Dear Annie: It was my husband's sense of humor that first attracted me to him. He was one of the funniest people I had ever met. But now, five years into our marriage, the constant comedy routine has gotten old. He's never "off." The jokes just keep on coming.
I'll be telling him about my day, and he'll take some detail and run with it, creating some humorous hypothetical situation. When we have company over, it's even worse because he has an audience. Everyone laughs at his jokes, and they tell me how funny he is. They're not the ones who have to live with a partner who seems more interested in doing a stand-up monologue than having an actual conversation. I've gently pointed this out to him a few times ("Why do you think you tell so many jokes?"), but he doesn't seem to get it.
I don't want to sit across the dinner table from Jerry Seinfeld for the rest of my life. I just want to talk about real things and for us to speak to each other from the heart. How can I get him to be a bit more serious? — Mrs. Jester
Dear Mrs. Jester: Humor is a great way to break the ice in the beginning of a relationship, and it also helps maintain a sense of levity and playfulness in the long term. But constant joking can grate on a partner and get in the way of intimacy, as you've found.
It's possible he suffers from witzelsucht, a rare neurological condition that causes people to wisecrack 24/7, but more likely he's just a bit of a ham. He's gotten used to relating to people this way. He probably doesn't even realize how incessant it is.
Gently point it out to him and explain how it's affecting you. He should make an effort to cut back on jokes. Come up with some sort of signal you can use if he starts going into stand-up mode. Like any habit, it can be broken.
What you can't break, and I hope you wouldn't want to, is his personality. Humor is always going to be a part of who he is.
Dear Annie: I am hosting a neighborhood party for a fairly well-to-do neighborhood.
I have done this once before, and it was received pretty well. But this time, I am getting no RSVPs. The party is less than a week away, and I have heard from only three out of 30 invited households.
What has happened to proper manners? These are educated, working people, but they cannot make their decision known? Maybe they think something better may come along?
I find invitations to any event a privilege and also consider the host's need for proper counts to provide food and beverages.
One neighbor suggested calling others to see whether they are coming, but that seems like begging to me.
This is probably my last event, as proper etiquette seems to be gone. Any suggestions? — Anxious Host
Dear Anxious: There's no good reason for 27 of 30 invited households to blow you off this way — that is, unless everyone got food poisoning at last year's luncheon. (And really, even then, they should send their regrets this year, not just leave you hanging.)
People these days do seem to be a lot worse at anything that involves the gargantuan effort of putting something in the mail. You should see how many letters I get about thank-you notes (or the lack thereof). It's discourteous and disappointing.
Though it's not ideal to have to call up guests to see whether they're coming, you need a head count, and at this point phone calls are your best option.
Next year, you might try sending invitations online through Evite or Facebook — if you still feel like going to the trouble of hosting a luncheon again, that is.
Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected] To find out more about Annie Lane and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
Photo credit: North Charleston