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What's up, losers? 

As some of you may have heard, I recently received a contract extension with the fine folks here at The Maine Edge. As part of their lucrative, yet still not quite Parker-worthy settlement, we've agreed that I more than deserve a retrospective of my typically-excellent work from this wonderful year.

It's clear that you people out there, despite all of my scorn, disdain and abuse, simply can't get enough of the main man. Your constant clamoring for more, more, more Parker can no longer be ignored.

And so, despite the fact that I'm not at all sure you idiots deserve it, here are a few of my favorite letters and responses from 2011. Enjoy it, morons. If the words are too big for you, try and track down someone with half a brain to sound them out for you.

And always remember - Todd Parker doesn't like you. At all. In fact, he probably hates you.

Much love.


Dear Todd Parker,

I'm a 27-year-old guy and I broke up with my girlfriend of six years a few months ago. I decided that if I didn't want to marry her, I was just stringing both of us along. My dating life before her was easier since I was still in college, going to parties and constantly meeting new people. Now I am in the realm of the adult dating world and have been a bit lost but learning quickly.

I met a girl a few weeks after the breakup and started hanging out from time to time; very low-key. It's not like I'm looking for a serious relationship or anything, but I feel like that I had been in one for so much of my dating life that it's all I know.

So the girl and I have made out a few times and she spent the night at my house once. However, I can't seem to find it in myself to take the next move and turn it into a sexual relationship. I have a nervousness that I haven't felt since I was 17. What should I do to get over the anxiety in the bedroom and take the relationship to the next level?

- Nervous in Orono

Dear Nervous,

The short answer? Grow a pair.

Seriously, man. I get it; you were in a long-term relationship and it's hard to get over. But it sounds like you two were done long before you were done, if you get my meaning. And it seems like you did the right thing; I respect you not jerking your lady around.

You wanted to be single and now you are. Hooray for you. Not as easy as you thought, though, is it?

Dude, that nervousness? Never going to go away. You're just going to have to man up and play through it. Otherwise, you'll simply drift along in this weird bubble of pseudo-romance until the lady in question gets bored waiting for you to make your move.

Be nervous, man. Just don't let it stop you. Hell, tell her how nervous you are. She'll probably find it cute and charming and subsequently be quite forgiving of the many, many mistakes that you are destined to make in the situation.

And always remember this one truth - you will mess up. A lot. But that's just because you're a guy and that's what we do. Just don't be such a damned pansy and you'll be fine.


Dear Todd Parker,

The short of it is I am a 25 year old college graduate and have only been involved in two serious relationships. I want to date!

The long of it is that it's not that easy for me to find someone/no one ever seems interested in me. I've been told I am an intimidating person. This is a mystery to me as I am a very petite 5'2' girl. I have asked friends and their responses vary: if you smile more you'll be more approachable. You're just really assertive. You act closed off.

And I have tried to fix each of these 'issues' but to no avail. The ironic thing is that I am the least stuck up person I know. Some people have admitted that I intimidated them but once they got to know me, I was super chill and laid back, which I am. I have no idea how to change my situation. It's frustrating when ALL my friends get approached/guys want to date them all the time and I just have to pretend that I am OK with hanging out by myself on a Friday night because they're all on dates. It probably doesn't help that I am not a hook-up type person. Drinking and having make-out sessions aren't my thing. I'm in a rut.

Any advice?

-Frustrated in Bangor

Dear Frustrated,

All right, first of all, we're going to assume what you're saying is the whole truth. Hard to tell sometimes, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.

Look, babe. Loosely translated, 'intimidating' usually means something like 'disconcertingly hot' or 'much smarter than me.' When people say that - especially to someone who (seems) as low-key and together as you are - it is most definitely a problem on their end.

Dudes, for all of our posturing, are skittish and easily frightened. When we encounter a woman who manages to stimulate us on multiple levels, quite often we freak out and talk ourselves out of moving forward. We're kind of morons like that. It's even happened to the Man Himself once or twice, believe it or not.

But don't go changing. The right guy will come along, a guy who will recognize your 'intimidation' factor as nothing more than a sharp wit and a strong character. He'll make his move, and you'll know. Trust me on this one.

Of course, you could always step up to the plate and take a swing at a guy yourself. Might not help as far as coming off as intimidating, but if it's the right guy, he'll recognize it for what it is. Which is, if I may be so bold, incredibly hot.

Of course, if you've left out the part where you get shrill all the time and behave like a complete shrew, all bets are off. I'm inclined to think you're legit, but you never know. So if you're for real, good luck. If not, you'll probably die alone.


Dear Todd Parker,

A couple of months ago, I met this girl at a friend's wedding. We really hit it off. We talked and danced the whole night. We've been talking just about every day since. A month or so after the wedding, I went to visit her. It was great; there was dinner, conversation, cuddling and all of the other stuff too. Right after that, I left town on a road trip I'd been planning with my buddies.

