My 30-year-old daughter is in a polyamorous relationship with a married man. She brought him home for the holidays, and while he was charming, I felt uncomfortable. (This may have been triggered by my husband’s infidelity that led to our divorce.) Now, my daughter tells me she would like to bring this man on our family trip to Greece this year. It may be petty, but I don’t want to foot the bill for another woman’s husband. And I don’t see any way this relationship can lead to my daughter’s happiness. Should I lay out my boundaries and risk my daughter not joining me on vacation?
I may be off-base, but I don’t think the real issue here is the cost of a trip to Greece or your ex-husband’s infidelity. This is about respecting your adult daughter’s choices. You have substituted your idea of happiness for hers. This is a common (and often well-intentioned) trap for many parents. It’s not productive, though.
Let’s put aside the trip to Greece and the specter of your cheating ex. Unlike him, people in polyamorous arrangements usually set ground rules with their partners for opening their relationship to others. (No one is cheating!) Try to understand, as best you can, what your daughter likes about this arrangement and how it satisfies her.
As a show of respect, read up on polyamory before you broach the subject with her. Then ask questions. I am not suggesting that you set aside all of your concerns — only that you try to respect your adult daughter’s decisions. In a more open-minded context, you may find that the trip to Greece resolves itself.
Because I’m What?
While out to brunch with a friend, I noticed that other tables had gotten bread baskets before their food was served, but we hadn’t. My friend said I only noticed this because I’m Jewish. I told her that her statement was hurtful and rude. She apologized, but then said that someone who wasn’t Jewish wouldn’t notice something like that. Three weeks later, I am still upset about this. I’d prefer not to see her again, but my husband says I have to confront her. (I am a nonconfrontational person.) Advice?
I disagree with your husband. You already told your friend that her antisemitic statement was hurtful. She apologized, then proceeded to make the same hateful comment in a slightly different way.
If you want to hash out her bigotry with her, that’s your call. But the injured have no obligation to edify their perpetrators (much less twice). Steer clear of her if you prefer. When she tries to make another date, say no — or tell her she needs to examine her prejudices before you’re willing to see her again.
Just Checking In!
My friend and I are about to take a very important test. We’ve been preparing for it for over a year and usually see each other once a week. Lately, though, she’s been avoiding me. Someone we have in common told me I remind our friend of the test, and so seeing me makes her anxious. I reached out to her again and tried to reassure her that I was only checking in, but to no avail. Now I’m hurt by her silence. Is there anything else I can do?
Sometimes friends need breaks. I’m not saying it’s rational that the sight of you makes your friend anxious. But for now, it does. It also would have been better if she’d shared this information with you directly. So, I get your hurt feelings.
Is it possible to put your communication on hold until the looming test is over? If you can, that may be a better, more relaxed time for talking it through with your friend. It’s also possible that her behavior may feel like an abandonment from which you can’t bounce back. That’s a fair response too. For now, though, trying to force your friend to deal with you is unlikely to be productive.
I am 29 and dating a man who is 61. My friends have expressed concern that our age gap is too big, but I don’t feel that way in my interactions with him. Recently, though, in an airport terminal, he asked me to “slow down” and walk with him. He sounded like a commanding father trying to rein in an unruly child. And walking at his slow pace constrains me. Should I keep walking right out of his life?
It’s not surprising that a (possibly exasperated) request from a man old enough to be your father might seem paternalistic to you. He may have been frustrated that he was unable to keep up. But your feeling is worth examining.
Now, I have no idea whether you should break up with him. You’ve only shared one moment of your relationship. Still, it may be symbolic of other issues that will arise between you as the years go by. Don’t ignore your concern; try to place it in the larger context of your relationship. How do his age and walking speed factor into all the qualities you both bring to the table?
For help with your awkward situation, send a question to SocialQ@nytimes.com, to Philip Galanes on Facebook or @SocialQPhilip on Twitter.
On ‘S.N.L.,’ Biden Urges Covid-Weary Nation to Stop Seeing ‘Spider-Man’
Spider-Man just finished saving the very fabric of reality, but to hear President Biden tell it — at least on “Saturday Night Live” — the wall-crawler is the one to blame for the continuing pandemic.
To kick off the first new “S.N.L.” of 2022, James Austin Johnson returned in his recurring role as Biden for a news conference in which he told the nation that “there’s one simple thing you can do to make this whole virus go away: Stop seeing ‘Spider-Man.’”
