Dear Annie:My mother-in-law lives far away. She visits twice a year and stays for a month. While she is here, we take our son out of his day-care program so she can spend the maximum amount of time available with her grandchild.
Here's the problem: Nonny gets on my nerves a bit, and when I get home from work, I'd like to spend some one-on-one time with my son. Is it unreasonable for me to want to be alone with my child while Nonny is visiting? I used to feel guilty about interrupting her time with her only grandchild, but lately I've been rethinking it. What do you say?
— Nonplussed in New England
Dear Nonplussed: There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting some individual time with your son. Ask your husband to explain to his mother that you miss your son while you are at work and would like, say, a half-hour with him before bedtime. We suspect Nonny could use a break and might be more willing than you think. Take your son elsewhere so you don't have to ask Nonny to leave the room, and be sure to thank her for taking such good care of him.
Dear Annie:This is a letter a lot of men are afraid to write, but it's summer again and somebody has to say something. I've been reading advice columns for 50 years and you are the best, so I'd like your opinion.
Why do young women dress to appear cheap and slutty? Clothes cover as little as possible, and makeup is intended to make them look years older. They convey a message of sexual availability. Yet if I notice, it must be because I'm ogling young girls and shame on me.
Most of the professional people I deal with happen to be women, and it seems as if tight clothing, push-up bras and plunging necklines are required dress. My male co-workers believe it's inconsiderate for women to appear in a business environment so immodestly attired and expect us not to notice. My female co-workers' attitude is "if it bothers you, don't look." This is not only unrealistic, it's dishonest.
Women learn early on what gets a man's attention, but heaven help us if we look too long or respond in any way that would give them the slightest excuse to feign offense. Then we are rude, sick hound dogs who view women as sex objects. I'm not a pedophile or a prude. I'm happily married to a beautiful woman and have never strayed. But I am angry at this arrogant disregard by the female gender for the sensibilities of men and for the hypocritical way it is justified. Of course, the sex-oozing-from-every-pore look is designed for models and actresses, and most women cannot pull it off, so the joke is on them. They look cheap and idiotic. We can see beauty. We don't want to see everything else.
— Put Some Clothes On
Dear Put: Some women think tight, low-cut clothing is attractive. Some women tease. Some simply have terrible taste. And we agree that some women dress to be noticed and then act offended when guys do just that. We hope our readers, male and female, will pay attention to your comments and realize that the clothes they wear send a message — and it's not always the one they intend.
Dear Annie: This is for "Wish I Could Turn Back Time in N.J.," the mother of a paralyzed 15-year-old boy.
Her husband and son are being selfish in expecting her to do it all. She needs to insist that her husband give her at least an hour a day to herself. Her son needs to learn that having only one caregiver means she will get worn out and be unable to help him. A good resource for both caregivers and people with spinal cord injuries is the CareCure Community at Rutgers University (sci.rutgers.edu)
Dear Massachusetts: Thanks for the information. We hope she gets in touch.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.