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Lovers and Other Strangers (8/30/06)

Dear Zelda,

I need your advice.  I am a mature lady, never married, who finds herself with a gentleman friend.  We have been dating for over a year now.  We like doing things together, movies, concerts, golf, travel, and so forth.  We have a lot in common.  There's just this one little "problem".  We have not gone beyond the kissing stage.  I'm fairly conservative in such matters, but a female friend of mine told me that after 60, the rules change!  I mean I really don't think I have to worry about getting pregnant!  Zelda what would you suggest to get my gentleman to be a little more passionate?  Oh, I did forget to mention that he is Norwegian.  Do you think that is the problem?

Getting Desperate

Dear Getting Desperate,

Your question is a hard one for me because I'm at an age where I'd rather nap than have an affair. However, in your case I do think it's time to get your guy to rise to the occasion.  So why don't you create the occasion? Why not invite your friend to a romantic dinner at your home?  Celebrate how many months you've known each other and think with 'wild abandon.' Transform your home by using low lighting, flowers, candles, nice music, his favorite food, and if he likes wine, add that to the menu. Serving a non-alcoholic beverage in tall, chilled, fluted glasses can set the scene as well. Wear something that makes you feel pretty. If you have pets, put them in another room.( Did I really say that?) Sure you've been playing golf, going to concerts and the like. While those things are wonderful, they don’t sound explicitly romantic to me.  

If these indirect overtures still fail to snag your sailor, then it’s time to sit down and have a talk with him.  Now I'm not trying to sound like a 1950's Good Housekeeping article on A Woman's Guide to Getting Her Man, but you've been dating this gentleman for over a year and I think it's past time for a talk. There may be a lot of reasons he's holding back, but you won't discover what they are unless you ask. I don't think being Norwegian is going to be the cause for his pause.  He may be uncomfortable with the topic of discussion at first but I think he'll be relieved once the subject is on the table. Here’s to a romantic evening.

Zelda

Dear Zelda,

I'm a thirty-year-old single mom who has gone back to college. I work part-time to pay for this and my two daughters are in elementary school. My parents are also helping me.  However, I've been dating a man I met in one of my classes. He is eight years younger than I am, and I haven't told my parents or my friends because I'm afraid they will make fun of me. I like this man more than my former husband or any other man I've ever dated. We have so much in common. Still I'm insecure about dating a younger man.  What are your thoughts?

Young Love

Dear Young Love,

So you're dating a younger man.  I say, "Hooray!" Honey, times they are a changin' and it's the man and his maturity, not the date on his birth certificate, that matters. The truth is that society has a very sexist view about relationships among people of different ages, and you are being made to feel guilty or ashamed of something that men have been doing for centuries. Now this doesn't mean you get free license to do something stupid just because men have been doing it for years. But you aren't doing something stupid or exploitative. You are in a serious relationship with someone with whom you share a very deep personal connection.

Further, you can take comfort in the fact that even though no one is talking about this change in attitudes, it is an increasingly common practice. According to a recent report, one-third of the single women over forty are dating younger men. People always talk, but if you love someone, do you care? Demi Moore isn't showing signs of remorse over her relationship with Ashton Kutcher, and Cameron Diaz is apparently happy with her "hottie," Justin Timberlake. And incidentally, a difference in age of 30 and 22 doesn't exactly make you Mrs. Robinson. Me? I'm envious. More important than age is your compatibility and background, as well as your shared ambitions, visions, and interests. Your happiness will speak for itself.

If people disapprove, let them. Relationships should be based on love and happiness not on numbers. You may not have society's approval yet, so choose courage over conformity and go with the conviction of your heart. What counts is your happiness, and if you feel like this is the real deal, then dating this man is definitely worth it. Love should be ageless, even if we aren't.

Zelda

For more information you might check out the book, Older Women/ Younger Men, by Felicia Brings and Susan Winters.

Dear Zelda,

I have trouble with dog lovers and other strangers who I meet on my walks. I am an attractive, rather buff, brindle bulldog. However, I am a submissive, conservative guy and all of the women try to touch me or grope me in the wrong places. I have a friendly face but I feel as if I should wear a bag over my head like the "unknown comic" of the 60s. How can I discourage people from petting me? Help Zelda-what am I to do?

Stud Muffin

Dear Stud Muffin,

First, are you bragging or complaining?  Probably both.  Your problem appears to stem from your intrinsic animal magnetism. Being buff and beautiful is a problem many would love to have. We often hear celebrities complain of being overwhelmed by fans or paparazzi.  George Clooney, (pant, pant), where are you?  Face it, you're cute and irrist-i-bull with the je ne sais quoi that people can't resist.

If all the heavy petting is really getting to you, my suggestion is that you let your owner act as your body guard.  I speak from some experience.  Following my first appearance on Good Morning America, I was mobbed by people at the airport.  My owner politely told them that I was "in training," (I'm always in training), and to respect my space. It’s up to your owner to deter unwanted attention from your “pup-parazzi”. “In training” keeps most people at bay. Petting is ok, but heavy petting is off limits, especially for a shy dog like you.

Another way to deter potential petters-to-be before they actually reach out and touch you is to have your owner make a big collar with the obvious words “FLEA COLLAR” in bright letters.  Stroll down the street sporting that collar and I guarantee it will be a quiet day in your neighborhood.

It's flattering to be noticed for your good looks, and it sounds like you have plenty of them to go around.  So follow my suggestions, then wag your tail and waddle on. By the way, what’s your address?

Zelda

Just a paw-note: Following my column last week, my owner tried Zelda's Last Ten Pounds Diet. She lost four pounds and took great pleasure putting those 4 fat baggies in the freezer. Let me know if you’ve tried my diet and tell me about your progress.