We've been on the road for a couple of weeks now. I still talk to her every day, but it's kind of tough. A week or so ago, she dropped the L-word. I told her I don't feel the same way, but she seems to be cool with it.

I want to date this girl when I get back into town, but there's some kind of weirdness now, like some of the spark has disappeared. I'm not sure, but I might be freaking out because she told me she loved me.

Should I be freaked out by this? What do I do?

-Concerned in Bangor

Dear Concerned,

Are you serious with this? No st you should be freaked out. You've known this chick for five minutes and she's already telling you that she loves you? Based on nothing but phone calls and a grand total of two evenings spent in one another's company?

Pull on the reins, dude. You need to slow this chick down.

Love at first sight might exist; just because I've never seen it doesn't mean it isn't there. But that weirdness you're feeling is a clear sign that you're not ready for that level of emotional connection just yet. Maybe you will be down the road, but right now, you need to tell her to cool it with the love stuff.

You might also want to be aware that just because she says she's cool with her feelings not being reciprocated, that doesn't mean she is. Maybe she is, but that seems unlikely.

Maybe you two are meant to be and all this stuff can be part of an amusing story that you tell your grandchildren. Anything's possible. Although it seems a bit more likely that she's a crazed clinger who is dying to sink her talons into you. Or maybe it's somewhere in the middle. It all boils down to how accepting she is of the idea of dialing back the romantic aggression.

Pull the ripcord, dude. Release the emergency chute and lose some velocity. It's the safest thing to do.


Dear Todd Parker,

Some buddies and I have been in a fantasy football league together for a couple of years now. We all cough up a few bucks apiece and spend the season talking st and generally behaving like animals. It's a lot of fun.

However, we've recently been confronted with a problem. Some of our regulars can't play this year, so we have a couple of open slots. While we were talking about who we might ask to join, one of the other guys in the groups asked his mom if she wanted to play. His freaking mother. Who plays fantasy football with their mom?

She's a perfectly nice lady, man. That's kind of the problem; I'm as big a jerk as the next guy, but I have difficulty imagining what kind of smack I can talk to someone's mother. One of the best parts of the whole thing is not having to censor myself, but I feel like her presence is going to keep us from the gross, fun nastiness that we usually enjoy.

I should be clear; there are women in the league already. This is not a woman/man thing; it's a respectable member of society/foul-mouthed reprobate thing. How do I tell this guy that I have no fantasies that involve his mom, sports-related or otherwise?

-Football Fan in Orono

Dear FF,

Dude. Short answer? Find some new friends, preferably ones who have managed to sever the umbilical cord.

I'll admit to being a little confused by the fact that you have chicks in your league, but I suppose they can be just as nerdy a football fan as any man. Pretty sure that's what that Constitutional amendment was about. You know which one I mean; it's in the teens somewhere.

You've landed in a delicate situation, brother. I agree that under no circumstances do you want anyone's mom involved in this thing, but at the same time, the dude clearly enjoys his mother or he wouldn't have asked her to join in the first place.

There are a couple of ways to handle it. You could do the whole 'Hey, sorry, we already asked some other guys to join, but if they're not into it, your mom can totally join.' Or you could tell your buddy that at this year's draft, shirtlessness is mandatory. Then tell him you look forward to seeing Mrs. So-and-So.

Either way, problem solved.


Dear Todd Parker,

I recently went to the wedding of some old friends. It was a great party and everyone seemed to have a lot of fun. People danced and drank into the night in celebration of a new love. This was maybe a couple of months ago.

The happy couple recently posted some of their wedding pictures online. It was a lot of fun reliving the evening - right up until I noticed an odd-looking smudge on some of the photos of the bride and groom during this goofily cute dance number that they had dreamed up. At first, I thought it was something on the lens. Upon closer examination, however, it turned out to be something else.

It was a nipple. The top of the bride's dress hadn't been properly secured and in a handful of the pictures, you can totally see it.

My question is: do I tell her? I don't really want to be the one to inform her that her boob popped out on what should be the most wonderful day of her life, but at the same time, if she starts sending these photos to friends and family, someone is going to make the same discovery that I did. Do I try to save her that embarrassment or do I pretend that I know nothing and let someone else sort it out?

I'm at a complete loss. Help me!

-Boobspotter in Bangor

Dear Boobspotter,

It's questions like this one that remind me of why I got into this business in the first place.

Unless you are incredibly close to this woman, DO NOT SAY ANYTHING. We're talking member-of-the-bridal-party close, here.

Whoever informs the bride of her unfortunate Janet Jackson moment is going to be immediately and permanently associated with the humiliation. Unless you're a close enough friend to have borne witness to previous embarrassments of similar scope, your relationship with her will never recover. This is a legit kill the messenger-type situation.

