Party Time | College or Bust | Politic Wars

Party Time

Dear Micah,

My wife and I run in a circle of friends that have higher incomes than we do. We are always going to parties where the host has hired waiters and caterers and sometimes a band. We can’t afford to entertain like that but its getting to look strange that we’ve never hosted anything. I don’t want to be viewed as the moochers but I can’t keep up with the Jones’ either. Any ideas of how to throw a cheap party that no one knows is cheap?



Dear Stan,

Everyone knows when they are at a cheap party. But don’t let that stop you. A cheap party can still be a fun party. You don’t have to keep up with anybody. Your true friends aren’t going to hold it against you or make fun of you just because you can’t afford to host lavishly. A few weeks ago, I had a small little party at my house to celebrate the return of the TV show Dallas. It was just a small little gathering of Dallas fans, but we had a good time. We ate BBQ brisket, fried chicken legs, fried potatoes and baked beans, plus cake for dessert. No one served. No one bartended. But we all had a good time.

Two weeks later, I attended a fantastic party hosted by one of my guests from that night. She had the food catered. She had parking attendants. There was a bartender. Her party was really great—a far cry from my little gathering, but it didn’t bother me. I enjoyed her party and I enjoyed my party. She enjoyed her party and she enjoyed my party. I can’t entertain in the fashion in which she did, and no one expects me to. Friends just enjoy the company of other friends and the surroundings don’t matter that much.

So entertain on the level you can, Stan, and just try to make things fun. Fun can be free if you have a good enough plan. Plan a board game party where you have different areas set up for various game play. Or host a movie night where you watch an original and a remake, and everyone decides which was better. Or host a cook-off where every guest is cooking their take on the same dish at your house. You’ll supply the wine, and they’ll bring the food as part of the theme of the night. You can’t get much cheaper than that.


College or Bust

Dear Micah,

Does it make me an awful person that I have no money set aside for my kid’s college? Everyone else seems to have a savings plan but I never had the cash to do anything like that. My daughter graduates in four years and I have nada!



Dear Jean,

It only makes you an awful person if you’ve saved nothing for your daughter but have indulged in a collection of Louis Vuitton bags! There’s nothing shameful in being strapped for funds. Nobody ever paid for my schooling. I didn’t come from a family that ever had any extra money lying around. Sometimes you have to pay for your own schooling. Your daughter may have to do that too. I would sit her down and let her know in clear terms that you can’t afford to pay for college. You may think she’s knows that, but unless you plainly tell her, she could be expecting you to “come up with something”when the time comes. She may have to rely on scholarships, so give her the warning time to get her grades where they need to be.


Politic Wars

Dear Micah,

My husband and I are conservative in our beliefs. My brother is gay and although we love he and his partner we do not see eye to eye in our politics or social beliefs. Some topic always comes up when we’re all together and my brother will storm out with his feelings hurt because we do not believe the same way he does. The biggie is same sex marriage. We feel that marriage between a man and a woman should be protected. That always erupts into an argument. Most recently my brother told us that if we voted conservative in the election that he will cut his ties to our family. I love my brother, but I believe in my convictions too. My love for him has nothing to do with politics so I don’t know why he’s making it all about that. Since you are also a gay man perhaps you can help me to smooth things over with him. The last thing I want to do is offend him but my points are just as strong as his. I don’t know what is it he wants me to do exactly? Betray my morals and give in to him? Please help me navigate this mine field since you can see his side of it.



Dear Sara

There’s a lot to cover here. First let me start with something you said; it kind of sums up the whole problem from your brother’s perspective. You asked if you should betray your morals. By even asking that, you are kind of implying that he is somehow immoral and leading a life that’s dirty and wrong. I’m sure you probably don’t mean it to sound that way, but using words like morality to separate your beliefs from his are sure to ruffle his feathers.

You’re insulting him. You’re telling him that he is somehow beneath you just because he happens to be gay. He can’t help that he’s gay. Contrary to what a few non-gay people may think, he didn’t choose that—and he shouldn’t have to be made to feel ashamed of it. Now if you really feel that your brother being gay is morally wrong, then you should welcome the cutting of ties to him. It’s sort of hypocritical to say that you love him but don’t like the gay part. Your brother IS GAY, there is no separation between he and it. If you do not agree with the gay thing, then you don’t agree with him. You can’t split the two issues.

I hate to compare being gay to being of a different race, because it’s not the same, but it almost is. There is so much more involved to being gay than just sexuality. Mannerisms, interests, thought processes, brain waves—so much is part of it. You can’t just say that you love him but not his gayness because he is gay down to his core and you can’t separate that part from the brother parts that you love. Sometimes we say we love someone when we really don’t because there is a familial obligation to love them. It’s possible that you may not really love him, you just feel like you ought to. If that’s the case then it shouldn’t matter if he cuts you out—you won’t miss him.

However, if your real goal is to establish and keep some sort of positive relationship with your brother, then here’s how to do it. He wants to know that you hold him in high esteem and that you have respect for him as an intelligent and decent person. He isn’t feeling that from you right now. In his view, you are telling him that there isn’t an accepted place for him in the world and he doesn’t understand why. You also said that your love for him has nothing to do with politics. That isn’t true for him. As I said earlier he IS gay. If you, or a political party, doesn’t believe gay people are entitled to equal rights, he is going to be offended by that.

It’s not the same thing as holding opposite views on the National Healthcare agenda. The two of you could differ all day on that issue without anyone becoming personally offended. With the gay rights issue, your brother sees opposing parties as the enemy. You cannot take the “agree to disagree” stance on this with him—it’s too personal for him. If you were discussing it with a straight friend and took opposing views, the most that could result would be a fun and lively debate. Neither of your lives would be affected by the outcome— not so with your brother.

Your marriage opportunities and your rights will not change one way or the other because of this issue, but your brother’s will. To take an opposing side with him is going to be regarded as a personal attack. I think it’s also gone too far to just ignore the topic. He is going to challenge you on this issue and probably cut you out if you do not change your position. You have a right to your position, and if your convictions are truly against gay rights, then you shouldn’t be emotionally blackmailed into pretending to change your mind. Clearly, I am not impartial here. I am in favor of gay marriage—but just as it’s my right to argue for what I believe in, it’s also your right to not share my beliefs. I do feel compelled to warn you though that your brother may not forgive you. Cutting you out is his way of living honestly. It’s very hard to be with someone, and laugh with someone, and enjoy someone’s company if that someone stands with others who view you as inferior or somehow unequal. That’s why your brother is making threats.

He most likely feels that any type of interaction would be fake and purely superficial. He just isn’t willing to invest any more energy into something that isn’t sincere. You may argue that your love for him is sincere, but to him it can’t be as long as you are standing with those who would deny him. In defense of some conservatives though, it really isn’t as black and white a situation as your brother is making it. Almost every conservative that I know would stand in favor of gay marriage and would vote to see us treated equally—so I don’t really know why the politicians keep spouting off against it. In my estimation, and judging from national polls, the majority of their voting block supports gay rights, so you can be conservative and still support your brother if you wanted to.

Right now, your brother is hurt because we always expect that family will stand by us. You didn’t, and I don’t know if he will ever get past that. If you really want a true and real relationship with him, you may have to readjust your beliefs because he isn’t going to adjust his. His directly affect his life. Your opinion on the matter is just from a bystander on the sidelines. The outcome will not affect your life, so I’m afraid if you won’t budge on the issue, you are going to lose your brother. I’m not saying that his ultimatum was right, but I understand why he made it.

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