Monday, July 30, 2007


DEAR ABBY: Can you go to Al-Anon if you had a husband who was an alcoholic, but is dead? He committed suicide with a 5.0 blood alcohol level.

I have been a mess for the last two years. I can't sleep, can't concentrate and don't enjoy anything. I would really like to be able to talk with people who understand what living with an alcoholic is like and won't blame me for what he did, as most of his family does. But I hesitate to go to Al-Anon.

What can I do to get over the self-inflicted death of a man I'll never stop loving? -- HURTING IN HOUSTON

Interestingly enough, reading your letter made me want to have a drink, or shoot myself.

I can't imagine anything done with a 5.0 blood alcohol level would be deliberate. The fact that he could commit suicide while being that drunk is impressive in its own way.

You could probably go to Al-Anon (even though the hyphenated spelling reads like a terrorist organization). But why not visit a therapist or support group for spouses of suicides? Clearly you're depressed, which in your situation could easily lead to--surprise!--alcoholism and/or suicide.

You want help, that's great. You don't necessarily need it from the people who could have helped your husband.

And if your husband's family blames you instead of him, they need to start some therapy or to at least stop being such major douche bags.

Your advice, readers?

Friday, July 27, 2007


DEAR ABBY: My mother is constantly calling me to say, "Did you just call me?" Anytime her phone rings and she can't get to it, she calls everyone she knows and asks that question. It is particularly irritating if I am in the middle of something that's difficult to put down when that's the only reason she called. Then she hurries on to the next person on her list to check.

I have repeatedly suggested caller ID, but she won't get it, saying she'll just check around. She knows it's irritating, especially when she calls me at work.

Any suggestions on how I can either learn to live with this, or get her to stop it? -- LYNN IN WHITEHOUSE, TEXAS

Oh Lynn, haven't you realized you've provided the answer to your own problem? You suggest your mother get caller ID so she can tell who just called her. But you're the one who needs to get caller ID so you'll know when she's calling you. As far as work goes, most office phones have some sort of caller ID or at least a way of showing the number of the caller. If that doesn't work, just tell her you're working and hang up. She'll stop calling you at work after five or seventy times of doing that.

It's clear your mom is lonely and is using the "did you just call me" as an excuse to call people. Try to convince her to be more creative with her pleas for help. She's elderly, so have her call people for computer help. The internet is broken. How can she fix it?

Besides, don't people who still use landlines in addition to cell phones have the *69 feature where you can call the last caller back? If it's an add-on service, I suggest you pay for it and train your mom to use it.

If that doesn't work, next time your mom calls and asks if you just called her, say "Mother? Is that your voice? It can't be! Your funeral was last week!" Then scream, hang up and deny it ever happened.

Your advice, readers?

Thursday, July 26, 2007


DEAR ABBY: Several years ago, when I was a divorced single father raising two adolescent children, we received an invitation to attend a wedding in Chicago. The bride's parents were cousins I hadn't seen or heard from in more than 20 years. The wedding coincided with the school break. I had accumulated vacation time at work and enough room on my charge cards to cover the cost of the expensive trip, so I replied that we would be glad to attend. I was excited to reconnect with the family and that my children would meet many of their relatives for the first time.

Boy, was I wrong!

The reception was held in the ballroom of an expensive hotel. Instead of being seated with my family, I was placed at a table on the opposite side of the huge ballroom. At the table were several couples and a few single women, all of whom seemed to know each other well. I felt somewhat out of place, but made light conversation, danced a few dances and tried to have a good time.

An aunt approached, tapped me on the shoulder, and asked me to join the family in a side room. When I entered, the men patted me on the shoulders and the women proceeded to tell me that the lady I had been seated next to had decided that I would be an acceptable husband for her! I was then told they would make all the wedding arrangements as quickly as possible.

At first I thought they were joking or that they had tasted too much of the bubbly. Then, in shock, I realized they were serious. I asked why they didn't consult me first. I made it plain I wasn't going to pull my kids out of school, away from their friends, sell my house, quit my job and throw away all our community relationships to move to a city halfway across the country, into an environment that was foreign to us, and marry a woman I had never met before. I told them the idea was insane and insulting.

They looked at me as if I were speaking a foreign language. I was told that because they had gone out of their way to arrange this match for me, my refusal was the height of selfishness and I was an ingrate. Angry, I took my children and left.

My children are now on their own, and I'm involved with a wonderful lady. We have been invited to a family gathering in Los Angeles, which will be attended by the group from Chicago. My lady friend has been pressing me to meet more of my family. I'm afraid to introduce her because I'm afraid she'll see how crazy my relatives are and reject me. What should I do? -- HAPPY IN SAN DIEGO

How cruel of the family to invite you to yet another gathering. Since it's in Los Angeles, my guess is that they'll be secretly taping a reality show about obnoxious relatives with you as the star.

I know you see yourself as the victim here, but when I read between the lines, my guess is that you're a total jackass--and not just because you say "lady friend."

Here's a little bit of cold, hard truth for you. They invited you to the Chicago wedding as a courtesy but no one expected (or wanted) you to attend. People invite people to weddings even though they know they won't come because then that person will feel obligated to buy them a present. You should have just bought them a set of beach towels or a butter dish.

I also think that you're humor impaired. Unless your family comes from some bizarre culture, I don't think anyone was serious about actually arranging a marriage with the woman at the table. If anything, you missed your chance at wedding reception sex in a bathroom stall. When you expressed your shock and outrage at this indecent marriage proposal, I'm sure it simply fueled their deadpan sense of humor even more.

Those relatives are probably total douche bags that you don't want to deal with or introduce your lady friend to. But for chrissakes, lighten up a little.

Your advice, readers?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


DEAR ABBY: My daughter's former lover, "Beau," is my age. (She is 20 years younger.) She was married when she and Beau had their affair, and still is. She regretted the affair, but continues to keep him as a friend. She introduced us a few years ago.

As their affair dwindled to a friendship, Beau and I began to have an interest in each other. As I started to see him in a different light, my family got upset.

Are they overreacting, or is this so strange that I should stop the relationship? It does creep me out a bit, but Beau is such fun to be with that I don't dwell on the past. Would it be extremely weird to date your daughter's ex-lover? Your thoughts, please. -- HAVING A BALL DOWN SOUTH

I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "having a ball" but I hope it's not what I'm thinking considering your daughter also had the same ball "down south."

In some ways, this whole messed up situation makes sense. Your daughter was looking for a father figure and you're now playing the role of the mother figure. Wait, that doesn't make this any less gross.

How about... the man currently taking up residence in your vagina also had sex with someone who popped out of that vagina. Hmm, still doesn't seem right.

You should be able to date whoever you want as long as it makes you happy. That would be true if we lived in fairy cupid land (located Down South?). But since we live in a culture where a mother and daughter screwing the same guy should only take place in poorly produced porn movies, your family's horror and revulsion seems appropriate. You ask if they're overreacting? I'd say they're underreacting.

Intentionally or not, you're asking your family to visualize some awfully disturbing stuff. On the plus side, I'm sure you've made Beau get a standing ovation in the health club locker room.

Your advice, readers?

Monday, July 23, 2007


DEAR ABBY: I have recently begun using Internet dating sites to meet guys in my community. With my busy work and home schedules, I have found this to be a good alternative. The problem I'm having is that some of these sites allow matches to ask if you are emotionally and mentally healthy.

In my case, I have suffered from depression in the past. I have been hospitalized for this issue and have received medication. At this point in my life, I manage my depression with non-drug-related therapies. I no longer need a counselor or a therapist, and have in place strategies for when I feel I'm cycling downward.

How should I respond to gentlemen who are looking for an "emotionally healthy" match? I consider myself "recovering" and do not take my mental health for granted. Your advice would be much appreciated. -- NOT SO BLUE IN EVERETT, WASH.

I think the fact that you're using Internet dating sites to meet guys in your community pretty much implies that you've struggled with depression at some point. The hospitalization part might be something fun to spring on your new man sometime after you've slept with him but before he stops calling you. It will make him feel more guilty/scared about blowing you off.

Just kidding. He won't feel guilty about blowing you off.

I think you should do what everyone on Internet dating sites--and the Internet itself--does and lie. Are you emotionally stable? Yes (as of the moment you answer the question anyway). Are you struggling with depression? No (not since last weekend, which you spent alone and sobbing).

I'm sure that your potential dates are lying about things as well. Are they athletic? Sensitive to the emotional needs of their partner? Any outstanding felonies?

That's the other way to look at this. Perhaps some men aren't looking for an emotionally and mentally healthy girlfriend. Maybe they want you to have issues that will create chaos and drama in their life. How can they reach their full potential as abusive, controlling boyfriends if you don't put your weakest foot forward?

In any case, if you still consider yourself "recovering" from depression, then you're depressed. Maybe not at the moment. But it's a timebomb waiting to go off. Any guy you're serious about should know that bomb exists--and maybe if you open up, he'll let you know about his paranoid schizophrenic disorder he stopped taking medication for.

Your advice, readers?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


DEAR ABBY: Here's one for the books on parental stupidity. When my daughter, "Marissa," began to reach her teen years, her father -- in an attempt to be funny -- advised her that she could keep from becoming pregnant by putting an aspirin between her knees and keeping it there.

My stupidity was assuming that sex education and pregnancy prevention were taught in her school. I never broached the subject with her.

Marissa became pregnant at 15. The young man she was seeing told her she couldn't get pregnant in a swimming pool because the chlorine would kill the sperm. Have you heard that before? Needless to say, the inevitable result was a baby.

