Slate’s Dear Prudence column was unusually rich in ridiculousness tonight. I couldn’t resist putting in my own pin.
My husband, Tom, who is in his mid-40s and who is an otherwise polite, hip, and modern guy, has one annoying habit which is old-fashioned and maybe even rude—he always answers his cellphone with “Hello?” even after he has looked at the screen and knows who’s calling. I have repeatedly suggested to him that, since he knows who’s calling, he should say “Hi” followed by the name of the caller when he answers his phone (for example: “Hi, Fred” or Hi, Mom”). That kind of greeting lets the person on the other end know that he already knows who it is so that introductions can be skipped, and the conversation can begin. Tom completely disagrees. He claims that it would be impolite to say the caller’s name because then that person would know that he had checked to see who was calling before he answered the phone, and Tom feels that screening calls is rude. WHAT? I mean, who DOESN’T check to see who’s calling before answering a phone these days and who DOESN’T already assume that everyone who can screen calls is doing so? Please help. Tom says that the only way he will even consider greeting his callers by name is if you side with me.
Dear Hello Anybody Home,
I can clearly remember a time when I called a friend of mine on his cell phone and he answered with, “Hello?” How rude! I couldn’t believe it! Didn’t he know it was me? I mean how could he possibly have not checked to see that it was me calling? Other than if he was in the middle of something else and just picked up…or maybe he was in a rush…but other than that, I can’t see why he couldn’t have just answered, “Hi Xantar!” I was so put out that I immediately hung up on him, defriended him on Facebook, and then poisoned his dog. He deserved it!
Oh wait, you know what? That didn’t happen at all. Why? Because I didn’t give a damn. Seriously, you’re getting worked up because your husband answers the phone with “Hello?”! I wonder what else peeves you off. You must be an awfully pleasant person to be married to. Do us all a favor and don’t have any kids. Because if you start micro-managing them the way you already do your husband, you’re likely to let loose a crew of sociopaths upon the world.
My brother is recently engaged and getting married in three months. I had a family vacation scheduled for the weekend that he’s marrying. Would it be appropriate to ask him and his fiancée to reschedule?
-Rescheduling a Wedding
Dear Rescheduling Your Therapy,
Are you kidding me? Do you want to be THAT guy? You know what, just skip the wedding and go on your vacation. I’m sure your kids won’t have any regrets on missing their uncle’s wedding. You know, the only wedding he’s ever going to have in their lives (hopefully).
I suffered a miscarriage at 12 weeks pregnant. My husband didn’t know about the pregnancy and I went through the miscarriage in silence. Though the emotional toll has been great, and my husband has noticed my depression, he is still clueless. Should I tell him about “our loss” knowing that he’ll be just as upset as I am—and also quite relieved, because the child was unplanned. Or should I continue to keep this mum to protect him from the whirlwind of emotions I’ve been feeling?
-Big Secrets in a Marriage
What the hell is this, an episode of Glee? Somehow you got pregnant and not only did you not tell your husband but you also managed to keep him clueless about what was going on? I know pregnant women don’t usually show at 12 weeks, but there are still physiological changes that happen. Did he somehow fail to notice? Why is it that your instinct during this life changing event was to keep everything a secret?
And I notice that you don’t seem to give your husband much credit. You imply that if he found out about the miscarriage, he would be relieved since the child was unplanned. I guess you must know him extraordinarily well if you think he’s not capable of complex emotional nuance. How kind of you to spare him the grief. I’m sure he’s completely happy watching you go through a depressive episode for no apparent reason.
Just go tell him what happened. And stop making women look bad, for crying out loud.