Addressing the White House press corps in the show’s opening sketch, Johnson said: “This virus has disrupted our lives. It’s canceled holidays, weddings, quinceañeras, gender-reveal parties, wildfires that started as gender-reveal parties.”
He went on to say: “Now, think about it. When did ‘Spider-Man’ come out? Dec. 17. When did every single person get Omicron? The week after Dec. 17.”
The last time “S.N.L.” attempted a live episode, on Dec. 18, it was significantly disrupted by the pandemic. Hours before airtime, NBC announced that because of Covid concerns, the show would not use a live audience; the broadcast was missing most of the cast members, had no musical guest and consisted mostly of pretaped segments and sketches from past episodes.
“S.N.L.” was not spared the intrusion of the coronavirus this week. On Wednesday, the rapper Roddy Ricch, who was originally announced as the musical guest, said on his Instagram account that he would be unable to perform because of “recent COVID exposure on my team and to keep everyone safe.” Instead, the pop band Bleachers took his place.
In the Biden sketch, Johnson explained that he was not asking people to avoid the movies altogether. “I said, stop seeing ‘Spider-Man,’” he declared in reference to “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which has shattered Covid-era box-office records.
“See anything else,” he continued. “I saw the first half-hour of ‘House of Gucci.’ That’s more than enough movie for anyone.”
Questioned about the lack of available Covid testing, Johnson’s Biden answered, “You want to know if you have Covid? Look at your hand. Is it holding a ticket that says you recently went to see ‘Spider-Man’? If so, you have Covid.”
As Johnson started to expound on the existence of the multiverse, he was visited by a shirtless, white-haired Pete Davidson, who explained that he was Joe Biden “from the real universe,” and that this incarnation of reality had been created “as a joke, starting in 2016 when the Chicago Cubs won the World Series.”
When Johnson asked him if he was the president in this real world, Davidson answered: “Of course not. Did you really think you would lose four times and then finally win when you were 78?”
Musical tribute to musicals of the week
When you’ve got an “S.N.L.” episode hosted by Ariana DeBose, a star of Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” remake and a newly-minted Golden Globe winner, you know you’re going to have a couple of sketches that pay affectionate tribute to musical theater.
The first of the night was DeBose’s opening monologue, during which she was joined by Kate McKinnon, who professed that “West Side Story” was her favorite musical.
“Did you like the movie?” DeBose asked her. “I didn’t see it,” McKinnon replied. “I don’t leave the house because of Covid and also because I don’t leave the house.” They gamely sang a medley of several “West Side Story” numbers together, including “Tonight” and “I Feel Pretty,” though McKinnon sat out the mambo dance break: “They know I dance,” she said.
Later in the night, the two re-teamed for a “Sound of Music” parody in which McKinnon delivered a deft Julie Andrews impression. DeBose played another wayward woman from Maria’s convent who tries to teach a group of children to sing, with an updated version of “Do-Re-Mi” that’s unexpectedly heavy on references to Queen Latifah. Eat your heart out, Rodgers and Hammerstein.
Biting the hand that feeds you of the week
Earlier this week, when NBC’s Peacock streaming service dropped the trailer for “Bel-Air,” a gritty, dramatic retelling of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” some viewers wondered if it was an “S.N.L.” sketch.
It wasn’t, but that didn’t stop “S.N.L.” from going forward with this satirical preview for an unnecessarily harsh reboot of another 90s-era sitcom, “Family Matters.” In this incarnation, Carl Winslow (Kenan Thompson) is a sadistic Chicago cop and the lovably nerdy Steve Urkel (Chris Redd) now has an abusive, drunken mom and a violent temper. You’ll never hear the catchphrase “Did I do that?” in quite the same way again.
Weekend Update jokes of the week
Over at the Weekend Update desk, the anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che continued to riff on President Biden’s stalled agenda.
Just like everybody else, President Biden’s New Year’s resolutions fell apart in the third week of January. The Supreme Court struck down his vaccine mandate. The voting rights bill got blocked. And his approval rating is so low, it’s gone into power-save mode. But I will point out, there was another president who had a disastrous start to his first term, yet he became an inspiration to generations of Republicans, even to this day. [The screen shows a picture of Ronald Reagan.] I’m talking of course about Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy. [The picture changes to one of Davis.]
