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Okay, so I figured that enough people (whom I donít know) send me questions (about everything under the sun) that I should just start posting them with my advice. I do have to confess that people (strangers) come up to me and ask the oddest things, so this, I guess, is just an extension of that. Each month I receive a handful of very curious queries. I have no idea why people are reaching out to me for advice, nor do I ever follow up with them, but Iíve decided to do something entertaining with their issues. For whatever it's worth, here's my .02 ;-)

Oh yeah, the disclaimer.... As far as my ability to give advice and be held, legally, to it...I've been a career columnist, restaurant reviewer, agent, author (etc., see bio) and I'm paid the big bucks for my advice on technology and all its different facets. Other than that, I've got a ton of life experience with some of the most freakiest, fucked up people on the face of the earth ó some famous, some not, some who love to much, drink too much and are just plain too much. I've also been lucky enough to know the best, most giving, most caring people and mentors on the face of the earth. I've gotten myself into some odd situations that are too odd to explain, and turned it all into fodder. Usually, it's people who are trying to drag me into their own odd situations that I have to watch out for. That said, I give this advice with a grain of salt, such as you should take it. If you send a letter to an author, well...expect to become part of her fodder. Keep writing the letters and Iíll keep trying my best to give you some good olí fashioned advice.

Dry In Silicon Valley

Dear Sally:

We have a proprietary idea for a serviceÖand the web site is up, but we know nothing about marketing it. We took your idea to heart and went to garage.com, built an executive summary and sent it to them, and asked for about $600K to market it. Basically, their response was that it sounded like a solid idea, and that we should go to some big companies and market it. Well, we know that! How do we get money to hire a marketing firm? The web site is up, who do we send the thing to next? My partner and I loved your book (read it at Nags Head) and it got us excited again.

Bill in Silicon Valley

Dear Bill:

What the hell is a Nags Head? Sounds like what sat on my former mother-in-lawís shoulders ;-) Did you ask Guy how you were supposed to get the money for marketing? I guess not, or youíd have your answer. You should never be tongue tied in a meeting ó thatís why you have a meeting, so they can ask questions, and you can ask questions, too. Itís no time to think that entrepreneurs should be seen and not heard. As to your questionÖbelieve it or not, there are many qualified marketing people without jobs today. I have forwarded your email on to one of them. You can also start cold calling and find out what agencies are still taking strictly stock (or a straight over percentage of your company) in exchange for their services. What you need is some interest. You donít need a big marketing campaign to make some calls. It sounds like youíve been in the business of making cold calls. Keep dialing, baby. Get in some meetings with companies that can either assist in taking your product/feature to market, or do a buyout of the intellectual property. As youíve read in Dot-Com Success! Not all products/features are enough to start a company. If itís just a proprietary idea with no patents in place, you have a tough row to hoe. Low barriers to entry will cause investors to hesitate for sure, If this is the case, and no patents are in place and you only have a website with no partners (or even discussions underway with potential partners) with no marketing to get first to market (as if that matters these daysÖlook at what happened to PriceLine, they made the market to destroy them, now they're just a big fish inn a big pond with two washed up actors pushing their wares). What do you do? Iím assuming thatís when Guy wished you luck. So, what you need to do is find some large potential partners/partners to give you letters of intent or a contract so that you can get the money from investors to keep building. This is what my best advice is.

Happy hunting,
Sally

Nearly Dead in Silicon Valley

Dear Sally!

I have a tech start-up, weíve been looking for cash for the last 10 months. Weíve gone out on at least a hundred meetings, each time we hear that itís a great software product (feature), but not enough to build a company on. We havenít even been able to get a second date with these VCs and angels. We have come to our last month of self-funding and donít know where to turn. Which way shall we go? If your advice works, Iíll personally deliver 10,000 shares of stock that will one day - with your help - be worth something.

Nearly Dead!!!!
Sam in Silicon Valley


Dear Sam ó

Donít lose your faith. Take the advice of these VCs and angels (youíve had more than enough meetings to compare their advice with reality). Youíre not getting the cash for investment. Iím trusting that youíve already fine-tuned you b-plan? Make sure youíve read my book Dot-Com Success! ó itís a free download ó www.sallyrichards.com/books/dotcom_success.shtml it addresses all aspects of a startup from start to sale or IPO. Advice from some of the best in the business.
Having written that book, and coming from someone who is a technologist and has owned a startup (and is on plenty of advisory boards), change your strategy. If youíre hearing that it would make a good feature, start looking at ways to make an acquisition happen. Since you havenít been looking for clients, partners or an acquisition ó these are all areas of opportunity. Hopefully, your patents are all in order and thatís not why the investors are hemming and hawing. Look around and see who could most use your product/feature and approach them. If you have your patents in place and its complex enough to warrant interest, you may just have a winner. Do a little updated research in the space and hit the pitching path.

Happy trails to you!!!
Sally

Stanky Poo Man in LA

Dear Sally!

