Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A New Feature: Dear Nance

Surprisingly, a number of people click my email link and ask me for my opinion and advice on many wide-ranging topics.  Maybe not so surprisingly--I'm way cheaper than seeing a therapist or life coach.  I offer anonymity (if it's sought), and because I have nothing to lose, they are going to get an unvarnished reply to whatever question they submit to me.

Here are a few that landed in my Inbox.  I'm of course going to keep their identities a secret.

Dear Nance,

I'm not sure why I'm writing to you, other than a friend of a friend gave me your email.  I mean, you're not sports oriented at all, but maybe that will be good in that you'll have a more objective perspective.

I was in my first Olympics when I was really young.  I did okay, but I wanted the gold medals.  Since then, I have been chasing that Olympic dream.  I train and train so that every four years, I can compete.  I've been in several as a result, and I did get gold.  Now I'm plagued by injury and have had to drop out of competitions due to constant surgeries and rehabs.  Basically, I don't think it's entirely fair that I should have to qualify for the Olympic team.  My past history and performance is on the record.  Why shouldn't my spot be a given?  Let these newbies have to qualify for the remaining spots.  Do you see what I mean?  Sochi may be my last shot, and if my knees hold out, I deserve to go.

Dynasty Athlete

Dear DA,

Let me tell you a little story.  Back in 1981 when I got my teaching degree, I had a hell of a time getting my first job.  I finally got my foot in the door, subbing for a teacher who had been there a long time.  So long, in fact, that she had trouble getting around and problems in general.  So her schedule kept her in the same room all day, teaching the same thing all day.  Her duty was hall duty right outside her room.  Unheard of for a high school assignment.  She retired only because she became legally blind.  Fast forward thirty-three years later. I am retired, but the English teacher my husband had in tenth grade is still teaching.  The teacher the district hired to replace me is long gone, cut due to budget concerns.  But my husband's former sophomore teacher is still there, going on year eleventy million.  So, no.  I don't see what you mean.  You make millions in endorsements.  You are taking someone else's spot.  Grow up and get a real job.  You are a selfish, stunted child who is afraid to face the real world.

Dear Nance,

I'm sick and tired of my hair.  When I was working, I truly did not have time to do anything with it even though I could certainly afford to have any stylist I wanted come to my office or home and give me a cut and blow-dry.  Besides, I felt like it would reflect poorly on my sense of priorities at the time.  Now, as a private citizen, (at least for now) I can do pretty much whatever I want.  I'm still in the public eye, so I can't do a big change, but I want a transitional look that will soften my features a little.  Can you suggest anything?  Oh, and just in case I decide to get back into public life in a big way, I need it to be able to look very capable and businesslike easily.

Thank you,
Party Grrl

Dear PG,

So easy!  Feather it around the front a little and go for bangs.  Not a heavy London Girl fringe, just a soft light bang that can easily grow into a sideswept, then off the forehead look.  Later, when you grow out more, you can work into a French twist with a few tendrils.  You know, feminine but capable.  Like, Red Phone Capable.

Dear Nance,

I hate my job.  Well, not so much my job, but mainly the people I work with.  Some of them are just plain awful.  If I say yes, they say no.  If I say it's up, they say it's down.  If I say we have to have more money for something, they say we have to cut out money for something else.  It's ridiculous.  It's like they hate me on principle.  What did I ever do to deserve this?  I can't get anything done with these people around.  And the worst thing is, I'll get judged by the work these people do.  The whole thing is lousy.  Thank goodness I only have a little more time left, and then I'll never have to work here again.  Ever.

Counting Down

Dear CD,

Didn't your parents ever teach you to stand up to bullies?  If they didn't, certainly you saw it on "The Brady Bunch" or "Leave It to Beaver" reruns or the holiday film "A Christmas Story."  If your co-workers hate you on principle, then you have nothing to lose.  Start with that as your reality and lead from there.  They're going to spin negative everything you do, so do everything!  Don't be like the Puritans.  The Puritans believed in Predestination, the idea that God had decided at birth whether a person would go to Heaven or to Hell, and no amount of good works or evildoing would change that destiny.  Now, to our modern way of thinking, why didn't the Puritans live sinfully and play hard and fornicate day and night since their behaviour did not determine the destination of their souls?  Instead, they tried to live lives of strict purity and goodness and deprivation, hard work and prayer.  Why?  It didn't matter; it wouldn't influence God.  So, CD, don't live your life like it's 1634.  It's 2014.  Get in there and mix it up.  Show those bullies who's boss and bully a little yourself.  Knock some metaphorical heads and make some deals.  Call in some markers.  Leverage, CD.  Use your remaining time as Leverage.

What fun, right, Readers?  Do you have anything to add?  Who else do you think needs my advice?


