Life Advice



Single File: Solo Travel

Susan Dietz on

DEAR SUSAN: I have something about traveling alone that I need to get off my chest. I like solo trips -- except for the single surcharges and some other annoyances. One pesky thing is that many people, and I must say mostly younger ones, assume when I'm traveling with a female friend that we're a gay couple. They can be very patronizing and greatly embarrass both of us. (We're really just friends, and we share a room to avoid those single surcharges.) If you have some ideas about handling this, I'd really appreciate it. I'd also like to know if some of your readers experience the same thing -- and find it damn annoying! (I'm 60 and have even canceled some trips because of this.) -- From the "Single File' Blog

DEAR BLOGGER: Canceling trips because of some flea-minded nonentities who don't know a noodle from a tractor makes absolutely no sense. Besides, it's giving them way too much power over your life. Why forgo pleasure because of some dumb remarks? The quickest way to stop them is to wear a wedding band and sign the register as Mrs. So-and-So, and her companion (or nurse) Miss So-and-So. Let's ask readers whether this (or something similar) has happened to them, and what they did about it. But before they weigh in, consider ways to defuse gossip and misconceptions. Besides a wedding band, have people address you as Mrs. -- loudly and often. At 60, you've earned the right to go wherever you please in this lovely world -- with anyone. If some people feel uneasy about your travel arrangements, that's their problem, certainly not yours. No more canceled trips, if you please.

DEAR SUSAN: Surely you know that having a vasectomy does not alter a man's virility, and the choice to have one is actually the act of a responsible partner and father. By doing his part in preventing unintended pregnancy, he is taking care of his wife, his existing children and the planet. What could be more manly? Yet your reader cites it as part of the "demasculinization" of the male. -- From the "Single File" Blog

DEAR BLOGGER: In no way does vasectomy diminish virility; that is proven fact. Yet there are men who are skittish on the subject, actually believing that it is part of a program to put the male in a test tube and wring the masculinity out of him. (Yes, one reader actually believes it is part of a program to take away maleness and the power to impregnate.) If the male ego is wrapped up in his potency, all of us are in trouble. Deep trouble. Because women then would need to have their female organs removed, breasts and all. Absurd scenario, that. The glory of maleness lies in men's virility, and no operation can diminish that. Nor would we want it to! The essence of our gender is as much in the mind as in the flesh -- probably more so. The mind is the biggest sex organ; it can overcome any physical diminution when desired. Vasectomy is in my valuation high up on the scale of intelligent choices. It is a win-win decision, without doubt.



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