This all presupposes that you're a woman, by the way. If you're a dude - even if you are the bride's absolute best friend in the history of ever - just walk away. Not only are you the bearer of bad news, you're the sleazebag who invested way too much time investigating the blushing bride's boobies. Under no circumstances will your actions be viewed as OK. Trust me on this one.

My advice is to just keep it to yourself. If a nipple can possibly be seen, someone will find a way to see it. As someone who spent his childhood pausing the VCR at every side-boob shot he saw, I speak from experience. Let someone else feel the fury.

(Note to readers: Boobspotter included a picture. Rest assured, it is most definitely a nipple.)


Dear Todd Parker,

This isn't your usual thing, but I was hoping you might still be willing to give me some thoughts on or advice about something that has been bugging me for a long time.

I went to the movies recently with my girlfriend. It was a movie we had both been looking forward to, so we were pretty excited. As we settled into our seats, there were these two guys in the row behind us who were chattering away. No big deal, right? People talk to their friend while they wait for the movie to start.

Except these two never stopped. Never. They seriously kept right on talking (not even whispering) through the trailers and right into the movie. It was obvious that they were showing off for each other, trying to make clever little quips at every opportunity.

It got worse. It was like these two jerks talking somehow made it OK for other people to talk, so by the time we were halfway into the movie, there were three or four similar conversations going in various places in the theater. It was maddening.

I'm not a confrontational sort, so I didn't really do anything about it except shoot the occasional dirty look. It worked about as well as you think.

The whole experience completely ruined date night and made me not want to go back to the movies. If I go back and this happens again, how do you think I should handle it?

-Seething in Brewer

Dear Seething,

I feel your pain, bro. Don't you just f---ing HATE those guys?

Nothing stokes the boiler of Parker rage quicker than inconsiderate nozzles of that sort. It's a sad state of affairs when people start to think that the rules of polite society don't apply to them. It's enough to make you wish that theater ushers carried Tasers.

Unfortunately, that ain't gonna happen. So we are forced to deal with these wads ourselves. Here are a couple of hints from the Todd Parker Handbook (FYI, these tactics will work in situations other than noisy movie theaters):

Point out their idiocy in a sarcastic way. A good move might be to turn after D-bag McChattychat serves up another pithy bon mot and start in with some forced laughter. Maybe throw in a couple of loud comments. 'You're so funny! How did you get to be so funny? I came to watch this movie, but I can't stop listening to you because you're so effing FUNNY!'

Depending on the proximity of the offenders to you, a good solid fart can always serve as a nice counterattack. An epic toot will ensure that their mouths stay closed at least for a few minutes. If you drop a really good one, they'll probably move away. Of course, you'll want the girlfriend on board with this one. It also helps if you've eaten Taco Bell recently.

Punch one of them in the throat. This is self-explanatory. However, you might want to save this as an absolute last resort, because you're likely to get arrested.

Lastly, just remember this. You're there with a girl instead of your unwashed asshat roommate. You may have lost at the movies, but you win at life.


Dear Todd Parker,

I've been living with a couple of friends of mine for about a year. We've all known each other for a really long time and sharing a house has been a great experience. That all changed when my two friends started dating. All of a sudden, things that we all used to do together have become date-like. If one of them makes dinner or wants to watch a movie, I feel like I'm intruding if I hang out. Plus I don't need to make it weirder than it already is by being the third wheel.

They don't even notice that there's a problem. They keep trying to get me to hang out all the time like we used to, but every time I do, they immediately get all gross and couple-y. It's awkward for me, but they're so into each other right now that they don't even notice.

I know I sound bitter. I don't begrudge them their happiness. I'm glad they figured things out and realized that they like each other. I just don't want to get guilted into hanging out and watching them whisper and giggle and grope all night. They're still my friends and I still love them, but I don't want to feel like an intruder all the time.

How do I let them know that I don't feel comfortable hanging out with them during their couple time?

-Uncomfortable in Orono

Dear Uncomfortable,

Condolences. Dealing with the significant others of friends is almost always awkward. Like it or not, friends change when they start dating; it's just a question of degree. Your situation is next-level, as both of them are already your friends. Throw in the fact that you all live together and we've ventured into legitimate sitcom territory.

To put it bluntly, you're boned.

There is no easy way out for you. Your friends are totally lost in their lovey-doviness. They don't see any problem and if you bring it up, they're going to be confused at best, angry at worst. You are going to be seen as trying to drive a wedge between them - especially if there have been any romantic inclinations toward either of them from your end.

It sucks that they're being inconsiderate, but they don't see it that way. Like you said, they don't even notice your discomfort. But if you bring it up, they will notice. All the time. Even when there's no discomfort there, they'll see it. Everything will change.

