Man Up, Mister!

[Ask Exene] A Woman's Advice on Being a Man

DEAR EXENE: My wife (like you) has multiple sclerosis. She was diagnosed in 1996, although we suspect the initial onset occurred 30 years earlier due to an episode of optic neuritis. My problem is that I am an unemployed recovering alcoholic with ADD who is trying to cope with a wonderful woman who loves me but also seems to want to control me—to micromanage my life. Hanging over this are issues such as her mother's imminent demise (which would affect our living quarters, which are in her name), our transportation issues (a 20-year-old car that has seen better days) and continued worsening of her condition. I love her, and I want to help her, but sometimes I just feel overwhelmed. I love your music and words, and if you can give any advice—even a simple "man up!"—please do.

Love, Andrew

DEAR ANDREW: I was diagnosed with MS off and on for 17 years, and now I have finally been told no, I do not have it. I have something, but I don't know exactly what. But what I do know is that there is a lot of support for people with illnesses such as MS. Mrs. Andrew can contact the MS Society for person-to -person help. 


Exene Cervenka is a writer, visual artist and punk-rock pioneer. The OC transplant is the lead singer for X, the Knitters and Original Sinners. If you want to ask the legendary vocalist for advice—on your love life, politics, your musical career, Armageddon, filial relationships, anxiety over 2012—send an email to

It's hard times all over for most of us. Why aren't you working? Then you could get a decent vehicle. Don't say there are no jobs; there are jobs—just crappy ones. But money is money.

You have two excuses: ADD and recovery. Don't think those excuses are good enough. Mrs. Andrew is micromanaging? Is that because you aren't taking on any responsibilities?  Are you cooking, cleaning, washing the dishes? Doing the laundry? Going grocery shopping? Mrs. Andrew is sick, probably fatigued, scared and losing a parent, and you should be eager to help her through all of it. Maybe this is about you being a giving,  loving, grateful person, no matter how hard that is. Yes, man up. 

Love, Exene

This column appeared in print as "Man Up, Mister!"

My Voice Nation Help
Jennifer Crossfield
Jennifer Crossfield

I don't have the time nor patience to pretty this up, I too have MS. It really does seem to effect your personality...she has remembered HER vows made infront of God and your friends...remember yours. In sickness and in health. This is a test from don't want to fail that test. FYI- stress is very hard on MS and does trigger releases and she has had much to be stressed about...her mom, your issues, and hers...give her a break!

Anaheim Concert Tickets

Concert Calendar

  • March
  • Sun
  • Mon
  • Tue
  • Wed
  • Thu
  • Fri
  • Sat