This is a strange question and one that really is seeking an answer. THIS IS NOT A CRANK EMAIL. I recently started spending the night at a guyís place after dating him a few months. He seems like a really sweet guy, but I am concerned for his health. He is in his 30s, has a studio - and has some really foul smelling poo. Does this mean he is sick? It is also causing a problem with me. He usually uses the toilet in the morning before I get upÖand then I have to go in there and take a shower and put my makeup on! I closed the door and threw up once after taking a whiff! And he only has one of those stupid vents and no windows. How do I even approach this issue with him. Can guys smell their own poo? I mean, my poo is hardly noticeable and I have air spray at my home I use when Iíve eaten something that doesnít agree with me. I tried bringing a can of my spray to his house, and I used it one morning. He said, ďthatís a great perfume!Ē and that was it, I was too embarrassed to say anything. Heís not the sharpest knife in the drawer, and Iím in the acting business; so I spend at least an hour on my hair and makeup in his bathroom. Iíve taken to leaving when weíre done at night so I can have freedom to breathe in my own bathroom in the morning. I have a roommate who is pretty uptight and doesnít like waking up with him in the house (heís left his smell here in the morning, too-and my roommate lit incense for days afterward. Iím really to freaked out about the whole thing and Iím debating on breaking up with him. Heís wonderful, he loves me, heís a beautiful looking man and strong as an ox. He makes me feel like a million bucks. His family is great. This is really the only thing I have to bitch about. But, I canít live with things like this. Can I change this thing, or should I cut him loose?

I hope you have an answer I can apply immediately.
Sharon in LA

Dear Stopped-up!

Hey, this sounds like that Seinfeld episode ó but, not even George Castanza took the opportunity to fume up the womanís studio flat. And the consequences were that he gave up the opportunity to ever have sex with his date ó ever. Then he went home ó to his own place ó and had his guilt-free poo session. IF THIS IS A REAL LETTER, it sounds like you have a clueless boyfriend. You have an option ó either put up with Potty Boy, or you donít. Truth is, no woman should have to put up with wafting poo fumes ó we have the technology to end this unpleasant quandary. Personally, I think he could at least wait for you to leave before flushing his toxic logs down the urban pipelines (God/dess help the homeless and tunnnel goths who live in the sewers of LA!). Your spray was a good suggestion, you just have to leave it on the toilet ó and maybe, just maybe, heíll get the hint. There are also a plethora of plug-in products (some with fans) with heavy-smelling perfumes to assist in fighting his dregs. Your man may very well have a health problem. Okay, letís start with the fact that healthy shit shouldnít smell THAT bad. How bad is bad? Itís all relative to if you have a very strong sense of smell, or if he does have stanky poo. Please don't send me any, I'm not THAT interested. Iím going to save myself the opportunity to draw in poo fetish freaks by writing out the details (tag words that will get picked up search engines) and give you a link to check out www.sharpman.com/Article.asp?ArticleID=994. If this is more than a casual relationship, you might want to print out a copy of the article (that spells out the health problems that outlines stanky poo health issues) for him. You can also have a frank talk with him regarding the subject. Be gentle, many men have a tendency to believe that the stank their poo has just means that it's "man's poo" and he may feel it's a macho thing. Careful where you step, a manís ego is a fragile thing. Or, avoid it all and wipe this guy off your shoe before you have to apply your makeup again.

Plunge forward!
Sally


Dying On The Vine To Become A Bride

Dear Sally!

I am 31 and I have been engaged for three years. I want to get married. I want to one day have babies. I want to move on to the next stage in my life! Every time I bring this up, my guy starts saying, "As soon as he pays of his car," and then when it was paid off, "As soon as I get a raise.Ē As soon as he got a raise, he said, ďAs soon as I get a better job.Ē In this economy that could take forever. He makes great money, he does not struggle. I have a good job and make enough to support myself. He definitely earns enough to raise a family. He hasnít even suggested we move in together. I really love him, but I am tired of waiting.

Always a bridesmaid, never a bride
TX



Dear Wannabe Bride!

Dump his ass. Considering that itís cheaper to move in together and share the bills, this dumbass is letting you die on the vine. Buy that wedding dress, hang it up in the closet and go out and find the RIGHT guy. Vow to NEVER get stuck in a deadend relationship again. You are with a man who is committed to being not committed. And youíve bought his lines for several years ó donít waste any more of your time. He knows your concerns ó did you know a manís sperm count starts going downhill at 25? Did you know your chances of having a child with down syndrome starts to go up substantially at your age? Check out www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/pubs/downsyndrome/down.htm#DownSyndrome and see the odds for yourself, and there is the higher risk of miscarriage as you get older. I think you should also consider where you want to be in two years. If you dump this guyís ass today, wait six months to make sure that youíre not rebounding, find Mr. Right Forever within the next year, set an engagement just to make sure, get married and get pregnant. That could take another three years or so. You do the math. Are you willing to waste any more time on the jerk you're with. And don't confront him about this. He's not ready, and if you do the force majure move on him, he'll be bitter and I doubt if he'd make either a good dad or a husband you'd be happy to be with. Pull the rip cord! Move on, Betty! Make sure you make a clean break with this guy ó move and change your number ó it sounds like you donít have the willpower or common sense to steer clear of him if you do dump him. Donít waste time dating men who arenít looking to get married and have no interest in children. So, make new friends ó married ones ó who have friends (men who are emotionally available) they can set you up with. You can also start babysitting your new friends' kids to see if you REALLY do want kids. Ever change a diaper? Do some volunteer work where they encourage singles-only to join. Youíll find men there who are more inclined toward serious relationships. Check out www.volunteermatch.org/ , www.archaeolink.com/archaeology_volunteer_opportunit.htm (a great org to have an opportunity and perhaps meet some Indiana Jones type). Perhaps itís time to put everything in storage and join the Peace Corps peacecorpsonline.org/ (although that could be peace corpse if you get sent someplace crazy).

