contradiction in itself. He wasn't always this way; he started doing it right around the time I went back to work part-time because the kids are in school full-time. Do you think there is a connection between these two? When I pointed this fact out to him, he of course contradicted every word I said and then told me I am making mountains out of molehills and exaggerating the number of times he contradicts me.

I would not mind his contradictions so much if they remained private between the two of us, but it seems that whenever he has an audience - the kids, my parents, the next door neighbors - his contradiction become more frequent. They are starting to feel like put-downs, and are really getting on my nerves. My husband says I am too sensitive and to develop a tougher skin, but I am not so much hurt by his comments than angered by them; it is like he is trying to humiliate me in front of others and all he is doing is making people uncomfortable. Again, when I mention this to him, in an attempt to talk about the problem, he tells me that there is no problem and that I am creating issues where they don't exist.

How do I get my husband to see how he has changed (and not for the better)?


Try to look at things from your husband's point of view: Before you went back to work, your world view revolved around him and the children. Now, your horizons are expanding to include people and things that do not include him. He behavior reflects his own insecurity; he appears to feel threatened by your new independence. A job is more than just time away from the home; it is also a form of financial freedom. Whereas you once depended solely on him for money you now have your own source of it. The only way that he can think of to keep you from moving too far from him is to chip away at your self-esteem until you reach the point where self-doubt sets in and you are once again leaning upon him for all of the answers.

You do not say on what subjects your husband contradicts you, so I will simply suggest you try to stay away from those topics of conversation. Instead, tell him about your job, your coworkers, and your day in general. Share with him your new experiences or a concern you have about your children. By discussing issues of which he has no knowledge, all he can do is listen and not contradict; by discussing your concerns about the children you are reassuring your husband that your family is still your number one focus and that his input is still very much valued.

Every now and then, we all need our egos pumped and primed; if you show your husband that you still depend on him for things that he has always provided - such as a loving home, a solid income, and all of the things he brings to your marriage - I believe his nitpicking and contradictions will soon cease.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Domestic Abuse, Nagging Not A Cure For Horrid Habits

Dear Tazi:

My husband has the nasty habit of drinking milk and juice directly from the carton. I have repeatedly tried to correct his habit, to no avail. I have tried buying a separate carton for his use while the rest of the family pours from a communal carton, but he didn't bother to differentiate between the two and drank straight from both cartons.

While preparing for a special brunch, I noticed that my husband had opened - and presumably drank from - a fresh carton of orange juice. I was fuming because i had told him not to touch it, that it was for our guests, and I did not have the time to run out and buy more (we live in a very rural area). In my wrath, I grabbed a bottle of powerful laxative powder and mixed it with the rest of the carton of orange juice. I had no fear that my children would drink it; they listen quite well when I tell them not to do something.

My husband proceeded to drink - from the carton - the entire jug of orange juice and spent the entire afternoon in the upstairs bathroom, indisposed. Later in the week, he saw the empty laxative powder in the trash and put two and two together. He has told me that what I did was "deviant" and that I owe him and apology, suggesting that my penance should be to stop complaining about how he drinks out of the carton. I have refused to apologize and told him that his bout with distress was his penance and that he needs to stop drinking out of the carton before it happens again.

It has been a week, and we are still not speaking to each other and the kids are starting to stress about it. If I apologize for drugging his juice, my husband will think that his behavior is OK, when it certainly is not. On the other hand, I do not want this petty argument to negatively affect my children's lives.

Grossed Out

Dear Grossed Out:

If you do not want this "petty argument" to negatively affect your children's life, why are you letting it have a negative affect on your marriage? Drugging your husband's orange juice may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but you acted in a fit of anger. Nobody truly thinks clearly when overcome by emotion. An overdose of laxatives can cause dehydration and other serious medical issues. Your "deviant" trick was actually a form of assault. For this, you owe your husband an apology and should possibly seek anger management counseling for yourself.

I do not suggest you let your husband's unsanitary behavior continue, but nagging him is not going to make him more inclined to do your bidding. In fact, quite the opposite is true; the more you nag the more he will indulge in the problem behavior. A simple and inexpensive solution to your problem would be to buy a pitcher for your refrigerated beverages. It is very difficult to drink milk or juice directly from a spouted pitcher, and downright impossible to drink it from a pitcher with a spigot.

How about this one? Something about it makes me smile!

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Is She His Wife - Or His Live-In Maid?

Dear Tazi,

My husband accepted a job nearly six months ago that we believed exhibited a lot of opportunity. Since then, it has been a lot of empty promises. He received an average salary for someone who works a 40 hours week. Expected bonuses, retirement plans and health insurance never manifested.