I love my grandson dearly. God did not make a mistake even though we adults were all dummies in the advice department. Please tell parents, children and adults to educate themselves and learn all the facts and fictions about teen pregnancy and prevention. -- STUPID MOM WITH NO EXCUSE IN NEW JERSEY

The reason sex education isn't taught in schools is because then kids will know how to have sex. Don't teach it and they'll never know how to do it.

Obviously, some kids must google the internets to find out about sex. Or better yet, they take birth control advice from the young men trying to have sex with them. I'm not sure if chlorine really does kill sperm, but my guess is that the chlorine would have to be flowing through your vagina at the time and that it would have to be highly concentrated chlorine.

Logic should have told your daughter that this would never work or people wouldn't waste money on condoms or birth control. They'd simply go out and have movie scene worthy unprotected sex in swimming pools.

Your advice, readers?

Monday, July 16, 2007


DEAR ABBY: How do you tell people you just don't like them and don't want to be friends anymore? My husband, daughter and I are "friends" with a family we became acquainted with when our daughter was in first grade. That was three years ago.

This family is annoying and loud, and we can't seem to distance ourselves from them. They constantly call for playdates and dinner dates. The kids get along well, but my husband and I do not like this couple and prefer not to spend our social time with them. How do we distance ourselves without offending them? -- STUCK IN SAN ANTONIO

Your problem is that you don't want to offend them--or anyone, is my guess--and that's what puts you in situations like this. You are so afraid to be the bad guy that you have to make the other person the bad guy to stop hanging out with them.

A true professional would simply evade playdates and dinner dates the moment the couple became annoying. They could have been fun to hang with at first. But once they cross the line to becoming irritating, the only option is to ignore them completely. Sooner or later, they will get the message. If you want faster results, just try to do things that will offend them so they'll stop inviting you. That SNL skit where Cheri Oteri and Chris Kattan are a couple who talk dirty and pretend to have sex while having the new neighbors over for dinner comes to mind.

But to be honest, there's something a little cold and priggish in your tone. Families are supposed to be loud and annoying. Haven't you ever been to Olive Garden on a Friday night? I'm sure that if you showed your true selves to this family, they would no longer want to spend time with you.

Your advice, readers?

Monday, July 9, 2007


DEAR ABBY: A dear friend is being married this summer to a man who is abusive. She is in denial about his extreme, sometimes violent, jealous and controlling behavior. Recently, he threw coffee in her face while she was driving and caused an accident. He blamed it all on her, and she accepted the blame.

He punches holes in the walls when they fight. Once he even broke a bone in his hand. He constantly accuses her of cheating, and when they're together, he watches her like a hawk and she won't leave his side.

She asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. I am not comfortable with it because I would not be able to celebrate the occasion. Her fiance knows how I feel. He doesn't like me, and the feeling is mutual.

What should I tell her? In the past I told her that marrying him would be a big mistake, and she got very angry. Your advice would be appreciated. -- DEPRESSED IN BOULDER, COLO.

How dare you turn your back on your friend on her special day. Sure, she's marrying a violent, coffee-scalding psychopath, but when it comes to weddings, color me a romantic.

Assuming no hot beverages are served, and no semi-attractive males are invited, the wedding should be a spectacular affair! Tears will roll down your eyes watching as they exchange vows with the bride holding a bouquet and the groom holding a revolver to her head, waiting to hear those romantic words, "I do, just please don't shoot."

Just because he's abusive and jealous while they're dating doesn't mean he'll be that way after getting married. My guess is that he's just a little nervous about tying the knot, so he's tightens the noose around her neck. Marriage was designed specifically to solve all the problems people have in relationships.

So swallow your pride and be a bridesmaid. As a gift suggestion, may I suggest you give her something useful. Either a drywall patching kit or a 9mm pistol that can't be traced.

Your advice, readers?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


DEAR ABBY: I am a 33-year-old virgin, and I have never been to a gynecologist. My regular doctor said I should make an appointment to see one. That was a year or so ago. She said it was to "make sure everything was OK."

I have made the appointments, but each time, I chicken out at the last minute and cancel because I have heard that a Pap test is done and it is painful. My best friend said she cried when she had hers done. She said it hurt really bad.

I had anxiety that was really bad two years ago because of big changes in my life. Three of my uncles and two of my cousins died within months of each other. I don't want my anxiety to flare up again. Little things make me anxious, and I am thinking this might trigger an episode.

Should a woman see a gynecologist even if she is not sexually active? Also, do you bleed after a Pap test is done? Thanks, Abby! -- SCARED IN BROOKLYN

I can't believe you're asking Dear Abby if she bleeds after her Pap. I know you probably meant it in a more general way. Do women typically bleed after a Pap. But that's not what you wrote. Here's how I interpret your letter: Dear Abby, Do you personally bleed after a Pap?

Until you wrote that, I never once imagined Dear Abby visiting the gynecologist. Now it's going to take a lot of alcohol and therapy to get some of those images out of my mind.

But your real problem is that you are a bundle of nerves. You talk about a Pap test as if it were a short term sexual relationship. What if you had a Pap test and the doctor never called you back? What's an acceptable time to call him? Two days, a week? Open up the Haagen Daz, sister!

The bad news is that sex will probably be just as painful as a Pap. The good news is that sex probably won't last as long. In either case, it's been 33 years. Time for a little action down there.

Your advice, readers?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


DEAR ABBY: This is in response to "Too Tired in Parkville, Mo." (April 27), who said she is "not a morning person," but who has been assigned additional early-morning tasks at work. I, too, am a night owl. Give me a graveyard shift, and I am a happy camper. However, as a single mother of two children, that has never been an option.

I used to have a rough time in the mornings. (I would fall asleep over my keyboard on a regular basis.) I finally sought help from a doctor and learned that my daytime sleepiness was actually from a medical condition. I recommend that "Too Tired" speak to a physician to find out if there is an underlying cause for her sleepiness. -- AWAKE WITH THE SUNRISE, KEIZER, ORE.

Daytime sleepiness? It's a medical condition!

Yes, not everyone is a morna;siiiiiiiiiegjwhHOIUERWAGHOVANHABO;ERNE;BAOINR
(Sorry, I too occasionally fall asleep on my keyboard.)

First of all, I've never heard being tired called "daytime sleepiness" before. That's already a yellow flag in my book. Some marketing expert at a huge pharmaceutical company decided that the best way to sell their new drug was to convince people they suffered from "daytime sleepiness." Hey, they sell enough drugs to people who can't sleep at night. Why not sell drugs to people who are tired during the day?

I'm sure the drug even has a clever name like Arize or Imalert.

Why delve into the world of expensive pharmaceuticals when you can do what most people do. Go to bed a little earlier--aided by alcohol when necessary--and then curse your alarm in the morning and move around like a slightly hungover zombie until you get a cup of coffee. Repeat coffee until daytime sleepiness disappears.

Now that I think about it, I'm sure your letter is actually from the same marketing expert who came up with Arize. Get people who read Dear Abby (or Jeer Abby) to contact their doctor about daytime sleepiness.

My advice is to contact your local barista about daytime sleepiness. They'll be able to provide a natural remedy and your doctor can get back to curing cancer instead of hawking useless drugs for invented symptoms.

Your advice, readers?

Monday, June 25, 2007


DEAR ABBY: I was married to my childhood sweetheart, "Dexter," for 13 years. Only the first five were happy. The rest were spent trying to adjust to his alcoholism and make excuses for why he drinks.

We have two children, 12 and 10, whom I love dearly. I finally made the decision to leave when I realized what a poor example Dexter was setting for them.

The problem is, he continually harasses me. He calls constantly and drops over to my apartment without calling. When the kids see their father, they just let him in. If I'm not home, Dexter questions them about who they have seen me with and whatever other information he can pry out of them. My son asks me if it's OK, or what he should say. I have nothing to hide and am not seeing anyone. I told him it's wrong of his father to ask, but if he does then to be honest.

I love Dexter, but I'm so tired and emotionally drained I don't know what to do. I feel this tremendous responsibility for him, and I don't know where it comes from. He was always the dominant one in our relationship. I never even decorated our home because he picked everything out on the pretense of "surprising" me.

I give Dexter money when he asks for it, even though I have the children and he isn't supporting us. I'm in the process of filing for child support, but feel guilty doing it -- like he is going to suffer because I'll be taking money from him. He has a full-time job, so there's no reason why he shouldn't take care of our children. Why do I feel like I'm abandoning him? -- LOUISE IN DES MOINES

This is why marrying your childhood sweetheart is a bad idea.

My question is: why do you feel guilty for doing everything right? That sense of responsibility to him is what's causing you all your problems. And I'm sure Dexter knows how to tap into some childhood memories in a way that makes you feel like you're the one abondoning him.

If you met Dexter last year, you'd run screaming and wouldn't let your children near him. Just because you used to have the same second grade teacher and he put a frog in your desk--or whatever--doesn't mean you owe him anything. Kiss those fantasies of having married your childhood sweetheart behind. There isn't going to be a magical movie ending where he realizes his family is more important than alcohol so he cleans up and everyone is even more happy having survived a test of your love.

The only happy ending here is when Dexter starts kicking in for some child support.

Your advice, readers?

Friday, June 22, 2007


DEAR ABBY: One of my female co-workers regularly scrutinizes the wardrobe and accessories of all the other co-workers, male and female. Her scrutiny is so detailed that she notices the littlest thing -- even a change in nail polish color, or the buttons on a jacket.

Every time she sees some new clothing or jewelry, she moves in for a closer look and often touches the item. Her comments are not casual, but very detailed. I feel like I am in the army and going through uniform inspection and that she is constantly judging everyone.

Another co-worker has commented to me about this in a joking way, but I suspect she resents it, too. I want to say something to the offending co-worker so that she will stop examining me from head to toe every day. On the other hand, it's a small office and I want to maintain harmony. Any ideas? -- UNDER A MICROSCOPE IN FLORIDA

Your first problem is that you're trying to maintain harmony in an office environment. Office life depends on petty battles like this to make it interesting.

