Dear Agony Aunt,
I am in love with a Jewish fellow. It’s getting pretty serious, and he’s asked me to convert to his faith, so that we can marry.
The problem is that I’m an atheist and I just don’t want to be Jewish (or Catholic, or anything else). I don’t want to lose my partner, but his whole family expect him to have a Jewish bride, and I don’t want to be living a lie.
I enjoy their Friday night Shabbat dinners very much, a chance to eat and be merry with a lively family. But I draw the line at embracing the Jewish faith as my own.
This is giving me many sleepless nights, worrying about what to do. Any advice would be most welcome.
Personally, no man stands between me and a steaming bowl of hot chilli crabs!
We are aware of women who, in order to please the men in their lives, have subjected themselves to being so altered as to bear little resemblance to their former selves. A wealthy playboy in the western suburbs is well known for paying for a brand new set of boobs for every woman he dated. My friend Reena could have given Lady Gaga a run for her money with her sartorial splendour and wicked sense of humour. Since she met Ted the dentist, Reena is almost unrecognisable in her Tod’s and Pringles ensembles.
Your own sentiments about the issue of religion is obvious enough. What remains unclear is whether you are contemplating making a wholesale change to your way of life because (a) it is important to your fellow as he is committed to his religion; or (b) you want to appease or win the affections of his mama. If your fellow is a practising Orthodox Jew, you will have to think long and hard as to whether you love him enough to submit every aspect of your life in the name of religion. This includes and is not limited to, where you live, what and how you eat, how you dress, the way you socialise and with whom, and how you bring up your children.
If your fellow is a liberal Jew, he may be persuaded to show his love and commitment to you by accepting your choice to remain an atheist. Your future progeny will enjoy the freedom to make their own decisions.
Dear Agony Aunt,
A friend of mine is constantly name-dropping. He skiied with a world-famous politician. He played tennis with a well-known actor. Irritating enough, but I suspect he’s making it all up. Recently, he said he was joining Hilary Clinton at a US seminar. Then I went to Albany on assignment, and spotted him alone, reading a mag at Whalers Gallery Café. Another time, he told me he was off to a high-level symposium in Shanghai. I was startled to run into him at Perth’s Dragon Palace restaurant, when he was supposed to be at this power-fest. There were no top-notch politicians with him, just his yawning sister.
Is this man an inveterate liar or does he does some kind of recognisable medical condition? Do I just humour him, or call his bluff?
Your friend may well have been telling the truth and he may have not attended those meetings for legitimate reasons. He had to cancel out of the US seminar because the organisers were not able to secure him his usual first-class seat on Qantas. As for the high-level symposium in Shanghai, Mr Big-Deal decided to forgo being wined and dined because he preferred to spend time with his sister on her birthday. She not only suffers from a sleep disorder called narcolepsy which renders her comatose at the most inappropriate times (such as when a steaming basket of pork buns is put in front of her), she is also terminally ill with chronic kidney disease,despite Mr Big-Deal offering to donate not one but both his kidneys to his sister.
If, however, he has been fabricating all those important friends and engagements, then he may be suffering from a mental disorder such as bipolar or narcissistic personality disorder. A psychiatrist or a psychologist will have to make a proper diagnosis but sufferers of these disorders tend to have delusions of grandeur and lie incessantly. Exposing Mr Big Deal’s inventions is likely to backfire. If he was bipolar, Mr Big Deal really believes in his delusions. If he is a narcissist, he likely lacks empathy, has no insight into his own behaviour and suffers no regrets. If he is also a smart and vindictive man, you may find that moving to another state with a new identity is your only option in the wake of Mr Big Deal’s viperous campaign of mind-games, lies and manipulation.
PK, you clearly do not like Mr Big Deal. Otherwise you would have asked him questions regarding the politician and the actor. This alone may have shed some light as to the veracity of Mr Big Deal’s stories and provided opportunities to corroborate through identifying third parties to the fact. If you do have to keep company with Mr Big Deal, humour him. Probe his stories with forensic attention. Time will reveal the true nature of the man and whether he is a legend only in his own mind.
Dear Agony Aunt,
A friend of mine is elated that he’s met the woman he tells me is the love of his life. But I know a lot more about this woman than he does.
She is dishonest. She ripped off her former employer; and was jailed for fraud for about nine months. It never made the papers but many in her circle know about this and it has reached my ears.
My mate doesn’t know this and thinks she just lived overseas for a while.
I want to tell him. Shouldn’t he know the truth, so he knows what he’s dealing with here?
My partner tells me to mind my own business, but I know I’d want to know this if it were me.
Most crime is committed by people walking around with no criminal record. The Zegna-clad George Clooney-lookalike sipping skinny latte at Lemon Cafe in Claremont who has just banked in a cool million by trading on insider information on the share market. The St Georges Terrace executive who returns to his palatial City Beach Zorzi-built home after his important board meeting, pours himself a single-malt whisky and beats up his young wife in front of their 2 small children because “you lazy bitch, there’s a thumb print on the Riedel”. The beautiful blond turning heads at the Boobalicious Ball in her stunning Ruth Tarvydas creation with the tags intact under the hem so that she could return it to the store.
Miss Guile has been dishonest to her employer and she paid the ultimate price for her crime. She may be one of that rare breed of individuals we label psychopaths who experience no remorse for their crimes. Alternatively, she may have been young and stupid and “Stan said its not like its stealing, just borrowing until he gets that job at the servo but we HAVE TO make that holiday to Phuket with his mates”. Perhaps she cooked the books so that she could siphon money to save her no-good junkie brother from “a fate worse that death” from the Finks. Whatever her motivations, she has had plenty of time to reflect on her misdeeds after a spell in Bandyup sharing a cell with Bad-Arse Sal, the 200-kilo moustachioed female truck driver from Cockburn.
If you do tell your mate about Miss Guile’s past, you have to be prepared to lose his friendship. Why don’t you invite the happy couple to join you and a few friends on a holiday to Bali? It may be that Miss Guile will deem it the right time to tell your friend of her past when she has to front up to those immigration chaps at Denpasar airport with her tourist visa application and declare her criminal record to Indonesia.