Posted: Tuesday, December 6, 2011 8:03 pm
Dear Annie: My husband and I have three adult sons. The oldest and youngest are married, but the middle son (age 56) is not. He has his own house in our neighborhood and has had a younger man living with him for many years. We assume our son is gay, which is fine, but he has never admitted it.
The last time we saw our son was Father’s Day. I sent him a birthday card in late July and asked why we haven’t heard from him. I reassured him that we love him. I received no response. We then called and left phone messages twice. Still no word.
When we do get together, our son is friendly, pleasant and charming. However, we are hurt and disappointed that he never invites us over, nor does he keep in touch other than a few times a year. Should we just accept this behavior or confront him in person by showing up at his home? — Pariahs, Not Parents
Dear Parents: Oh, please don’t do that. Some children are not comfortable having their parents over, and an unexpected visit would likely make matters worse.
If you believe the “younger man” is his partner, we hope you have welcomed both of them to your home. Your son might appreciate your acceptance of this man as part of his life, and it may make him more amenable to closer contact. But our main concern is whether your son is OK. Is it unusual not to have heard from him since June, despite your birthday card and phone messages? You might want to call once more and tell him you are worried about his well-being.
Dear Annie: I remember all of the letters about how to hang the toilet paper. I have a different question on the subject.
Several of my friends just prop the roll of toilet paper on top of the cylinder instead of sticking the roller through the hole in the paper. People then pick up the roll with their hands and remove as much as they need. This might not be so bad, except that some people use the roll more than once on the same bathroom visit. Also, sometimes the toilet paper is dropped on the floor before being re-propped.
Several times I have made remarks regarding how unhealthy this habit may be, but they just laugh. Although they are otherwise hygienic, these people seem to have more upset stomachs than our other friends.
When I visit their houses, I carry folded toilet paper in my purse in order to avoid using their well-handled rolls. They tease me for being germophobic, saying everyone washes their hands before leaving the bathroom. But what if they first brush the hair out of their eyes or touch their mouths before washing their contaminated hands? Is this healthy? — One Who Wants the Tissue Hung Properly
Dear Tissue: This seems less an issue of hygiene than one of laziness. We are unaware of any studies that differentiate between using a propped-up roll of toilet paper versus one on a roller. But we can tell you that the probability of having the roll fall on the floor (or in the toilet) makes it automatically less sanitary than using the roller. And by the way, it is highly unlikely that all those who use the bathroom wash their hands with soap and water before leaving.
Dear Annie: “Cool Grandma Doesn’t Care” said her mother-in-law is encouraging her adult daughter to share sleeping arrangements with her live-in boyfriend, even though Mom and Dad disapprove. You said Grandma can do what she wants in her own home.
What about the daughter and her boyfriend respecting her parents’ wishes regardless of where they sleep? The boyfriend should do the right thing. Better to make a possible future mother-in-law happy than Grandma. — El Segundo, Calif.
Dear El: That would be exceptionally gracious, but Mom cannot force him to do it, and her daughter doesn’t seem inclined to ask.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. 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 12.6.11