I have been dating my girlfriend for three years, and I am mostly sure that this is the woman I will marry, except for one thing. The only thing we have any real disagreements about is our cat. She thinks it is just fine to kiss it right on the nose, repeatedly. She basically kisses it, and makes this “om nom nom” noise while doing so. I think it’s gross, and she thinks my reaction is funny. I honestly feel ill when she does this, and can’t stand the thought of kissing her afterward unless she washes up first. She thinks that makes me a loon. And yet, I can’t help the ick factor. She has begun to wonder why we aren’t engaged yet, and while it is quite true that I don’t want to deal with wedding plans until I am done with grad school, the really big reason to me is I can’t decide if this is a deal-breaker, or if I am being overly squeamish. So, please tell me, am I overreacting, or is she just being gross?
— Cat Scratch Blues
I understand your bafflement and distress. When kissing one’s pets on the nose, the sound one makes should not be “om nom nom” but “num, num, nuu.” Everyone knows that. I would feel better about your objection if you then said that your girlfriend suffers from constant bouts of feline-related flu. But it sounds as if she’s just fine. This is no deal-breaker but one of life’s little quirks that requires partners to indulge each other. So while you roll your eyes at her cat kisses, don’t try to stop the smooching. And while she rolls her eyes at your hygiene commands, she rinses with mouth wash. This should make all three of you purr with contentment.
I am a 31-year-old American Jewish woman who has been studying veterinary medicine and working in London for the past several years. I am ready to start a family. I recently ended a casual relationship with a man I desperately loved but who wasn’t ready to commit. Enter David, a tall, blue-eyed Jewish doctor I would be proud to introduce to my family (the antithesis of the dark, hipster man I still think about). David is sweet and kind and everything I could ask for, on paper. We are a couple of months in and he wants to meet my mom, but I’m scared my family will love him so much I will be pressured into marrying him.
Here’s my problem: He’s bald. When we have sex it just sometimes feels like I’m banging an infant or grandpa and I get weirded out. I have never imagined being with a bald man for the rest of my life. I’d also like him to work out more than he does — I’m a workout junkie. All superficial things, isn’t passion and attraction an essential ingredient to a happy relationship? How do I improve a man without demoralizing his ego? How do I get past the baldness without resorting to asking him to wear a hat?
— Self-professed JAP
I despise the Jewish American Princess stereotype, but in your case, you deserve the crown and scepter. Out of nowhere, just as you feel your egg timer ticking, comes a tall, kind, blue-eyed Jewish doctor who’s crazy about you. I’m ready to plotz! But you want to kick him out of bed because of a weak follicular showing. Surely you know that one day, no matter how much you can bench press, your breasts will deflate. I sincerely hope that your husband — if you find one — won’t complain that he feels as if he’s having sex with his grandmother.
Look around; this is the heyday of the hairless male head. There are even men who can grow plenty of the stuff who prefer to have a shiny pate. It may be that your doctor isn’t the guy for you — it is awfully soon for him to be pushing to meet your mother. And even though you’ve already decided to start having sex, I agree mutual attraction is a must.
But the entire relationship is hopeless if your only question is how to improve him. If you want to dump this apparent gem because he lacks hair, then Jewish mothers all over London should be kvelling because he’s available. I hope you had some religious education. If so, before you act precipitously, consider what Slate’s David Plotz discovered when he blogged the Hebrew Bible: “God loves a cue-ball, baby!”
Please send your questions for publication to email@example.com. Questions may be edited.