How Should I Handle the Reactions to My Plastic Surgery?

Dear E. Jean: Next month I’m getting the gift I’ve always wished for: plastic surgery to correct some bothersome facial imperfections. This means I’ll be out of work for a few weeks. Undoubtedly I’ll look much different when I return, so how do I keep my coworkers’ reactions, speculation, and gossip at bay? My office is filled with people who like to spill their guts about everything, while I remain very private. It’s really no one’s business what I do to my face, but how do I convey this fact in a professional way without affecting my relationships with my coworkers?—Tight-Lipped and All Business

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Miss Lipped, My Luv: Brace yourself, woman! Your coworkers will be so wowed by your new look, several will feel threatened, two will ask how much it cost, the nice lady in human resources will say you looked better before the surgery, another will hit on you, and these are just the reactions you’ll incite in the elevator the first 30 seconds of your return. Do you really believe you can keep your colleagues’ reactions “at bay”?

You have a choice: You can be the worst businesswoman in history and “remain very private” (which will be like throwing a lamb chop to a pack of Rottweilers), or you can smile at the fact that one of the reasons you’re getting surgery—whether you admit it or not—is to give yourself an advantage over the other players in this stress-inducing game we call Work. And the sooner you prepare everyone, the better. Here’s how:

1. On your last day at the office, just before you leave, tell everyone face-to-face: “I’m having a couple of cosmetic procedures done and will see you in two weeks. Wish me luck!” Again, gird your loins! Several people will say you don’t need it, others will advise you to have your breasts done because you’re “on the table anyway,” and so on. Respond to their comments with cheeky grace and keep moving out the door.

2. After the surgery, give the top gut-spillers at the office the honor of “gossiping” before anybody else. A day or two before returning to work, meet them for cocktails—their shrieks of joy or stunned silence will give you a sense of how the office will react. And if you choose your allies wisely, they will so thoroughly update everyone at the company that by the time you actually arrive at your desk, you’ll be old news.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

But the person’s “reaction” you absolutely must prepare for is…your own. Your whole head will hurt like hell for weeks. Judging by my friends’ surgeries, it will take months for your face to grow into its new beauty, so don’t waste all day looking in a mirror. And, most importantly, if you want something you can’t have, such as goddess-like perfection, don’t go under the knife. You’ll be racked with disappointment.

This letter is from the E. Jean archive.

How Do I Flirt Without Being Awkward?

Dear E. Jean: Can you tell me who is this “inner goddess” whom all ladies apparently carry inside? Inside where? I’m having trouble finding her! I was never really a girly girl, and flirting doesn’t come naturally to me, so at 27 I’m a total seduction rookie. My experience with men can’t even be characterized as elementary.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

I don’t expect to become the next Marilyn, but I want to tap into my inner femme. How do I get myself to a place where I can enjoy being admired? I’m a successful career woman and I know how to make goals, and this is my new goal: to exchange sparkly glances sans panic attacks. —I Just Bow My Head and Flee

Miss Flee: I have conferred with my inner goddess. She reports that your inner goddess is in San Francisco attending a vibrator convention.

Good. With luck, we won’t hear from your Supreme Broad for weeks. They’re a boring bunch, these inner goddesses—they never seem to do anything but whisper: “Hey, girl, let’s straddle the sofa!” Or, “Hey, girl, let’s take a bubble bath!”

Anyway, inner goddesses aren’t interested in men. They’re interested in pleasure. Get that straight, Miss Flee, or you’ll never exchange “sparkly glances” with anything but chocolate cake. So let’s turn our attention to the deity who actually does enjoy “being admired”: your outer goddess.

A simple being, your outer goddess has no secrets. She swears by the hair, the makeup, the dress, and nothing but the dress, so help her God(s). Your outer goddess knows that if you brush on a bit of mascara and shimmy into a flirty frock, men will deduce (correctly) that you want to flirt, and if they deduce that you want to flirt, they will flirt with you.

A man’s “mind argues,” wrote Balzac, that “a woman who knows how to make herself so beautiful must have still greater resources when it comes to lovemaking.” All you have to do is a) find the dress; b) don the dress; c) attend a shindig wearing the dress; d) not run away when a chap is attracted to you because of the dress; e) look into his eyes; f) smile. It would be nice if you also laughed at his jokes, but let’s not go completely mad the first night out.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

The next week, you will slip into a cocktail dress and high, high heels and throw a board game party.

P.S. I also recommend that you attend a seminar at Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts (mamagenas.com). There, the magnificent Regena, who answers only to Celtic gods, will instruct you in a whole new view of enjoying (i.e., seducing) men.

This letter is from the E. Jean archive.

I’m Afraid of Blowing My Paycheck

Dear E. Jean: My new salary makes me nervous. It’s so much money, I’m scared that I’m going to end up blowing it. I’m afraid I’ll feel too comfortable spending it. How can I avoid losing my head? —Nervous Working Girl

Aw, Hell, Working: You should lose your head. A woman who doesn’t lose her head when she wins a big new salary is probably too dumb to receive it.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

I realize this is not the kind of advice any decent columnist would give an ambitious woman, but Auntie Eeee is not decent. After two or three days of blowing it, you must get serious, of course, and have yourself tied to the mast like Ulysses and sail by Bergdorf’s without going inside—but a new salary? It’s to be enjoyed, else why go to work?