The easiest thing to do is to turn the tables on her. Start noticing things to point out on her wardrobe and accessories. Touch her. Move in close and stay close for longer than seems comfortable. Suggest a few accessories you'd like to see her wear. Mention that you had a dream last night where she was wearing that same exact outfit and then add, "But then it got a little weird. I shouldn't be telling you this." Or when she's the last one to come into the conference room for a meeting, ask her if she's wearing a g-string of simply not wearing any underwear at all.

Another option would be to go a jeweler and purchase a cheap necklace or brooch and have it engraved in tiny letters that say, "By reading this, you are officially violating my personal space." Or simply, "Back off, bitch."

Ideally, whatever action you choose, you will be able to turn the whole office against her. Thus restoring true office harmony.

Your advice, readers?

Thursday, June 21, 2007


DEAR ABBY: "Needs to Be Active" (April 25) wrote that after more than 20 years as a nurse's aide, she feels that no one wants to hire her because she is older. Abby, she does not have an age discrimination problem; she has a marketing and self-promotion problem!

If her experience and abilities are as stated, her skills are in strong demand across the country. People are not "given" jobs -- they have to go after jobs. She should join a local business networking group; visit doctors' offices and leave promotional handouts with her contact information; get to know nurses and staff at hospitals and senior centers and ask for referrals; introduce herself to the H.R. department at large local businesses (where employees frequently need help with ailing parents); call disability insurance companies and learn how to get on their list of recommended home nurses; advertise in the classified ads section of the local paper; and seek help from a business coach or marketing expert. "Needs" has a business problem; she needs a business solution. -- JIM P., PROMOTION EXPERT IN FLORIDA

First of all Jim, is Promotion Expert really your job title? What is the career arc for a Promotion Expert? Do you start off as a Demotion Expert or a Promotion Associate? To what position would a Promotion Expert get promoted to?

Why do I picture you as a Jack Lemmon character in a shoddy tan suit, a flask of whiskey stashed in your desk, always trying to sell people on Proven Methods and Techniques for Achievement while privately contemplating your own suicide?

All of your suggestions seem to come from some pre-Internet version of "What Color is Your Parachute?" that you checked out from the public library and now owe overdue fees. Classified ads in the local paper? Local business networking group? How is it that a Promotion Expert is totally unaware of the existence of the Internet?

Unless you left out any mention of the Internet because you thought some old nurse isn't going to understand newfangled technology? Maybe this elderly, decrepit nurse has a point about age discrimination after all. If she ever gets a chance, I hope she performs on prostate exam on you with her gnarled, arthritic hands.

Your advice, readers?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


DEAR ABBY: I live next door to a 75-year-old man whose wife died a few months ago. I'm fairly new to the neighborhood and heard of his loss just before Easter. As a caring gesture, I took him a homemade casserole and left my number in case he needed help going to the store or a cup of coffee. Since then, he has been over once with flowers to chat and have coffee, and is now calling me every few days inviting me for lunch, a glass of wine, etc.

I am engaged to be married and he knows this, but my fiance lives in another town. I realize my neighbor is lonely, but he appears to be thinking romantically. I am 30 years his junior and busy with my life. I only just met him and have nothing to say except to listen, which would be OK if I didn't think he was looking for more.

When he was here for coffee, he kissed my forehead several times when he left and wanted several hugs. I feel so sorry for him, but I don't want to lead him on or hurt him more than he already has been. Could this man actually be thinking of another woman this soon after his wife's death? How should I handle this? Please reply ASAP! -- LUCY IN LAS VEGAS

No good deed goes unpunished.

You thought you were dealing with a grieving 75-year-old widower. The image immediately conjures up a sad, semi-pathetic man shuffling along in a corduroy suit, tears constantly welling in his cataract smeared eyes.

What you fail to realize is that a 75-year-old man is just a 25-year-old man who has aged 50 years. Now that his wife is out of the picture, he's going to play the field. Imagine his luck when a woman nearly half his age stops by with a friggin' casserole--and you don't even live in the Midwest. You offer to help him go to the store, get a cup of coffee. For a 75-year-old, asking to go for a cup of coffee is like asking anyone under 40 if they want oral sex.

I wouldn't be surprised if this guy had his own MySpace page and a profile on at least twelve online dating services. He's milking the aging widower angle, knowing a little sympathy may be his last chance at a Viagra fueled night of passion where money does not exchange hands.

You wanted to appear caring and generous with your time and now that he wants to actually take up your time, you no longer feel sympathy for the widower. You thought he'd just live his lonely existence for a few months until dying in his sleep. It's time to face the fact that--despite whipping up casseroles and making empty promises of heartwarming cafe conversations--you're more generous with your good intentions than you are with your time.

Your advice, readers?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


DEAR ABBY: Thank you, thank you, for publishing the letter from "Ticked Off in Topeka, Kan." (April 18) concerning welfare fraud, including Section 8 housing fraud. I am an investigator for a housing authority, and our agency is dedicated to maintaining the integrity of the program and protecting the taxpayer dollars entrusted to us. Not a day goes by that I don't hear, "I don't want to get anyone in trouble, but ..."

Please let your readers know that if they call in with a fraud tip, they are not the ones who are getting anyone in trouble. The people who decided to commit the fraud or do the crime got themselves in trouble. The only way we can help the most people with our limited resources is by eliminating fraud and applying the rules and regulations fairly and equitably for everyone.

Quite often it is neighbors, friends and family members who are our eyes and ears. It is important that they let us know when someone is defrauding the system. No one will lose assistance just because of a tip. We investigate every case and, if proven, the tenants are given an opportunity to appeal and to have a hearing. There are too many families on the waiting list and too many people who need help for fraud to go unreported. -- INVESTIGATOR IN OKLAHOMA CITY

First off, let me say: Boooooorrrrrrriiiiiinnnnnggggg.

Okay, you're scaring Jeer Abby with all this talk about neighbors, friends and family members being the spying eyes and ears of the government. It sounds straight out of "1984" or Soviet Russia or post 9/11 America.

But it's also annoying that you're pitting people who don't have anything against people who don't have much. The oil companies could probably still eek out a living without the billions of dollars in subsidies. More help for the poor or more money for rich oil executives? This is America and we like to side with The Winner, no matter how detrimental it may be to our own well-being.

Your advice, readers?

Monday, June 18, 2007


DEAR ABBY: I recently had surgery to correct a defect in my urethra. The medical term for it is "hypospadias." I let my co-workers know in an e-mail and provided a link to answer any questions they might have. The link had a photo, and now some people are accusing me of "inappropriate conduct." I have since sent out an apology and a warning not to go to the link.

Abby, it was not my intent to be unprofessional, but I didn't want to have 35 conversations about what the condition is, or 35 conversations about why I am walking so slowly and with a cane. How should I respond? -- HEALING IN NEW YORK CITY

If you're going to send a link to all your co-workers with an image of a penis that has a defective urethra, you might as well send a picture of your own penis. Because they're all going to be picturing your defective urethra for the next week, possibly longer.

I guarantee that you wouldn't have to have 35 conversations about your surgery. All it would take is one conversation with the office gossip and no one would utter a word about your cane (the one to help you walk).

What offends me is the little act you put on. "Gosh, I had no idea my co-workers would be offended by the abnormal placement of the tip of my penis. I just thought they'd want to know why I walk with a cane. It's because of my defective penis--hey, why are you guys laughing?"

But I'm on to you "Healing." You're trying to get fired from your job. You want to blame the firing on your medical condition and sue the company so you never have to work again.

There's only one word for people like you--hypospadias.

Your advice, readers?

Friday, June 15, 2007


DEAR ABBY: I feel sorry for a friend of my husband's. "Joey" is a really nice guy, but his wife is driving him over the edge. She's obsessive-compulsive and, despite their financial problems, refuses to get a job. She says her mother never had to work and she shouldn't either.

They went to three sessions of marriage counseling, and she refused to go back because their therapist told her she had a serious problem. She told her mom what the therapist said, and they agreed he must be a quack.

Joey is so worried about having to pay alimony and child support that he won't leave, but he confided to my husband that he has thought about doing something to himself. Any advice? -- BONNIE IN MICHIGAN

It's pretty clear what "Joey" needs to do is fake his own death, change his identity and move far away, preferably somewhere in South America.

That may sound extreme, but it's better than killing yourself, which is probably his third best option.

What's his second best option? Clearly, it's to use his wife's obsessive compulsiveness to his advantage and drive her totally insane. If she obsesses about leaving the oven on, then randomly flip it on every once in a while. Is she needs to take exactly eighteen steps to get from the front door of the house to the car, move the car back a few feet one day and forward a few feet another day.

Joey can divorce her, but he'll never get rid of her. Perhaps that's why he's considering suicide. But if he's going to leave his children alone in the world with a woman like this, Joey should at least be slowly tortured to death first.

Your advice, readers?

Thursday, June 14, 2007


DEAR ABBY: I feel compelled to comment about the letter from "Miffed Pro in South Carolina" (April 20), the professional photographer who complained about guests taking photographs at weddings.

I am a clergyperson who has seen more than my share of rude, incompetent professional photographers. I have seen them attempt to set up tripods at the altar, leaving no room for the wedding party to stand. I have seen them squat in the middle of the aisle, stopping each couple as they approach to get a "candid" shot. I have cleaned up front pews cluttered with their camera cases and jackets thrown over the altar, delaying the start of the ceremony.

After the wedding, they set up equipment, checking lighting and settings interminably until the bride has lost every bit of "glow" and the candles have burned to stumps. One bride finally shouted, "Enough!" and burst into tears because she wanted to go to her reception.