Basically, you've got two choices. You can suck it up or you can move out. You can mention your feelings if you really need to, but you have to understand that it's the sort of thing that can significantly (and permanently) alter the dynamics of your relationship with your friends. It's up to you to decide whether the risk of festering resentment is worth getting this off your chest.

I would advise picking up a new hobby. And earplugs.


Dear Todd Parker,

My boyfriend's parents hate me.

We've been dating for a little over a year now, but ever since day one, they've hated me. Every time I go with my boyfriend to see them, they take every opportunity to dig into me. It's not blatant - most of the time, my boyfriend doesn't even notice. But those digs are there.

When they ask me about how school is going, they smile and nod when I tell them, then take a little jab at my chosen course of study (I'm an English major), saying things like 'You're so brave to have a major with such limited job potential.' They'll also say things to him like 'How's Cheryl (Cheryl's his ex) doing these days? Really well, I bet - she was always so smart.' That's if they aren't ignoring me, talking to my boyfriend like I'm not even there. Although it's worse when I'm not there.

According to my boyfriend, when he goes to see them alone or talks to them on the phone, they're always asking him if he really thinks we belong together, why he left Cheryl, stuff like that. He says it's just how they are and that all that matters is that he and I love each other.

Love is great and all, but I don't know how much more of this passive-aggressive crap I can stand. Every visit is excruciating, but he's close with his parents and I don't want to keep him away and give them another reason to hate me.

What do I do?

-Hated in Old Town

Dear Hated,

First of all, it's probably not your fault. Not entirely, anyway. The truth is that some parents are hardwired to hate anyone that their precious little snowflake brings home. To them, no one could ever possibly be good enough for the light of their lives. Honestly, good old Cheryl probably had to hear all about her predecessor as well.

And you're not going to fix it. Not immediately, anyway.

They have settled into their reasons for disliking you (and just so we're clear, you're not being paranoid - if your story is accurate, they aren't big fans of yours) and they'll be damned if they're going to change now.

I do find it a bit distressing that your man isn't standing up for you at least a little bit. There's no doubt that he's been through this whole rigmarole before (and more than once); he should at least make an effort to get his folks to lay off a little. The dude could probably stand to go ahead and cut an apron string or two as far as that goes. No real man worth his salt will sit back and let someone he (allegedly) loves dangle in the wind and suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous parents. Not cool, chief. Not cool.

So what do you do? There's really nothing you can do except tough it out. As long as you don't out-and-out suck, they'll slowly come to accept you. They'll do it begrudgingly, but in the end, they love their son. If he's happy, they'll be happy. Eventually.

Until then? Best of luck. You're going to need it. One last piece of advice: Don't punch his mom, no matter how much she might deserve it. There's no coming back from that.


Dear Todd Parker,

You are such a f---ing joke.

Every week, you act like a total ass and pass it off as 'advice.' You aren't interesting, you aren't helpful and you sure as hell aren't funny. All you do is try to make other people feel bad in order to make your own pathetic self feel good.

It's no wonder you won't tell anyone who you are and you hide behind that stupid bag. If people knew who you were, you'd be held accountable for what you say. Can't have that, can we?

Besides, your bit is totally played. If it was ever funny at all (which I doubt), it hasn't been for a long, long time. Years. You're just an idiot who for some reason has a place to try and make other people feel like st. The Maine Edge would be better off without you.

Go ahead and print this. Take your best shot, a-hole.

-A 'Fan'

Dear Fan,

Ah, yes. Do you smell that? That's some good old-fashioned loathing in the air. I sure do love it when I get love letters like this one. Makes me feel like I'm doing my job.

As to your first point: yes. Yes I am. It's a joke, you loser. Entertainment purposes only and all that. I think it has been made clear that anyone who honestly seeks advice from me is an even bigger moron than you are. No offense intended.

Just kidding. It's intended.

Maybe I'm not interesting or helpful or funny, but you read me, don't you? You must have been reading me for a while to get worked up enough to send your sad little shotgun-punctuated barely-comprehensible rant. For real; if it hadn't been an e-mail, I'd have expected it to be written in crayon.

The best part is that if you felt better after sending it, then I've actually helped you, albeit indirectly. And if you didn't feel better? Then you just wasted a whole pantload of your time giving me material for this week's column.

So you're welcome. Or thank you. Or both. Whatever.

Get over your self-righteousness, pal. Some people actually enjoy what I do here, including my bosses at the Edge, who think I'm just a delight. It might be time to finally track down that sense of humor that you have clearly lost somewhere along the way. There has to be some reason that nobody likes you.

(An educated guess, sure, but I feel confident that you are, in fact, a social pariah.)

Thanks for reading!

Last modified on Wednesday, 22 February 2012 16:05

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