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Annie’s mailbox: Boyfriend is hiding something

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Dear Annie: I am a female in my late 30s and somewhat intelligent, but I can't figure out if I'm being duped or not.

I have been dating "Stan" for five months. He is 10 years my senior, but I don't see the age difference. What I do see, however, are a lot of blank spots. I meet Stan once a week, usually for an overnight tryst. He calls me twice a week, mostly to plan our regular hook-up. He is not married. He says he just likes to take things slowly. I still don't know much about him, and when I press for details, he gets annoyed.

When we are together, Stan is wonderful to me. He makes me laugh and is always considerate. But I wonder a lot about what he's doing when I'm not with him. What do you think, Annie? — Confused 30-something

Dear Confused: Are you sure Stan isn't married or involved with someone else? A man who sees you only for sex and is not otherwise available sounds as if he is hiding something. It is also possible that all he wants from you is that weekly hook-up and a more involved relationship doesn't interest him, which makes us wonder why you keep hanging around. You can do better.

Dear Annie: I am a professional, Equity actress and would like to respond to "R.S. in Wisconsin," who attended a play and was annoyed by someone's portable oxygen machine.

Professional actors are prepared to deal with such noise distraction without compromising performance. But more importantly, art was not created only for the able-bodied. It exists to transcend, to teach, to provoke, to entertain and to provide an escape from daily life. Anyone who does their best to be courteous should be allowed to experience live artistic performance. Sometimes you have to sit behind a tall person who obstructs your view, or near those who cough and blow their noses.

Here is what is unacceptable background noise: cell-phone rings, cell-phone conversations and ongoing commentary to your friends in attendance (we can hear you). That is rude, inconsiderate and preventable behavior. But as fellow human beings, we ought to accept the physical realities of those less fortunate than ourselves.

If this woman's breathing device truly interfered with R.S.'s ability to hear the performance, he ought to have approached management at intermission regarding a seat relocation or a complimentary ticket. Most places would be happy to oblige. I hope all people with disabilities will come to the theater. — Actress in New York City

Dear Actress: Thank you for your compassionate letter. Read on:

From Florida:Our yearlong wait and $100 tickets to "La Boheme" were spoiled by the oxygen tank hiss behind us. It gasped loudly every 10 seconds, ruining the music for us. We could not change seats. Quiet is required for opera and the symphony, and therefore, they are unsuitable choices for those who cannot comply.

Chino, Calif.:Exactly what does R.S. consider to be a lack of common courtesy? Breathing? Or, perhaps she could turn off the machine, so the play could be interrupted by the paramedics. I regularly attend professional performances and am seated next to a woman who uses a portable oxygen tank. It does not hinder my enjoyment of the performance. As a special education teacher, I applaud those people with disabilities who lead an active life. A lousy attitude is the greatest disability.

California:Common courtesy is or should be required of everyone, disabled or not. This person spoiled the performance for everyone. While we don't expect the disabled to stay home, we should be able to expect the same courtesies and common sense from them as is expected from the rest of us. There are times when doing something just because you can is simply not the right thing to do.


Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailboxcomcast.net, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. © Creators Syndicate Inc.