Dear Annie: Every time my girlfriend comes over to my house, my dad always tells me to keep the door to my room open. I know it is because he doesn't trust us, but I have never done anything to lose his trust. My girlfriend and I are almost 16, and we are smart enough to know that nothing is going to happen when my parents are home.
One time, I closed the door partway because we were listening to music, and Dad barged right in. He didn't even knock or anything, and told me rather loudly to keep the door wide open. The only reason I want to keep the door shut is to give my girlfriend and me a little privacy. We just want to talk, and we don't want anyone else to hear, and we certainly don't want Dad checking up on us every couple of minutes.
Annie, my dad is hard to reason with -- it's always his way or the highway (which frequently results in fights). When I ask him why I can't close the door, he says, "Because I said so."
Is there anything I can say that will make him see my point of view? Why doesn't he trust me? Any help will be appreciated. Too Protected in Vermont
Dear Vermont: Try to understand Dad's reasoning. He fears that without supervision, you and your girlfriend will become more intimate, and that you are too young for that kind of emotional involvement. It isn't that he doesn't trust you. It's because he once was your age and knows how hard it is to resist such temptation.
Offer Dad a compromise. Ask if you can keep the door just slightly open, and offer to walk out of your room and say hello every 10-15 minutes. If all you are doing is talking, it shouldn't be that difficult. We know it seems silly, but do it anyway for your father's peace of mind.
Dear Annie: I've been married to "Ted" for one year. He was previously married to "Alice" for 30 years. They had four children and 11 grandchildren, and divorced 15 years ago.
We were invited to a grandson's graduation in June. After the ceremony, we went back to the motel to get ready for an after-graduation party at his parents' home. However, Alice showed up, and we were told that we should not attend the party.
Ted's daughter-in-law informed me that after the divorce, Alice told the entire family she never wanted to see Ted again, and they have gone out of their way to make her happy. (Three years ago, both Alice and Ted attended a family wedding. She had a fit and refused to have pictures taken with the family.)
Next month, a granddaughter is getting married, and we plan to attend. How should we handle this? New Wife
Dear New: The kids should not allow Mom to hold the guest list hostage. Relations would have an opportunity to normalize if Alice were forced to endure Ted's company on these family occasions, and you can suggest it, but it's up to the kids to alter their approach. Meanwhile, please go to those functions to which you are invited. No sense in everyone being vindictive.
Dear Annie: This is regarding a letter from "Dad Out East," whose wife bought a stock of pantyhose for their sons to wear under their uniforms.
In Australia, the big beefy lifeguards wear pantyhose because it prevents jellyfish from stinging them while in the water. Pantyhose, when wet, make a nice shield for the skin. Sydney
Dear Sydney: We are not going to argue with hunky Aussie lifeguards. They can wear anything they like.
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