The Displaced Nation

A home for international creatives

The Displaced Nation’s Agony Aunt: Introducing Mary-Sue

Please give a warm welcome to Mary-Sue Wallace, The Displaced Nation’s agony aunt. We’re delighted to have Mary-Sue on board and know that her thoughtful advice will be able to ease and soothe our readers with any cross-cultural quandary or travel-related confusion that they may have.

Mary-Sue is a retired travel agent who lives in Tulsa with her husband Jake. She has taken a credited course in therapy from Tulsa Community College and is the best-selling author of Traveling Made Easy, Low-Fat Chicken Soup for the Traveler’s Soul, The Art of War: The Authorized Biography of Samantha Brown, and William Shatner’s TekWar: An Unofficial Guide. If you have any questions that you would like Mary-Sue to answer, you can contact her at, or by adding to the comments below.

I’m a 68-year-old retired insurance salesman from Buffalo, NY. Six months ago I got married for a second time to a woman that I met on, an international matchmaking site. My new wife, Oksana, is 24 and she seems increasingly distant with me. I’m worried that she doesn’t like Buffalo as much as I thought she would and that she’s having second thoughts about me. What can I do? DP, Buffalo.

Oh, DP, I think it’s time to start turning that frown upside down, don’t you? As you write in your letter, you’re a retired insurance salesman from Buffalo. What’s not to love about that? How can that fail to get the passion inflamed? My husband, Jake, is a retired insurance salesman from Tulsa, and let me tell you, I could not be happier — both in and out of the bedroom.

I bet you have a nice little pension from a life spent working hard. Now is the time to open up that wallet and throw the moolah around a bit. That way you can have a romantic time while also showing off all the best that Buffalo has to offer. Take her to Country Buffet or to Cracker Barrel, order her the meatloaf, she’ll soon stop her pining for Odessa. And over your romantic all-you-can-eat buffet, why not take this time to open up about yourself. Us gals love to know how our hubbys tick, believe me. Tell Oksana about your time as an insurance salesman. Tell her precisely how premiums work. Explain how your job was to give peace of mind to your average Joe. Believe me, Oksana will be reminded of just why she fell in love with you in the first place, that magical moment when she logged into her email and saw the JPEG file of your passport photo you’d sent her.

As an Irish Expat in Austria I sometimes have a hard time connecting with people. It seems humour-wise I’m on a different wavelength to everyone else. I’m used to using humour to diffuse situations or to put people at ease, but every time I make a joke here it’s met with stony silence. The sort of stuff that they laugh at I get really confused by. How can I bridge this humour gap? MA, Vienna.

It’s Austria, stony silence is a good thing. It’s when they start laughing at your jokes you’ve got a problem — that’s the time you really need to ask for help.

img: Close, by Corina Sanchez.

STAY TUNED for tomorrow’s post, on celebrated women travel writers of old.

If you enjoyed this post, we invite you to subscribe to The Displaced Dispatch, a weekly round up of posts from The Displaced Nation, plus some extras such as seasonal recipes and occasional book giveaways. Sign up for The Displaced Dispatch by clicking here!

2 responses to “The Displaced Nation’s Agony Aunt: Introducing Mary-Sue

  1. ML Awanohara August 24, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    I’ll second Piglet’s welcome, Mary-Sue. The only thing is, are you sure you don’t want to be called M-S? Take it from me: initials can sometimes be good when you’re in a male-dominated world.

    But who am I to give you advice?

    (Eerie — why do I keep having the sensation that I’m writing to an onnagata — a male actor who plays a woman even better than I can?)

    Anyway, the good news is, you’ve landed in the right place. The Displaced Nation is full of people with multiple personality problems, confused identities, you name it. A veritable field day for someone in your profession. Enjoy your sojourn here! 🙂

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