The business operates in three locations which are geographically distant seven days per week, nearly 24 hours per day. He has taken only 5 days off since October. Those days off are actually days he works from home via phone. He averages 95 hours per week and his health and family life have suffered greatly.

Tazi, we are hard workers in my home. I work three part time jobs and go to school full time. I understand the difficulties of having to work hard to get ahead but I have taken on all household matters, caregiving for his dogs and my step-daughter. I love her but she needs her father, too, in the absence of her natural mother. I feel like the hired help when I am leaving for work in the early hours just as he is showing up from work. I basically live alone in my marriage. I have asked my husband to limit his work schedule to 60 hours per week and he say he will, but fails miserably at fulfilling that request. I do not think I am being a miserable bat by making this request.

I have a value for pets far greater than most humans. Recently, I unexpectedly lost a pet that meant the world to me. He assured me he would come home and called a short time later to cancel because he was told to go to a meeting. He showed up 12 hours later. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. A four day domestic war ensued.

My husband believes that if you love someone that is all that matters. I have tried to explain to him that love is important, but, respect, partnership, and cohabitation are just as important. I am ready to move on from a person I love profoundly over the whole matter. I can not get the man to keep a doctor’s appointment with his schedule so counseling surely will not fly.

Where do I go from here?

The Hired Help

Dear The Hired Help:

The expression "love conquers all" can have two meanings - it can conquer all hardships, or it can conquer you as a person. In your efforts to single-handedly keep your marriage and family afloat, it appears that love is conquering you, and your husband is not home often enough to see the toll it is taking. 

While love IS very important, there are other, equally important promises made when one takes wedding vows - to honor and cherish, forsaking all others, until death parts you. Or for as long as you both shall live. Or 'til death do you part. There are many ways to say it, but the bottom line is, your husband is not honoring and cherishing you the way you would like to be honored and cherished, and his is forsaking you for his employers! Is he aware of this fact? While these are things that are ideally discussed in a marriage counselor's office, you can discuss them with each other with a little advance planning. When people go to a counselor, they often keep a mental list of what they want to discuss and how it makes them feel; if you and your husband can take the time to do this and find an hour a week to calmly discuss these mental lists perhaps you will be able to work things through on your own. Let your husband know that committing to this time is a sign that he is still committed to your marriage in the way you need him to commit to it.

Many men believe that their "job" in a marriage is to care for the financial needs of the family, and that by working every waking moment (as in your husband's case) they are being a good husband by being a good provider. Once upon a time this may have been true, but nowadays - with wives working, and in your case working three jobs - husbands are no longer the sole financial providers to a family; nowadays, husbands need to provide social supports (emotional, intellectual) to their wives and families as well. It appears that you are the only one providing this kind of support, and that the well is running dry. Your husband needs to be made aware of these facts and commit to change, starting by accepting the fact that he is being short-changed at work, and in turn short-changing his loved ones - you, his daughter, and even the dogs - financially and emotionally. 

Even this Superwoman had help from Mrs. Brady and the kids!

One thing you do not mention is whether or not your husband actually enjoys working so much for so little. I know this question sounds daft, but some people are workaholics, and they thrill to the thought of accomplishing just one more task, just one more sale before calling it a day, regardless of how much money they are making for doing it - the sense of a job well done, of praise from the boss is all that they need. For people like this, work is their entertainment, and they cannot understand why everybody else does not feel the same. If this describes your husband, then you will need to approach him from his point of view, pointing out that the "joys and accomplishments" of work should leave time for life's other joys and accomplishments - time with a loving spouse that leads to a successful marriage; father-daughter dates that will help her grow into a well-adjusted adult woman (read: one without Daddy issues!); and most importantly, the ability to be there for those they love when those they love need them the most! If this tact does not work, you could also point out to your husband that all of his hard work is lining the pockets of the company owners - not his own. 

I strongly believe that six months is more than enough time to invest in a job to see if it is the right fit - most companies have a three month probationary period, during which time both sides can decide if the job is a good fit for the worker and if the worker is a good fit for the job. In many areas of the country the economy is improving and employers are willing to invest in workers who have the type of work ethic you and your husband have! It is past time for your husband to tell his employers that the time has come to shape up or he will ship out - before you offer your husband the same ultimatum. (He sounds like he would do well in Marketing or Sales, both fields that pay well and can offer a structured, 40-hour-a-week work schedule when the worker insists upon it). 