Then sign up (it’s free) on Mint.com. You’ll be able to view your financial accounts via charts and graphs that will help you set a budget, track your spending, set goals, and organize an investment plan. I’m waiting for them to build a new feature where they make us all rich widows without having to marry anyone.

P.S. If you’re not down with the whole “Spend it! It’s good for you!” philosophy, just forward your salary to me at my mountain cabin, along with a certified check for $1,800. That’s my fee for splurging and enjoying your money.

This letter is from the E. Jean archive.

Why Won’t the Girl I’m Online Dating Meet Me?

Dear E. Jean: I’m a 30-year-old guy. I’m writing to you because I want honest, impartial advice on the following question: Am I an asshole?

I met a girl on a dating site, and we started to talk—and talk a lot. Over the course of the past month we probably exchanged 2,000 texts, and spoke on the phone every other day. We got along great. But she refused to meet in person, even though she’s a grad student at a university close to my office. I asked about her reluctance to meet, but she brushed it off. She said she had no “fears” and had never experienced any “horrible first dates,” so I was having difficulty understanding why we shouldn’t hang out. I therefore sent her the following message: “I need to know if you want to move this forward. It’s seriously time we either sh*t or get off the pot.”

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

She replied that she couldn’t meet because she was “trying to quit smoking, get in shape, and look for a job.” I feel that I’ve made my intentions clear, and thus my question: Am I a total jerk? Was I right to break ties? Or should I wait and hope that one day this will turn into something more? —Can’t Understand the Female Sex

My Dear Chap: The young lady is not interested. The young lady is not looking her best. The young lady is dating another guy. The young lady is dating two other guys. The young lady is a guy.

P.S. You’re too fine a fellow to waste your affections—70 texts a day, by my calculations!—on an imaginary girlfriend. I strongly recommend you sample the excellent dating site HowAboutWe.com. You sign up and suggest a clever date you’d like to go on, as in, “How about we drink Chartreuse and guess the 130 secret ingredients?” Young ladies with the same interests accept (or suggest another cool idea). Then you simply set a time, and meet!

This letter is from the E. Jean archive.

Could My Ex Post Our Sex Tape?

Dear E. Jean: In 2008 I made a sex tape with my boyfriend at the time. The affair ended badly. We’ve not been on civil terms since—in fact, we’re not speaking. Now, with a more sensible head on my shoulders, I’m applying to be an elementary school teacher. If I were establishing a career in any other field, I could brush the thing off as a youthful indiscretion. But I worry that my ex will post the video online—or that he already has posted it—and my teaching career will be finished before it starts! Should I call him and ask him never to post it?—Sex Ed

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Ed, My Dear: If your former flame “already has” put it online, it’s buried under such an explosion of bosoms, bottoms, and higgumbobs, no school board on earth could find it. I tried. Your name—thank you for including it in your e-mail; I’ve spent a pleasant evening googling it—is still as pure as Mother Teresa’s bra strap.

So now the question becomes: Can we accurately predict whether the guy will post it? Run, get a pencil and paper, and answer the following questions with a yes or no.

1. Does the man have a career, or is he looking for a job?

2. Does he have a girlfriend?

3. Is his equipment less than seven inches?

Score five points for every yes, and zero for every no. If the total is 10 or above, the probability is extremely high he won’t post the tape. (After all, it could just as easily annihilate his career. No girlfriend would stay with a jagweed posting videos of himself with another woman. And what man would be caught dead on the Internet showcasing less than stupendous utensils?) There’s no need to call him.

If the score is five or under, consider meeting him for cocktails. After a fond smooch hello, steer the conversation to the happiest memories, enjoy a cozy laugh over the sex tape, and ask him to give it to you. But my best advice is to forget it. Reminding him of the video could rip open old wounds and spark ancient jealousies—never a good idea. Of course, all bets are off if he’s a washed-up celebrity frantic for media attention.

This letter is from the E. Jean archive.

Am I Living My Twenties Right?

Dear E. Jean: Serious question: Does life actually get better after you get past your twenties? Success was already starting to happen to the Brontë sisters by the time they reached my age: 23. I’m falling behind my peers and feel I can’t catch up! Please tell me the thirties are better. Your Wilting Gardenia

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Gardenia, You Young Blockhead: Bah! You’ll spend your thirties regretting how you fouled up your twenties if you run around comparing yourself with those three little English stiffs. A live girl is better than a dead icon.