You should be afraidÖvery afraid. Run, run, run as fast as you can! Leave him swinging in the wind with all the rope youíve been giving him all these years. You sound like a great woman who just needs a reality check and to get in tune with want you want out of life. Make a list of what you want in a man, and another list of what you donít. When youíre done, throw the list of what you donít want away and then go after what you want. Be careful of dating older men, their sperm count is highly in doubt, you should have a sperm check done before you are married if children are important to you. Make sure if you marry a man with a weak spermcount, that he wants to go the extra mile and jump through all of the medical hoops (expense/effort) to try and even the playing field. Go out and find a nice Jewish boy at your local synagogue community dance. There are lots of men out there, go out and find a good one. If you stay with this guy, your eggs will rot in the basket. Let go of the past and walk toward a future with the man you deserve! Stay with him and you'll only have yourself to blame for your much less than perfect future.

Go forth and find a winner!
Sally


I Want To Go To College & Make A Ton Of Money!

Dear Sally!

You must think Iím totally strange writing to you--a stranger--for advice about something THIS personal. But, from reading your blogs I feel that I know you. I also saw you on CNN and liked the way you handled that jerk talking head. Although I had no idea what you were talking about. My brother is a computer geek and was with me while I was watching --he found your website and told me I should take a peek. Now, itís you who I have turned with this anonymous Yahoo email address. I hope you have the time to answer me. So hereís the thing- -I am 17, a girl and pretty popular. I am probably popular for all the wrong things -Iím on the cheerleader squad, and Iím quite pretty (and Iím told this quite a bit by boys who are trying to get IT from ME!!). I see these girls who have been accepted at Harvard, Yale and Stanford and I wonder what they have that I donít. Well, Iíve relied on my looks and I havenít been studying as hard as I should. At this rate, best I can hope for is to become a dental assistant or a secretary. OR to marry some guy who can KEEP me. OR I could go off to college. Iíve never been told that Iíve been smart or even particularly cleaver. I really donít want to be some mindless girl going to college for her MRS degree, if you know what I mean. Thatís what a friend actually said to me when I told him I wanted to go to college!!!!! SOME FRIEND. That hurt. I like being popular. I donít like to study. Iím terrible in math and science. I want to make my own money when I get out of school and I donít want to be a pink-collar gal. OR A BLUE COLLAR GAL!!!! I want a job I can be proud & to make A LOT of money. I donít want to be married so young - or have a man have to take care of me -- INCLUDING MY FATHER. OR MY MOTHER. Iím a jr.

Sally, please tell me what options I have!
Confused in Suburbia


Dear You. Itís time to make some changes.

You donít have many options in this life. You either make your own money, or someone takes care of you. Oh yeah, or you end up on the streets. This last option doesnít give you the option of having a job to be proud of. Every year that goes by you make the decision to move toward one of these options. The reason why youíre not going off to one of those schools? My guess is that your parents have always thought to marry their young, pretty daughter off early so she can give them grandbabies while theyíre still young enough to enjoy them. My next guess is that they never spoke to you about the importance of attending college and all of the prepping you have to do to get into college. If this is the case, SHAME ON THEM. They didnít do their job, and this is why youíre writing to me. Now that you know this, you will not be able to blame your parents for any further mistakes you make in this life. Weíre born alone, we die alone. Get a grip and take control of your destiny. Do not count on your parents again for their approval of future plans, or their rejection. Go, be, fly, Little Bird. Youíre 17 and nearly ready to leave the nest. Do take their money to offer it, but donít rely your plans upon it.

That settled, we have to work on you. Youíre a junior, so you still have a little time to get a jump on life. These girls who are going off to Stanford? They have been studying for that for a long time. You do have one asset that I know of. Keep cheerleading; believe it or not, it can help you get into a college. Go to summer school, and you can get special permission to take a college course at night and take an important course (and get a better grade) and apply it to your high school transcript to get your GPA up. Also, stop dating. Get a weekend job and study during your evenings. If youíre serious about this, it will take a complete effort, and having boys on your mind will only serve to detain your efforts to get into a good college. Date once you get into college, thatís what college is for. But not while your still in high school. Taking a night course will help you meet people who are on their own and taking classes because they want to, not because they have to. That makes a big difference. You also need to get some brainiac friends ó some of those people who are going off to college. I know it would be like lathering napalm on yourself, but join the science club. He mmmmy, sign up for an HTML class and learn how to program ó youíll have a skill to fall back on and can have your own consulting/design agency while youíre attending school. You know, Carol Bartz www.witi.com/wire/feature/cbartz.shtml has a special program at her company (where she is CEO) where she gives high school girls an opportunity to intern within a corporation, her employees to be mentors, and scholarships for college as well as give young women a chance to have a job when they get out of school www.autodesk.com/dyf. Although you may not live near this company, the country is filled with great opportunities. Attend your local Women in Technology, Inc. conference, they have volunteer positions available for high school girls and can give you a chance to meet fabulous women involved in math and science careers. You may even find a mentor. Go to WITI.com. Visit my webpage at www.sallyrichards.com/stories/clips.shtml to read inspiring stories of women who made in big in math and science.