On a more personal note, I would like to offer my condolences on the loss of your beloved pet. We fur and feather covered creatures are family members, too, and from the sound of it your pet was your non-human child. A Paw Slap of Disgust (hard, not soft!) to your husband for not being there for you in your hour of need. When The Feline Uprising is complete, I shall make him clean the litter boxes of a thousand lactose-intolerant cats, sans gloves, and I shall make sure that we all drink heavy cream and use the cheap, non-clumping litter until he has paid his penance!


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, February 16, 2015

For Memories To Last, Children Must Be Old Enough To Have Them

Dear Tazi:

My husband and I are having a discussion about where to go on vacation this year. I would like to take our two-year-old daughter to Disney World, since she loves Disney Princesses and many of the Disney movies. My husband says that a trip to Disney World would be wasted on her, since she would be too young to make any lasting memories of the trip; too small to go on any of what he calls "the fun rides"; and would probably get tired from all of the walking and he would end up having to push her in a stroller the entire time, which is not *his* idea of a vacation!

Tazi, I cannot believe how selfish my husband is being! A trip to Disney World is every child's dream, and I know my daughter would enjoy it, regardless of how old she is. And besides, who is to say that she will be too young to make any "lasting" memories? I am certain that this trip will be something she holds dear to her heart forever! So what if her father will have to carry her or push her in a stroller for some or most of the time? He has two strong arms! Shouldn't he want to be of service to his daughter?

My husband has put his foot down and has said no to a Disney World vacation this year, believing that we should wait until our girl is at least five before attempting such a trip. What if she is no longer interested in Disney by then? What if she has moved on to Barbie or some other childhood interest?

I have begged, pleaded, and withheld sex, but my husband is firm. He says that the money he earns is what will be paying for our vacation, and if I want to go to Disney World this year I can get a job and pay for it myself. I told him I would go work a stripper pole to earn the money, and things went downhill from there. Tazi, I wouldn't really go to work as an exotic dancer, but the point is the same: I want what I want! Is this somehow unreasonable?

Disney Lover

Dear Disney Lover:

Yes, I believe that you are being unreasonable. As for who is to say that a two year old cannot create "lasting" memories I believe that would be the doctors who study this kind of stuff. Research shows that by the age of 10, most children cannot remember anything that occurred before the age of three. Couple this with the fact that your daughter would be too young to enjoy many of the delights that Disney World has to offer and the fact that this vacation would in no way be relaxing for your husband you may want to reconsider your plans for Disney World.

The nice thing about Disney is that people never outgrow it. Young or old, I cannot think of a single person who would not enjoy a trip to Disney World! Why do you think the Travel Channel rated it one of its Top Ten Honeymoon Destinations? Just as I doubt your daughter will outgrow Disney within the next few years, I am doubting the reasoning behind your argument. Are you sure this desire to go to Disney World is about your daughter? Or is it more about fulfilling your desire to go to Disney World?

As a stay-at-home Mom, I am sure that you  have your own issues to deal with, including the question of whether or not your ideas and opinions are valid. Many SAH Mom's start to feel like they have no say in financial decisions because they do not bring home a paycheck. Your husband's response that the money "he" earns is what is paying for the trip was just plain awful. If he seeks to give you so little control over the finances and then lord it over you that he is the breadwinner in the family I can see why you are so stuck on getting your own way.

Your threat to make a living pole dancing would be enough to upset any husband who still has a pulse, and probably many without one, too. I realize it was made in the heat of the moment, but your comment went too far, as did your husband's. It is time for the two of you to apologize to each other for your hurtful comments, if you have not already.

If you are comfortable with the idea of a grandparent or other close family member watching your daughter for a few days, why not take a trip to Disney World as a couple now, and in a few years as a family? This option is more expensive, but would offer your husband and you a chance to reconnect as a couple, like you did before you had children. From the tone of your argument, there is a lot of resentment building between the two of you that is unrelated to your vacation planning, but is coming out as you try to plan what is supposed to be a happy, carefree time. A few sessions with a marital counselor, clergy, or other trained professional may be beneficial to your marriage - and anything that benefits your marriage will be what is most beneficial to your little girl.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

A Short History Of Valentine's Day...Along With Some Triva

Happy Valentine’s Day, Readers!

Today is one of my favorite holidays! What’s not to love about expressing love for one another and eating chocolate? Plus, my black fur looks stunning in both red and pink! In honor of both this holiday and Pope Benedict XVI’s announcement that he will be resigning at the end of the month, I have decided to look into the history of this holiday, named for a Catholic saint!

