Auntie Dote is HBI's answer to the usual, treacly, self-help advice columnists.

Disclaimer: This isn't an advice website. Yet from time to time we receive email asking for the Heartlessly Bitchy point of view. If you need serious medication, therapy or professional help, seek elsewhere. However, if you still insist on soliciting OUR advice, just remember...


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Ask Auntie Dote
The Auntie Dote for what ails you...

Jun 6, 2005

[Dear Auntie Dote]

There's a country music concert coming up in my town that I would like to attend but my wife doesn't want to go because she says she doesn't like the artist - George Jones. I want to go and see the concert because I feel it may be one of the last times to see Ol' George and also I used to really like his music. I say used to because obviously I don't listen to him now because he just doesn't get played on the radio any more like a lot of the older artists. Fair enough.

However, to me he represents a certain era in the country music field, albeit an era past. That I don't deny. He is a piece of history to me and that is why I want to see him. I don't particularily care if he can't hit the notes anymore and as a matter of fact that is the whole point - the man is still stepping out and strutting his stuff despite being 72 yrs. old (approx.). I am a small business man and I sure as hell hope I can be strutting my "stuff" when I'm 72. God, that would be so good; to be still putting it out there" at that age. All of the skill and experience I have gathered in a lifetime; just getting it on!

So I put it to my wife that if she wanted to go to a concert of any description I would be glad to accompany her no matter who the entertainer was. She replied that she would like to go and see Jane Goodall, the lady who raised the apes. "Fine, I said, let's go see her; I would love to find out more about her experience with the apes; it would be interesting."

Turns out Jane Goodall isn't coming to town anytime in the known futrure. But Willie Nelson is and at my wifes request I didn't hesitate to plunk down about $80.00 per ticket to secure us seats. Before that it was Cher and before that it was Tobby Keith. In my opinion if either she or I want to go see something, I'm up for it. It sure beats watching TV. That's another story of the same programs repeated over and over every night that I won't get into. Yee gods, it's TV prison but I'll save that for another day.

Anyway, long story short; she actually causes me to go back to the days when we just about broke up only a few years ago; when I put my toe in the water and discovered that there sure were a lot of agreeable women out there. At that time I noticed that they were all and I do mean all agreeing to any sort of entertainment; of course with a mutual understanding that I would engage in anything they were interested in, be it live theatre, the opera, or a garden show. It certainly didn't seem like a bad deal at the time - today the rodeo, tomorrow the symphony. Tonight - chili; tomorrow a French restaurant. The main thing was - get out and experience some of what life has to offer.

So my question is why do women do this to themselves. Put themselves in a position where their man might say, "to hell with you, I'll find my own date'?

In my case I've toyed with the idea but truth be known I'll probably go with some other guy although there are definitely some women I know out there who would go at the drop of a hat on a platonic basis.

I don't think I'll go there thank you very much. It's a deep sink hole that goes round and round. Oh boy!



Your tale certainly does have the ring of a good old country song. Or two. Let Auntie Dote sing you a couple of refrains, albeit ones that you may not have heard before.

Be careful who you ask to go out with you to a concert on a platonic basis, unless they are buying their own tickets. That may be your interpretation, but clearly you seem aware that women who accept free tickets to things know how hollow the word "platonic" can seem when they are out on a DATE with a man who is unhappy in his marriage. As soon as you start detailing your sad tale of the wife who doesn't understand you, they will get the telegram. And supposing you do ask a real friend to go, she may misinterpret your "platonic" dating as the real thing, and consider you an unscrupulous cad. In fact, she might be right. Fact is, it's crossed your mind, since you mention "dipping your toe" once before into the sea of happy-to-comply women.

You definitely have committed yourself to a marriage partner who is self-centered, who does not reciprocate your reasoned consideration, and very possibly, one who is just not as open-minded about culture and entertainment as you are. You are letting yourself get stampeded because you think of yourself as a good-natured fellow and a gentleman. Rather than try to get back at her in some passive aggressive way (like asking your neighbor Doreen to go to the Grand Old Opry instead of her), you have to confront the source of your trouble where it lives. That is within your relationship, just between you and your wife. It takes two to rope little doggies, and right now you are the one getting hogtied. Get up in the saddle, my friend. Mend your fences; that is to say, set some healthy boundaries within your relationship. I can tell you appreciate plain-talking, and that's what you need now. No need to be unpleasant, just factual.

As for finding friends who share your interests, this is a Tiger Beat chestnut, but why not start your own chapter of the George Jones fan club? Don't focus on the "date" aspect of going to the event, focus on the fun of what you love about his music. This doesn't threaten the architecture of a marriage, if done right, but it can help you to diagnose some structural weaknesses.

If you aren't sure how to tackle this, cowpoke, here's a bonfire ballad you can try on for size:

"My love, it's a lifelong dream of mine to go see country music legend George Jones while he is still strutting his stuff. Just as you admire Jane Goodall for following where her heart leads her, I admire George Jones for continuing to sing the music he loves, come hell, high water or old age. Nothing would make me happier, my love, than to have you by my side at this landmark event. However, if you would find the event distasteful for reasons of your own, I understand. I respect our aesthetic differences. Therefore I have made arrangements to see George Jones with other members of the local chapter of his fan club, which I have just recently chartered. My love, I leave the door open for you to join me on this exciting journey at any time, and should you change your mind, I'll be the happiest man on earth. I'll take your tiny hand in mine without rancor nor regret. All I can ask of you, my love, as I follow in the footsteps of my true American hero, is that you take me as I am. That's all any good man can ask, and that's all any good woman can do."

There's a trick to leading livestock, Gord. You have to LEAD before anybody else will follow. You will be surprised, I reckon, at how fast your little misses' head will turn when she sees YOU leaving the stall first. I doubt most sincerely that she's going to let you--and your new herd of friends--go to that concert without her. And if she does, you'll have a good time seeing your idol, you'll make new friends, you'll enjoy the feeling of some newfound self-respect, and you can come home to the woman who--we think--still loves you. Does she? This may be your biggest chance to find out.

-Auntie Dote

Copyright© "Auntie Dote" & Heartless Bitches International ( 2000
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