DEAR NATHAN: My boyfriend and I have been together for six years. We finally moved in together a year ago. Things have been going pretty well, with the exception of an unusual habit of his that has become more evident since living together. He spends anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 1/2 hours in the bathroom every day. A couple of times he has even fallen asleep in there.
He takes his computer in the bathroom because he claims he gets a lot of work done. Some days I barely get to see him because he works late and then spends the rest of the day you-know-where.
I have told him more than once how much it bothers me, but he continues to do it. It’s driving a wedge between us. Am I overreacting? Is he purposely trying to put space between us? — TIRED OF THE TOILET TURMOIL
DEAR TIRED OF THE TOILET TURMOIL: Before we address your boyfriend’s issue, I have one very important question for you. You say you moved in with your boyfriend a year ago. That means that in the past year, he has spent anywhere from 273 hours to 38 days in the bathroom. You have waited this long, though, to seek help.
Was there a limit before you sought out professional help? “Once he hits an even month in there, I am definitely going to consider talking to someone about this,” you must have said to yourself. For future reference, if your significant other spends more time in the bathroom than they do eating the food they are now removing from their system, you should definitely talk to someone about it.
As for your problem, there are an endless number of ways to fix this issue. Get a less comfortable toilet seat, for one. Remove the bathroom door. Pipe in Metallica music at a deafening volume until he is eventually forced out.
The best bet, though, is to insist on spending time with him. Make sure that everything he eats has a healthy dose of Metamucil in it. If he is still spending too much time in there, install his and her toilets. That way you can spend the rest of your days together in bathroom bliss.
Or just take away his laptop. That should get him in and out a lot quicker.
Happy controlling your boyfriend’s defecating time,
DEAR NATHAN: Would you please settle a dispute in my family? I am a stay-at-home wife and mother of two boys. I do everyone’s dirty laundry. When someone leaves something in the pockets of clothes (like wallets, papers, etc.), who do you think should be responsible for removing said articles — the person placing the clothes in the hamper or the person doing the wash? — LAUNDRESS IN SPRINGTOWN, TEXAS
DEAR LAUNDRESS IN SPRINGTOWN: If I were the person who did laundry, I would make it my job. Sure, you would spend a lot of time going through pockets, but you would also get to keep any cool stuff you find.
Happy rifling through your family’s pockets,
DEAR NATHAN: I’m really bad when it comes to speaking. It’s hard for me to squeak out the few words I can. I am shy and not very sociable, so when I’m with people, even my two friends, I feel like I come across as rude. I never have the right things to say. When I’m with my family, I don’t usually have this problem.
In public, it seems like everyone else is so much more interesting than I am. Making conversation is a lot of trouble. I know this sounds silly, but do you know if there is anything that can be done about it? — VICTORIA IN SOUTH CAROLINA
DEAR VICTORIA: There is definitely something that can be done. I myself find it difficult to speak in a group. In fact, I have also been told that I come across as rude. We are in the same antisocial boat.
The key, I have found, to not coming across as rude is nodding a lot. I have faked being friendly many times just by nodding along with what the person is saying. Inside my head, though, I am more likely than not thinking about ice cream cake. As much as I dislike talking to people, I like ice cream cake more.
To make yourself interesting, I think taking up lying would be a great idea. Tell people you used to weigh 900 pounds. Make up a long convoluted story about how André the Giant might be your dad or how you found a shark in your toilet as a kid. I once went on a date with a girl who insisted that she had driven a racecar and modeled professionally. While I did not go on a second date with her, I did not find her boring. I can guarantee no one will find you boring either.
They will call you a liar as soon as you turn your back and laugh with their friends about the lies you told. That’s a problem for a different letter, though.
Happy doing your best to come across as a sociable person,
DEAR NATHAN: I have this little boy I tutor. He is 7 and says he loves me. I’m 18. I try to tell him I’m way too old and he isn’t my type, but all he says is, “Age ain’t nothing but a number.” Help! I need to know what to do. — ALEX IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR ALEX: It’s very simple: don’t date the 7-year-old. When he comes on to you, remind him that he is a little baby who probably just started dressing himself and has probably wet the bed. Once he is done crying, he will no longer have a crush on you.
Happy scarring your pupil for life,