Ultimately, the bride and groom are often left with substandard photos at a premium price. This, I believe, is why guests bring their own cameras -- so they can capture some fun-filled memories of the day that are affordable. -- MICHIGAN MINISTER

It's great to hear a minister (or clergyperson, whatever the hell that is) rip into someone without invoking the Seven Deadly Sins. Is there some sort of Eleventh Commandment about not setting up tripods near the maid of honor?

It's so easy to get angry with these "professionals" and all their fancy light meters and camera cases. But no matter how annoying photographers are, it's going to be awfully hard to find a bride who isn't going to pay a premium price even for substandard pictures, most of which will be black and white for that artistic touch. Because if you leave it up to your friends to take all the photos at your wedding, all of your documented memories of that day will be your old high school pals flipping off the camera and making crude sexual gestures. Overpaying for photos is just as much a part of a wedding as exchanging rings or grooms getting forty-five lap dances the night before.

But seriously, a clergyperson ripping into a photographerperson about wedding etiquette? As if no minister had ever gone on a tad too long or tried to make everything sound so holy and consecrated that it ruined the honeymoon night.

Your biggest mistake is assuming that the reason people bring cameras to weddings is to capture "fun-filled memories" that are "affordable." What they're really trying to do is capture how much weight the bride has gained, how bald the groom has become and how drunk the maid of honor got so they can email those pictures to all the old friends who didn't get invited to the wedding.

Your advice, readers?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


DEAR ABBY: I am in my mid-20s, male, an only child, and I came late in life.

Both of my parents are disabled -- one with a host of ailments, and the other with a very bad back. Both are on disability and don't do well on their own.

I made a decision early in young adulthood to drop out of high school and take care of my parents. I got a part-time job and stayed home the rest of the time to help with "around-the-house chores." I have stayed with my parents now for quite a while, and they are mostly dependent on me.

At the risk of sounding selfish, I know they won't be around much longer, and I don't want to be stuck holding the bag when they pass on, with no high school diploma, no higher education and only part-time employment experience.

Don't get me wrong. I love my parents with all my heart, and I don't want to leave them high and dry. What can I do? -- GOING NOWHERE IN IDAHO

No good deed goes unpunished. Who could possibly blame you for wanting to take care of your ailing and presumably elderly parents? Who, besides Jeer Abby, I should say, because I think you've made a horrible blunder--and I don't mean continuing to live in Idaho.

Your big mistake is assuming that they won't be around much longer. You've got this heroic image of staying with them until the end--which you're guessing is some time before the next legal holiday. But if I had to peg two personality types to live a long time, it would be someone with "a host of ailments" or else someone with a "very bad back." The only other type I'd throw in there would be someone who smokes and drinks everyday and eats no less than five pounds of red meat per week.

My point is: these people do not die. They live very long and miserable lives filled with complaints. Unless your parents had you when they were in their late 60s, I'd guess they'll still be kicking when you're in your mid-30s.

Also, consider the fact that your parents planned your birth for this very reason. As they got older, they realized they would need an offspring to care for them in the waning years. So your birth was simply an insurance plan.

The only way you're doing the right thing is if there's a substantial inheritance involved. It's going to be tough getting your GED in your mid-twenties or thirties and the only other job you're qualified for is taking care of other people's ailing, elderly parents.

Don't waste your life waiting for your parents to kick the bucket.

Your advice, readers?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


DEAR ABBY: Although this seldom happens, I disagree with your response to "Worried Sick in Pflugerville, Texas" (April 18). Her 18-year-old daughter, "Cameron," wants to make a road trip from Texas to California after her graduation.

By the time my daughter graduated from high school and turned 18, she had already been working for two years and had bought her own car. I was a single parent, and she had also helped with the rent, groceries and utilities -- and still managed to graduate with a 3.9 GPA. She went to San Francisco, Chicago and Las Vegas that summer after graduation -- then returned home, got her own apartment, and continued working at the same grocery store another two years before deciding her career path.

When our children turn 18, they are (by law) adults, and should not have to answer to their parents about their vacation plans. If parents have placed some responsibility on their children's shoulders while growing up, they usually have their feet firmly planted on the ground by the time they are 18.

Mom should untie those apron strings and allow Cameron to shine with the lessons she taught her. -- DIANA, HELENA, MONT.

Any parent who tries to stand in the way of their 18 year old kid's road trip plans deserves to have an 18 year old who wants to travel to bastions of sin like San Francisco, Las Vegas and... well, not so much Chicago.

A road trip is an apt metaphor for life: long stretches of boredom interspersed with moments of photographed exhilaration and frequent compromises to what should be a healthy diet. And looking back on it, you only remember the good parts.

I think for most parents though, it's not a question of micromanaging their children's vacation plans, as you suggest. An 18 year old girl traveling cross-country alone invites all sorts of disasters. And I'm not sure if she becomes less of a target by traveling in a carload of 18 year old girls. Chances are, she won't get dismembered by the highway drifter hiding in the shrubs when her '92 Celica breaks down at night. But it's understandable for parents to worry.

The truth is, your daughter is far more likely to come back with a treatable sexually transmitted disease or a pregnancy termination dilemma than she is to become a victim of roving highway serial killers. Most likely, she'll become enamored with some loser who seems special because he's from a totally different state and then rack up expensive long-distance phone bills and engage in lewd instant messaging sessions before coming to her senses and getting knocked up by a local boy instead.

Your advice, readers?

Monday, June 11, 2007


DEAR ABBY: Is 16 too young to know you're truly in love? My boyfriend, "Miles," and I both feel that we're truly in love and want to spend the rest of our lives together. We realize that it will be a few years at the least before we can marry, but we're willing to wait.

My older sister laughs at me when I say that I know I'm in love. She says I am way too young, and I need to be older and more mature -- like she is -- to understand. She's 17 1/2, so she's really not that much older.

I have a large picture of Miles in our room, and when she has friends over, she points at it and says, "That's Judy's true love forever," and they all laugh about it. Can you be truly in love at my age? -- JUDY IN BIRMINGHAM, ALA.

It's hard NOT to be truly in love when you're 16.

Your big concern isn't how to enjoy true love for the rest of your life. You need to start re-thinking this whole getting married in a few years thing. There are laws against drinking alcohol before you're 21 years old, but apparently the teenage years are still acceptable for making legally binding lifelong committments. It's certainly not going to damper your true love to wait until you can legally consume champagne at your wedding.

My guess is that you'll be able to drive each other nuts before then with inflated, unrealistic expectations. Or Miles will be so mortified to find a large photo hanging in your room that he'll start talking about "needing space."

Your advice, readers?

Friday, June 8, 2007


DEAR ABBY: I am 17 years old and believe I am suffering from chronic depression. I am very emotional and cry a lot. I get good grades, and people say I'm a great baby sitter, but I feel that I'm not good at anything else.

My younger sister, who is 15, is very outgoing and has a lot of friends. I have only a few, so I get jealous.

Now I have started gaining weight to the point that I am no longer "skinny."

About four months ago, my best friend of two years and I stopped getting along, and we haven't spoken since.

I have had counseling for two years. I go every three months, but nothing is changing. Both my parents feel that it is a waste of money. I try to talk to them sometimes, but they just take it as a joke. I am confused about everything, and I am so lonely. Do you have any advice? -- HURTING IN PENNSYLVANIA

Depression? Very emotional? Cries a lot? Confusion and loneliness? My diagnosis is that you're a teenager.

I'm not trying to make light of your misery, the way I usually do with people who write in, but I don't want you to start labeling yourself with ailments. If you're clinically depressed, by all means seek help and start popping those anti-depressants. But if you're just teenage depressed, powder your face white, go heavy on the eyeliner and start listening to whichever goth bands are popular with the kids these days. Ask yourself if perhaps your depression is actually existential angst. Read some Camus or watch Woody Allen movies from the post-Annie Hall era. Revel in your depression because the teenage years are the only time that depression is actually cool.

Also, you wouldn't train for a marathon by running every three months. Maybe you ought to visit the counselor more frequently. If your parents joke about your problems, stop talking to them.

You're a good babysitter. My advice is to start saving your money so you can go off to college next year and get far away from your friends, family and the town that make you feel like sh**.

Your advice, readers?

Thursday, June 7, 2007


DEAR ABBY: "Heartbroken in Westchester, Pa." (April 9) said she had just broken up with an emotionally abusive man who withheld affection from her because he wanted her to lose weight. She went on to say she was working on her master's in counseling psychology, and couldn't understand why she had tolerated his emotional abuse for nine months. She said she could hear his put-downs over and over, and knew it was self-destructive but couldn't let it go.

Please tell her that the best weight she ever lost was the burden of "Shallow Hal." Unfortunately, I married a man much like him. His favorite pastime was degrading my career choice. (I'm in the military and have been for 19 years.) Your comment, "trying to win an unwinnable man," hit me like a ton of bricks.

Thankfully, I was only with my husband nine months before I came to my senses, but the damage to my self-esteem and trust was severe. I got help through both military and civilian resources, and went on two anti-depressants for depression and insomnia for six months -- enough time to get it through my head that it wasn't my issue, it was his.

Please tell "Heartbroken" there are men out there who will love and appreciate her for who she is, not how much she weighs. -- PROUD OF MYSELF IN SAN ANTONIO

Okay, granted "Shallow Hal" sounds like a real jerk but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that even if "Heartbroken" starved herself down to 90 pounds and started modeling thong underwear, she'd still find a way to get into relationships with guys who treat her like the crap.

In other words, I couldn't disagree with you more.

