Woman Fears Husband Is Poisoning Her So She Writes To Elle Magazine’s “Advice” Column
10:30 am, January 25th | by Sarah Devlin
If you’re feeling sorry for yourself at work on this cold, cold Friday, we have the cure — it could always be worse. You could not have a job, for instance. Or your husband could be slowly poisoning you, leading you to write to Elle’s advice columnist for help. Yeah, that happened.
Advice columns are immensely popular, both for their ability to provide an anonymous sounding board for people’s problems and for readers to get voyeuristic glimpses into other lives — just look at any corner of the internet for proof. As a result advice-givers sometimes respond to letters weeks or even months after they’ve been received — and this is on the internet! We imagine the turnover for a monthly publication like, say, Elle, might be even longer, which is why it’s pretty weird to read a letter in which the advice seeker is worried that her husband is poisoning her. She could literally be dead by now.
The letter starts off with the writer concerned that her husband of 11 years is tampering with household items; she’s having a reaction to her coffee, beauty products and shampoo:
I suspect he’s putting something in my coffee. I notice it smells funny, and when I drink it, my eyes get superpuffy and swollen. I suspect he’s also adding stuff to my lotions and bath products, which created brown discolorations on my skin. My legs look as if they’re covered in snakeskin…These are expensive, high-end products that I know from experience work well. My suspicions have been further aroused since he’s started ranting about my “using chemicals.”
All that certainly sounds suspicious and unpleasant. And her husband “ranting” about “chemicals” definitely sounds annoying, although that is the only mention of strife or conflict between them besides, you know, all the poisoning. But here is where we begin to suspect that the letter writer needs to look into getting some better crisis management skills:
Last month I purchased a small camera and hid it in the bathroom, but I think he discovered it and deleted the files. So I moved it to a new location, and he put something in front of the lens. I need help. I’ve been married to this man for 11 years! I don’t know what to do! I’m freaked out!
I have a successful career and own significant assets. He doesn’t work. Obviously, if he wanted to kill me, he’s had plenty of chances. So my questions: Can you suggest a camera that might be more user-friendly and more easily concealed?
So rather than use her significant assets to get the hell away from her poison-happy husband, this woman buys a nanny cam for the shower. And then she writes to an advice columnist, not for advice on how not to get murdered (which, as we mentioned above, is weird given the delays built in to print publishing) but for shopping advice so that she can find a better camera. What on earth. Is she hoping that she’ll be able to catch her husband red-handed so that it will be easier to divorce him? Is she worried that if she leaves him, the poisoning will follow her (he is unemployed — he would have lots of time to think up new and creative ways to poison from afar)? Is she hoping that she’ll eventually build up an immunity, like Wesley did to iocane powder? I mean this is really, truly inconceivable.
Poor columnist E. Jean has to answer this woman, of course, and she does her best:
Your marriage is finished.
YOU’RE ON THE RIGHT TRACK, E. JEAN.
Pack up the evidence (you won’t soon be coming back), and go see if your accounts are in order. A husband who tampers with a wife’s moisturizers will tamper with her money. While you’re at the bank, after you’ve looked into your investments, retirement funds, etc., now may be the time to move resources from any joint accounts into your personal ones, strike his name from credit cards, and so on.
After going to the bank, visit your attorney—your new matrimonial attorney—and give her the sham shampoos, bum bath oils, a copy of the hard drive of your husband’s computer, detailed notes on his “rants” about “chemicals,” and so forth. She’ll accompany you when you go to the police.
All very good advice, if this woman is still alive. But then:
NOTE: One is never quite sure of husbands these days. It may turn out the fella was putting castor oil in your coffee in a flaky attempt to protect you from chemicals.
Sure. As the saying goes, we only poison the ones we love. We were all set to make a smug joke about gender bending, because we were under the impression that women were much more likely to try to murder someone by way of poison than men, but it turns out that Justice Department statistics tell a different story (60.5% of offenders who murdered someone via poison between 1980 and 2008 were male). Be careful out there, ladies. Maybe reconsider writing to a print magazine when you suspect your hubby of murder — although we grant that it would make for a spectacular Lifetime movie. And of course, let’s not discount the ultimate and obvious cure for writing a letter for advice on how to deal with your slow poisoning at your husband’s hand: the letter could be a fake.