It sounds like no one ever took the time to teach you math and science. You need to master both to some level to get by in life. Both science and math paths will lead to a good, well paying job you can be proud of. There are also lots of peripheral jobs in those areas ó marketing director, public relations specialist. These are great jobs, too, but unless youíre good at them (really good at them), youíll find yourself the first one cut in layoffs. I cannot tell you how many of my friends whom I truly respect who are in marketing and do a GREAT job and are still displaced all these years after the bubble. Whatever you decide to do, decide to be the absolute best you can be doing that job. Have pride in your work. And if you want to become a lawyer, a background in math or science will help you become a specialized attorney (they get paid more and are most often picked up by large corporations). You need to tread water somewhere youíve never been before. You also need to start focusing on what you want to do in life ó what makes you happy? You need to go out and get some low paying jobs to help convince you what you DONíT WANT to do in life. Start making your own money today. My high school business teacher, Dave, gave me good advice, ďApply for jobs youíre not qualified for ó what do you have to lose?Ē He was right, and it has served me well. I had my first management job when I was 18 (I had been working since I was 15 and being paid for odd jobs long before that). Also, get someone to help you write your resume ó a good resume can get you that cool job. Go rent www.imdb.com/title/tt0101757/ Donít Tell Mom the Babysitterís Dead before you go on your job search. Dabble around in lots of jobs to see what kind of industry you might want to get into ó and youíre young, you donít need to declare a major, yet. Get your grades up and apply to a decent college. AND take lots of math and science courses. Get the help of a tutor. Get study partners. AND donít depend on them to pull you through. Learn.

Write down the things that are important to you:

GOOD GRADES ARE IMPORTANT FOR MY FUTURE
I WANT TO GO TO COLLEGE
I WANT TO MAKE MY OWN MONEY
I WAT TO DEPEND ON MYSELF TO TAKE CARE OF ME
I WANT A JOB I CAN BE PROUD OF

Write these out and put them on your bathroom mirror so you can look at them every day. And do one thing every day to work toward those goals. Itís hard having goals, but if you donít have them you donít know which direction to go. Also, itís easy just to get in the mode of looking at those goals every day and not doing anything about them, feeling guilty and falling into a rut. People change when the want to, and they find excuses about why they canít change. I once dated this guy when I was about your age. I actually ended up getting engaged (let me tell you, I was engaged to a lot of guys because I thought it was cute to be engaged and it took me a while to understand the importance of an engagement). He drank a lot of beer and hung out with his friends and basically had no goals in life. He was happy with my success, but it didnít inspire him to do better. I tried to encourage him to go to college. He had good grades in math and science in high school. Then he just went bad. No motivation. He lived with his parents. Grew a beard and looked homeless. When I told him that I couldnít see him anymore he said I was destroying him and heíd never amount to anything. True to his word, we have mutual friends who keep me posted, he is still working (when he is working) in the food industry and was recently kicked out by his roommate who carried most of the bills and got tired of him mooching. It wasnít me who made him lose his inspiration, he never had any. He never had the courage to get past GO. He couldnít find the courage to move on in the real world. There is a whole world filled with people who choose this path, become bitter and never leave a mark on the world except an empty marker in Potterís Field (a place where they bury unclaimed bodies). When you donít make a good life for yourself, youíll find that things like health care, retirement, or even enough money to pay for a small flat in a dangerous neighborhood arenít even an option for you.

People write their own history and their future. You have this rare opportunity right now to have the foresight (instead of the 20/20 hindsight) to look at what you want to do with your life, and know what you donít want to do. Go, explore. Open your eyes, attend job fairs, reach out to the community and find people at mixers (check your local weeklyís calendar for events) and ask people how they like their jobs. You can often find mentors at these events. You should look for women mentors; you donít want to become an intern to a pervert. I found a lot of great women mentors when I was your age. I was lucky and found great male mentors and only a few that were real creeps and expecting more than emotional gratitude. Even at my age, I still find mentors. You never stop learning (unless you choose to). Itís easier to keep learning than to turn your back to new ideas and thoughts. The universe is open to you ó get into a college that has a foreign study program and get away to another country one summer. Lots of business programs have this opportunity. Find what you love and do what you love to make a living. If youíre forced to do what you hate, youíll dread waking up in the morning. You can write your own lifeís script. Go, be, explore. Live. Live well.

Good luck!
Sally


Passed Over For Youngins

Dear Sally!

Iím a programmer in my mid-40s who is trying to figure out how to get ahead. The young folks coming in to the company are always getting the better projects because they know more of the new languages and about trends ó and Iím getting left behind in the dust. Should I find a different career?
Thanks for any advice,
Too old?


Dear Too Old!

Youíre not. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and end this pity party. You know what you have to do. You need to get some training. Often enough, your employer will help supplement your education, or at least give you paid time off to take classes. If not, there are night courses. Sign up for continuing education courses at local trade schools. Tackle one language at a time. Get some Java and XML under your belt. Youíre apathy to not have already sign up for courses ó this has probably been a long time coming ó is a sign that your self-esteem has taken a hit to these young up and comers. Suck it up, man. Go, be, learn. Do not keep coming up with pathetic excuses about why you canít take the courses ó find the time, make the time. And youíll find that your worth will boost up with every new line of code you learn to write. You will probably be feeling so good that you will find yourself a better job where you are more respected ó and for more money.
Take a step in this direction every day. Join your local IEEE and make some connections. You could also, if youíre really motivated, start your own coding business.

