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Sep 9, 2003

Advice Column for September 9, 2003

Editor’s Note: This morning Ray once again briefly visited my house in his Time Machine (he wanted to borrow an MP3 player and download some songs). He took a few moments to dictate answers to me as he fiddled with "Kazaa." I have done my best to record his advice in a faithful fashion. —CTO

Got a question? Need an answer? Ask Ray! (ray at achewood dot com)

Some letters are edited for clarity and grammar.

Please make every effort to keep letters as brief as possible. There has been a bad problem with this lately.


H E R E   W E   GO !

Ray, I have been seeing the same guy for five years, since we were teenagers. Naturally, after so long you witness a lot of changes in each other, and I can honestly say in his case, all those changes have been positive: he's caring, interesting, has a great sense of humor and treats me like a princess. Except for one thing. He has absolutely awful fashion sense. I am not one of those controlling girlfriends and don't want to tell him what to do, but sometimes I am a little embarrassed that such a handsome guy doesn't seem interested in showing himself off to best advantage. Is this something I just have to live with, or is there some polite way to let him know he could use some sprucing up without seeming too domineering?
Starving for Style in New York

Dear Starving,

There are lots of reasons some dudes do not care about fashion. Perhaps he was constantly dressed up as a child, which messed with his sense of free will, and now he subconsciously despises fashion. Clothing is deeply rooted in our identities and is chosen to reflect the way we think of ourselves; changing a person’s clothes is in many cases like trying to change a personality.

However, it’s different from case to case. Write back with some details about certain terrible outfits of his so I can analyze this dude a little more carefully (make sure to include as much information as possible, e.g. “cowboy boots, denim running shorts, Shakespeare shirt/collar, cowboy hat”). I am pretty good at this and I can help.


We have a problem with stray cats in our neighborhood. They mewl for handouts, relieve themselves all over our yard and some have even bared teeth and threatened us. We've taken to trapping strays and giving them to a local animal shelter where they can be adopted. Obviously, cats that go un-adopted are killed. I feel no remorse, but am sometimes pilloried as a cat killer. As a cat, what can you tell me to do to keep strays out of my hair?
Trapper John

Dear T.J.,

I guess for us cats the strays are kind of like your homeless population. Some are mentally ill, some got screwed by life (identity stolen over Internet) and some screwed life up for themselves (drugs, alcohol, accidentally killed their boss and had to flee).

I guess just do what I do when I see someone I don’t like wandering around the neighborhood: call the police. It ain’t your problem, you pay taxes to people whose job it is to keep shit straight around town.


In a few weeks I will be moving out of my parents house. Besides my beloved cat, Mr. Bojangles, I will be living alone. Now it should be said that I love Mr. Jangles more than life itself and more than most members of my family. I only want the best for him. So, I am considering buying another cat, once we move into the new apartment. Because a) I will be less lonely and b) when I go to work, I don't want Mr. Jangles to be lonely. BUT Mr. Bojangles isn't exactly a lovey-dovey type of cat, so I'm not sure if he will approve. Should I get another cat and risk my cat hating it, or not get one and risk my cat being terribly lonely? As a cat yourself, I was hoping you could help.
AW

Dear AW,

Yeah, cats ain’t that simple. You can’t just put us together like Legos, you know. We have personalities and stuff. If this “Bojangles” dude has been a solo cat so far, I’d guess he digs that lifestyle. If you take off for the day and he’s all alone, he’s probably gonna settle down on the couch with the remote and some Ruffles and stuff. Try to rent movies you think he’d like.

Imagine if some enormous cat chose another human for you to be stuck in a small apartment with for the next decade or so: what if you didn’t like the person? Just leave the window open and let “Bojangles” (P.S. give him a new name that has dignity, such as Dave or Matt) go make his own friends. If he brings one home then cool, cook them up some grub and let them do what they want.

Hope this helps.


My parents were never that religious, but when I came to college I started to be super Jewish for some reason. I go to Friday night services every week, keep kosher, and even fast at all the appropriate times. The problem is, I also now only date other Jews. Do you think I'm being closed-minded by restricting myself like this, especially since my parents don't even care if I date Jews or not? Should I give "shiksas" a chance?
Jewey in Philly

Dear Jewey in Philly,

Date who you like, man! Jesus. If you like Jewish ladies because you have a lot in common with them, then that ain’t no kind of problem. Pretty much everybody looks for mates within a narrow set of parameters, whether they know it or not. If you want to get down with a nice Jewish girl then more power to you. Everybody knows that Jewish women can cold rock a dude.

A helpful tip: did you know that you can carry jimmy hats in your phylactery? “Pray it Safe!” Heh heh!


I am a man who knows nothing about fashion. I just graduated from college and am now entering the work force, but I need a good looking winter coat. The last time I gave any serious thought to winter wear was when I bought a Starter jacket in middle school, but it seems like as an adult, I have only three choices: sleazy leather jacket, defeated middle-aged man Members Only type jacket, and smarmy full length over-coat. Is this really the limits of modern male fashion, or is it just my warped shopping-mall view of the world?
CC

Dear CC,

Dude, you totally left out the sport coat. I don’t know what’s wrong with young people these days, but a finely tailored coat is about as classy as it gets for casual gentlemen’s wear. These garments are available in a dazzling variety of fabrics and patterns—go try a few different styles on and see what works for you.

