Dear Margo: Not Everyone Is Looking for a Mate

When is matchmaking appropriate? Margo Howard’s advice

Not Everyone Is Looking for a Mate

Dear Margo: I cannot figure something out. My husband has a friend from work who is single, attractive, funny and smart. He has no girlfriend. Whenever we’ve tried to fix him up, he always has an excuse as to why he can’t make it. If he were gay (which I doubt because he’s very masculine), wouldn’t he just make up a girlfriend? He would be a terrific catch for some woman, and I love to play fixer-upper. — Melanie Down in Dixie

Dear Mel: First, a bulletin: There are gay men who are masculine in affect. You seem to be working off of the old stereotype of the swishy gay guy with a sibilant “s,” a lisp and an ascot. My bet is this chap from work is one of nature’s bachelors and (correctly) feels he doesn’t have to make up a girlfriend to decline your fixer-upper efforts. He could very well have a partner or might even be asexual.

I think a good rule of thumb for you in your matchmaking efforts is that after several turndowns you just cross that person off of your list. Have you thought of volunteering? — Margo, singly

Something Wrong Is Being Ignored

Dear Margo: How do I get my grandparents to get my 9-year-old cousin the psychological help he clearly needs? On several occasions, he has been caught trying to put his privates into another boy’s privates. He has been doing this since he was 5. Even when he was a toddler, I could sense something was wrong with him.

Personally, I don’t like the kid, but I do want to protect the boys who could be his victims. He has done it to another cousin who is younger, and now his mother refuses to let her two boys play with him because she’s afraid he won’t be caught next time. She’s also mad because nobody is doing anything.

I’ve told my grandmother on several occasions that he needs help and that they shouldn’t be surprised if they see him on the news in handcuffs for sexually molesting another child. She just agrees, but nothing ever happens. His father lives in the house, too, but he’s afraid they would put his kid on drugs, and he doesn’t want that.

I know he needs help, but nobody is listening. What is it going to take for my grandparents and his father to get him help before he ruins some family’s life by molesting their son? — Up Against a Brick Wall

Dear Up: I’m not sure why your grandparents are in charge when the child’s father is in the picture. You don’t say where the mother is. Any boy who has been acting out sexually since the age of 5 is seriously disturbed and perhaps was the victim of molestation himself. This is often the case; he did not dream up this stuff himself.

I am not pointing fingers, but there are two grown men living in the house with this child. Since no one in your family seems to be making a move, you or your cousin’s mother should alert child services, and they may require the little boy to see a therapist. His father’s fear of drugs is perhaps an excuse to do nothing; drugs are not the treatment for kids with this problem. Because your pleas to family are falling on deaf ears (I hope not for defensive reasons), you or the cousin’s mother must step up to the plate. — Margo, proactively

* * *

Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.


Every Thursday and Friday, you can find “Dear Margo” and her latest words of wisdom on wowOwow

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43 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Katharine Gray says:

    Re Letter #1:  It seems entirely possible that the gentleman in question is gay.  Or perhaps he simply doesn’t like the letter writer or her husband and cannot imagine that he would like any of thier friends or doesn’t want to get embroiled in their social life by dating one of their friends.  I don’t know why a gay man (or any one who doesn’t want to be fixed up by a co-workers wife) should be expected to make up another relationship in order to say *thank you, but no* to unsolicited matchmaking.  This isn’t a good friend who has voiced frustration to the letter writer about his inability to meet people.  He is basically a stranger to her.  And probably desires to remain so.

    LW#2:  What Margo said. 


  2. avatar Kate Olsen says:

    LW1 – Give it a break.  Perhaps he does not like the women that you are thrusting on him. Perhaps he just does not like your pushiness.  Back off.  Whatever his excuse is – it is his excuse and none of your business.  If I had a friend like you, i would have told you to back off and leave me alone.  It is not your job to find him a partner.