Because, if you’re lucky, you’ll live many lives, Miss G. And if you’re very lucky, you’ll live several of those lives in your twenties. To help you understand that blazing thirties begin with the decisions you make in your twenties—the torrid twenties!—I’ve chosen to examine all the letters from women in their thirties (men deserve their own study) that the Ask Eeee column has received in the past two years. Here are my findings:

The (Unofficial) Top 10 Things Women in Their Thirties Regret Having Done in Their Twenties

1. Marrying the wrong chap

2. Starting their careers too late

3. Losing their lissome figures

4. Having kids too soon

5. Not marrying the right chap when he asked

6. Living the lives their parents wanted

7. Running no risks

8. Pursuing no purpose

9. Never quite believing in themselves

10. Sticking with a series of chumps, dickweeds, and half-wits, all of whom ended up borrowing money

The lamentations from correspondents regarding number seven alone, Miss Gardenia, would cause you to push through the violent hordes of your competitive contemporaries and seize the day! According to Meg Jay, Ph.D., author of The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter—and How to Make the Most of Them Now, two-thirds of career wage growth happens in the first 10 years of working.

So get the best job you can get (Jeremy Renner took gigs as a makeup artist when he couldn’t get past a callback), keep a playful attitude, run some risks, and admire the backs of your thighs—they’ll never be as tight again. In your twenties you’re the scriptwriter of your life. In your thirties, you’re the script doctor.

This letter is from the E. Jean archive.

My Husband’s Bachelor Party Habit Drove Me to Cheat

Dear E. Jean: Last fall, before I married, I had a serious emotional meltdown because my husband’s friends (a bunch of wealthy spoiled brats) hired strippers for his bachelor party. I felt his bachelor party overshadowed our wedding. It still kills me to know he had strippers around him, doting on him, etc. Unfortunately, he’s planning to attend another four-day-long Vegas bachelor party for one of the aforementioned morally bankrupt buddies. I’m scared to death! I feel like I am not good enough, like he’ll stare at those strippers and forget about me. So once again, I’m faced with immense and unbearable pain. Do I stick with him and try to work through this? The loneliness I feel has driven me into the arms of another man, who’s been romancing me, but I suppose this is the subject matter for another letter. —Lost, Unlovable, and Empty

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Lost, you lunatic: Hold on. Wait a minute. Auntie Eeee needs to get this straight: You’re “driven into the arms of another man” because you’re “scared to death” and can’t face the “immense and unbearable pain” of your lawful husband “staring” at a stripper? Lady, you make strippers look like Jane Austen heroines.

What’s your deal? You’re banging some dude because you’re unglued over a bachelor party? Please. You want the bottom line here, Miss Lost? A bachelor party is nothing. It’s a guy thing. It’s a class thing. These dudefests are so funny, so bourgeois, so conventional, I could strut in wearing the “meow eye mask” and the lads (good-hearted but stupid) would bellow like rutting wildebeests. You live in an era of 24-hour super-duper online-strumpet sex and you’re worried about a decent, hardworking, old-fashioned stripper? Come on. Paid trollops are doing so many things you can’t even imagine via live chat and webcams that New York magazine recently ran an article suggesting that all the Internet smut might be lowering men’s libidos.

Hell, bachelor parties are family picnics by comparison. Smart wives simply ignore them. Or when the subject comes up, they inject playfulness into their marriages by giving their husbands a good spanking with the Kiki de Montparnasse Silver Tip Riding Crop. Or they turn the tables, encourage their husbands to go to the parties, and then fly off with their girlfriends for a saucy time in Tahoe. Or they invite their husbands to forgo the fests, stay home, and enjoy the new Bullet Star Pasties and shiny Bullet Playsuits with silver rings they just bought at Agent Provocateur.

Sly wives employ many clever tactics, but they don’t use bachelor parties as an excuse to cuckold their husbands.

This letter is from the E. Jean archive.

Is My Coworker Crush Playing Me?

Dear E. Jean: There’s this gorgeous guy at the office with whom I’ve hooked up several times. I care deeply about him, but when I try to kiss him, he’ll say: “I’ll make you a deal. You give me oral sex, and I’ll kiss you.” I want my hand held! I want to be cuddled! I want to introduce him to my friends! But he has refused over and over again on all three counts.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Last Thursday he spent a drunk night with my close friend and coworker, and they fooled around. But I feel if I just wait it out he’ll be ready to be in a relationship with me. I’m afraid that if I tell him, “No, I won’t get on my knees,” he’ll find another girl to be with. Am I being dumb? I’m serious about my career, and I’m rising fast in our company. I just want you to tell me I’m not being stupid because I feel one day this will work.—Caught in a Cycle

Miss Caught: Oh, honey, is this your first bastard? And your first big job? You sound so hopeful! So trusting! Then best you hear this from Auntie Eeee before your heart is stomped: The man is playing you for a fool. The more passionately you beg the dickering little vermin for a “kiss,” the more he’ll snigger about you to people in the office. I’m sorry, I know I’m bruising you—God knows I’ve made an idiot of myself over a jerkweed or two—but if you continue the affair, your career at that company is over.

And not because you’re having sex with the guy. (A strong, clever woman may enjoy as many men as she pleases, from the executive suite to the mail room, and still rise to the top if she’s skillful and discreet.) No, your career will be in ruins because you made a bad deal for oral sex, and making a bad deal for anything shows you to be a bad businesswoman. Your reputation will never survive it.

You may be able to gain back your rising-star status if you throw yourself into the breach, concentrate on your work, and focus on creating five or six new ways to increase the company’s bottom line. And the guy? Shut that creep down cold. Good luck.

This letter is from the E. Jean archive.