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AdviceHey, Bonita!

How Do I Help My Grieving Father?

Hey Bonita!

Just to jump right into this: I need help with my grieving dad. My dad, sister and I recently visited my ailing grandmother out of state, and she passed away while we were out there. It was really hard for all of us. It was a slow process, and she seemed to be in pain for a lot of it. My dad was literally there when she died, which, as you can imagine, has been super hard for him to process. Generally, his side of the family tends to suppress emotions, so the aftermath has varied between him seeming OK and him totally breaking down.

He and I have always been super close, and I love him dearly, so it has been hard to watch him suffer like this. I’ve gone back home in my time off from work to talk to him, and between the stress of getting my grandmother’s affairs in order, dealing with trying to catch up at work from being out of town, and constant bickering with my two adult sisters who still live with him, I am genuinely worried that he could have a heart attack or stroke.

I’ve suggested to him that therapy could be a good idea (he agrees), or that really any kind of self-care would be helpful to him right now. But he hasn’t done any of those things, and every time I talk to him, he sounds terrible. I’m really not trying to be judgmental of his grieving process, but it feels like he is just bottling stuff up, and I’m worried about what that could do to his health. How can I help him?

My condolences to all of you. I recommend you enlist the help of family that is near him, specifically that of his two adult daughters who live with him. Lots of hospitals and churches have support groups for those in grief, but the first step is getting Dad to go. Perhaps his live-in kids could offer to go with him for the first few meetings. Sometimes just having a familiar face to lay eyes on can make a situation easier to bear.

You can’t force him to go, of course, but I think it’ll be easier for him to take that first step if the kids find out the date and time, arrange transportation and agree to be there with him.  


Dear Bonita,

How far is too far? I’ve been dealing with a lot of internal questions about sexuality lately. I know sexuality is spectral, and until recently I’ve felt comfortable in my “queer” place on that spectrum. But now I’m unsure where I stand. I’ve always been wildly attracted to women and see myself spending my life with a woman (and I am). My wife is lovely. I’ve never understood female heterosexual attraction. I guess I understood it, but I never felt it for myself.

Recently, though, I’ve discovered an unexpected interest that is sincerely making me question if I’m attracted to men or not. Oddly enough, it comes from a film genre about empowering women. These films feature men disguised as women who go out and seduce other men. At some point, these women reveal that they are, in fact, men and overpower now-very-confused other men. These films are both beautiful and touching. The way these men-women turn the tables on men-men is like a reversal of the patriarchy.

Here’s where my sexuality comes into question: I find myself wildly attracted to these men dressed as women. I’m worried my wife wouldn’t understand. She’s never watched one of these films with me. How should I approach this?

Sincerely,

Wavering Wife

There’s a lot to unpack around men baiting other men by dressing like women. It begs questions about harmful allyship in hetero men trying to make a feminist point with actions that pay service to the stereotype that trans women “trick” men, but that’s not your question. You’re right, sexuality is a spectrum, and we use the word “queer” to respect that diversity while allowing people to define themselves within it. You’re allowed to admire the beauty of another adult, regardless of gender, and still be a queer person.

You like videos of straight-baiting, and that’s OK. I assume you’re talking about adult films, and your preferences are fine. Adult film stars are actors who consent to perform for us, and it’s fine to enjoy two consenting adults doing their thing. I hope your wife doesn’t judge you for your preferences, if she ever finds out, because there’s nothing to judge here. Enjoy yourself!

Need advice? Email advice@flagpole.com, use our anonymous form, or find Bonita on Twitter: @flagpolebonita.

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