According to, there are fourteen saints named Valentine, Valentin, or Valentina, and even one Pope named Valentine! Luckily for my research, only one of these Saint Valentines are celebrated on February 14th; St. Valentine of Rome. Even the Church itself cannot confirm that he is the St. Valentine associated with lovers and love and that naked baby with the cross bow, but since today is his feast day I am going to run with it, although there is not much to tell: St. Valentine was martyred on February 14th, around the year 270, under the Roman Emperor Claudius for assisting Catholics in their plight against the Romans and for refusing to renounce his Catholic faith. It was a common fate among Catholics who lived during the time of the early Roman Empire.

Another tradition of the Roman Empire was the Feast of Lupercalia on February 15th, which was essentially an ancient (around 730 B.C. is when it is reported to have started) mating ritual where men essentially drew a woman’s name from a hat and romanced her in the Roman tradition – which, if you have ever watched Spartacus on STARZ, you understand to mean fornicated with her at every opportunity. Catholic priests were horrified by this tradition and many of them would substitute the name of a saint for the name of a local woman – thus explains one Valentine’s Day tradition, expressing love for the object of your desires and affection; it was just one more (successful) attempt to Christianize the pagan holidays of the time. (Seriously, does anyone still celebrate Lupercalia?).

Another reason St. Valentine is associated with love and marriage is the reason he was martyred; the assistance he gave to Catholics – in direct opposition to the Roman Emperor Claudius II – was to marry them. Emperor Claudius II felt that unmarried men without children made the best soldiers because, as is true today, men without loved ones are thought to be better in combat since it is presumed that they will concentrate all of their thoughts on battle and not on their wives and children back home. In ancient times, unmarried men without children were also considered disposable; if they died in battle, they died a hero’s death without leaving a widow and children in need of financial assistance. Apparently, Roman leaders were not the sentimental sort. With this logic in mind, Claudius II is said to have passed a law forbidding young men to marry; Valentine disobeyed that law and married young sweethearts anyway, which led to his imprisonment and untimely death.

It is rumored that while Valentine was in jail, he himself fell in love with the jailor’s daughter (this was allowed in the early Catholic Church, as priests were allowed to marry back then). On the eve of his execution, St. Valentine purportedly wrote a letter expressing his eternal love for the young woman, signing it “from your Valentine”. The tradition that follows from this legend is the giving of Valentine’s Day cards. A NicholasSparks novel could not possibly have a sadder or more enduring ending! But wait, there’s more!

But first an animated recap of the story thus far...

It was under Pope Gelasius (492 – 496) that February 14th was declared the Feast day of St. Valentine and celebrations of love and affection were outlawed by the church, having been deemed unchristian in spirit, since they were rooted in the feat of Lupricalia, which was still widely celebrated. It was not until the Middle Ages that Valentine’s Day expressions of love regained their popularity, which some credit to the British Duke, Charles of Orleans, who sent his wife a Valentine’s greeting while imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415. (What is it about love letters from prison that bring out the romantic in people?). This love letter – a poem, actually – is the oldest known written Valentine in existence and is preserved as a part of the Manuscript Collection of the British Library in London, England. Knowing this makes me feel like less of a pack-rat for saving all of my past years’ Valentine’s cards!

By the 1700’s it became popular among people of all social classes to exchange Valentine’s Day sentiments, although they were not written down due to the high rate of illiteracy that plagued society and the even higher costs of printing and postage. In 1840, the mass-produced Valentine was created when American Esther A. Howland created greetings out of lace, ribbons, and other fancies that caught consumers’ eyes. She presumably sold them, as these materials were not cheap. It was not until the early 1900’s that printed Valentine’s were commonly exchanged, popular due to the decreased cost of printing and the Victorian era tradition of not publicly expressing affection for another. Today, Valentine’s Day sees an estimated one BILLION greeting cards sent and exchanged, making it the second most profitable holiday for Hallmark, American Greetings, and the like (Christmas is first).

As my Valentine’s gift to you, dear readers, I will leave you with some fun, trivial facts (followed by my opinion) about this day to pass along to the ones you love. (Hey, it’s cheaper than buying a card!).

FACT: 85% of Valentine’s Day cards are purchased by women.
Tazi’s Opinion: Many of these are purchased on behalf of their cats

FACT: In Korea, single people who do not receive Valentines eat black noodles to mourn their relationship status
Tazi’s Opinion: It’s good to know that Americans don’t have a lock on such pathetic behavior.

FACT: Teachers receive the most Valentine’s Day card than any other demographic; children are second
Tazi’s Opinion: Those 3” x 2” pieces of cheap cardboard that kids are forced to exchange with everyone in the class should not count!

