Dear Annie: My co-worker “Shelley” is constantly making belittling comments about me. Since she transferred to my department, she has said I look terrible in pink, my hair color is greenish and my body lotion is not to her liking. She even bought me another lotion she “approved” of. She said when I dress in the morning, I should keep her opinions in mind. I was livid.
No one else in our office has ever mentioned my lotion scent, and I am sure they would if it were too strong. Does she have the right to dictate what I should wear? Shelley wants her desk moved to a window location, and by claiming that I stink, the company will put her right where she wants to be. I feel like contacting an attorney and filing a civil suit against her. Your thoughts? — Won’t Change in California
Dear California: Unless Shelley has singled you out because of your race, gender, sexual orientation or religion, you don’t have much grounds for a lawsuit. If she is using you to get that window location, she may leave you alone once she has achieved her goal. Many people are very sensitive to perfumes or scented lotions, so you might consider using less. As for your hair or clothes, Shelley has no business chastising you. Report her intrusive bossiness to your supervisor and to human resources so there is a record in case things escalate.
Dear Annie: We recently retired and built our dream house. Several family members have visited us, and there are many more scheduled to come this summer.
Yesterday, my husband’s sister announced plans to drop in on us the same week we have other guests here. Never mind that we didn’t invite them, they also said they’d be bringing their teenage children and three dogs.
Annie, I’m all for being gracious to family members, so I told them we’d find a way to squeeze everyone in, but their dogs are not welcome. I know from past experience that their dogs are unruly, climb on the furniture, scratch doors and beg at the dinner table. They insisted their dogs wouldn’t be a problem, but I stuck to my guns. My husband agrees and told his sister they could visit another time if they can’t find a dog sitter or kennel.
When did it become acceptable to come to someone’s home with your pets in tow? — Puzzled in Paradise
Dear Puzzled: It’s not acceptable, although many pet owners consider their animals to be their children and treat them accordingly. It is unfair, however, to expect others to feel the same way, especially if the dogs are not properly trained. Be nice about saying no, but be firm.
Dear Annie: This is for “Maybelline,” whose online personal ad wasn’t attracting men. I agree that no one should poke fun at heavy women. If they are happy being chunky, leave them alone.
But every time I hear “it’s what’s inside that counts,” I know a heavy woman is writing. I think many women are convinced they aren’t overweight because their friends are the same size and they think that makes them “average.” That’s not the way men see it.
I’m sure some women will continue calling men narrow-minded and shallow for not liking heavy women, but we aren’t likely to change our preferences. So, ladies, don’t waste your money on beauty aids and new clothes. Those things won’t make you beautiful. Take off a few pounds and men will be at your door. I guess being shallow is our nature. — Sam in Tallahassee
Dear Sam: Ouch. Actually, preferring thin women is not in our nature. It’s in our constant media images. We are trained from an early age to see certain body shapes as more desirable than others. We DO need to see what’s inside. It might save a guy from marrying a hot woman with a lousy personality.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. 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.
Published in The Messenger 6.6.08