    LW2 – If no one in the family does anything, call social services anonymously(sp?) i am of two opinions.  The men in the house do not want authorities called because they are the ones who taught the child what he knows and this child needs to be stopped and given therapy ASAP.  The fact that this started at age 5 and is still on going shows that this is not a “phase”.  You need to do something to protect these other children.  I might add that I am ashamed for you that you did not do so earlier and that you even had to ask about what you should do. 

    • avatar mac13 says:

      Kate, since we don’t know the age of the writer, it is hard to determine what course of action should be taken. I get the feeling it is a female writing, but that isn’t revealed either. If she is a 12 year old female, I can see why this is a difficult situation for her. 16, maybe not. But shaming her? Not till we know all the facts, please.

  3. avatar TimIn808 says:

    I hate to say this, but there seems a good chance that LW2 is inventing a situation – perhaps an exercise in creative writing. It just seems way too predisposed for a certain response to me.

    • avatar mac13 says:

      I can see why you say this. I ahd the feeling that if the LW knew all this, another cousin had stepped up and reported it to his mom, why doesn’t “everyone” know about this. So, it’s like you say, creative writing or a greast deal of denial going around.

    • avatar stateoflove_N_Trust says:

      I don’t see why you would think this. This is not an unusual situation. Many people bury their heads in the sand regarding sexual abuse issues.

  4. avatar etiennewestwind says:

    LW1: Not everyone who thinks they´re a matchmaker has the talent…

    LW2: Get CPS involved, now.

  5. avatar wlaccma says:

    It does not take a genius to think that this boy is or has been molested by someone in the household and they do not want anyone outside the house involved. He is obviously in school. Alert someone there and they will take it from there and they do not have to know it was you.

  6. avatar Obediah Fults says:

    Margo, you missed a perfect opportunity to tell Melanie, “Take a big dose of M.Y.O.B. and call me in the morning.” What a busy-body!

  7. avatar Chris Glass` says:

    We have a family member who is like the bachelor in letter 1. He is perfectly content with his life feeling no need to have a wife or children at the present time. He is comfortable in his skin and with who he is. He travels, entertains and enjoys life. Fewer comments might be made if this were a single woman satisfied with her life.

    • avatar B.eadle says:

      Probably even MORE comments if this were a single woman. When are you getting married? Don’t you want children? Those eggs aren’t getting any younger. Or the ever classic…tick tock tick tock.

    • avatar Pinky35 says:

      My brother is also like the bachelor. He has had only 1 gf that I know of and that was short-lived and ended over 5 years ago. He still lives at home and tends to cling to his mom. I honestly don’t know if he is gay or is just not all that interested in being in a relationship. I’ve suspected since he was 5 that he was gay, but of course, I have asked him point blank only to have him say no, he is not gay. Maybe he is just not ready to come out. Maybe he is just a mama’s boy and doesn’t want another relationship. He does go out and socialize a lot but yet doesn’t seem to form any intimate relationships. However, it’s not my place to fix him up or tell him he should be in a relationship. He will when he is ready and finds the right mate for himself-whether boy or girl.

      • avatar Chris Glass` says:

        Not all single people are gay some are just happy with their life as it is. Our family member maintains his own home and just came back from a trip to Europe. He often states that he would rather live alone than be lonely within a marriage as some of his friends are. He has never clung to his parents or looked to others for validation he is comfortable in his own skin.

  8. avatar Cindy Marek says:

    L #1: Make someone’s day…mind your own business. 😉 There’s a reason he brushes off any attempts at match-making on his behalf. It’s *his* reason(s).

  9. avatar QuietGitl says:

    LW1  And maybe he just doesn’t want a relationship at this time.  He may be recovering.  He may have his eye on someone who isn’t currently available but he is willing right now to wait.  You’ve offered, now stop.  I’ve had people try to fix me up and I’ve finally had to tell them that there is just not any room in my life right now.  An 89 year old parent with a large property that I have to maintain, a full and part time job (so I work 7 days a week) make it impossible for me to add anything else to my schedule.  Please, take the hint, and just leave him alone.   

  10. avatar David Bolton says:

    “If he were gay (which I doubt because he’s very masculine)…”

    I know girl, right? What are we gonna do with these bangs? AND THOSE ROOTS!