  1. Anonymous4:56 PM

    This is wonderful. There's not a thing that I could add. You, my dear, have said all that needs to be said.

  2. I think "Aloha" was Obama

  3. I don't think Hil would ever go for a French twist! Well, maybe at a State Dinner or something, but not for every day.

    Is it wrong that I find myself troubled by the dynastic aspects of a Hilary presidency? After two Bushes, I've had my fill of one family dominating the Oval Office. Talk to me, Nance.

  4. Gina--If you really stop to think about it, American politics are mostly a dynastic affair. All the way back to the Adamses, and not just the presidency, either. Politics tend to run in the family. Udall, Gore, Rockefeller, Daley, Cuomo, Taft...the list is endless. The Clintons aren't even a dynasty in comparison to some of these, especially the Kennedys.

    Personally, I'd love a Hillary presidency. We'd have a woman in charge, have some real leadership, and get a twofer if she decides to let Pres. Clinton 1 consult.

    Silliyak--I cannot confirm or deny. It would destroy the sacred bond of trust I have with my readers. ;-)

    Ally Bean--Well, thank you!

  5. HOLY CRAP. GINA--That sentence should read "American politics IS a...affair." IS. IS. IS.


  6. OK. I found someone who also needs your advice. I wrote a letter for this person so you could weigh in:

    Dear Nance,

    I'm in a bit of a pickle right now. I have a high-profile job and, modesty aside, a rather high profile following which includes literally thousands of admirers. Until recently, I was not only well-liked, but virtually revered, even by those who don't necessarily share my philosophy on many points. Now... not so much. It appears that some of my loyal minions that I trusted to correctly interpret my wishes decided to exact revenge on those who had not supported me in the past during a time of need. Their spontaneous actions, unfortunately, had rather disastrous, far-reaching consequences, and now I am having to take the hit for all of this. I immediately fired the obvious ring-leaders in this ever-growing scandal, but it appears I am going to need some big-time lawyers to weigh in as well. My primary concern, with a view to my future career advancement, is how to curry favor with those who once supported me, but who now see me as Public Enemy No. 1. Any advice?

    Former Favorite Son


  7. As you are so fond of saying ,Nance, HOLY CRAP.. I think I had that same teacher when I went to school in Ohio many years ago.

    You described her to a T.. Difficulty walking, almost deaf , impaired judgment, and virtually blind..

    I ran into her the other day and she was listing all of her ailments to me but said the one bright spot in her life was that she still had her DRIVERS LICENSE!

  8. I love this new feature! And you give such excellent advice. Maybe you could tell me what to do with MY hair - the novelty of having long hair starting to wear off :)

  9. Bug--Thank you. Oh, sure. I can tell you, if you really want to hear it. Send me an email with your thoughts, and I'll respond.

    Nancy--I'd laugh, but it's only too true! St. Patsy was just relaying to me a similarly shocking account of her experience at the BMV last time she renewed. There was a man there with two crutches and a back brace who could not sit down in the chair for his photo to be taken. Any number of people tried to assist. When asked if there was anyone with him who could offer assistance, he said, "No, I drove here by myself."

    Ortizzle--I'll try my best!

    Dear FFS,
    If the whole thing is a disaster, and I think it is, you can't shake it. And let me tell you why: You own this from beginning to end because if your staff did something, it's only because they thought you would be okay with it or they were working in an environment that led them to believe that this was the way to do business. You fostered that culture. It comes with your territory, and it always will. There is no way to win support from those who can't stomach your hamfisted style. And you should be happy; with you it's always been Take It Or Leave It.

  10. I love this feature! I wonder if baby Prince George needs any advice? Or John Boehner? Perhaps Julian Fellows, after terrorizing us with last week's episode of Downton Abbey?

  11. J@jj--Thank you. I love throwing advice around, and I do think absolutely Everyone would benefit. No matter how trivial the problem, I think I can help. What the heck--I could even toss around some Big Questions as well. It's not like what everyone else is doing is actually helping.

    RE: Downton. I get so happy on Sundays when I realize all over again that it is Downton Day. Even when I know that some plotlines have gotten ridiculous, I don't care. I revel in the British accents and the archaic manners and the fashion and the interiors. It is such a gorgeous escape.

  12. Nice one!! I think that's worth actually sending to FFS--- if only he would listen. What really kills me about that whole snafu is how he denied any knowledge whatsoever about it in the beginning, and then made his stupid remark about working the cones. Spoken by someone who is fast becoming a Cone-Head. I hope they really nail him for using 25 million $ of Sandy relief funds to make his New Jersey tourism ad (which features him actually in the ad--- during a bid for re-election) while a gazillion people in his state are still waiting for funds to repair their homes. Yep, keep working those cones, buddy, cuz that might be the ultimate job you are best fit for.


Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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