FACT: The heart is associated with Valentine’s Day because the ancients believed that the heart is where the soul (and the source of emotions) resided.
Tazi’s Opinion: The pancreas would make a better choice, since it actually is heart-shaped…unlike the heart.

FACT: During the 19th century, doctors prescribed chocolate as a cure for heartbreak and loneliness
Tazi’s Opinion: I think this is a great idea! I also think that citizens should be able to write off the cost of Godiva confectioneries as a medical expense on their tax returns.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all!


With gracious thanks to and for statistical information and fact verification.

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, February 12, 2015

Quality Time With Family Should Not Involve The Television

Dear Tazi:

I am a teenage girl with two brothers. My parents and my brothers all like the same types of TV shows, while I prefer something different. Every night the rest of my family wants to watch one TV show, and I would rather not watch at all than watch something that does not interest me. Because of this, I politely get up and go to my bedroom to watch TV in my room or study or something else that I find interesting. Sometimes, I just go to bed early.

My mother has been getting on my back about not staying in the living room "to spend quality time with the family". I have explained to her that I do not enjoy the same TV shows everyone else wants to watch, but my mother took it the wrong way and told me that the majority rules and that everyone else isn't going to be put out so I can watch my TV shows. It is not like I am trying to force everyone to conform to my TV tastes, Tazi! I told my Mom that I do not expect everyone else to watch my shows, but that I should not be forced to watch theirs.

My mother has threatened to take the TV out of my room if I refuse to sit and watch TV with the family for at least an hour each night. I don't think this is very fair. I just don't get the enjoyment they do from watching their shows, so why should I be forced to watch them?

Not A Fan Of Reality TV

Dear Not A Fan Of Reality TV:

At the risk of angering your mother, I am going to rule with you - to an extent. I do not consider watching TV as a family "spending quality time" together. Quality time involves interaction with each other, something watching TV does not allow - especially if you are bored to tears with what is actually on, and wishing you could be watching something else. My larger concern is that you are still a student and your time would be better spent on your studies than on watching television.

Since your mother would like you to spend at least one hour with the family each evening, I suggest a compromise: for that one hour, you get to choose the television programming. If nobody is on board with this idea (and I doubt they will be) I have an even better suggestion: turn of the TV and spend real quality time together as a family at least twice a week. Card games, board games, Yahtzee, and other games that involve face-to-face interaction. DVR the television shows to watch at a later time. On the evenings when the family is watching TV, you should be allowed to excuse yourself to do homework or study. TV programs can be recorded or watched On Demand at a later time.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Does She Love The Cat More Than Him? (Probably)

Dear Tazi:

I think my girlfriend loves her cat more than she loves me. I am not a cat person, and I think the cat knows it because every time I go over there the darn thing crawls all over me. My girlfriend says the cat just likes me and wants to show me how much.

I have been with “Erica” and “Butterscotch” for a little over a year now, and I would like to take our relationship to the next level and move in together (Erica lives with her mother, who goes South for the Winter in November and doesn’t return until May). I brought up the idea to Erica and she was thrilled; when I suggested that she leave Butterscotch with her mother she was less thrilled, and told me that she could never “abandon” Butterscotch.

Tazi, I cannot believe Erica is choosing her cat over me! When I put it this way, she told me that Butterscotch is like her child and if she had a child would I ask her to give up custody? Tazi, a cat is not a human being, but Erica can’t seem to get this through her head. I feel like I am stuck with this cat because he (yes, it’s a boy cat) and Erica are a package deal. I feel like if I let her move Butterscotch in with us I am giving in and letting her put the cat first, and if I break up with her to move on and find someone new (who does not own a cat) I am letting the cat win. Is this the most ridiculous thing you have ever heard?

Why Am I Writing To A Cat For Advice?

Dear Why Am I Writing To A Cat For Advice?:

Because I am a smart kitty, that is why! Also because I understand the importance of Erica and Butterscotch’s bond, something that you obviously do not. While a cat (or any pet) is not a human being, it does depend upon its human for care – just like a child. When a person takes on the responsibility of pet ownership it does not end when a new boyfriend finds the pet distasteful.

I could see why you would have a problem with Butterscotch if he did not like you, but he seems to really enjoy your company. If he hated you, he would find a much better way to annoy you – like walking in front of you and winding in between your legs as you try to walk down a dark hallway. Since Erica loves both you and Butterscotch, and both Erica and Butterscotch both love you, the only one with a problem here is you.

Can you make cute faces like this? I didn't think so!

