Dear John: Coveted By The Neighbor’s Husband

Tuesday, December 03, 2013


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What’s your problem? Write to John at [email protected]

Dear John,

I live in an area with a lot of small farms, one of which is on the property next to mine. We don’t see or socialize with these neighbors much, but when we’ve had any kind of interaction with them, they seemed nice, if not especially warm or outgoing.

I recently learned our toddler daughter is allergic to bees. She has never been stung, but based on her reaction to tests from an allergist, she appears to be severely allergic. Well, our farmer neighbors are also beekeepers – they have one hive in the field between our houses, in fact. I don’t know what to do, but I know I have to do something. Already, this summer, every time I’m outside with our daughter, I am in a state of high alert looking for bees. It’s impossible to relax, yet I can’t very well keep her in the house all the time. I want to talk to my neighbors about this, but what should I say that won’t make me sound unfriendly or difficult?

Beekeeper’s Neighbor

Dear Beekeeper’s Neighbor,

You do have to talk to your neighbors, and if they have kids of their own, I think they’ll understand your concern. You don’t have to say anything but the truth: your young daughter has a serious bee allergy, and you want to see if they would be willing to move their hive. Since you live in a rural area, it seems like a reasonable request to ask them to relocate this hive to a distant part of their property or even to the farm of a nearby friend – many farmers are happy to host other people’s hives so the bees can pollinate their plants. Only the most curmudgeonly neighbors would consider such a request unfriendly or difficult.

Having said that, there is a small chance your neighbors fall into the “most curmudgeonly” category. If that’s the case, I don’t think there’s much you can do except be extremely vigilant and fully prepared to respond to a sting should your daughter receive one. If you haven’t already, you should talk to your daughter’s allergist as soon as you possibly can about what to expect and what to do in the event of a sting. I don’t say it lightly, but if the hive stays where it is, I don’t think it would be an overreaction to consider moving. Severe allergies require families to adjust their lives in many ways, not all of them minor. But the most disruptive measure is still a small price to pay where your daughter’s health and safety (and your peace of mind) are concerned.

Dear John,

A young couple moved in a few houses away from us recently. They seemed like a breath of fresh air because our neighborhood has a lot of middle aged and older people and the new couple was more like us: young, only married a couple of years, professionals, no kids, etc. So we invited them over for dinner. Unfortunately, the husband got pretty drunk and made a flagrant pass at me when our spouses were outside. I was taken aback and made it clear to him that that wasn’t going to happen.

It’s been a couple of weeks now and I keep going back and forth about whether I should tell my husband. It seems like NOT telling him is keeping it from him and it doesn’t sit right with me, but he is also kind of a hot head and this is exactly the kind of thing he would blow up over. I definitely don’t want neighbors we’re enemies with, either. Who needs that? I’ve seen the other couple since then (briefly) and they said how much fun they had, we’ll have to do it again, etc. If I don’t say anything, it will be weird to refuse to get together with them again. But if we do, I’m going to be waiting for this jerk to do the same thing. I’m mad at him not just for what he did, but for making me spend so much time deliberating over it. What do you think?

Putting Out The Unwelcome Mat

Dear Unwelcome Mat,

I don’t think you should tell your husband. What good would come of it? You’re certainly not keeping it from him out of a desire to deceive or mislead him. Instead, I would chalk it up to drunken stupidity on your neighbor’s part and forget about it. However, the next time you find yourself in a situation conducive to a quick private chat with your neighbor, I’d tell him that you don’t appreciate what he did, but you’re willing to give him a pass this time (no pun intended). But if it happens again, you will waste no time telling your husband and his wife. And mean it.

Dear John,

I go out a lot with a buddy of mine who’s, I have to admit, extremely good-looking. All the girls love him the moment they see him, and he doesn’t have to make the least bit of effort. (It’s actually a little depressing how easy it is for him and how even girls you think would know better are giggling, hair-playing-with morons when he turns his attention their way, but that’s another letter.)

So we go out together regularly, and it’s great because it couldn’t be easier to meet girls. There’s a downside, though, and it’s really started getting to me – I am really tired of being the one someone has to settle for! The way it works is always the same. There’s either one really good-looking girl and her less-attractive friend and it’s perfectly clear from the get-go who’s ending up with whom. Or there are two good-looking girls and there’s a bit of good-natured flirting/competing to see who will end up with my buddy and who will get the consolation prize. Either way, though, there comes a point where I will be the recipient of a look that says, “Oh, well, I guess you’ll do.” I’m sick of it! So do I shut up and appreciate what I have, or do I climb out of this rut and stop going out with this friend so much?

Nice Personality

Dear Nice Personality,

What are you saying: you want to go out with your dreamy friend, use his magnetic good looks to attract girls, then end up with the prettiest one? How would that work? You can’t have it both ways, and I can’t decide for you if the trade-off is worth it. I am struck, though, by how unaware you seem of the fact that you’re doing exactly what you resent being done to you! You and she are both ending up with the consolation prize. Do you think you hide it any better than she does? This is the game you’re playing. The best-looking people win, and that’s just how it goes. Maybe you should invite an especially homely friend to join you. Think of how wonderful it will feel when your latest hook-up gives you that inviting look that whispers, “At least you’re not him.”

