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Woman’s Lib

By Mink Stole | Posted 5/18/2005

My girlfriend and I are both 21, and we’ve been dating exclusively for about seven months. We’ve always gotten along great, but lately it seems like I don’t know who she is. Pretty much everything she says and does confuses me. One day she’ll be ranting on about how messed up it is to care about material things and how Americans are so greedy to want expensive designer clothes and shoes while children are starving, then the next day she’ll see a ring in a jewelry store and get all depressed because she can’t afford it. She’ll go on about the evils of the gas-guzzling SUVs that are taking over the country, then she’ll tell me about this fabulous Jeep she thinks I would look really hot driving. She didn’t even have pierced ears when I met her; now she’s got two holes in each ear and she’s talking about getting a tattoo. I’ve always been pretty conservative, but I’m OK with all her changes, because she’s still great fun to be with, and she acts like she really cares about me, but I guess I’m worried she’ll change her mind about me, too, and drop me for some other, more adventurous guy.

Dazed and Confused


There are a couple of clichés I could throw at you here, DAC, mainly that women are capricious, and that it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind, but the fact is that anyone can be fickle, and it’s everyone’s prerogative to re-evaluate, reassess, and come up with a different conclusion today from the one he or she came up with yesterday. Your girlfriend is experimenting with herself, expanding her options, opening herself up to new ideas. And she’s hardly a whack job: Nearly everyone has multiple piercings these days, and tattoos are as commonplace as blue jeans. She’s just catching up with fashion. If she starts wearing nothing but the dried blood of sacrificed goats, you might have a legitimate concern.

It’s also no great paradox to desire beauty in an ugly world; even saints and martyrs can appreciate lovely things. Just because she covets a piece of jewelry doesn’t mean she’d steal a starving child’s CARE package to get it. And the fact that she thinks you’d look hot in a Jeep probably has more to say about how she feels about you than how she feels about the car. I can’t promise she’ll love you forever any more than I can promise that you’ll always love her, but the fastest way to lose her would be to try to keep her the same. She may not need your approval for the changes she’s making, but she sure as hell does not need your disapproval.


I’m a 27-year-old woman, happily married with twin sons. I have a good job, and in my (very little) spare time I paint watercolors, so I even have a creative outlet. Everything about my life is terrific except one thing, and that one thing is making everything else seem false. When I was 15, I shoplifted some clothes from a local department store. It was only about $100 worth, and I had the money to buy them, but some girls I knew dared me, so to prove how brave and cool I was, I stole them. I was so relieved I didn’t get caught that I never did it again. Then I forgot about it, but a few months ago I was back in my hometown and I went back to the same store and was overwhelmed by this awful guilty feeling. It was so powerful that I almost went to the manager’s office to confess and offer to pay the money back, but I was afraid he’d have me arrested. I can’t go to jail, but I want to make some kind of reparations. Do you think it would be OK to send the store an anonymous money order? I can’t believe how much this is bothering me.

Barbara Booster


I’m taking a wild guess here, but I bet you’re not a high-ranking member of any political party, BB; with a conscience like yours you’d never have made it through your first election campaign. Your honesty is truly refreshing, and your desire to repay commendable, but as well-intentioned as your idea is, it’s no good. Not only was the loss written off years ago, businesses have to account for all their income, and it would probably cost the store more to figure out how to enter it into the books than the amount of the money order.

Shoplifting is an enormous problem for retailers, which translates into higher prices for consumers. So yes, what you did was wrong, but as far as the sins of the world go, your specific crime is pretty much what the Catholics of my youth would have considered a venial sin — worthy of five or 10 Hail Marys for sure, but hardly heinous enough to merit being sent to hell, and fairly easy to atone for without risking jail time or bookkeeping headaches. Find out what charities the store supports and make an anonymous donation. Or, if you prefer, you could make the donation in the store’s name. If you like, go ahead and write the store’s president a letter telling what you as an adult have done to make amends for your teenage transgression, but keep it anonymous; putting paid on your spiritual balance sheet does not require making your penance public.

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Pick and Choose (4/12/2006)
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Territorial Rites (4/5/2006)

Family Guy (3/15/2006)

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