Welcome to the seventh edition of Dr Tinman’s Ignorant Remedies for the Aching Soul.

Not what happened after Dr Tinman's column. Picture: Thinkstock

I am Dr Tinman, life-doctor and former arch-nemesis of Philip Seymour Hoffman.

So far, through this critically-acclaimed advice column (it was recently described by a person with a severe concussion at a hospital as: “Get that laptop out of my face… where’s the nurse? My ears are bleeding… Who are you? Why are you making me read this?”) has dealt with problems in the office, board room, household and DVD store. But we are yet to examine a matter of the heart. Today, that changes.

This week’s question plunges us into the murky world of relationships - a place where rationality, laughter and common sense go to tear each other apart like a group of Toddlers and Tiaras’ mothers left in a room with a voucher for a year’s worth of free dance tuition and a single sharpened pencil.

Before we continue, I wish to thank you in advance for the many legal threats and letters promising retribution and death that you are undoubtedly preparing in-between reading these sentences. They have been a joy to read over the past few weeks, especially this letter from an “Alec of Sydney”, who wrote: “The flames - they leap and consume as the weak whimper and endlessly chatter. Your time is short, Doctor (P.S. I’m going to find out where you live and burn your house down - in case the flames thing didn’t make that immediately apparent).”

An interesting sentiment and always a pleasure to receive correspondence from a fan.

Now, to this week’s bumbling attempt at a competent existence:

Dear Dr Tinman,

I have become caught up in a love triangle - two different men are vying for my affections. One is a long-time friend who has been by my side since childhood. The other is a guy I met at a friend’s wedding two weeks ago, who is charming and funny and handsome. What should I do?

Miss Popular

Dear Miss Popular,

Congratulations! You find yourself in a very enviable place - one which only a handful of people are lucky enough to enjoy. Like the Caesars of old, you shall decide who thrives and who perishes, condemning one man to a life of drunk-texting and audible crying in the toilet at work, while allowing the other to feel the sense of elation that accompanies being chosen over another human being. In the coming days, you may begin to feel drunk with power, intoxicated by your God-like ability to serve out happiness and heart-ache.

I know, because I was once in a similar position. My roving band of unemployed telemarketers were stationed in a remote and desolate part of Africa. Thirsty and unable to find reliable wi-fi, we stumbled into a rundown hotel on the edge of a slightly larger hotel. It was here that they first fell for me - the mysterious woman with an eye-patch and the lady in red… leg-warmers. Over the next three days, their love for me became more and more obvious.

It came to a point where I was forced to choose. I relished building the suspense as they awaited my decision. Then, after a week of awkward silences and obnoxious coin-flipping, I stood up to announce my decision - only to find one had already run off with a man who bred rare caterpillars for a living, while the other became married to The Sea (a professional wrestler from San Francisco who squirted opponents in the face with salt water during bouts).

You should note, however, that the above anecdote will only be of use if one of your suitors has an eye-patch and the other is wearing leg-warmers (or, at the very least, Crocs over white socks). Otherwise, my advice is very simple: go to the airport.

If there is one thing I have learnt from popular culture, it is that if one sits at an airport and looks slightly sad, the person who is most attracted to them must, by law, run to the airport, ignoring important security checks and making a breathless speech.

Your third option, obviously, is to just choose one. Given it is unlikely that they know each other, you can safely date one and switch to the other if it doesn’t work out. Worst case scenario is that they find out and enter into a duel to the death after engaging in a globe-trotting game of cat-and-mouse. On the plus side, that should make it easier to choose.

I hope that helped.

Kindest of warm regards,

Dr Tinman

Most commented


Show oldest | newest first

    • dear says:

      09:17am | 27/05/12

      dear, dear, dear

    • Gregg says:

      10:22am | 27/05/12

      Somehow, I reckon finding a new Doctor Confidant who is not regularly crawling about concrete jungle bars might pay huge dividends.

      Meanwhile Miss Popular, you know how long charm can last when you do not find jokes about sheep shearing being foreplay too funny? and then as for handsome!, well it is an age old fact that old age does wondrous tricks about handsomeness.

      You could go to the airport but just make sure you’ve got a ticket to somewhere you have told nobody about.

    • sunny says:

      12:07pm | 27/05/12

      The one who became married to The Sea sounds like a real fishwife!

    • SydneyGirl says:

      01:06pm | 27/05/12

      Dear Dr Tinman, first thank you for gracing the pages of The Punch when not a week has passed since your last appearance.  As always your advice is excellent and the results of your study of popular culture spot on.  However, you have neglected to add that a woman need not choose.  A lady must always have a few gentleman callers, say 2-4, do you not agree? Too many and she may be mistaken for a lady of the night, just one and it may appear that she simply grabbed the first caller who came along.  Further a lady should encourage her gentlemen callers to be acquainted with each other.  Here I direct you to the French, always excellent practitioners of amour.  Perhaps the film Jules et Jim ended badly but the book we must recollect had a very amicable arrangement.  In such a case as the above the two gentlemen should therefore be forthwith introduced to each other. With luck they will become fast friends only too happy to be besotted with the same woman.  A happy outcome for all! This is perhaps the best way of a lady retaining her prerogative of not choosing while ensuring the satisfaction of all parties concerned!  Kind Regards-SydneyGirl

    • sunny says:

      02:50pm | 27/05/12

      We’re on the same page - I’ve seen some of those movies too where the lady had 2-4 gentleman callers who were all besotted with her. She maintained her prerogative which was so uplifting and there were happy outcomes for all concerned. She made those gentlemen about as happy as pool cleaners can possibly be!

    • Dan Webster says:

      01:18pm | 27/05/12

      Maybe whilst at the airport and looking forlorn, Miss Popular could coerce both hopefuls through the new full body x-ray sacnners.
      She could see which package is the most appealing and decide accordingly.
      Case solved.

    • stephen says:

      06:46pm | 27/05/12

      I like your stuff Doctor Tinman.
      Keep on truckin’.

      It’s the kind of writing which sinks in yet no-one can argue with.
      The excellent technique is important.
      The holes do not matter ; it is the matter that does, and let the so-called intelligent on this site try and find soft things to bury themselves in ... as they will.
      But they won’t.
      They are scared, because they cannot make either it or you, out.
      No mind.

      I like laughing.


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