Dear Annie: I need your advice. Last year, I asked my son-in-law to help with some work on my house and yard. One day, I came home from the office, kicked off my heels and lay down on the couch. My son-in-law came in from working outside to get a drink and we struck up a conversation. He made a few remarks about how tired I looked — and offered to give me a foot massage. I took him up on it.
Annie, I have been taking him up on it ever since. Any time he comes over after I get home from work, he asks and I accept. A colleague made me aware of foot fetishes and suggested my son-in-law could be getting sexual gratification from doing this. Is that possible? Should I stop accepting? Did I start something inappropriate by saying yes the first time? — Embarrassed M-I-L
Dear Embarrassed: Let’s not jump to conclusions. Yes, he could be enjoying the foot rubs more than you are. But it’s also possible he is a loving son-in-law and knows a foot massage makes you feel better after a long day. Here’s how you find out: Ask him to give you a foot rub when your daughter is in the room. If he has a foot fetish, she would know. And if he’s reluctant to rub your feet when other family members are present, it may be because he considers it an intimacy — in which case, it’s time to stop. We’re certain you can find a way to do it diplomatically.
Dear Annie: I am an attractive young woman with a history of anorexia. Thanks to loving friends, family and a wonderful boyfriend, I was able to recover and now enjoy eating healthful, well-balanced meals.
Here’s the problem. I hold a very good job at a grocery store. On occasion, I will splurge and buy some snack I am craving, but I absolutely dread going through the check stand. My co-workers always feel it is necessary to comment on the food I buy, and it is inevitable that when I buy junk food, I will get a teasing remark. I know these comments are intended to be harmless, but it always fills me with heavy guilt about what I’m eating, as well as feelings of being fat or needing to lose weight.
None of my co-workers knows about my past struggles and I really don’t want to explain. It’s gotten to the point where I have stopped buying snacks at my store. Annie, I don’t comment on my co-workers’ purchases. Why do they need to do it to me? — Not Anorexic but Still Recovering in California
Dear California: They are trying to be friendly and don’t realize what a sensitive issue this is for you. Since you don’t want to share the information about your anorexia (nor should you feel obligated to do so), it’s best if you can avoid reacting to the food comments. In time, the remarks will seem neither original nor amusing, and your co-workers will stop.
Dear Annie: I felt compelled to write after reading the letter from “Hurting in Montreal,” the 16-year-old girl who is experiencing visual and auditory hallucinations.
My son started having these symptoms when he was 8 years old and they turned out to be related to a form of epilepsy. The good news is that he “outgrew” this condition after some years on medication and has been seizure free for many years. I hope this helps. — Barbara
Dear Barbara: You weren’t the only reader who suggested “Hurting” may have a form of epilepsy. We hope she will discuss it with her parents and get whatever medical help she needs.
Annie’s Snippet for St. Patrick’s Day: May the luck of the Irish possess you. May the devil fly off with your worries. May God bless you forever and ever.
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 3.17.08