Never say die!
Sally


My In-Laws Are Hellhounds! HELP!!!

Dear Sally! HELP!

I have a serious problem. My in-laws love to argue with me ó well, with everyone. It makes holidays very toxic -- for myself and my children -- who Iíve taught not to argue, but instead to find more constructive ways to find out more about issues, or to unplug from other peopleís bad arguing behaviors. This is in direct conflict with my in-laws who choose to encouraging arguing ó especially at the dinner table. They are also quite sharp and hurtful with such a mean streak. I have trained my husband away from this behavior at home, but he still engages with his parents and siblings and relatives. It drives me crazy. I have had talks with his parents about how I feel about this, but it only makes them want to argue with me and I unplug from them. Nothing is accomplished. They are also a bunch of alcoholics.

What do I do?
Married to a Floridian family of hellhounds


Dear Peacemaker!

I do have sympathy for you. In-laws can be trying, and itís not easy to keep the peace. As you know peacemakers can be pacifists, and it can also be the name of a big missile that makes sure the peace is kept. Be the missile. Next time youíre gathered around a table and your in-laws engage in toxic behavior donít back down, protect your children and yourself from their taloned tongues. Your children will respect your efforts to thwart grandma and grandpa from taking jabs. Have phrases such as, ďHow do you think that makes me/them feel?Ē ďWhat is your point?Ē ďWhat does it matter?Ē and nail them with them. Do not engage in arguing. Make a point in saying how the things they want to argue about arenít worth arguing about. Excuse yourself and your children from the table to sit in another room. And even get into a discussion about how their culture differs from the one you have in your own home where discussions are aimed at more constructive content. You may also want to point out how alcohol makes people less aware and to care less about their hurtful comments, and although they may not think so, their comments hurt you and your children. You may also ask your husband to get a backbone and stand up for you. If nothing else works, refuse to go to your in-laws for holidays until they refrain from their behavior while you are there. Donít worry about hurting feelings; they donít worry about you or your childrenís feelings.

Take comfort in knowing that their rotting livers and bad attitudes (studies show that people who laugh and smile live longer than those who live to argue) will probably send them to an early grave that you will still be plenty young enough to dance upon. And donít get sucked into any arguments that may come from you unplugging from them.

No more putting your hands over your ears and humming!
Sally


My Roommate Is A Pig!

Dearest Sally: I have a roommate who is driving me crazy. I live in Manhattan where itís hard to find a roommate and reasonable rent. She stays up all night and falls asleep with the TV on (which I can hear in my room), she has a pet ferret that stinks up the house and sneaks in my room and pees on the floor, she has really bad table manners and I really have to try to make conversation with her. The lease is coming due in a month, what should I do? Thanks, Lost in Manhattan

Dear Manhattan!

First thing to do is to turn in your letter of 30 days notice. Take the leap of faith and know you will find someplace else. Even if you got out of there, youíd still end up with that stinky carpet that would remind you of your bad roommate every day. Go immediately to craigslist.org and post a roommate wanted ad Ė craft an ad from your bad experiences and make a list of what youíd like to see in a roommate and a flat. Highlight your good assets and see what happens. Whatever you do, if you do find a great roommate ó donít sleep with them. This is one way I see a lot of great co-living experiences end ó never sleep with someone you have to work with, your neighbors or roommate. Although, you could have sex with the president or a famous comedian and it will launch your career as an author or clothes designer.

Go forward and leap!
Sally


Pig Man Wants Refined Woman

Dear Sally --- I am a young guy ó 27 ó and Iím having girl problems. Iím not a very refined guy; I know I have bad manners; I fart, belch and scratch myself. I am also not the greatest conversationalist and often talk about myself a whole lot, and I tend to want to be right and argue about the smallest things. I know I should change, but I canít seem to do so. I live in a very affluent area of DC and the women I come in contact with are up and coming professionals who have a lot of confidence and seem to have my number before I even ask them out. I am also not very sexually experienced, my six experiences have included four college girls when I was in college, none of them resulting in a third encounter or date (letís just say that I got lucky when the girlís were too drunk to have good decision making skills in tact), and two prostitutes. I really would love to have a great relationship. I make a great income, and would love one woman to love and children. I would make a great dad. How do I meat women who would be interested in me? Thanks, Lonely in DC

Dear Clueless!

Okay, since you are still using the word GIRL, I can see that you have a problem with looking at women as equals. The kind of woman you are looking for probably does not exist in your circles. These kind of women are looking for men who are well-dressed and would be completely offended if you farted or belched in front of them ó no matter how many ďexcuse meĒ you stuck in between. I mean, why would you think someone should put up with inhaling stank from your bodily functions? Gross. There are medications for the uncontrollable belching and farting ó these bad manners can also stop you from getting ahead in life in general.

And if you feel the urge to argue with a woman about the smallest of things, itís obvious that youíd rather be right than in love Ė better get used to paying for women by the hour. The Freudian slip you used ďmeat womenĒ tells me that you are looking at women without too much respect. The fact that you think you will be a ďgreat dad,Ē but donít mention that you would make any woman a ďgreat boyfriendĒ or husband. I find the fact that you took advantage of drunken college girls to get your rocks off says a lot about your character. I highly suggest you start working on your own self-esteem before reaching out to those around you. I get this funny image of you asking out some beautifully suited woman in an elevator while filling it up with toxic fumes. You should think about taking some courses, Learning Annex often offers courses on how to increase self-esteem, respect and developing higher respects for women so that youíll become more appealing.