Erica is willing to put living with you on hold until you either accept Butterscotch or he reaches the last of his nine lives (cats live 18 – 22 years, you know!) and Butterscotch probably does not care one way or the other if he has you around full-time or only part-time, so the decision that needs to be made is yours alone; try not to see it as a matter of winning or losing (that sounds far too controlling for my comfort) but as a matter or taking what life offers you as opportunities come your way.

As for whether or not your girlfriend loves her cat more than you I can tell you that she probably does love Butterscotch more, but in a different way; while her love for you is romantic her feelings for Butterscotch are maternal. The longer you two remain a couple and the deeper your bond becomes the more things will even-out, so long as you are willing to accept Butterscotch for what he is – an important part of your girlfriend’s life.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

To Tattoo Or Not To Tattoo?

Dear Tazi:

I would like to get a tattoo – something small and unobtrusive, like a rose or a rainbow or a heart on my hip or lower shoulder or somewhere else not easily viewed – but my husband tells me he does not like tattoos and would prefer I not get one.

I love my husband, and I appreciate the fact that he did not forbid me from getting one, because he has no right to forbid me that any more than I do to tell him to stop drinking beer, but I do not want to make him unhappy. Still, I want a tattoo. I love the way they look on the women I see when we go out dancing, and I want one of my own to peek out while I am out on the dance floor, too. Can you think of a way I can please myself and my husband, even though we are at opposite ends over this?

Line-Dancin’ Lynn

Dear Line-Dancin’ Lynn:

Since you don’t exactly know what you want for a tattoo or where you want to place it, I suggest you put this dream on hold until you are sure. In the meantime you can pick up a package of assorted temporary tattoos to get a feel for how one would look and where you might place it. Just be sure to tell your husband that it will wash off in the shower!

You need to remember that a permanent tattoo is a lifetime investment, so don’t get one unless you have some kind of connection to the design. If you do end up getting a real tattoo, I suggest that you find something with special meaning to both you and your husband; while your body is yours to do with as you wish, he is the one who has to look at it.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Monday, February 9, 2015

New Mom Doesn't Need This Kind Of "Help"

Dear Tazi:

I am a new Mom. I am writing this using the voice-typing feature on my phone as a I hold my sleeping newborn, so please understand and correct the lack of punctuation and any spelling errors you incur. Why am I taking the time I do not have to write this to you? Because my mother-in-law is driving me nuts and my husband is siding with his Mom.

My beautiful baby girl is the first grandchild for my mother-in-law, but the fifth for my Mom (my older brother has four children). This is my first baby, and my mother is just as excited over her birth as I am. I was very nervous about giving birth, so I asked my mother to be in the delivery room with me, since she has gone through this several times herself (I am the third of seven children). My mother-in-law took her lack of invitation to join me in the delivery room as a personal slight, and my husband also got on my case about it, saying it was not “fair” that my mother got to witness the birth but his mother did not. He actually threatened to stay out of the delivery room if his mother could not join us, but did not follow through when I ignored his threats and focused on not stressing during my final month of pregnancy.

I came home from the hospital to find my mother-in-law waiting for me. She immediately grabbed my sleeping newborn out of her carrier and told me that it was “her turn” to spend time with the baby, since my mother and I got to hold her in the delivery room. Tazi, my child is not a trophy! Not once did my mother-in-law visit us in the hospital, where she could have held my baby during her waking periods. My husband was no help at all – he just looked at me and said that since his Mom was taking care of the baby I could take care of dinner! I burst into tears, grabbed my baby, and ran into my bedroom. My mother-in-law blamed my reaction on “fluctuating hormones” and suggested that I was too unstable to care for my own baby. For the past two weeks she has been coming over every day (my husband gave her a key after I locked her out of the house) to offer what she calls help and what I call terrorism.

I have tried to discuss this matter with my husband, but he has accused me of trying to put distance between us and his mother; he says that I am trying to make my mother the only grandmother our little girl will ever know. Tazi, I would appreciate help with the new baby, but not the kind of help his mother offers, which consists of waking her up to hold her and telling me everything she thinks I am doing wrong, from swaddling incorrectly to not vacuuming thoroughly enough. I can’t even push a vacuum right now, but do you think my mother-in-law offers to do it for me? No way! She has a bad back and besides, she is “busy holding the baby”.

I am ready to call my Mom and have her come get me and the baby. I am ready to file for divorce and let my mother-in-law have her son back, since by her side seems to be where he prefers to stand. The one thing holding me back is that my Mom lives a five hour drive from me, so if I leave there will be no turning back. Am I making the wrong decision, Tazi?