Some people are just wired for chaos and self-destruction. Take yourself, for instance. Six months of insomnia is how you get back to being healthy after a nine month marriage. Now you can go off and find a new man with a different problem you can try to fix. On the off chance you ever get attracted to a decent, emotionally non-abusive man, you'd be so bored with him that you'd dump him for the first douche bag to cast a judgmental look your direction.

At least both of you dumped these terrible husbands, which tells me you read Jeer Abby regularly. Hopefully now you can realize that "it wasn't my issue, it was his" is a little too easy of an answer. He has his issue, you have your issue. Why is it that your issue is being attracted to guys with his issue is a question you'll need to lose a lot more sleep over.

Your advice, readers?

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


DEAR ABBY: I find myself in a head vs. heart situation. I have ended an emotionally draining relationship of more than 10 years. As I tried to find the courage to "move on," I found myself turning to a married woman who understood everything I had experienced and made me believe that she was also looking for the courage to change her situation. Our relationship grew into something more than it should have, considering her marital status -- and a considerable amount of time has passed.

I still believe she is my closest friend, but I don't know if I should continue to support her in the hope that she will make a change. Or is it time to face the realization that I have made a big mistake and try to cut my ties with this woman? I am at the point of near obsession with wondering if this vision in my heart will ever come true.

My heart says hold out; my head says back away. I'm looking for objective wisdom. -- BAFFLED IN WASHINGTON

Objective wisdom? You've come to the right place.

Any time there is a "head vs. heart" situation, Jeer Abby always sides on going with your heart. Not because it's more romantic and can lead to true happiness, but because the outcome tends to range from dramatic to tragic, which is more fun to observe as an outsider. If you start making choices with your head, you're likely to start doing things the right way. That's no fun to mock from a distance.

Only your heart could have kept you in an "emotionally draining" relationship for a decade. Only your heart could make you believe this married woman you're sleeping with is your "closest friend." Only your heart could convince you that maybe there's a possibility this woman will leave her husband for someone as needy as you.

Your head is going to tell you things you don't want to hear, so why listen? Do you really want to know that you're embarking on yet another emotionally draining relationship? Do you really want to stop sleeping with the only woman who doesn't contemplate her own suicide just to avoid having to listen to you drone on about your 10 year mistake?

My objective advice is to hold out for this woman for no more than seven years--since it's my objective to mock the avoidable misery your heart is so good at delivering.

Your advice, readers?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007


DEAR ABBY: Wow! I can't believe that "Terri in Johnstown, Pa." (April 7) has the nerve to complain about how her husband washes the dishes or vacuums. She should be grateful her husband isn't like so many other husbands, who sit on the couch while their wives do the dishes themselves.

If you use hot water and good detergent, there are no germs left. I was always taught to wash the dishes first (glasses, plates, silverware), and leave the pans for last. Beyond that the order doesn't matter.

Personally, I do the dishes in order of how they best fit in the drainer, and my wife has never complained. Because "Terri" feels that certain things need to be washed first, perhaps she should suggest that her husband move over so that she can wash and he can rinse.

My wife and I are split on the vacuuming issue. I think you should dust first, then vacuum. My wife seems to think that dusting last will remove the dust stirred up by the vacuum. With today's technology, I really don't think it matters either way.

One of the best lessons I learned while growing up is that if you complain about how somebody is doing something, be prepared to do it yourself. -- BILL IN MICHIGAN

Honestly Bill, if there were a Noble prize for Husbandry (the marital kind, not the animal kind), you would certainly be making a trip to Stockholm to give your acceptance speech.

In your speech, be sure to thank yourself for being so wonderful and proactive in the chores department. You're truly a saint and I'm sure you love going on for great lengths about how you enjoy doing the chores. However, you forgot to mention how you completely ignored chores for twenty-two years until your wife threatened to leave you and you went to a marriage counselor and the best the therapist could do was recommend you vacuum and--this is the most emasculating part--dust.

Dusting, Bill? I don't care how desperately you're trying to save your marriage by equally sharing in chore duty, there is simply no reason for anyone except Alice from the Brady Bunch to dust anything. Get one of those Swiffer things. I picture you prancing around with a feather duster, fearful with the thought that for you, uncleanliness is next to loneliness.

You attempt to make cleaning sound manly: "With today's technology." Maybe if you name dropped Dyson's trademarked Root Cyclone suction system or advances in electrostatic cloth, I would believe the science of cleaning is what interests you. But chores are clearly an attempt to patch up your almost ruined marriage. Look no further than the Freudian "My wife and I are split..." on the vacuuming issue.

You also complain about Terri complaining about washing dishes in a certain order. Then you go on to declare what the proper order should be.

I'm sure you scored some brownie points as your wife looked over your shoulder while you wrote your letter. But leave Terri alone. Her husband is obviously doing all the chores wrong on purpose so Terri will step in and do them properly. Maybe you should be taking notes instead of writing outraged letters.

Your advice, readers?

Monday, June 4, 2007


DEAR ABBY: Every faucet in our house has a slow drip -- the kitchen sink, the bathtub, the upstairs bathroom. My husband "Earl's" response to the kitchen drip is that he wants to replace the entire sink and countertop, so "we'll do it all then." For the one in our bathtub, he says, "We're going to tear all that out anyway and put in a new tub." Earl avidly watches home improvement shows and drags me to home improvement stores to look at the replacements, but never buys anything or follows through with any projects.

I am willing to approve anything that gets the drips stopped, whether it's a faucet replacement or a whole new kitchen. Earl is fully capable of doing the job himself and has all the new tools.

I might add that he takes the same approach to the old truck he's going to fix up, the painting that needs to be done, the porch to be replaced and other projects. He is full of talk, but to myself I refer to him as "the Big Drip." How do I get him to fix the problem? -- DRIPPY'S WIFE

I like Earl's approach. Don't fix the small problem, wait until you can make it a bigger mess and handle everything at that point.

This approach should worry you when it comes to your nagging because he's probably thinking, "Why argue now, since I'm going to empty our bank account and run off with a barely legal stripper?"

You say Earl is "fully capable" but I think of him as a "lazy slob." He will never fix the sink, his car or his stereotypical marriage spats because he would rather watch home improvement shows on TV and buy tools he's never going to use. Let me guess... he likes to drink beer too!

Here's my excellent advice. Tell him you're going to fix the drips if he doesn't. You don't really need to know how to fix anything, you just need to know how to make things so much worse he'll have no choice but to fix the gallons of water flowing onto the kitchen floor.

There are only two possible outcomes: Earl will fix the sink. Or you will have an affair with the new plumber. Either way, you win!

Your advice, readers?

Friday, June 1, 2007


DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are planning to attend my niece's wedding next month and, as usual, the prospect of being with my family has thrown me into a tizzy. We are simple people -- we are both teachers, and we have raised three great children but no superstars.

My sister and brothers are all wealthy. Their children are excellent scholars and/or athletes, including two who play professionally.

I feel fine about our accomplishments and am proud of our children and what they have done -- that is, until I am around my brothers and sister. Then I beat myself up thinking I wasn't as good a mother as I should have been.

I am tempted to skip this wedding because this happens every single time, and I don't enjoy my visits with them. What do I do? -- TEMPTED TO REFUSE IN THE U.S.A.

Don't worry about whether or not you're a good enough mother. More importantly, you and your children got shortchanged when it came to genetics, which is beyond your control.

Just kidding. But your kids must be thrilled to hear they're not "superstars." Isn't it a mom's job to think this despite all evidence to the contrary? Maybe you are a bad m-- never mind.

From your letter, I can't really tell what type of people your sister and brothers are. Yes, they're "wealthy" and they have children who play professional sports. Ideally, they would also be total douche bags who mocked you for your peasant/teacher lifestyle. Then I could advise you to skip the wedding unless they pay for your travel, 4-star hotel and a solar powered Hummer to transport you from hotel to wedding.

But they could be very kind and generous people who, unfortunately for you, are very successful. You have a "My Kid is an Honor Student at the School I Teach At" bumper sticker on your Windstar minivan, while your siblings polish their kids' Superbowl rings with the Green jacket from the Masters tournament, stuffed with hundred dollar bills. But they do it in a nice way.

The problem is you. Or rather your insecurities. Some part of you is probably hoping someone will pin a medal on your chest (probably iron or stainless steel, definitely not a precious metal) for dedicating your life to educating young minds. But as your signature notes, you live in the U.S.A. and unless you're being portrayed in a movie about an optimistic white teacher changing the lives of inner city minorities, no one cares about the fact that you're a teacher. So your ace card--living a less lucrative but more fulfilling life--isn't really a card you can play.

These trips drive you nuts because you hold on to the belief that you don't have as much money--but you're happier. Then you see them and realize they're happy too. Start acting happier when you see them instead of going into a "tizzy."

Don't worry about winning this round of sibling rivalry--you won't. Go to the wedding and eat all the free catering and alcohol you can cram down your throat. You'll achieve a certain amount of success if you can avoid throwing up crab cakes, caviar and Cristal the next morning.

Your advice, readers?

(PS: Jeer Abby turns 1 month old today!)

Thursday, May 31, 2007


DEAR ABBY: This is for "Jack's Grandpa" (April 2), whose wife is afraid wearing pink will cause their baby grandson to turn into a cross-dresser. Relax! My aunt desperately wanted a baby girl, but to her disappointment, she had a baby boy. She kept that kid in frilly dresses with ruffles and his hair long and in curls until he was 4!

He grew up to be a fine young man. He did his service in Vietnam, married and raised a family. Of course, the rest of the family accepted his mother's "eccentricities," and no one ridiculed or poked fun at him. If a pink blanket is the worst thing that kid ever has to contend with in his life, they should all be grateful. -- CATHIE H. IN CALIFORNIA

Oh where to begin Cathie?

Everyone under the age of 70 knows that dressing a young boy in pink clothes won't make him a cross-dresser. But it will make him gay.