There are also women who wonít mind this type of behavior, youíll often find them riding Harley motorcycles and belching at small town dives where they serve malt liquor. So, you could either change, or lose the delusion that you will end up with a refined woman with any amount of self-respect.

Good luck ó youíll need it,
Sally

I Work For An Animal!

Dear Sally I am in a fix. Iím really having a difficult time deciding what I should do about this guy at work who really likes me and is pressuring me to go out to lunch with him. Heís quite a bit older, has a family Ö three kids. Truth is that I am somewhat attracted to him. He is a senior partner at a mid-size law firm. Iím 22, heís about 50. I feel if I donít give into his lunch invite that it will certainly cause some kind of conflict, or at the very least cause some unpleasant friction. He does touch me an awful lot and he brushed VERY CLOSE up against me in the elevator the other day. He also has me working late with him on stuff that could be done the next day. Iím receiving overtime, so thatís great, but he asks me out for dinner or a drink when I stay late. I really need this job, Iím a paralegal and attending law school. Iím paid very well - and get great cash bonuses-what should I do?
Desperate in Chicago!

Dear Girl-Woman ó

Being 22 is tough. Having all of the wisdom that 22 years of life has given you still greatly lacks in dealing with slimy men who wield their power to get their employees into bed. First, in case youíve been doing so, stop making excuses about why you canít go out with him. And you should make it in writing in case he does have ideas about firing you. New laws have made it more valuable to having exchanged correspondences about the issue before he makes a move to fire you or start the paperwork that heís not satisfied with your job performance. Since youíve received ďcash bonusesĒ already it will be difficult for him to prove that you are not doing a good job, especially if upon further investigation one finds that you are an exception in receiving these bonuses (donít worry, they canít make you give them back). Writing an email that simply says, ďDear HorndogĒ or insert name here. Over the past few ___ months I have become increasingly uncomfortable with your asking me out to meals and drinks. I do have a policy of not having personal relationships with my managers because I feel my job is far too important to risk any misunderstandings that may cost me my job. I hope this note does not cause any friction between us.

Okay, so if that doesnít work, keep pushing back. Know you are not the first woman he has done this to, but he may be the last. If he continues on with this behavior, become vocal about it. If he asks you out and youíre within earshot of others, say, ďIím sorry, I thought I had covered that in my memo to you, I DO NOT FEEL COMFORTABLE with your asking me out. Take note of the date, time and who heard you. At that time, itís also time to have a meeting with personnel. You work for a law firm, they know how much a philandering manager ó especially a senior partner ó can cost them in dollars and reputation. They will probably make sure you transfer you to another partner. Make sure your first contact with them regarding this issue is in writing and stress the fact that it is causing you a great deal of emotion duress. Iím sure it makes you worry about if youíll be able to pay for school if you lose your job. I bet this is causing you a great deal of stress. It definitely sounds like you have become quite uncomfortable in you job, and there is no reason why you should put up with it.

If that doesnít work, and the firm continues to ignore his behaviour, itís time to play dirty. Call his wife; Iím sure you have access to his home number. Or show up at her door. Offer to send her the memos that you have sent to human resources, tell her that you donít know what to do and youíd like her advice on how to handle her husbandís advances. Let her know that you are looking for help, and that you cannot afford to lose your job. This is bound to have him turn his attentions away from you and to rebuilding his marriage or countering his wifeís advances for a divorce. Donít feel badly about whatever happens, men like this deserve what they get. If the firm decides to let you go, they will probably make you a good offer. If not, itís time to get yourself a good attorney. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you leave a paper trail.

Good luck with handling the manaral,
Sally



Ready to Spread My Wings And GO, GO, GO!

Dear Sally!

I have been through the ringer. I was married for 20 years. My husband dumped me for some young chicky-poo Ė after he found the miracle of Viagra through an Internet ad. Sex was never great for us (except it produced four great children who have supported me through all of this and whom I love dearly). And to have even MORE of not great sex...please! I was glad he left me, I didnít want anything to do with that piece of wood that his penis had become. I moved in with my daughter who just recently had a child and I can be of some help to her family (they have five kids). I got a ton of money in the divorce, and Iím not that young. I noticed your Pics and webcam page and the different places youíve been. Iím 66, in very good health, and very adventurous. Iíve never been out of the country. You are a womanÖWhere should I go?