“And there are still statues of him in 10 different states,” Jost continued:
Which, come to think of it, probably explains why the voting rights stuff isn’t working out. The bottom line is, I think Biden just needs more time. He might be more of an acquired taste. Unfortunately, most Americans recently lost their sense of taste.
Che picked up on the Biden thread:
President Biden gave a speech in Atlanta where he called on the Senate to pass two voting rights bills, saying, “I am tired of being quiet.” And to prove it, he took a 20-minute standing nap.
What Will Marianne Williamson Do Next?
To her, Washington is still essentially business as usual. “D.C. has a lot of good political car mechanics,” she said. “That’s not the problem. The problem is that the car is on the wrong road. The car is heading towards a cliff.”
The week before, the Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel had tweeted a photo of Ms. Williamson and Andrew Yang, onstage at an event for Mr. Yang’s new book. Mr. Weigel quoted Ms. Williamson saying, “We don’t want to be Jill Steins, but in any other country, any other advanced democracy, they have multiple political parties.” The tweet predictably triggered speculation about what, exactly, Ms. Williamson intends to do next.
She may not want to be Jill Stein — the Green Party candidate whose presidential run is often cited as a reason Mr. Trump won — but she also doesn’t want to dismiss Jill Stein. After all, Ms. Williamson said, “we need a viable other. I support any third-party effort that makes a thoughtful, articulate critique of the fundamental flaws in contemporary capitalism and its effects on people and the planet” When she ran for Congress in California, in 2014, it was as an independent.
Ms. Williamson sees the two-party system of today as blighted and controlled by corporate interests. “Republican policies represent a nosedive for our democracy,” she said. “And Democratic policies represent a managed decline.” And yet she also believes that this is the year it will change. “The status quo is unsustainable,” she said. “There is too much human despair out there.”
She is not willing to say whether she’ll run again, and dodged the question over the course of our many conversations. About two weeks ago, when Politico published an article suggesting that President Biden would face a primary challenge from a progressive candidate, “such as former Sanders campaign co-chair Nina Turner, 2020 presidential candidate Marianne Williamson or millionaire and $18-an-hour minimum wage advocate Joe Sanberg,” Ms. Williamson declined to comment.
James Carville, the longtime Democratic strategist, is skeptical. “She ran before and she didn’t get a lot of votes,” he said. “She’s kind of an interesting person to say the least, but I don’t think politics is her calling. She always struck me as a new age Bernie Bro.”
Is Interning for an Influencer Worth It?
Jon Rettinger, 41, who runs several technology-focused YouTube channels, said he hoped to provide his interns with useful guidance. It’s “a real job that’s not all Lamborghinis and boxing matches,” he said, noting that many creators are subjected to online bullying. “I would have wanted someone to tell me, because I was really unprepared,” he said.
Former interns said that they valued such mentorship. Sara Naqui, who started out taking photos on a volunteer basis for Ms. Chandler at Effie’s Paper, now has a contract with the company and her own YouTube channel. “She supported me in a way that I’d never had an adult support my creative endeavors,” Ms. Naqui, 24, said of Ms. Chandler.
Vela Scarves, a fashion-forward hijab brand, and its co-founder and creative director, Marwa Atik, have made a point of inviting followers to volunteer at photo shoots and apply for internships. “You’re reaching out to a funneled pool of people who support you, believe in you, see themselves in the product,” Ms. Atik, 31, said. “It’s a much stronger connection when we bring on our girls.”
Khadija Sillah, 23, a former Vela Scarves intern, said that “Marwa extended herself as a mentor to me and helped me connect with brands and brainstorm content ideas, even when I lacked motivation.” She was recently hired as a full-time social media associate with the brand.
Ms. Chandler said her interns built the social presence for Effie’s Paper — on Pinterest, Instagram and eventually TikTok — from the ground up. “A decade ago, I was a lawyer transitioning to entrepreneurship,” she said. “I didn’t have time to think about social media.”
Later, Ms. Chandler solicited the help of a former intern, Chloe Helander, who’d started her own social media consultancy. Ms. Helander suggested that Ms. Chandler should be the star of the Effie’s Paper social accounts; after all, many companies today treat their executives as the faces of their brands.
Ms. Chandler was skeptical at first. “I think I’m too brown and too old,” she said.
Now, Ms. Chandler said, “she is the reason my face is all over everything.”