Just kidding (I think).

Dressing your little boy in medical scrubs won't make him an anesthesiologist and a miniature pants suit on your infant daughter won't turn her into an empowered female attorney.

But let's suppose for some reason those pink cashmere sweaters your aunt dressed her son in actually turned him into a cross-dresser. Let's say he still served in Vietnam, married and raised a family--but liked to wear pink nighties in the privacy of his own home.

Yes, it's a little odd, but is it the end of the world? Does it negate everything else he's accomplished?

Haven't you heard the stories about J. Edgar Hoover? Or seen Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani decked out in women's clothes on Saturday Night Live? Or those skirts all of Mel Gibson's army wore in Braveheart?

Women can wear men's dress shirts and it's sexy. Men wear women's bras and it's... okay, it's silly. But there's nothing technically wrong with it other than it not being remotely sexy.

If your aunt really wanted a girl, she should have pushed for a more aggressive circumcision.

Your advice, readers?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


DEAR ABBY: My brother, "Dustin," has finally decided to marry his live-in girlfriend of four years, "Cameron." They are now planning their wedding, which will take place in four months.

My mother has just informed me that Dustin and Cameron have decided that their wedding will be "adults only" except for Dustin's son. (The boy is 8.) Abby, my brother didn't even have the courage to call me up and inform me of this.

I feel that since it will be an informal, small family event -- fewer than 20 people -- my two children should be allowed to attend. (They are 8 and 3.) Am I being unreasonable? I feel if there is a "no kids" rule, then there should be no kids -- period.

My husband has refused to attend unless our children are included. Should I go alone or not attend? -- FURIOUS IN VANCOUVER, WASH.

You think your brother didn't have the "courage" to call you? No, he's wisely avoiding yet another earful of judgment from his sister who barely registers emotion that he's "finally" marrying his "live-in girlfriend." Couldn't you just say "girlfriend"? That "live-in" part is so transparently judgmental.

I'm sure you've absolutely grilled him over the fact that he's not married to the mother of his son too.

Your kids are 8 and 3? Trust me, they don't want to attend a wedding. They might beg to go and cry because you're not bringing them, but no one enjoys wedding ceremonies--why should small children be the exception?

Your husband is refusing to attend, secretly hoping that the rule is inflexible and he can appear to courageously stand by his principles and babysit the kids. Clearly he doesn't want to attend the wedding either and will make up some blustery moral outrage to avoid going. Congratulations, you're feeding into it instead of demanding your husband act like an adult.

You ask if you should go alone or not at all. My advice is to do your brother a huge favor and stay home with your childish husband and your kids who would rather not be there anyway. Think of it as a much appreciated wedding gift to your brother.

Your advice, readers?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


DEAR ABBY: My thanks to "Lauren in Cave Creek, Ariz." (March 19) for raising the subject of concert etiquette. It's one of those awkward subjects because everyone knows there is a proper way to do it, but no one knows what the proper way is.

When attending a concert, look carefully at your program. Often it will indicate where to clap. If not, determine how the musical pieces are arranged. Are they in sets of two or three pieces? If so, clap after the set is completed, NOT after each individual piece. The pieces in a set were arranged to flow one into the other. Clapping breaks the flow and mood the composer was trying to convey.

And while we're on the subject of concert manners: As a musician and music teacher, I attend many concerts every year, and I'm appalled at the number of people who talk in the middle of a musical number. Whispering to your neighbor between pieces is fine, but talking during a musical number at a concert or dance recital (or during an act of a play or musical) is a big no-no! Please get the word out, Abby. This is something everyone should know. -- MS. "D" IN GARLAND, TEXAS

Oh, Ms. "D", thank you for giving people one more reason not to attend any sort of performing arts. It's bad enough most people aren't sure if they'll enjoy classical music concerts, but knowing that they'll be surrounded by judgmental prigs like yourself is sure to keep them away.

Also, since all those guys like Beethoven, Mozart and whoever wrote "Kill the Wabbit" are dead, I don't think they'll mind if someone "breaks the flow and mood" of their "pieces." Weren't they playing those songs on clavichords in royal parlors wearing powdered wigs? Times have changed. Don't start waving the self-righteous banner of propriety just because an audience wants to show the performers they're enjoying themselves.

But I think you're more concerned with the properly smug way to appreciate music than the actual music itself. So please keep driving people away with your etiquette lessons for the Neanderthals in the seat next to you. You'll have your dream world where no one claps or talks at your concerts because no one but snobs like you will be there to "appreciate" it.

I'm sure all the dead composers and unemployed musicians will appreciate your vigilance for the arts.

Your advice, readers?

Monday, May 28, 2007


DEAR ABBY: My youngest son was married in Las Vegas five weeks ago. We told him and his wife that we'd have the wedding reception at our home, and we're planning to do so.

At this same time, my husband and I have bought a new home, and we'd like to share it with our friends as well. We would like to do both on the same day.

I want to convey to our guests that no gifts are expected for the reception, as many do not know my son, and at our age, no housewarming gift is needed either. How do I tactfully let them know this, and is it all right to do both parties on the same day and make it casual with outside eating? -- PROUD MOM IN HOUSTON

It's just this type of overbearing mothering that made your son run off to Vegas to avoid letting you dictate the terms of his wedding. Fortunately for you, you can now force him to have a reception at your house where his matrimonial union can take backseat to showing off your new house. The fact that your son doesn't know any of these people highlights your self-centered, controlling parenting style.

Hey, why not make the whole day about you? Maybe you could force your son and new daughter-in-law to give guided tours of your new home. Or they could serve drinks at the bar.

What are you more proud of, your son or your new house?

I think it's totally appropriate to have both events on the same day. Not only will everyone be uneasy trying to figure out exactly what event they're attending, they'll have to figure out which event to bring gifts for. No matter how tactfully (and I'm sure you're full of tact) you mention not to bring gifts, most sane people will bring a wedding gift to a wedding reception, regardless of how well they know the couple. That's the arrangement: you provide free food and hopefully free booze, they give the newlyweds a set of glass tumblers from Crate and Barrel.

So if you're having a reception AND housewarming, they'll feel awkward just bringing a wedding gift and will also get a little knick-knack for the house. Which, come to think of it, is probably exactly what you're hoping for. Methinks the Proud Mom protests a tad bit too much.

Lastly, "casual with outside eating" sounds like something you'd read in the craigslist personals. You live in Texas, just call it a barbecue.

Your advice, readers?

Friday, May 25, 2007


DEAR ABBY: My dad's first wife, "Peggy," got pregnant while he was overseas in World War II. When he came home, he divorced her and tried without success to get custody of their two kids. Peggy went on to have three more kids out of wedlock with three different men. She had sex in front of the kids, misspent their child support money -- you name it. She also put Dad's name on all of their birth certificates.

All of this came out when Dad sued her over child support, and it's recorded in court transcripts. Peggy told all the kids that he was their dad, turned his own two kids against him and generally made his life hell.

Dad married my mom after his divorce and was a great husband and father up until his death. I recently found out that the illegitimate kids have been using my dad's name to establish false legitimacy and respectability all their lives. Should I confront them and ask them to stop? Their mother died last year. -- RICHARD IN CORSICANA, TEXAS

WTF? Is this a re-printed column from last century? Not just the whole World War II time frame, but "false legitimacy and respectability"? Should they live lives of shame because their mother got knocked up by a bunch of guys--your dad included? You want to penalize people for the crime of being born out of wedlock?

Let me break this down for you Richard (may I call you Dick?). World War II was a friggin' long time ago. The little baby boom your dad's first wife had most likely took place in the 40's or 50's. That puts these "illegitimate kids" somewhere shy of retirement age.

Instead of being such a Richard about it, why not just open a phone book and look at all the people who have the same last name as you (I'd request you google it, but you seem more like a Yellow Pages type guy).

Quit trying to turn your life into some sort of epic Shakespearean drama about a fight for legitimacy. Don't forget that you're only hearing one side of the story. Just because your dad said a bunch of things that ended up in court transcripts, doesn't mean those things happened.

Leave these people alone, or better yet, start golfing with them. If you really want to punish them for capitalizing on your father's precious name, just force them to spend a few hours with his legitimate offspring--who also happens to be 100% bastard.

Your advice, readers?

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Like "Fine, Thank You in Gastonia, N.C." (March 23), I, too, was annoyed when people greeted me with the mindless, "How are you?" "How ya doin'?" etc., which required me to respond to someone who clearly had no interest in a real response. (I understand their feigned interest is more automatic than rude.)

So, I make a game of it. Unlike the greeter who blurts out the salutation without thinking, I listen and am prepared with several responses. For "How ya doin'?" I answer, "Not so good. My wife and oldest son and I just got out of three months in rehab for peanut butter addiction. I was a two-jar-a-day man myself. My boy had it even worse -- three jars of the hard stuff, crunchy!"

When asked, "What's up?" I'm inclined to respond, "My blood pressure, cholesterol and body mass index!" -- DAVE IN MARSHALL, WIS.

Oh, Dave, you must be a riot at the checkout stand at the grocery store! I'd love to get stuck behind you in line at Starbucks just to hear your hilarious repartee with those rude imbeciles who have the audacity to informally ask how you're doing. But you've outsmarted them! Peanut butter addiction! That'll show 'em.

I think it's safe to classify you as a total douche bag, but a rare breed of douche bag that actually thinks he's somehow enlightening those around him by pointing out their unsophisticated shortcomings. I'm sure you also have some side-splitting comebacks when someone uses "Can I..?" instead of "May I..?" Or when, hypocritically, you ask someone how they're doing and they respond with "Good" instead of "Well."