My current favorite is a side-vented Brioni low-contrast tattersall. When I’m goin’ for broke, I wear it with a crisp white shirt (top button open), some lightly darted Barry Brickens, and my cordovan Bally loafers.


What's the usual margin on single malt at a decent bar? I know wine at a good place runs 2 to 3, and that you do volume instead of margin on bar shots and beer...does it go the same way with, say, Talisker 10-year-old? I'm asking because 5 doubles cost me 70 fucking dollars last night, and that's sittin' about as easy as my stomach is.
T in Regina

Dear T.,

I know that when I used to run Ray’s Place (my old neighborhood bar, not this column) we would only do 50% on all top shelf liquor, mainly because none of the dudes in the neighborhood had much money. I recently sold Ray’s Place off to Japanese interests, though, so I don’t really think about it too much anymore. Sorry about your stomach ache. Try eating a banana.


More proof that Scottish Folds are a boil on the ass of feline society. (scroll down)

What kind of respectable creature would honestly allow themselves to be photographed wearing this crap? [rest of letter omitted]
MG, Internet

Dear MG.,

Yeah, thanks for the link. That site definitely ain’t helpin’ out the SASF (Society for the Advancement of Scottish Folds). Heh...man, look at those little dummies. They're all like "Hewwo! How awwe yew! Wouwd yew wike tew buy a fwoggie hat?"


I was wondering, is it true that Mountain Dew kills your sperm? I figured you, with your endless wealth of knowledge, would know. I have wondered about this since childhood and have never once found a concrete answer. Is it a myth, or scientific fact?
Doin' the Dew, DE

Dear Dew,

I was going to conduct this experiment firsthand by pouring Mountain Dew on some sperms and then using Pat’s microscope to look and see if they were dead. I called him up and told him about the idea and he got real mad that I “would even ask such a thing.” You know how Pat is.

I called Téodor and Roast Beef but they weren’t home. Sorry I don’t really have more time to answer this this week. Do any readers know if Mountain Dew can kill sperms? (Please, don’t write in unless you are a scientist. I don’t want a lot of factless conjecture or anecdotes, as I know a lot of people will just take this as an invitation to ramble on and on about their sperms.)


How old is too old to learn [to drive]? I never had a license since I couldn't afford a car; and I lived in a college town where I could walk anywhere, or in a city with nearly outstanding public transpo. I'm back in the college town, and don't really "need" to drive, but now the car that I've always dreamed of is for sale, and with budgeting wisely, I can afford the payments. I want to learn so as to possibly drive the car of my dreams, or something else wonderful, but living where I do, well, college kids aren't the brightest of people, and seeing them drive is rather scary! Not to mention the plethora of rednecks, SUVs, and then people from states that are notorious for crappy driving (Kansas, Texas, Illinois to name a few...). So with all these people and a busy interstate running through, am I doomed to just walking and dreaming, or do I try to get in the "flow" of things and just carry woefully expensive insurance?
Walking Around

Dear Walking,

It sounds like you’ve been getting along fine without a car. Also, if you have to “budget wisely” just to acquire this thing, then you shouldn’t be getting it. It sounds like you just want to buy the car because you’re being materialistic. Factor in things like gas, insurance, damage repair, deductibles, stolen stereos, new tires, oil changes, washing, detailing, parking, etc., and you’ll find that you can’t really afford it after all.

At any rate, you should maintain a valid driver’s license at all times so that you are prepared for an emergency where you need to be able to drive (both a manual and an automatic transmission). Not being able to drive a car is like not being able to pee standing up.


I think my house is haunted. What should I do?
Anonymous, Internet

Dear Anonymous,

Haunting is kind of complicated. There are many types of ghost, and they all have different reasons why they are around. Generally speaking, though, most ghosts are eternally connected to the property because an injustice to them was committed there, and that keeps them from resting peacefully. If you can look into town records and police blotters for clippings regarding your house and its previous tenants, you may be able to unravel the mystery and eventually set your ghost free (also try talking with local old-timers). Before the ghost departs it usually thanks you by showing you the way to an incredible hidden treasure within the house, so it works out to be a pretty good deal. Thanks for writing.


Last week I wrote in and asked what to do about my love life. I took your advice and "brought the strong sack." It worked! Thank you so much for telling me what I needed to hear. It was hard for me to do since I've never been particularly suave, but I did what needed to be done and now I couldn't be happier. You might be a cartoon cat, but you're my savior. I mean that in the least blasphemous way possible of course. Thanks again Ray.
Sincerely, A., Barstow, CA


Thank you to the hundreds of women who wrote in claiming that they do enjoy reading while going to the bathroom. You are a very vocal bunch!

* A Gentle Reminder (“Disclaimer”): This is advice from a cartoon cat, and should not be taken seriously. We are not responsible for anything you do based on what Ray says, or otherwise. Do not commit suicide or otherwise interrupt the lives of others. Continue on with your life as though you had never read this column. Erase your browser history. Not for readers under 18 years of age.