Dr. Trendy is back. Well rested and wiser than ever -- ready to provide answers to the difficult questions of the 21st century and help folks define and pursue career and personal goals and take charge of their own happiness. Here are responses to some of the thousands of cards and letters he recently received at his Tahitian hideaway. He wishes a Happy New Year to all his loyal fans, and says from the bottom of his heart that he hopes all their dreams come true in 2013.
I worry that everyone will hate my Christmas gifts or else they will be considered too cheap or they will be too expensive in comparison to the ones I get, which would be a real bummer or maybe I won't get any gifts at all. I'm too worried about this stuff to have any fun during the holidays. What's going on? -- Worry Wart
Dear Worry Wart:
Uh-oh! The dreaded Christmas shopping state of confusion strikes again. Even though it is a time for good will among men and women, and celebration with family and friends, the jealousy and envy elves are close at hand. This is so antithetical to the true meaning of Christmas. Maybe only children should receive Christmas gifts.
Every year at this time I sit down and do what I think is an honest self-assessment followed by the resolution thing and I really intend to follow through but, you know, things happen. This year my relationship with my girlfriend seems to be in serious jeopardy unless I change some of my "so-called" bad habits. She tells me that my mother has spoiled me and that I really want to turn her into Mom. She says I'm an insensitive Neanderthal who thinks flowers and dinner make up for my atrocious behavior. On top of that, she insists when I put a new toilet paper roll in, I do it wrong. She says the paper should come over the top, not from the bottom like I like it. And any time I open my mouth she tells me, "Grow up!" -- Is It Worth It?
Dear Is It:
Makes me wonder what this lady saw in you in the first place. I believe that you are at the point in you relationship called "This is relationship hell, but what lies ahead?" You could certainly give in to her and change, but you will always be changing to please her and who then is in control? Funnily enough, women will often try to change men and then be very disappointed by the results of said change. You could also cleanse yourself, which is a great thing to do at the beginning of a year, by telling her, "Nah, Nah, Na, Nah, Nah" and moving back in with mom who adores you for who you are.
Dear Wise One:
Santa Claus, yeah right. Like I'm supposed to really believe that this fat dude in a red suit and long white beard is going to come to my house -- and a gazillion other houses and apartments -- to bring gifts for me and my little sister, who also questions his existence. Duh. Grow up adults and get real. -- Give Us Some Credit
Dear Give Us Some Credit:
Okay, so you're hip to the Claus guy. However, try and understand that the parents of this world don't have an easy time and sometimes have to resort to make believe and ridiculous made up fantasy characters to answer some of those difficult questions you ask us. Trust me though on the stork stuff -- they do deliver babies.
My boyfriend and I had this terrible fight the other night. His friends came by to watch football and then left the house a complete mess for -- guess who? -- to clean up. He tells me that his friends are important in his life and I should give them a chance and try and get to know them. Get to know them? Is he kidding? All they do is watch football, drink beer and tell the same lame college stories over and over.
What's worse, he'd rather do that then spend a quiet evening at home together. And when I try to get him to discuss our relationship, he storms out of the room. I keep waiting for him to open up and share his innermost feelings and emotions with me. Am I living on fantasy island? -- Helplessly Hoping
Dear Helplessly Hoping:
Men's primitive rituals surround watching sporting events. The closest parallel in your world is when a signal is secretly transmitted from woman to woman at a dinner party indicating it's time to go to the bathroom as a unit, usually to talk about the men at the table. Life is made up of rituals. They help keep the social fabric from unraveling. Allow us ours and we most certainly will allow you yours.
Barry Halpin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.