Why not do what every sane person does and just respond, "Fine, thanks." You're right, no one cares how you're really doing, especially after your two-jar-a-day riposte, but can't you give someone a little credit for trying? Isn't it a little much to ask every person you encounter to actually care about you?

Let's face it, the real reason you hate the question is because you wish they would care. But caring doesn't come easy for most people. And the more you act like a nimrod, the less likely they are to care.

So next time someone asks you "What's up?" Simply reply, "The stick up my a**."

Your advice, readers?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


A couple of weeks ago, some friends and I visited a family friend's niece who had recently had a baby girl. While we were visiting, we noticed that the baby was hungry.

Being a good mom, the new mother unbuttoned her shirt, took off her bra, and breast-fed the baby right in front of us. Abby, was it right or wrong of her to expose her breasts in front of visitors when breast-feeding the child? -- RACHEL IN PHILADELPHIA

Why is it that some people associate any type of nakedness with lewdness? As if a mom breastfeeding in her home is the same thing as some creepy guy flashing his johnson to kids in the park. It's not like this mom was flashing her vagina at you to show where the baby came out.

So your poor eyes had to see a set of naked breasts. Wasn't there time to avert your eyes sometime during the unbuttoning of the shirt and removal of the bra? It's not like you had to stare--actually, it might be a bit creepy if you did.

Clearly the mom was comfortable breastfeeding among family friends. If you were uneasy, look the other way, go help out in the kitchen, or make some sort of comment to make the breastfeeding mother self-conscious. Something like, "Wow, those jugs look like they'd have plenty/not much milk in them." Or, "What's your estimate on the number of ounces of milk per mammary?" And if you really want to make sure it never happens again, simply take the seat next to the mother and say in a very ambiguous tone: "I've always wondered what breast milk tastes like..."

Your advice, readers?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Years ago, my son's longtime playmate, "Timmy," killed the guppies in our aquarium. I spoke to the boy and heard his lame excuse that "he just felt like doing it." I was sadly remiss and let other things take my attention, so I didn't mention the incident to Timmy's parents. Years later, Timmy took a gun to school and killed his teacher "because he felt like doing it." If only he had gotten help before that fatal action left an innocent family without a parent.

Please keep pounding home the importance of seeing early warning signs and getting good help for these troubled children. -- LOU IN AUSTIN, TEXAS

You have blood on your hands, Lou! Blood! On your hands!

Oh, wait, that's just ketchup from the guppy sandwich you're eating. Get a napkin already.

I never really know whether or not to buy stories like yours. They always seem a little too pat, a little too perfect. I'm sure there were other, less dramatic situations when "Timmy" used the same excuse. A few examples:

Why did he rent "Little Man" at the video store? Because he felt like doing it.

Why did he put the empty box of cereal back in the cupboard? Because he felt like doing it.

Why did he wait until getting inside the car with all the windows rolled before expelling a particularly offensive fart? Because he felt-- you get the idea.

What disturbs me most about your made-up story is the bizarre underlying sense of retribution. As if the teacher got shot for not noticing the warning signs. Enough with your emotionally packed lies that shift the blame to the victim--tell your son's friends to stop killing the guppies already!

Your advice, readers?

Monday, May 21, 2007


I am 28 and have a wonderful 3-year-old daughter. When I was 12, my older cousin, who was 16 at the time, fondled me, thinking I was asleep. I said nothing about it and neither did he.

That was 16 years ago. A couple of weeks ago we had sex, and now I am pregnant. Should I lie to my family about who the father is? -- WORRIED IN LOUISIANA

First of all, let me say I think your letter is a hoax. But let's assume it's not...

Just so I understand the problem correctly, you are pregnant by a cousin who molested you 16 years ago. Perhaps fondling means something else in Louisiana. Maybe he felt you up over your blouse--sorry, overalls. Whatever he did, it wasn't terrible enough to make you revile him enough to avoid hooking up with him in adulthood (I'm assuming at a family reunion--a hotbed for Louisiana casual sex encounters).

Oh, the intense sexual frustration that must have been brewing between the two of you for the past 16 years, y'all.

Fortunately for your 3-year-old, a quick googling of the internets (no, not what happened to you 16 years ago) reveals that marriage to your first cousin is illegal in Louisiana. At least you won't be able to marry your cousin and compound this error--unless you hop the border to open-minded Texas for a quick civil union. The downside? You've just doubled your daycare expenses as a single mom.

Should you lie to your family about the father? Yes. Will they eventually discover the truth? Yes. Should you still lie about it now? If you don't, it will seem like you're proud of this relationship. You need to bury this secret into some shameful corner of your life and never look back until you're forced to confront it, shattering many lives in the process. Or you could shatter lives now--the choice is yours.

Your advice, readers?

Friday, May 18, 2007


Is it harmful for someone to practice golf swings right after breakfast? I'm talking about leaving the breakfast table and heading outside to the back yard and starting practice. The way I see it, swings exert a lot of effort. Swinging a club for 15 to 20 minutes could do damage to the internal organs, right? To say the least, I don't think it helps the digestion.

The "someone" I'm writing about is my husband. He plays golf almost weekly. The only time he doesn't play is when he is away on a business trip. I'm 100 percent behind him playing golf because it's good for his health. I just don't think that practicing any sport right after a meal is appropriate.

I brought this up with him, but he keeps saying that it's the only time he can practice. My argument is: Not being able to do it at some other time doesn't mean that one should do it at the WRONG time.

Please enlighten me on this. If I'm convinced that it won't do my husband any harm, I'll shut up. -- PROTECTIVE WIFE IN SANTA CLARA, CALIF.

Your poor, poor husband. I doubt you'll "shut up" because I don't think it's in your nature. You'll find something else to complain about before he has time to replace his divots (hey, why not harp on him about not replacing divots in the backyard!).

First of all, you need to understand that your husband leaves the breakfast table to swing golf clubs--not because it's the only time he has to practice--but because he needs an excuse to get away from your nagging. You worry about his digestion. Instead, be happy that he's diverting his pent up hostility into sport.

The truth is, you don't like the fact that he leaves the table without talking to you. You can't blame golf--since I'm guessing you've already nagged him about exercising--so you grasp for straws and come up with some lame digestive excuse. People eat WHILE golfing, so I don't think digestion is a serious concern. Unless he's diving into a water hazard for stray balls, you don't need to impose any sort of 15 minute limit.

You should, on the other hand, impose a limit on the petty things you nag him about. If that's impossible, you should really go all the way. Go outside with him and offer helpful advice on his golf swing. You may want to point out the status of some of his shots. "Sliced that one." "Did you mean to miss the ball?" "Ohh, bladed it."

I guarantee he'll stop golfing after breakfast.

Your advice, readers?

Thursday, May 17, 2007


This is in response to "Confuzzled in Florida" (March 24), regarding parents who give their children one name but demand they be called something different.

I am an administrative assistant in an elementary school in New Jersey, and I have encountered the same problem with parents who register their children for kindergarten.

I must check the child's original birth certificate to verify the birthday and to ensure that he or she is registered under his or her legal name and that it's spelled correctly.

Abby, I've had parents tell me that "Little Johnny" does not know that "Franklin" is his legal name, and I should register him as "Little Johnny." I then have to explain to the parent that we DO have to register him as "Franklin" because that's the name he'll have to learn to write in kindergarten, as it's his legal name. I also explain that when "Franklin" starts school, he can tell his teacher he prefers "Little Johnny" and can then be called whatever name he chooses in the class.

I advise parents to make sure the child knows what his or her legal name is before starting kindergarten. This is the name that will appear on all records throughout the school years. -- JERSEY GIRL (NOT MY LEGAL NAME)

Who to side with? Overindulgent parents who demand the rules bend to accommodate their whims? Or wonkish educational administrators? Jeer Abby is perplexed.

It's perfectly understandable parents would want to change their children's name when attending Jersey public schools. I'm just surprised it's only the first name they want changed.

But just because kids have to register with their legal name shouldn't mean that's the name they'll learn to write in Kindergarten. It's not like these kids are opening checking accounts or drafting wills. I'm sure crayola scribbles resembling "Little Johnny" with an adorable backwards "e" will be just fine for passing Kindergarten--or most public high schools, for that matter.

When parents try to legally register their kids with nicknames, cheerfully ask the parent: "How about if I register your son as "Numb Nuts" since that what all of his classmates call him?"

Your advice, readers?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


I'm 20 and engaged to a wonderful guy I'll call "Tom." There is only one thing that worries me. Tom's family isn't the best with money, and he doesn't have much money right now. I don't want to be deeply in debt when we're married, and I'm also worried that I will have to be the one with a "head for money." (I'm not. I was overdrawn last year.)

It seems ridiculous to think that money could get in the way of love, but my parents divorced because of financial problems. How can I work this out with Tom before it gets to be a problem? What's the right approach? -- THINKING AHEAD IN SYRACUSE

Wow. You were in debt last year, your fiance is genetically incapable of making sound financial choices, you're planning a wedding--but you still consider yourself "Thinking Ahead."

Let's not forget your own parents divorced because of financial problems. I'm assuming the problem wasn't that they had too much money and couldn't agree on how to spend it all.

You're 20 years old! You can't even legally walk into a bar. Yet somehow your love for "Tom" will overcome the fact that neither of you are equipped to manage your money. Are you purposely trying to make the same mistakes as your parents? Or are you hoping to outdo them?

Look at it this way: you blame his family for not being good with money when your own parents divorced over finances. You're worried that he doesn't have much money when you were overdrawn last year. You turn your problems into his problems. If financial mismanagement doesn't ruin your ill-advised marriage, I'm sure your blameless judgments will at least make both of you completely miserable.

If you were thinking ahead, you'd just file for bankruptcy and divorce right now and skip the wedding.

