"Ask Dr. Tracy"

1/18/98 Advice Column


Dear Dr. Tracy,

Why would president Clinton risk everything for a fling with Monica whatshername? Is he nuts? Are all men crazy? What's going on here? I'm baffled.

Dear Baffled,

MonicaGate is more about power than sex. Throughout history powerful men have felt entitled to sex with the village virgins or as close as they could come to it. Now, it appears we have a president who just can't say no when the opportunity arises. And the opportunity will always arise with powerful men, whether they're good-looking or not.

For most of history, a woman's power came by getting powerful men on her side, or by having sex with the most powerful man. That was her survival; the most powerful man was most likely to protect her and her children. It's in women's tribal memories -- and what a sexual thrill for a young girl. Sex with a president is pretty heady stuff   :)

Unfortunately, what Gennifer Flowers and Monica Lewinsky found out is that powerful men can be fickle, and when push comes to shove and their power is in danger, they can betray a woman without a backward glance.

For a lot more on this, see my Interview with Gennifer Flowers.

Sorry, but that's the way it is,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

It's taking me much longer than I'd hoped (I'm 30) to find my life partner, because I don't want children. While I'm willing to acknowledge that I might change my mind someday, I strongly doubt it -- the most enthusiastic thing I can say at this point is that at the right time, with the right person, it might not be horrible.

I've had two wonderful relationships, which might otherwise have led to marriage, end over the kids question, and it's really walloped my ego. I keep feeling inadequate, like the men I meet value their hypothetical future children more than the real live woman -- me -- who has an actual relationship with them. Short of stating bluntly on the first date that I don't plan to reproduce, how can I handle this?

You can just call me "No Baby, Baby."

Dear No Baby, Baby,

If you don't want to reproduce, that's your right, but in your age group, most men want kids. After all, that's a big part of marriage. However, there are men who don't want any for reasons of their own. Find those guys by advertising in the classifieds or online and put what you want right out front.

The problem with most people is that they wait until they're in a relationship to get a handle on the important non-negotiable issues, like whether you want to have children or not. That's how you got in trouble. So save yourself.

Next time, "state it bluntly," as you say. Put it right out there that you don't want kids -- preferably before you've even met the guy, like in the first "getting-acquainted-do-we-actually-want-to-make-a-date" conversation -- or at least on the first date. Why waste his time and yours if you're at odds on the kids question?

Look for a guy who's already had all the kids he wants, or if you're looking for an absolutely no-kids-ever kind of guy, you might want to join a Zero Population Growth group. They believe that the world is already too crowded; perhaps there you'll find a man who feels that having no children is a socially correct decision.

Regarding changing your mind: yes, you're likely to -- especially when you're about forty and suddenly realize you may lose the choice. And you realize that if you do at that time, you'll be in hot water with the "no baby" guy you've found...

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

About a year ago I started a new job working for a company in which 85% of the workforce is female. Since starting there I have made many close friends many of them female. Last week something happened which has left me very confused - I noticed that one of women I had developed a close friendship with was crying. So after work we found a quiet place away from everyone and talked. I listened as she told me about how bad her marriage was and how her husband mistreated her both physically and emotionally. During our talk she also admitted that she had feelings for me and wanted to become sexually intimate. I'll admit that I've got deep feelings for her as well but up until that point kept them to myself due to the fact that she is married. Our talk that day lasted for hours and left me with alot to think about.

But the next day something else happened - another close friend also unhappily married came up to me and also admitted the same thing - that she had intimate thoughts as well. This has thrown me into total confusion - as I have deep feelings for them both and up until last week both of these women were very close friends - but now it appears that they both want more than just friendship.

I've only been in one other relationship in my life - that was a marriage that lasted 8 years and have been alone for the last three so I really need some advice right now on how to deal with this situation. thnks

Dear Workforce Romancer,

If you want to keep your job and keep the peace where you work, stop hanging out with unhappily married women in your company. Stop listening to the stories about how awful their husbands are, and discourage their feelings for you. You could wind up in any number of awkward situations including sexual harassment charges, angry husbands looking for you, and losing your job.

Don't date where you work. Don't spend long intimate times with married women.

Find a girlfriend outside of work. Let these women at work know that you are no longer available for hours of conversation as a shoulder to cry on or as a romantic interest. Suggest that they join a woman's support group or talk to a therapist or religious advisor. If a woman is being abused, refer her to the local social services office (usually listed in the front of your phone book) for help.

Be a friend, be supportive, but keep your distance both physically and romantically. Don't spend time alone away from work everyone with these or other married women. You may think their crushes on you are a secret, but the company wireless will broadcast it all over the place before you can stop it, and soon, everyone will know everything. Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Submitting a Question to this column

Dr. Tracy regrets that it is simply impossible for her to answer all of the hundreds of questions submitted to this column each week. However, she does read every question, and tries to select the three which are of the most general interest to the visitors here.

Dr. Tracy says, "Is your question urgent? Many of the most beseeching, desperate messages I get are not answered in this column because the answer is just a couple of clicks away in my Love Library. Have you tried my Love Library? I know that nobody goes to libraries anymore, but check this one out -- it's so easily searchable that it's fun and easy to use!"

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(Featured art from cover of Letting Go, by Zev Wanderer and Tracy Cabot, published by "Bitan" Publishers, Tel-Aviv, Israel)
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