New Mommy

Dear New Mommy:

Your husband sounds like a first-class Momma’s Boy, and if marriage has not changed him I doubt he is going to cut the apron strings any time soon. An intervention needs to occur before the road to divorce is the only one left to travel.

Your mother-in-law appears to be suffering from feelings of insecurity and a fear of being left out of her son’s life. She appears to want all things to be equal, regardless of the logistics. She also appears to have a screw loose! While it is understandable that she is excited to be a Grandma and wants to spend time with her newborn grandchild, she must know that it is wrong to awaken a sleeping baby! Her motives appear selfish and self-serving, and your husband is living under her thumb. I realize that this is not the life you want for your daughter, to be ruled by manipulation and guilt, but leaving should not be the immediate answer.

I suggest you set up a visiting schedule for your mother-in-law, based upon the baby’s sleep schedule. Let your mother-in-law know that she may visit for one time block per day during the baby’s waking hours. If she wishes to visit while the baby is asleep she will be put to work, helping with the laundry, mopping the floors, or dusting the furniture since she insists that you are doing it all wrong. Tell your husband that he needs to start standing up for you before you decide that your marriage is no longer worth fighting to fix. Be blunt; tell him it is not the “fluctuating hormones” that are speaking, but you – his wife, the woman he promised to honor above all others. Once he sees how serious you are, he might be willing to change.

If after a few months things are still not working, a trial separation may be what is needed. I strongly urge you to seek legal counsel before doing this in order to arrange for proper financial support for your baby and to settle any visitation issues before they arise. A five-hour one-way drive will require that your husband come to see the baby at your mother’s house; there is no way an infant will stand for being separated from her mother for an entire weekend – especially if you are nursing. I do hope that it does not come to this; a loving, two-parent household really is what is best for a child. I will pray for you and your baby.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Mother Does Not Want To Share Family With The In-Laws

Dear Tazi:

My father was the only child of only children, and both his parents and grandparents passed away before he and my Mom got married. Because of this, my mother never had any issues with her in-laws because she didn't have any! There were never any arguments over whose family to see for the holidays; obviously, we spent it with her side of the family because my father's side had all died off before she had even met Dad.

Now that I am an adult and am married with children, I do have in-laws to think about and want them to be included in special events and holiday celebrations. My mother, who has never had to "share" her holidays with in-laws, is taking great offense at my including my husband's side of the family whenever we have family get-togethers, insisting that she have "alone time" with just my side of the family - and, of course, my husband and children.

Tazi, my husband and children visit with Mom and Dad at least once a month, usually more. My parents are also invited to attend my children's sporting events and recitals, and even to stop by and visit us for no reason! It is not like they don't get to see us, but Mom insists that special occasions aren't special when she has to share me with "people who are not family". Tazi, my in-laws are MY family and I am hurt that she cannot accept them as a part of OUR family!

My elder daughter is turning sixteen this spring Mom is already talking about pulling out all the stops for her Sweet Sixteen party, which she has generously offered to host (with three children, money is tight and my husband and I cannot afford to throw a huge bash). Mom has told my daughter she can invite her friends, but to limit the total guest list to 100 people, including family. My daughter is quite popular, and wants to invite around 50 friends; my mother is insisting on inviting her cousins and aunts and uncles, which brings the total guests pretty close to 100 and leaving no room for most of my in-laws (just my parents-in-law).

I told my daughter she would need to cut some of her friends from the list, and she reacted badly. My mother got word of my demand and told me that it is my daughter's party and that she should be able to choose her guests. My daughter responded that she wanted her aunts and uncles and cousins there, and asked to trim my mother's end of the guest list, but Mom refused, saying that she is paying for the party so she should be able to invite who she wants.

If it wasn't for my daughter, I would tell my Mom to scrap the whole idea and have a simple backyard barbecue with burgers, hot dogs, and a much larger guest list. Can you think of any way to resolve this mess?

Mommy In The Middle

Dear Mommy In The Middle:

Have your in-laws done something to somehow offend your mother, or is their mere existence in your life enough to cause her dislike of their presence? Does she feel that you spend more time with them than with her and your father, or is she simply the possessive type that never learned to share because she never had to share?

From what my readers have told me, when it comes to married couples and holidays the husband's side of the family generally gets shafted while the wife's side of the family gets all of the attention. Just because this is the way it has always been does not mean that it is right. Since your eldest is turning 16, I am going to assume that this issue is a well-entrenched one which will make compromise difficult. Therefore, you may need to take an all-or-nothing approach.

