Q: I've been been friends with a group of guys since grade school. Now we're all graduating from college, in our 20s. Some of us are getting married, others are enjoying the single life. But one of the guys hasn't even been on a date. And he's probably the most romance-minded in the bunch. Here's the problem, or at least one of them: He has horrible body odor. It's so bad we can hardly stand it, and we're guys. Can't imagine what the ladies think. Should we tell him?
Steve: As the J. Geils Band once observed, "Love stinks!" There are many causes for evil-smelling sweat, ranging from genetics to diet to medical conditions. The most diplomatic of your group should have a one-on-one chat with your friend and suggest that he discuss his condition with a doctor. Once a doc diagnoses the cause, he'll know how to cure it.
Mia: Ick. That doesn't sound like normal BO. My guess is your pal is aware of this and self-conscious about it but lacks the courage to do anything. So be gentle. Don't anonymously send him deodorant. Talk to him, suggest he see a doctor and most importantly, keep hanging out with him so he feels supported.
Q: I have been married for 31 years. My husband has had no sexual desire for years. Lately, he has begun to prop his leg up on his chair and put his hand on himself and slowly rub a few minutes and stop. I caught him one night and asked him about it, and he said he was scratching. He has been trying to hide doing this. Why is he doing this and then denying it?
Mia: Looks like your husband has some sexual impulses left after all! Clearly he's still enjoying a little self-love from time to time. I don't know why he's denying it, but maybe you should try to join in next time instead of chastising him. Perhaps you could rub each other?
Steve: This could be a golden opportunity to rekindle your romance. On the other hand, maybe he really is just scratching. Sometimes a man's gotta scratch.
Q: I've been friends with a woman since before I met my husband. Over the past couple of years, the three of us have really bonded as a friendly threesome. Lately, my friend has been calling or e-mailing my husband directly, and vice versa, rather than them going through me. He always tells me when they've communicated, but it is bothering the hell out of me. I don't want to seem like the "jealous wife," but I did grow up with a lying, cheating father, so I have a lot of apprehension. I acknowledge my trust issues and deal with them in therapy, but until the therapy kicks in naturally, I'd love some suggestions on ways to relieve my suspicion and keep the group friendship going strong. Any thoughts?
Steve: As long as it's just the occasional call or e-mail, there's no reason to worry. Tell your husband you really appreciate him telling you about their contact, that it makes you feel secure. Would you feel better if your friend had a male companion? Maybe you and hubby can fix her up.
Mia: Three is always a tricky number. But it does seem like you're trying very hard to give everybody the benefit of the doubt. I don't think there's anything wrong with asking your husband and friend to include you in their e-mails. And remind your husband that this is a sensitive area for you, so he should make sure you know when they talk. Also, if you can't find your friend a date, maybe you should include some other people in your socializing. If you mix things up, perhaps you'll feel less insecure about the friendship. *