Red Line Personal Advice

Monday morning I was on the red line, going back home after running some errands in downtown Boston. An older woman was sitting next to me, and the younger woman she was with was standing next to her. I noticed the young woman was dressed in that Boston-random style, with non-matching fabrics, textures, colors. I thought if I were to look around I would be soon laying eyes on the male equivalent of the Boston-random style, the wrinkled pleated tan khakis, the baby blue button-down shirt, white socks and scruffy chunky black shoes; and there he was, to my right. Some things never change.

The two women soon started chatting. The young woman started telling a story how she got involved in some sort of a dispute. Her story involved a painting, a dead man, a hospital, a widow, the dead man’s children who were estranged from the widow, and an attorney who helped the young woman get out of the middle of the dispute and do the right thing. It was an interesting story. Yes, I was unwillingly eavesdropping, not easy to ignore the closeness of her talking mouth to my good left ear.

It became apparent that they were mother and daughter. The mother was visiting the daughter, the daughter was pointing where she works (“very close to that Citgo sign”) and various city landmarks. The young woman looked like she was in her late thirties to early forties. At some point she started talking about sailing and how she and Andrew like sailing. Andrew’s birthday was coming up soon. I looked up to see if she was wearing a wedding band or engagement ring, she wasn’t. Andrew must be the boyfriend then. She said that Andrew was very insistent on not getting a present for his birthday. “He texted me, what time is your meeting done, and added ‘no gifts’ at the end,” she said. “No gifts, no gifts, no gifts,” she added with a moving-arms-horizontally gesture that implied insistence and finality. Which was too bad, because the woman had this cool idea of a gift, a short sailing trip (since they both liked sailing), where they could be either crew or just passengers, it was only $60 per person. But Andrew had rejected her idea, cause he just didn’t want any gifts for his birthday. “No gifts” remember?

That Andrew guy started sounding like a jerk. I started sympathizing with the younger woman. “So when are you guys going to his mother’s place?” the mother asked. “Well, Andrew is going on Friday, I was not invited,” the daughter replied. “Oh, I see,” the mother said. Then the daughter started saying how whenever his mother visits she is not invited to meet her. “So you haven’t met his mother yet?” the mother asked. “Nope, no,” the daughter said, her voice full of disappointment. “When his mother visits, Andrew disappears, no calls, no texts, I don’t hear from him.” Fuck you, Andrew.

“And then he plans the whole thing and he expects me to take half the day off from work without even asking if I can do that,” the daughter went on. “You don’t have to be the yes-man always,” the mother said trying gently to give advice. “I know but I thought I could do my best so that we can spend more time together,” the daughter said.

At that point I just wanted to say dump him. Andrew sounds like a jerk and you do not sound happy. He will never be there for you. He’s the guy who expects you to do everything he wants you to do in his very specific way. He has strict rules you cannot break. You are not allowed to do something simple that will give you some joy, like buy him a present (really, Andrew, really?) or meet his mother. You haven’t met his mother after many visits, he still hasn’t accepted you as part of his life. And by the way, is she really the “mother” we’re talking about? He’s the kind of guy who says “I” when he should say “we”. There will never be a “we”. How long will you have to wait before he “accepts” you for what you are? You don’t seem happy, lady, just do yourself a favor and go. You sound like a sensitive, considerate woman, you deserve better, you can do better. Dump him. Now.

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