Thanks for your help,
Deena

First of all, youíre better to be rid of that dick (forgive the pun ;-) Second, read Rita Golden Gelmanís www.ritagoldengelman.com/family.html book Tales of a Female Nomad. She has gone through something somewhat similar and really landed on her feet. Itís an incredible tale of a woman dumped by her husband after many years of marriage and two children. Her children go off to college and she goes on a trek that takes her around the world where she writes childrenís books and lives a pretty tough and intriguing life. The book is very inspirational and I highly recommend it to any woman going through any transition. Order it through her website, she could use the cash www.ritagoldengelman.com/book.html. Here are a few links www.seniorsomething.com/categories/travel/travel.html www.transitionsabroad.com/listings/travel/senior/resources.shtml www.seniorshomeexchange.com/addedbenefits.asp gocalifornia.about.com/cs/travelseniors/
Those are a few links that I found with the keywords ďsenior travelĒ on Google. Personally, I want to retire in Asia; I have spent a lot of time in Asia and have never felt more at home. The people of Thailand are warm and friendly, the food is great. Malaysia is beautiful. Anywhere you go in Southeast Asia youíll find warm water. Africa is wonderful, but I wouldnít advise it now, lots of political stuff, illness and poverty. Not a place you want to travel alone, perhaps if you take one of your kids with you? Kenya is beautiful and just makes time disappear. India is beautiful and is travel friendly. I am actually starting to look into traveling across the country. I just drove from San Diego to Seattle ó what a beautiful drive. Iíve been reading this book called Lily Dale www.tleavesbooks.com/harper/hc04.htm and here are a few links www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4631214/
www.lilydaleassembly.com/
www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/1591/lilydale.html and Iím fascinated by this little community that opens its gates in the summer. Its filled with spiritualists and its an amazing book that makes me want to drive east. And Iíve not really seen a lot of the south; thereís a reason for that ó I hate bigots. Anyhow, check out the links and good luck. You might try Canada. Check with your local AAA if youíre a member. Also, AARP offers travel discounts and probably have someone who can help you if youíre a member.

Safe travel (and find yourself a good man to share the best years of your life)!
Sally


I Want a Fun, Qualified, Wacked Employee. How Do I find One?

Dear Sally!

I have been hiring people for a while for executive positions. Most of these guys are engineers whom I work directly with for years. Although they may seem easy to get on with at the interview, they become curmudgeons and are not very fun to be with. I want to hire people with a fun sense of humor and who are well-rounded; it takes a lot to fire someone if theyíre doing the job, but just not part of a cool team. I donít mean to seem trite about it, but Iím sure you know what I mean. I canít just go to someoneís website and read their blog to see what is going on in their head and their life. Itís funny, but the women I hire seem to be right on the money during interviews and donít become something else. It sounds strange, but I want to be able to give a Seinfeldism during a meeting and have everyone be on the same page as me (I actually came upon your site by a Google search that mentioned Seinfeld). I want to be able to say, ďOkay, letís take a break and all go out and see Life of Brian at the local indi cinema for lunch.Ē I want to have a friend as well as a co-worker. How the heck do I do this without breaking some kind of law?Ē

Lost in Space.
Peter, WA



Dear Pete!

Well, I know what you mean. Iíve hired lots of people who I want to fire even before their three months is up. I call them pretenders ó they are on their best behaviour when I interview them, seem easy to get along with and then they become this neurotic, freakish employee I want to drag down the hall to the bathroom and drown in the toilet. Yep, been there, done that. Not the flushing down the toilet thing, that was a pure euphemism. It seems like you have a difficult time reading men. So, letís start there. Iím not familiar with the hiring laws of each state, so letís bypass that all together and youíre on your own legally. Letís say you want someone who gets you Seinfeldisms. So, put yourself in an episode. You get some guy who seems pretty sedate, because thatís how people are taught to be during interviews - those same quiet guys will either be stalking you with a gun, or hanging from the rafters at the holiday party. Place your own ad, bypass hr completely and post something on craigslist. You should be able to interject enough humor into an ad to let people know the real you and hopefully prep them.

JAVA App developer. We need an additional TEAM player in our group. In addition to having the following skills: 1-4 years of professional Java Development experience. MUST have professional experience with Java/J2EE JDK and JSP is a requirement for this position. We would also like to be able to get along with you. We will hate you if you are lazy, if you are boring, if you wear Ferragamo shoes or participate in extreme sports that make us look boring and lazy. Or, if you work harder than us and make us look bad. We are an extremely fun-loving group who is looking for a crazy (not bring a gun to work and shoot us up crazy), wacky man or woman who wants to cut work in the middle of the day and see Life of Brian. You neednít be young, trendy or fashion conscious or have hair. You must meet the skills requirement and be able to answer three Seinfeld pop-quiz questions at the time of the interview (seriously). All races welcome. We really need you, so come on in and say, Hello!

Okay, so prep people for what you want. Many people who donít know ANYTHING about Seinfeld will not even bother applying. Also, use craigslist.org to list your hiring needs, a particularly cool pool of qualified and quirky (in a good way) people seem to bubble up from this resource.

Also, if you have a man whom you think is a good candidate, throw him a curve ball. Lots of recruiters and companies are throwing unorthodox questions into their interviews these days to see how people think on their feet. Because youíre looking for someone who is really wacked, I suggest a question that reflects this.

So how about this one:

ďOkay, Charlie, you seem like a great candidate, you have the skills and have answered nearly all of the Seinfeld questions we had for you (Q: What was Elaineís boyfriendís name who was a mechanic/turned sales person? A: Putty; Q: What kind of car did Seinfeld buy his father? A: Cadillac; Q: Where did Kramer go when he became upset with Seinfeld because he wanted his apartment keyís back? A: LA; Q: What TV show did Seinfeld see Kramer on while he was in LA A: Your candidate answered Will & Grace ó that just shows he doesnít have too much TV history, he probably has seen Seinfeld in reruns...he may be too young for your team. The correct answer was Murphy Brown. When you tell him the correct answer, he wrinkles his brow like, ĎWhatís a Murphy Brown.í?). Charlie, we have one more question - your answer is not completely dependant on if we decide to hire you, but it is asked specifically to see how you think on your feet and your team skills.

