Dear Annie: My wife and I have been separated for four years. We have joint custody of our beautiful 8-year-old daughter. “Lizzie” spends half the week with me and the other half with her mother. It works out well, and Lizzie fully understands that she now has to live in two separate, loving homes.
Here’s the problem: When going to gatherings and parties, my mother’s friends and other family members feel the need to say, “It’s so nice that you guys share her right now, because when she gets older, you know she’s going to want to live with her mom full time.” Or, “What are you going to do when she’s a teenager and only wants to stay with her mom?” They then begin to tell me stories about their divorced son or a friend’s son to whom this has happened.
My daughter means the world to me. Just because things didn’t work out between her mother and me doesn’t mean I won’t be able to provide as loving a home as her mother. How do I politely tell these people that I don’t care for their comments? Or do I just bite my lip and stay silent?
— Doing My Best in California
Dear California: You sigh audibly and say with a tired smile, “Yes, I’ve heard that. Thank you.” And then walk away. These people mean well, but they have no way of predicting what your situation will be five years from now. Here’s ours: Lizzie will cherish both of her parents because they cherish her enough to be respectful of each other and keep both of her homes stable and loving. Whatever she chooses to do as a teenager will likely be temporary.
Dear Annie: I hope you can help me with an unusual request. I am a very heavyset female, and there are some parts of my body that I can’t reach to wash. Because of that, I have an odor that I hope no one else can smell, but I’m not sure. Is there any place where I could get these private parts shaved? I am sure that would help a lot.
— Ms. Bit
Dear Ms. Bit: You would have to ask at a salon whether they would shave you. You might have better luck with a bikini wax. For permanent hair removal, you can check into laser therapy or electrolysis, although both require multiple treatments and are not inexpensive. In the meantime, look into installing a handheld shower sprayer and check online for easily available hygiene products geared toward those hard-to-reach places. But also, please talk to your doctor about your weight and see whether you have a treatable medical condition, and ask for a referral to a dietician.
Dear Annie: I was appalled that you published the letter from “California” and didn’t comment on it. She suggested that lesbians target older women to take possession of their assets.
Certainly there are lesbians who are grifters, but the writer made it sound as if this is the rule rather than the exception, and you failed to disabuse her of her misconception. You did a serious disservice to your readers by not pointing out that there are bad eggs in every basket, but one bad egg doesn’t mean the entire batch is tainted.
— A Good Egg
Dear Good Egg: You are right. We should have clarified that the point of “California’s” letter was not to disparage lesbians, but to warn seniors that they can be the victims of con artists, whether gay, straight, male, female, young, old or anything else. Con artists often target older adults. Please, folks, be careful, never bring strangers into your home, and never give out financial information or your social security number over the phone. For information on other types of scams, visit the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org/us/scams.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
— Creators Syndicate Inc.