John is a middle-aged family man from Providence, Rhode Island. If you learn from your mistakes, he’s brilliant. Write to him at [email protected] . He's away from the advice desk this week, so he's chosen some of his favorite letters from previous columns to share.


Related Slideshow: The 12 Best Pizzas In New England 2013

According to the Daily Meal, twelve of the America's101 best pizzas can be found right here in New England. Take a look, and find out where you can get your next tasty pie. 

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#12 Galleria Umberto Rosticceria (Boston)

Cheese Pizza
Overall Rank: #85
A North End staple, Galleria Umberto is a by-the-slice pizza place that often features lines extending around the block.  The interior features no frills, the menu is quite simple, but their cheese pizza has long been been considered to be Boston's best.  
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#11 Picco (Boston)

Margherita Pizza
Overall Rank: 76
Located next to Boston Center for the Arts, Picco is a full-service restaurant featuring a wide selection of Mediterranean cuisine. Though the margherita pizza is the reason they made the list, they also have several inventive pie options such as Brussels Sprouts, Butternut Squash & Fontina, or Roasted Eggplant & Cauliflower. 
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#10 Al Forno (Old Saybrook, CT)

Margherita Pizza
Overall Rank: 68
Established in 1992, Al Forno (Not the one in Providence) uses a brick oven heated to over 600 degrees to create some of the best pizzas on the New Haven shoreline. They have received favorable reviews in the New York Times and Hartford Courant, and were named as one of Zagat's "Top 1000 Italian Restauants in America" in 2008. 
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#9 Coppa (Boston)

Salsiccia Pizza
Overall Rank: 54
The wood-fired pizza at Coppa compliments a full menu of traditional italian dishes crafted by owner-chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette.  Early in his culinary career, Oringer worked as pastry chef at Providence's Al Forno, which also made this list. 
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#8 Scampo (Boston)

Lamb Pizza
Overall Rank: 41
Scampo, the first-floor restaurant within the famous prison-turned-hotel, Liberty Hotel, features a full menu of inventive italian-inspired cuisine, which also draws on Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern flavors.  The Lamb pizza, which makes the list, is only one of several unique pie options on their menu.
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#7 Santarpio's (East Boston)

Mozzarella, Sausage, and Garlic Pizza
Overall Rank: 29
Established in 1903, the East Boston-based Santarpio's is the three-time defending award winner of "Best Traditional Pizza" by Boston Magazine.  The family-owned features New York-style pizza and has become a landmark in the Boston area. 
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#6 Colony Grill (Stamford, CT)

Sausage Pizza
Overall Rank:27
Colony Grill, established in Stamford's largest Irish neighborhood in 1935, features thin-crust style pizza.  Their menu is very simple, including only the staple pizza ingredients, allowing the restaurant to offer "a one-of-a-kind thin-crust pizza that is served simply."
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#5 Regina Pizzeria (Boston)

Melanzane Pizza
Overall Rank: 22
Though they have more than a dozen locations, Regina Pizzeria's original location in Boston's North End serves as a neighborhood staple and landmark.  Many of the pizzeria's menu items are old family recipes dating back to its establishment in 1926. 
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#4 Modern Apizza (New Haven, CT)

Italian Bomb Pizza
Overall Rank: 11
Founded in 1934, Modern Apizza features brick oven-style pizzas.  Their traditional Italian menu features many great pies and specialty items, but are on this list due to the "Italian Bomb," a pizza covered in bacon, sausage, pepperoni, mushroom, onion, pepper, and garlic. 
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#3 Al Forno (Providence, RI)

Margarita Pizza
Overall Rank: 10
Chef-owners Johanne Killeen and George Germon established Al Forno in 1980 to bring simple renditions of food rooted in various Italian regions to Providence. Their signature margarita pizza has been named to several "best pizza" lists in recent years, such as Food and Wine magazine. 
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#2 Sally's Apizza (New Haven, CT)

Tomato Pie
Overall Rank: 7
Sally's, established in 1938 by Salvatore Consiglio, is renown for its thin crust pizza which has been made in the same coal-fired oven for more than 60 years. Salvatore was the nephew of Frank Pepe, whose pizza also made the list.  
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#1 Frank Pepe's (New Haven, CT)

White Clam Pizza
Overall Rank:1
Established in 1925, Frank Pepe's Pizzeria's white clam pizza is rated as not only the best pizza in New England, but also best in all of America.  The pizzeria uses coal-fired brick ovens, and uses only fresh clams in their most famous pie. Frank Pepe's has been a favorite for many celebrities over the years, including Ronald Regan and Frank Sinatra. 

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