Q: So, Charlie, and I hope you take this in the spirit it was meant, letís say you had by some crazy twist of cruel fate had what some people might call a disabilityÖalthough, some might consider it an advantage. Letís say you had a vagina in the middle of your back. A vagina somewhere where you couldnít reach ó in the middle (turn around and point between your shoulder blades, but higher). Okay, your wife or significant other (youíll be getting into a whole can of worms if you donít mention significant other) usually applies a Kotex to your back that seems to last the entire day, youíre a light bleeder...during your time of the month. But, you just happen to be offsite at a customer location, you have one of our team members there with you. You feel your back cramp up and you know youíve started your period. You are wearing a pressed white shirt and have no sports jacket with you. You are about to go into a development meeting with the customer that will take several hours and you will probably go out to lunch with them, you know that the client has white furniture in their meeting room, and you just happen to have a just-in-case Kotex in your briefcase. Would you try to apply it to your shirt by yourself-knowng that you have one opportunity to appy it, or it won't stick? Would you ask your team member for help? Would you make some excuse that you were ill and go back to your hotel to take a warm bath and order up a glass of wine? What do you do?Ē

Pete, I would say that no matter what this guy answers...you have your answer. Well, except if he answers, ďQuit my job and go to the hospital to get a hysterectomy,Ē and then leaves your office to write a complaint to personnel. You can always say it was just a misunderstanding. Or that heís crazy (bring a gun to work and shoot everyone up kind of crazy). These steps should help you better qualify your candidates. Iíve had luck with many candidates using this very same technique. Although I did notice that you are writing from Washington and this is a high tech company; you may not want to do this if you are working at Microsoft (everyone is looking for a reason to sue Microsoft). This will only work if you have the final say at your company and the candidate sees no other managers who are not in on the technique. Only let them talk to other managers once they are assimilated.

And whatever you do, this question is only for males; females would know what to do in this situation.

Good luck with future employees.
Cheers,
Sally




I Want To Kill My Son's Turtle And Shirk The Responsibilities Of Raising My Son, But I Need Your Permission To Do Both

Dear Sally:

My son has a turtle and I canít stand cleaning its tank. He really wanted this turtle and has little interest in it now. I have ended up taking over all of the care duties. I am just tired of having this turtle around, but feel guilty that no one spends time with it. Should I take it down to the local lake and let it go and tell him that it died?

Thanks for the advice
Claire, Hawaii



Dear Claire:

Youíve fallen for the oldest trick and the book. "Mommy I want that!" If he wasn't thinking, why weren't you? You saw this coming the minute you headed down the reptile isle. Little boys who get pets they don't take care of, will always shirk their responsibilities in life. Your first job was teaching him about the quality of life an animal should have, and you should have gotten some videos and books about the care and feeding of turtles long before you got one. Many times, a child doesnít comprehend the entire (enormous) responsibility it takes to raise a pet.

You should have worked out terms with him. Iím not sure how old your son is. Iím not sure he gets an allowance, but you need to start building a sense of responsibility in this kid, or youíll be paying for it the rest of your life. You needed to instill the fact that the turtle is a family member, and you would not be caring for it. He would. Animals die without proper care, and that was HIS responsibility. If the tank is too heavy for him to change on his own, then you need to offer some assistance. You teach him that you never give away a family member, that you make things work out. That if he shirked his responsibility with the turtle, there would be no other pets down the road. AND MEAN IT.

You need to take away his video game or TV privileges, a playtime privileges, or allowance until he takes back responsibility for his pet. You also must supervise to make sure the animal is not being mistreated. Even turtle can feel, needs exercise and to be fed properly. This was a tough first animal for a child. Did you know that the proper care of reptiles is overseen by most city animal care organizations? That aside, you need to teach your son that he canít just shirk this aside, and youíll pick up where he left off. He will be dumping on you for the rest of your life. His future wife will not thank you for this. Women are caregivers and when they get older and become wives. They are often burdened with the care and feeding of the animals, the wash, cooking, cleaning in general - all the shit jobs that their husband's mothers never made them responsible for doing. Don't contribute to the making of an irresponsible man who will then make another.

You go march into that boyís room and have a discussion with him, set the terms and stick to it. Itís time you started doing your job, so his future wife (or significant other) will not be taking over his responsibilities later in life. It may not seem all that important, but it is, and it all stops and ends with you. How you teach your boy will be deeply integrated into his adult self and may take years of therapy for he and his significant other to go through to reverse.

Go, be, teach. And remember, when youíre 78 and lying on your near death bed and he opts to pull the plug instead of going through the hassle of coming to see you, or he decides to shove you in some dumpy senior care facility where he doesnít come visit you at all, that you have done this to yourself. If your son is older it will take more work, and you may want to give in rather than put up with his attitude, but do it anyway.


In the end, if you decide to throw your hands up in the air and shirk your own responsibility, then you need to take that turtle to a turtle rescue sanctuary instead of letting it go somewhere where it may die because the river is too cold.

Teaching a child responsibility from the get-go is key to their future success, do not leave it up to someone else (teachers, etc.) to do your job. Having the opportunity to teach a child how to become a responsible adult is a privilege, not a burden. We reap what we sew (like a beautiful quilt), or sow, I suppose, but you can get a sow if you don't sow with care.

Good luck,
Sally