    • avatar D says:

      Well played, sir. Well played.

    • avatar dcarpend says:

      It boggles me that in this day and age anyone assumes that all gay men are alike. Yeah, my hair dresser is gay, and obviously so. But I’ve had gay men who showed no outward signs that I could pick up on; one lawyer friend finally came out of the closet to me after 7 years of friendship. I knew he wasn’t married, of course. I didn’t give any thought to his sex life, but if I would likely have assumed he was enjoying being a young, good-looking, well-to-do man in a big city, you know?

      I’ve known gay men who swished and gay men who showed no outward signs. I’ve known gay men who were promiscuous and gay men who got married, or have been in decades-long committed relationships. I’ve known gay men who dressed and groomed very sharp, and gay men who slarged around in old overalls and tie-dyed tee shirts, with scruffy hair and beard. I’ve known gay men who spent their evenings going out to the clubs, and gay men who spent their evenings watching Star Trek reruns. The idea that gay men are any more alike than straight men are is just plain stupid.

      Which is also why I loathe the term “gay lifestyle.” There is no gay lifestyle any more than there is a “straight lifestyle.”

  11. avatar Jon T says:

    I’m glad Margo called LW1 out on the whole “I doubt he’s gay because he’s very masculine” comment. That alone really stuck in my craw. But what a bored, self-absorbed person she must be! Nobody has asked her to run in and play “fixer-upper”, yet she insists on forcing the issue because it’s what SHE wants. The guy clearly doesn’t want her help, and he’s been way more diplomatic than I would have been. Margo’s suggestion that she take up volunteer work was perfect.

    • avatar bamabob says:

      when a co-worker of mine learned I was gay she indignantly told me, “You can’t be! You don’t act gay!” I told her, “I have sex with men. You can’t act any gayer than that.” LW1 needs a new hobby. Her current one isn’t satisfying her and it’s annoying others. Yeesh.

  12. avatar Brooke Schubert says:

    LW#1-Lord, save the rest of us from well-meaning people.  This man is not interested in being your little  project, so please leave him alone.

    I’m 34, single, and straight with a fantastic job and a great group of male and female friends.  I knew as early as Jr. High that I was not cut out for marriage and children, and I adore my very fulfilling single life and wouldn’t trade it for the world.  Some people love being married and being parents and that’s wonderful, some people don’t and that’s fine too.

    LW#2-It’s kind of ironic that I read this letter just after I finished reading the Penn State investigation report which was filled with evidence of a ring of people protecting a man who raped many young boys.  I don’t quite get all of the dynamics in that household, but SOMEONE must call the authorities and have this family investigated.  Whether the child is just disturbed or he’s learning it from somewhere, the risk is alarming and to do nothing is the worst option of all.

    • avatar luna midden says:

      This is a ‘friend of her husband’s from work’… how much of his social life does either REALLY KNOW ABOUT????? Maybe if she said he was a good friend of both of them… she ‘might’ know about his social life, but even then…. the social lives of married and singles can be quite different. For all we and SHE might knnow- when her husband asks ‘what’ka doing this weekend, tonight?’ and ‘NO NAME MASCULINE, POSSIBLY GAY ‘ FRIEND might be saying ‘ahh, nothing’ BUT that might mean hanging out with friends Melanie’s husband does not know-or friends, OR COWORKERS that do not like MELANIE AND/OR her husband. It was good that Margo struck down that ‘all gay men are feminine’ type. But…. Melanie should get out of the Match Maker business… a Match maker only does her business when PEOPLE GO TO HER LOOKING FOR A MATCH… Not when SHE, MELANIE, decides that people should be married.

      lw2-How old is this writer? Is she under 18? I really really hope she is not making all this up. Either way….. if she is making this up and calls, she will destroy families, emotionally, physically and financially. If she is not, she is living among alot of sick people and the same thing will happen. It is a non win situation. But if this is true, and she is under 18, she should question her parents why THEY HAVE NOT DOWN ANYTHING ABOUT THIS. Sick sick sick situation.

