Monday, March 5, 2012

The Abby Game

Now it's time for a game! I'm going to read you a letter, and you tell me what Abby advised.

Feb 29: Should student spill beans on her prof's behavior?
I am a 19-year-old student taking courses at a community college. One of my classes is taught by a great professor who also works at a state college teaching other teachers.

After an evening class with him one night, I returned to the classroom because I forgot something and ended up walking with him back to the parking lot.

While putting stuff into my car I saw him get into another student's car. I waited a while without them realizing I was there and ended up seeing my professor and this student smoking weed and fooling around.

I feel angry and betrayed knowing he would put his career in danger. They are both consenting adults, but I don't know whether I should report it or not. What do you think?
Did Abby:
(a) Reiterate the problem but not offer advice
(b) Come down hard on the side of telling, scolding the LW for even considering staying silent
(c) Come down hard on the side of staying silent, scolding the LW for even considering telling


Unless you have absolute proof that your professor was smoking something other than tobacco, I think you should keep your mouth shut.

As you said, he was with another consenting adult. Are you sure your feelings of anger and betrayal aren't jealousy?

Because you asked what I think, I'll tell you: Mind your own business.

If you chose (c), reward yourself with a toke and quickie in the parking lot!

Ashley: WTF? Abby is totally chill with a professor fooling around with a student? I mean, I'm totally indifferent, but as covered previously, we don't believe in ethics.

Lulu: It's also weird how she uses the deniability as a reason not to turn him in for the pot. You shouldn't in case you're wrong? People can tell pot from cigarettes. Tobacco is more common, generally, so you wouldn't say it was pot if you didn't smell it. And even so... so what? Is there really that big of a downside to a false accusation? Abby seems to not want the person to turn him in but also to grudgingly admit that Drugs Are Wrong, so it's this weird halfway path.

Ashley: I swear she's told people not to get involved with professors, too. And I mean like... it IS against school policy. I didn't misread, right? The professor is involved with a student in the class? That's a clear conflict of interest, if nothing else.

Lulu: Abby's harshness just seemed unwarranted to me, not only because she could just as easily have come down on the other side, but because the kid is 19. Even if it was clear-cut that you shouldn't care what college professors do, 1-2 years ago, the LW was in high school, where it would have been a huge deal if a teacher was messing around with a student and getting high on school property. Abby would have said to report him for sure (possibly????)

Ashley: Yeah. I'm not sure what Abby's smoking.

March 2: Son learning ways of wayward dad?
I have been married 18 years. In that time my husband has been unfaithful twice. Last week I was going through his cellphone and noticed from his emails that he had registered on a dating service and was exchanging photos with four women. I threw him out of the house.

What really upsets me is my 17-year-old son knew about the affairs and thinks it's perfectly normal for his dad to have female "friends" while we were still living together. I don't like what my soon-to-be-ex did to me, and I don't want my son thinking it's OK to start looking while you're still married. My son finds ways to excuse his father's behavior. How can I make him understand that looking for other partners while you're married is being unfaithful?
Did Abby:
(a) Reiterate the problem but not offer advice
(b) Reiterate the problem, not offer advice, but state that the 17-year-old son is destined for a lifetime of unhappy relationships
(c) Come down hard on the side of getting the fuck over it and have a couple of wild affairs already to catch up

Your husband, by making your son his co-conspirator ("It'll just be between us guys"), has made him a member of the "boys club" and cliqued you out. Has your son not seen how painful this has been for you? Your almost ex-husband is a terrible role model. When your son follows in Dad's footsteps - and there is reason to believe he will - he'll never have a successful marriage of his own.

If you guessed (b), reward yourself with half a dozen clandestine hookups and a frank heart-to-heart with your son about every gory detail.

Ashley: Whaaaaat the cakes

Lulu: How unhelpful is it not to offer any advice, AND to tell the mother to write off her son??

Ashley: Oh, I know. He's 17! He's a sociopath! By definition.

Lulu: He's just saying what the dad said to him, it looks like. It doesn't seem like he's really formed his own opinion.

Ashley: And his opinion is entirely unproblematic for a 17-year-old.

Lulu: Right, all his relationship experience is based on high school where relationships last 2 weeks and ALWAYS end in a cheat. ALWAYS

Ashley: And okay, I'm not usually one to jump on the victim-blaming wagon... but the kids I know whose parents cheated blame the cheater like a lot. So the fact that her kid doesn't... I mean... how was the marriage??

Lulu: Well, and we only know her half of the story. It could be that he's just caught in the middle and always defending the absent parent.

Ashley: Why are they even asking him what he thinks? Both the dad and mom seem like they involved him way too much. Writing off the kid is ridiculous, but also making the kid consider his parents' sex lives is ridiculous.

Lulu: Good point! The mom needs to be answering his questions about the relationship, not asking them. And she needs to answer with minimal detail and classy open-mindedness. "It didn't work out; we both love you" etc etc

Finally, today's Abby: Can romance stand the test of college?
My boyfriend, "Jackson," and I have been in a long-distance relationship for two years. We recently learned that we both have been accepted to our "dream" college, which means we'll live close to each other for the first time.

I miss Jackson when we're apart, but I enjoy having the freedom to study, hang out with friends and have "me time" while still being in a happy relationship.

From what I have heard, college life is fun, but busy. I love Jackson and want to be with him, but I also want to make new friends and focus on schoolwork. (He wants that, too.) I'm afraid that once we get to college we'll either be so wrapped up in each other that we miss out on other stuff, or get so busy with school and friends that we never see each other. Jackson shares my concerns. Can you help us?
Did Abby:
(a) Reiterate the problem but not offer advice
(b) Reiterate the problem, not offer advice, but state that the 18-year-olds are both destined for lifetimes of unhappy relationships
(c) Come down hard on the side of getting fucked up and humping like bunnies in the school parking lot, screw academics

You and your boyfriend need to be sure your priorities are in order when you get to school. First and foremost you're both there to get an education.

Part of that education is developing relationships and having experiences beyond the field you will be studying.

While spending time together is important, so is balance, so keep in mind that too much togetherness can distract from your studies or even become so claustrophobic that it kills the relationship.
If you answered (a), reward yourself with a quiet panic about an uncertain future.

Ashley: Wow yeah, she says nothing to these teens.

Lulu: Yeah, she's just like, "Yup, that's gonna be a problem." They're clearly looking for some concrete strategies.

Ashley: It's only a problem if one of them wants to hangout ALLTHETIMES and the other wants to go to all the parties, alone. Which it doesn't seem like is the case.

Lulu: Right, she says her boyfriend "shares her concerns."

Ashley: They could just make a schedule. "We will hang out Friday nights" or whatever. Then add or scale back as needed.

Lulu: Right, just set aside some "date nights," planning around deadlines and homework and other social events.

Ashley: They are fine there is no problem.

Lulu: Yeah Abby, do we need to do your work for you?

Ashley: You know we love it.

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