Since it is your daughter's party, I suggest you talk to her first. Lay out all of her options - an expensive bash with a somewhat limited guest-list that is required to include your mother's guests, thus lowering the number of people she can personally invite, or a backyard barbecue with less elegance but more people and no need to leave anyone off of the guest list. At 16, she is capable of making such a decision. It will not be an easy one, but it will teach her how to stand up to people who try to bully her - which is what your mother is doing. By demanding that her guests remain on the list, while people your daughter would prefer to invite are left off, your mother is attaching strings to her generous offer of a Sweet Sixteen bash. Your daughter can either accept these strings or cut them, but the decision needs to be hers.

A possible compromise would be to hold two parties - a formal one and an informal one, with two separate guest lists (because nobody likes to feel like they are being hit up for presents twice for one birthday). You could limit the formal party to just family and make the informal party all-inclusive. This compromise, however, would result in only one party being held on your daughter's actual birthday, which may create another issue altogether. Regardless of how you choose to solve the issue, allow your daughter to be involved in the decision making. Hopefully this experience will help her navigate the waters when it is her time  to be a daughter-in-law.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Cultural Insensitivity Results In Workplace Difficulties

Dear Tazi:

I work with a Latino woman I will call "Yolanda" - that's pronounced JO-lan-da, with a "J", and if you mispronounce her (real) name she will let you know it in front of anyone who might be listening. My name is "Chrissy", but Yolanda is constantly mangling it, calling me "Kree-see". When I try to correct her, she says I am being culturally insensitive and walks off in a huff - along with whatever questions or paperwork she had for me, which slows things up around the office.

Yolanda and I were recently assigned to work on a big project together - the kind that could bring me the big career break I have been hoping for for a long time now! Although I am very careful not to mispronounce Yolanda's name (and believe me, her real name is much easier to mispronounce), I occasionally slip and she dresses me down in front of our other team members. I got sick of this really quick and told her that my name is "Chrissy, not Kree-see" and that maybe she should work on her English. This comment got both of us a trip to the Human Resources department after she filed a complaint against me, again calling me "culturally insensitive".

Tazi, I felt like a kid being called into the principal's office! After hearing the whole story, the HR Director told us both that we need to bury the hatchet and work well together or that he will reassign both of us to a different project. He pointed out to Yolanda that she is doing the very thing that she gets upset with others over - mispronouncing names - and that I had every right to be upset about it. I did have to apologize for telling Yolanda to improve her English, though, which I did not think was very fair.

All went well for about a week, when I slipped on the pronunciation of Yolanda's name. She threatened to file charges of harassment against me, saying I was being emotionally abusive. I have told HR that she is the one who is being abusive and holding people to a double standard. HR reassigned me to a different project, but not Yolanda because her skills are needed more than mine on this project.

I have talked to an attorney, but he has said I have no case - that I cannot prove discrimination; that I was reassigned due to a personality conflict. All day, every day, I dream and pray that Yolanda will fall flat on her face and get fired. I know this is not very nice, but this project was suppose to be my big break! Can you think of any way to help me get over my anger and on with my life?

Chrissy, Not Kree-see

Dear Chrissy, Not Kree-see:

I hate to break it to you, but you do sound a little insensitive. Telling a Latina to work on her English skills because she struggles to say your name properly is harsh. I realize hers is a double standard, but look at things from her point of view: She speaks with a thick Latin American accent, which means English is not her native language. She has probably worked very hard to learn the language, and you tell her she needs to work harder. That is cold. In her native language, the letter "Y" is pronounced as "J"; the fact that she has not Americanized her name leads me to believe that this is one of the few links to her culture that she still has...and every time you do not take the time to slow down and properly pronounce her name you are taking a small piece of that culture away from her. Now do you understand why she has told you your behavior is culturally insensitive?

The fact that Yolanda is valued for her skills should tell you that she is not going to be leaving the company any time soon; in fact, it could mean that she will be climbing the ladder of success while you are left on the bottom rung. Bilingual employees who are also skilled at what they do are a premium find! Are you certain you can afford to have Yolanda as an enemy?

You ask how you can get over your anger and get on with your life. I think that making peace with Yolanda would be the quickest way to do this. Try sending her an email asking to speak with her about your personal differences. Offer an apology for any unintended slights to her culture, and ask her to explain - slowly - the proper pronunciation of her name so you may learn it. In time, Yolanda's name will roll of of your tongue as easily as a Hawaiian can say "Queen Liliuokalani", and you will discover that forgiveness is the only thing that can heal an angry heart.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.