  13. avatar J. Lovely says:

    L.W. #1- You really need to get a life. 

    L.W. #2-  The whole situation is pretty disturbing as it stands right now, but it is also painful to read how the writer “personally does not like the child” in question.  Yes, he needs help and potential victims need to be dafe from this child, but the child himself needs someone who will get him the help he so desperately needs while treating him like a person, not a monster.  He is not the devil, and like many others on here may suspect, this kid may have been and still may be the vicitm of sexual abuse.  The reaction of the family members is very suspicious and if they know something is going on and they are not acting on it it’s probably because there is more to it than the writer is letting on.

  14. avatar J. Lovely says:

    typos, my bad- safe, victim

  15. avatar Belinda Joy says:

    Letter #1 – Huh? Who is this letter writer? How odd.

    As Margo rightly pointed out, there are masculine men that are Gay, but beyond that it may simply be he doesn’t want you to fix him up. As a single woman I can attest to the fact I have had others that look at me and question why I am not married, as if there must be some hidden issue. The reality is there are millions of people in the world that actually like being single and those that choose not to date. AND there may indeed be a deep, heavy issue as to why people (and this guy) is choosing not to date, but whay business is it of yours? I agree with Margo, back off.   

    Letter #2 –   I really do hate this topic and this problem. On countless conversation threads on countless websites I have said there appears to be a direct link to men that molest and the possibility they themselves were molested. Men that have been molested take offense to my belief. I am involved in a heated debate on another website with a group of people that are angered because I said “I believe Sandusky must have been molested, how could anyone be so depraved?” Why did I say that…..whoa! People are posting over and over again “He is just a pervert, just because he molests boys doesn’t mean he was molested or mentally ill!”

    Yet here we are having a conversation about a little boy that is clearly in need of help because of his inappropriate sexualized behavior and the speculation that he himself may have been (or is) being molested. I applaud the letter writer for being honest about her feelings for the child by stating she doesn’t like him. Far too often people are politically correct and speak in loving and glowing terms about the “care of the child” and how “I love him so much and only want the best for him” I too have known children that I just don’t (didn’t) like and blame their parents for their wild behavior. And the fact that this letter writer speaks of her concerns for his possible victims speaks volumes.

    She must turn to social services so they can investigate and get the care this little boy desperately needs.  it can be done on an annoymous manner so that blame is not laid at her doorstep. But then again because she has discussed this with the grandparents, they may assume it was her. But I say so what.

    I believe children need to be allowed to be children. 18 and younger life should be a breeze. It should be a time of not thinking about sex, trust issues or fear. This little 9 year old has a right to be happy and so do all the other kids that he may come across. It’s our job as the adults to protect him and make sure he is able to live a life as a child that is a breeze.     


  16. avatar Jay Gentile says:

    I have a strict policy that keeps a wall between my work and my private life precisley because of women like Melanie Down in Dixie. I’ve had to endure my share of nosy Melanies who stick their unfulfilled noses in everyone else’s business. Women like her think they’re doing the world a big favor by their matchmaking, but it’s really all about her — her need to meddle, her need to interfere in the lives of others, her need to feel important, her need to feel the blush of romance that she’s not feeling at home. I’m not gay, but if the option is women like Melanie or a gay man, I’d go gay. It has to be better than living with a nightmare like Melanie. In fact, I wonder if Melanie’s husband has a boyfriend on the side.

  17. avatar Amy says:

    I think Margo was way too lenient on LW#1. Criminy, how backwards can one girl’s thinking be? She thinks if he were gay, he’d INVENT an imaginary girlfriend? Why? Do all gay men prance around with handbags and make pathetic attempts at hiding their sexual orientation with imaginary constructs in her world?

  18. avatar redhead says:

    LW#1 – My mother was the same way – she would try to fix me up with ANYBODY just so I wouldn’t have to be single anymore. I never took up any of her offers. But, maybe if Melanie knows a few singles, have a BBQ or something where she can casually invite them all and let them see if there’s any sparks.
    She sounds older – given that “beard” line about gays and fake girlfriends!

