Dear Annie: On a recent trip to visit my daughter, I found out that my 12-year-old grandson has taken up Irish step dancing. What bothers me is that he dances in the girls division.
My daughter told me it began when a girls troupe needed one more dancer and he agreed to join them. He had to wear a girl’s costume, and the judges allowed it. Now my daughter is regularly entering him in competitions for girls. The last time I saw an event program, I noticed that his name was spelled with an extra “i” at the end so it appears to be female. And I have to say, dressed in a girl’s costume with wig and makeup, you can hardly tell he’s a boy.
Is this fraud? There is prize money involved. Could my daughter be sued? When I talked to my grandson about this, he said he doesn’t mind. Should I inform the judges at the next performance or just leave it be?
— Surprised Grandmother
Dear Surprised: If there is money being awarded, then yes, it is fraudulent. The first time it happened, the judges were aware that a boy was competing and allowed it. But if your daughter is disguising his gender, it puts his entire troupe at risk for elimination.
Nonetheless, we don’t recommend you get involved by reporting it. Caution your daughter that at some point her son will be discovered and there will be consequences, but what she chooses to do about that is up to her. There is no reason her son cannot compete in a boys division. (And we won’t get into the possibility that your grandson may enjoy dressing up as a girl.)
Dear Annie: We are full-time residents on a lake and owners of a pool. We are continually astonished at the behavior of some people who visit only during the summer. I’d like to address this to them for next year:
When visiting your lake home, do not assume that you have an open invitation to be at our pool just because you are in the same complex. Do not come over to swim uninvited. At the very least, call to ask whether it is OK. And when you do come over, do not stay for hours and hours. Sometimes we would like to use our pool with our family. Do not come to our pool when we are not home. If you are at the pool and we leave the house, take that as your cue to pack up.
Our pool is an extension of our living space. Imagine how you would feel if you came home to find people inside your house, watching your TV. Annie, we are social people and like to entertain, but we would appreciate some common courtesy.
— Your Private Pool Owner
Dear Pool Owner: Is it possible that the folks who visit your complex believe your pool is common space, available to all? Please don’t suffer in silence. Lock the pool gates when you aren’t home. Post a sign informing people that it’s a private pool and requires an invitation. Most importantly, be willing to tell the intruders that you’d appreciate it if they would phone first. It is not rude to make your boundaries known.
Dear Annie: As a boutique owner, I would like to respond to “Toledo,” who complained that sales associates accost her in every aisle and follow her around.
Please leave your kitchen sink-sized handbag at home or in your car trunk. When you come into my store carrying shopping bags, big coats and enormous purses, you are a security risk. My best defense is to have my associates tail you to make sure you are not stealing.
It would save us both a lot of aggravation if you would be so courteous as to come in with a small, closed handbag.
— Shrinkage Control
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to email@example.com, 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.
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