Your advice, readers?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


After reading the letter from "Anonymous in the North" (March 12), I had to write. I, too, have suffered a miscarriage. Not only did I mourn the loss of my pregnancy, but I was also afraid I'd never be able to have any children.

"Anonymous" should know that one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage. If she talks with other women, she'll see she's not alone in her suffering. Sharing her story with others who have been through the same thing may help her ease the pain she's feeling.

Nine months after my miscarriage I became pregnant again with my son. The happiest moment of my life was when I saw his heartbeat on an ultrasound and was later able to hold him in my arms. I am now the happy mother of three.

Please extend my sympathies to "Anonymous," and tell her not to give up hope. -- ANOTHER MOM IN THE NORTH

Jeer Abby has no where to go with this one. What am I going to do, rip into someone recovering from a miscarriage?

When Abby posts one of these public service announcements disguised as a column, it leaves me no choice but to resort to finding amusing videos on the internets depicting what could happen if you do have kids and they end up watching breakdancers in Times Square.

Your advice, readers?

Monday, May 14, 2007


Ten years ago when I was in college, I worked briefly as a topless dancer to pay my rent. I am not proud of it, and frankly, I try to forget it ever happened.

I am now married and have young children. My husband knows about my past and doesn't judge me. We have an agreement -- we just pretend it never happened. Of course, nothing has been said to our children or other family members, and we do not plan to say anything.

I have a friend from college, "Nancy," with whom I get together once or twice a year. We recently had her over. Out of the blue, Nancy looked at my 2-year-old daughter and said, "Did you know your mommy used to be a stripper?" Then she laughed. I was stunned. I let out a nervous laugh and stammered, "Uhh ... I try to forget I ever did that." She laughed and repeated her comment to my child!

Nancy is the last person I would have expected to say something like that. It wasn't meant maliciously, but I don't know why she said it. Maybe it was just a joke that turned out incredibly not funny. She has no children, so maybe she doesn't realize how impressionable a 2-year-old is.

My husband wasn't in the room when it happened. When I told him about it a few days later, he was very upset. He said I need to address this with her before we get together again. He says if I don't, he will.

I feel that we don't see Nancy often enough for this to be an issue. I couldn't believe she said it in the first place, but I can't believe she'll do it again. Of course, I'd be horrified if she did. What do I do? -- STRIPPED OF MY PRIDE

If you've got a body nice enough to strip, what's not to be proud of? Of course, that was ten years ago--things sag.

Your topless days aside, your problem is your old college chum. What a piece of work that "Nancy" is. I don't like her, but more than that, I don't like your approach to handling her. Life isn't a lapdance--it's okay to rub someone the wrong way.

Do you remember anything your parent's friends told you about your parents when you were 2? Hopefully your 2-year-old doesn't know what a stripper is yet so the exchange will disappear if you don't let Nancy bring it up again. But I promise you, she will.

Do you really believe Nancy didn't mean it maliciously? I think Nancy knew it would upset and humiliate you. And then she laughed. I hate her. You must talk to her about it, letting her know you never want her to tell your children about your stripper days. But I promise you, if you are friends with Nancy in 15 years, she'll somehow let it slip to your teenage daughter. And laugh. It's all a joke! She just thought it was funny! I mean, you, a stripper! HAHAHAHA!

I've given this advice before and I will again. You must ruthlessly cut Nancy out of your life forever. She's trouble. Unless you want more trouble, skip your annual visits for a few years, replacing them with insincere emails where all you do is talk about your kids. That'll keep her away.

You're not stripped of your pride for taking your clothes off to pay for that course on Descartes. But you turn your pride into the flossy end of a g-string when you don't stand up to your passive aggressive frenemy.

Your advice, readers?

Friday, May 11, 2007


DEAR ABBY: I have been in a horrible marriage for eight years. My husband, "Greg," has a lot of problems from his childhood and has a hard time being in a relationship. I have recently learned that he was raped by a family member when he was a little boy. He seems to be in denial, and claims it didn't happen.

In any case, I have had a feeling lately that Greg is attracted to men and may be having some kind of a fling with a guy. This guy is supposed to be a business associate, but he calls my husband constantly and has shown up at our house at 12:30 at night. Greg refused to answer the door, but texted him and lied to me about it. I feel like he doesn't want me to meet this guy.

How would I be able to tell if this is happening? Greg certainly won't tell me. -- LOST IN BRONX, N.Y.

You might argue that the science isn't really in on this, but Jeer Abby doesn't believe being raped as a child makes you gay. It can ruin all your future relationships if you're in denial (horrible 8 year marriage anyone?).

There's nothing wrong with being gay--unless you're married to a member of the opposite sex.

Obviously you think he's gay or you wouldn't have given him such a gay alias. "Greg"? Why not just say: "My handlebar moustachioed husband "Greg" who likes Broadway musicals and keeps the house meticulously clean, especially his closet filled with stylish clothes, was raped."

Another thing that makes a heterosexual marriage horrible? When your husband is gay.

I'd mention something to him along the lines of, "If that was a woman coming unannounced at 12:30, I'd think you were having an affair..." Then quickly add: "On second thought, I wouldn't, because you're gay."

See if that trips him up.

This may seem rash, but I would simply end your marriage as quickly and financially beneficial as possible. Six months after the papers are signed, you'll have an answer to the gay question when you see which fine young man your ex-husband is dating.

Your advice, readers?

Thursday, May 10, 2007


I'm writing in response to the letter from "Reader in the East" (March 21), asking what to give someone who has just graduated from the police academy. Abby, the patron saint of police officers and law enforcement is St. Michael, not St. Christopher!

Another thoughtful gift would be a charm of the trooper's shield with his badge number on it. I gave my husband a small replica of his shield with his number on the front and a message of love and safety on the back. He never goes out the door without his "good luck shield." He says that it and his bulletproof vest are the best protection he has. (He also has a St. Michael's medal, and wears it as well.) -- TROOPER'S WIFE IN NEW YORK

Who knew there was a patron saint of law enforcement? Who cares if it's St. Michael or St. Christopher since both sound a little G-A-Y. Aren't saints former Catholic clergy? In that case, both sound a little P-E-D- Oh, never mind.

My point is that being a cop is a pretty macho job, assuming the TV show COPS is a more accurate portrayal than Reno 911. Even if you split the difference, I can't imagine a cop who is about to bust through a door with armed drug dealers inside is thinking, "Got my kevlar vest? Check. Got my St. Michael's shield? Check."

It's a dangerous job and maybe these little charms give the illusion of safety (to the person giving them). But illusions of safety are no replacement for the real thing. False comfort is no comfort at all.

I promise not to make any jokes about the patron saint of Krispy Kremes if you please tell me who the patron saint of getting out of speeding tickets is.

Your advice, readers?

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


This may seem like a dumb question, but I really need to know the answer. Can you get pregnant when your breasts are still underdeveloped?

My boyfriend says you can't, but I need to know for sure. I'm afraid to keep birth control in my room because my little sister, who I have to share a room with, constantly snoops through my stuff when I'm not there. She would be sure to show it to our parents if she found it because she loves to get me in trouble, so I really need to know the answer to this. -- QUESTIONING IN OKLAHOMA

It's actually impossible to get pregnant with small breasts because no guy will want to have sex with you. Kidding!

Your boyfriend's job is to say whatever it takes to have sex--preferably without a condom. Your job as a woman--okay, as a pre-teen from the sound of it--is to inform yourself about your body and the diseases and babies that can result when you don't force him to wear a condom. Don't let him fool you, he's still going to have sex with you even if you make him roll on a little latex. Guys really aren't that picky.

If your sister keeps snooping around your stuff, hide your birth control in a hidden corner of her dresser. If your parents are alerted to the existence of birth control pills, simply tell them you were tired of getting all those abortions and the pill is cheaper. They won't have time to punish you because they'll be rushing your father to the hospital from a heart attack.

Your advice, readers?

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


I couldn't help but add my two cents to the letter you printed from "Hungry in Madison Heights, Mich." (March 2), about the supervisor who stole everyone's food, candy, etc.

At my job, we had the same problem. "Dan" would open people's drawers and eat whatever he found, too. He would even go into lunch bags. It didn't matter if you were sitting there or not -- if it was food, he was into it!

One day a man who worked with him opened his desk drawer and realized that a tiny field mouse had gnawed through the wrapper of his candy bar and eaten part of it. He took the bar out of his desk and left it sitting there while he went to find someone to take care of the mouse. While he was gone, Dan entered his office, saw the candy, and took and ate it! Everyone except me was upset about him eating something that a mouse had nibbled. I was glad! Needless to say, Dan never took what wasn't his again. -- MAUREEN IN WEST CHICAGO


Wheeeeee! Take that "Dan"! Maureen, your life sounds full of wacky sitcom moments where pesky co-workers are taught humbling lessons from simple field mice. You're like a modern day office Aesop.

I'm sure you've told this story so many times now that it bears little resemblance to actual events. My guess is that "Dan" really did steal food from the break room refridgerator a few times and that a different co-worker probably had a candy bar eaten by a rat (field mice live in fields, Maureen).

But it's hard to believe "Dan" was such an a-hole that he would start gnawing on a half-eaten candy bar. I'm sure everyone joked that they should trick Dan into eating it--and maybe they did in some other prankish way--but it all sounds a little too easy the way you tell it. I just have a hard time believing that "Needless to say, Dan never took what wasn't his again." Because if he went back to stealing candy and pudding cups the next day, as I'm sure he did, your story's moral lesson is shot to hell.

You may think Dan is a total a-hole who steals other people's lunches and takes candy off desks. I think you love office gossip and making up moralistic stories because that's much easier than confronting Dan and telling him to knock that s--t off. You deserve to lose every Milky Way bar Dan plucks from your gossipy lips.

Your advice, readers?