    LW#2 It’s not even a question of IF this kid will hurt someone, he will. The cousin’e mother who won’t let the others play with him – she should have called CPS right when this happened. But, any time is good if you can get this kid help.

  19. avatar Lila says:

    For LW2: four words for ya: Joe. Paterno. Penn. State.

    How different things would have been, all around, if Paterno had called, or supported calling, the appropriate authorities way back when there was obviously molestation going on. Ignoring it or hoping it will go away does NOT work. This kid is still young enough that intervention NOW may do some good.

    So, do you still need to ask an advice column about the right thing to do?

  20. avatar R Scott says:

    **warning- I’m not going to be nice**

    LW1 – Based on how amazingly stupid you are perhaps your husband’s friend just doesn’t trust you to fix him up with anyone regardless of his sexual orientation. By the way the 1920’s called and would like you to come back.

  21. avatar JCF4612 says:

    LW1: Butt out, lady.

    LW2: Tell your grandparents and the kid’s old man that if they don’t arrange professional counseling and evaluation, you’ll pick up the phone and let the cops set up a session.   

  22. avatar sdpooh says:

    Regarding the little boy who is trying to sexually molest other children…what he is doing is a crime.  I don’t care how old he is.  He is sexually harrassing someone.  The authorities need to be notified immediately.  Haven’t the events at the University of Pennsylvania taught us anything?  Someone taught this to the child, or he is naturally a budding sexual predator.  Either way, it needs to be nipped in the bud.  If he can’t be “fixed” he needs to be watched.

  23. avatar Verdi says:

    LW 2 — Both the little boy and his victims need help now. Children that age don’t learn that sort of sexual behavior on their own. At age 6, I was sexually molested by another child. It was years before I was able to feel “clean” again. I felt so dirty and ashamed about what had happened, that it was years before I even spoke to anyone about it. I wish to anything that my parents had picked up on the signs; but they were going through a divorce at the time and thought I was acting out because of it. I have come to understand (as I got older) that the child was probably a victim himself. He and his sister were far too “knowing” for children their age. Please speak out for the sake of all concerned and if the grandparents/father won’t get help — force the issue!!! You don’t know how many children you may save.

  24. avatar Tulip O'Hare says:

    I am amusing myself with the idea that LW1’s project/victim is not interested in being set up because he’s secretly having an affair with LW1’s husband.

    I have no evidence for this whatsoever, and as many have pointed out, there’s also no evidence that he’s gay. I just think it’d be hilarious.

  25. avatar Sister says:

    Dear Caring Cousin (LW#2),
    If you are a minor and you go to the same school as your cousin, please tell the school counselor about this situation immediately. If you do not go to the same school, please call 1-800-4 A CHILD, and they will talk you through how to make an official report. Filing a report will begin the steps to get your cousin help and protect other children.

    The people at CHILDHELP will also be able to talk to you over the phone about how this situation may affect you, or any concern you have about what happens when you make a report.

    If you are an adult, make the call. Or, if you do not mind being personally identified, go to your cousin’s school and ask to speak with the school psychologist. Being approached by the school psychologist may be less scary for your cousin than by unknown authorities. Follow up in 1 week to seek what action the school has taken. They are obligated to act quickly.

    Everyone can make a difference. We don’t know why parents and grandparents don’t always help when help is needed. But you can help now, even if you are under 18 years old. Please don’t wait for someone else to act. You can help right now. 1-800-4 A CHILD

  26. avatar PennyAnne says:

    Margo’s response to letter writer #1 was far too reserved: “a good rule of thumb for you in your matchmaking efforts is that after several turndowns you just cross that person off of your list” – actually, well BEFORE you ever make even your first attempt to be a match maker, you approach the person and gauge their interest explicitly. If they do not register immediate enthusiasm, you forget the idea. Forever. LW1 is really just a busy body who is eager to be told outright what she already suspects, that the co-worker is gay. It’s always so much more delicious to find out this bit of gossip when the man is masculine and not out.