DEAR ABBY: Over the years, you have provided your readers with numerous comments and some helpful, serious advice. But, Abby, your age and the changing technology have caught up with you -- and passed you by. The advice you gave "Living a Nightmare," whose husband wanted to videotape their sex act, was so off base. I had to let you know that you are out of touch with today's men and technology.
Today's women claim that the men in the U.S. Senate are not in touch with women's needs (Professor Anita Hill's charge of sexual harassment against Judge Clarence Thomas), and you are not in touch with today's men's needs. Abby, men have been capturing the sex act through photography since the invention of the camera. So, for your information, a man does not have to have a tumor on the brain to possess an age-old desire.
Abby, had you been up on the video technology available today and attuned to male desires, you would have given your correspondent at least one of the following options: 1. View themselves on the monitor without a tape in the camera. 2. Tape the act and she keeps the tape. 3. Make him agree that the two of them will be the only viewers of the tape. 4. Use the tape as a bribe to get all those things she's always wanted and couldn't get before.
Abby, you need either to retire or get a male adviser for males' problems. -- ALPHONSE BUSH, LOS ANGELES
DEAR ALPHONSE BUSH: I heard from other video-wise male readers who also disagreed with my answer, but there will be no mea culpas from this corner, because "Living a Nightmare" said that her husband's behavior had changed so noticeably that even his co-workers had mentioned it.
Furthermore, the issue was not the husband's wanting to videotape their sex act -- it was his heavy-handed tactics. When she advised her husband that having their sex act captured on a videotape made her uncomfortable, he told her that he would not have sex with her again unless it was on film! And when she suggested they consult a marriage counselor, he flatly refused. After her husband had been "badgering her every night for two months," she finally wrote to me.
I have always felt that what happens in the bedroom of two consenting adults is their own business, providing they are both agreeable and neither is harmed. The wife felt that his request was degrading, but he continued to badger her; therefore, I concluded that his behavior was sick. Whether it was a symptom of a potentially life-threatening illness would have to be determined by a medical doctor.
I rest my case and stand by my answer, even though it's entirely possible that the husband was more brutish than brain-damaged.
P.S. I already have a male adviser. I sleep with him.
Everything you'll need to know about planning a wedding can be found in Abby's booklet, "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." To order, send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054. (Postage is included.)
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