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PDC Mailbag and Life Coach Hotline: From Courtship to Courtesy

Can you find true love, again, with the same person? How horrible can a Christmas party get and what can you do about it? Will Bud ever be forced to sit through an entire episode of Glee? These questions, and many others, will be answered in the next episode of the PDC Mailbag and Life Coach Hotline…

October was great – our versions of Oktoberfest kept us going all month, the football season was new, and Halloween left us wallowing in trampy costumes and candy.

We now find ourselves in the official holiday season. Here’s where the road gets rocky. Turkey is great (grossly underrated, actually, especially when it’s FRIED), but Thanksgiving means family. Not just the family you like. Extended family. Ditto for Christmas. The holiday season is the epitome of the yin and yang of life – there’s so much good but so much to stress about.

So there’s no better time to introduce the PDC Mailbag and Life Coach Hotline. We’ve had a lot of the fun the past few months, and one thing we can honestly say we didn’t expect was so much mail. For reasons unknown, some poor souls out there have turned to us for guidance. We’re here for you, for as long as it’s interesting, anyway. Let’s get to it. We’ll print your email unfiltered.

But never forget: We are experts in nothing.

Dear PDC,

I have to go to, at least, three holiday parties in the next two months and my wife is making me host another one. I’m trying to be a good PDC. I know we can’t ask people to bring something specific, but what do I do with all the funky wine people bring? And am I obligated to serve it – good, bad, or Mad Dog?

I’d Rather You Brought Beer or a Hamster

KENT: What happened to the days of bringing your own case of Beast, throwing it in the fridge with the rest, and grabbing a seat with the other degenerates?

BUD: Wives. And jobs. And kids. Oh, god, the kids. All of that comes with friends who are barely your friends, so you don’t see them all the time. And that creates these crappy parties. Getting older blows.

KENT: We can’t cover every little thing that annoys us about these scenarios, so let’s focus on this poor sap. How to deal with the obligatory host gift, which is often a bottle of wine.

Subtlety is not our strong suit, so here it is: Don’t offer cheap wine as a gift. If you like that particular shade of $4 Chianti, fine. You’re good people. And no one’s telling you to buy a $100 bottle of champagne just for the jerk hosting the party. But if you drink swill from Trader Joe’s, leave that crap at home. Save it for a BYOB get together and offer to share. And don’t, whatever you do, point out what it cost when you gift it. I once overheard someone say to the hostess about a bottle, “Thanks for having us over, you’ll LOVE this stuff I found! And it’s ONLY THREE DOLLARS!”

If someone is putting on a big shindig and spending money to have you at their place along with a bunch of other people, even if it’s going to be boring, get something just a shade nicer than what you usually drink. It’s not going to break you.

BUD: But if that $10 bottle WILL break you, get the cheapest crap you can find and buy a nondescript gift bag for it. Show up, make sure someone notices you brought something, then ditch it in the pile with the rest without your name on it. Days later they’ll look inside, wonder who brought that awful crap, but never know it was you. And you still get credit for bringing something.

KENT: You really do have life figured out.

BUD: If you’re the unlucky host, the good news is you are not required to serve the booze someone brings. It’s a gift, and what you do with it is up to you. Sometimes they look at it longingly after handing it to you because it’s actually good. Too bad, I say. It’s going on the shelf until the moochers are gone!

KENT: That goes both ways. If someone brings you something you recognize as cheap, feel free to pour it for them. No one’s handing me a bottle of Mad Dog then offering to drink, “whatever’s already open!” Oh, no. No way, lady. You’ll have this bottle of three buck chuck you just handed me. I’ll even run and get you a gently used plastic cup.

Dear PDC,

I’ve been with the same companion now for many years, and we’ve had lots of great times we don’t remember, but after this weekend I’m just not sure we’re compatible anymore. I’m not sure I want to invest the time or money in finding a new companion, though. What should I do?

Unhappy & Thirsty

BUD: This obviously came from a woman. A man in that situation would have mentioned the lack of sex or the drooping of the female form as it ages. This poor woman isn’t being treated the way she wants or needs to be.

KENT: Yup.

BUD: The good news is she included pics with her email. So our advice is…

KENT: Stop right there, cowboy.

BUD: Fine. Let’s assume you’ve already checked Cosmo or whatever women read at the moment, and none of their suggestions worked. It’s not a stretch.

KENT: Right. Sources from experts no doubt told you to, “spice it up,” to reinvigorate him. Or to drop hints about what you both did during courtship so, so long ago that made you fall in love.

BUD: But none of that shit works. Ever. We men are stupid, stupid beasts.

KENT: Instead of trying to drive or make him do something, we’d suggest going the other direction. Cut down on the stuff you’ve added to your life since the days of blissful courtship. Aside from the kids, it’s not that hard if you try. That’s the stuff getting in the way of what you want to do, and it’s probably not intentional.

BUD: Spend less time on chores, work, even hobbies, and more time just hanging out. Being a PDC applies to couples, too. Especially old ones.


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