cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
[personal profile] cereta
Dear Amy: I am a married woman. My husband and his younger sister are of a Mediterranean nationality. Family relationships are "closer" there, I think, than those in North America or Europe.

I was shocked to see my husband and his sister in our bathroom together. She was putting on makeup, he was brushing his teeth.

We were in a hurry to leave the house, but there was a half-bath downstairs that one of them could have used.

I have been in the bathroom with my own older brother, but it was to install new toilets -- something practical -- not to do something "intimate," that, in my opinion, is only for a husband and wife to share.

I felt very "strange" about this situation. Then it happened a second time. I have decided that if it happens again, I will join them in the bathroom and put on my makeup or brush my teeth with them to see if they understand that I'm disturbed by this situation.

-- Too Close!

Dear Too Close!: If brushing one's teeth or putting on makeup is considered an uncomfortably intimate act that only married partners should share, then we need to completely revamp sexual education in this country.

I don't think this is an ethnic thing or a national characteristic.

I think this is a "you" problem.

Taking your letter at face value, these two siblings were basically sharing a mirror.

Many siblings that grew up in close households and perhaps shared a bathroom with other family members throughout their childhoods wouldn't think twice about sharing their bathroom ablutions.

Because this bothers you so much, you should probably express your concern directly to these two, instead of passively trying to get your message across. But you should also anticipate some bewilderment on their part.
cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
[personal profile] cereta
NB: All of the Annie's Mailbox columns being posted at Arcamax are reruns from a few years ago, but I still find them interesting.

Really mean-spirited pranks )
cereta: Val Stone from Stone Soup saying "Please" (Val Stone)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR HARRIETTE: My family is riddled with divorce. Practically every couple in two generations has split. Remarriages occur and create happy family members. My brother has been single for years after a string of bad relationships following a divorce. His ex moved the children to another state, and he works himself to the bone to be able to provide for them. I feel bad for him; it seems like he doesn't have any hobbies or happiness in his life.

I am getting remarried soon, so he will be the only single sibling. He got himself three cats recently, which I was against because it prohibits him moving freely. How can I involve my brother in my life to make sure he's doing all right? I've been working on trying to get him to move to my state, but to no avail. -- Building His Life Up, Boulder, Colorado

DEAR BUILDING HIS LIFE UP: Divorce is hard on the whole family and usually friends, too, so it's natural that you would like to figure out how to comfort your brother as you and the rest of the family seem to have moved on. As you attempt to help him, do know that you cannot spark happiness in his life -- nor is it your responsibility.

That said, you can make an effort. Invite him to join you for a sibling date. Invite him to come to visit you. Or suggest a sibling date without your spouse -- just you two or you and your other siblings -- where you go someplace fun and spend time together. Insist that he show up, and make sure that your life doesn't get too busy for you to go. Stay connected. That's what you can do.
cereta: Charles Xavier, eyebrow raised. (Charles is dubious)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR ABBY: Three months ago, my sister "Diane" said she would like to get the family together for some professional family photos. The photographer she chose was available only on one particular day. Unfortunately, my husband couldn't get off from work that day.

Diane then suggested we take the pictures without him. I said it was inappropriate and refused. When I asked if we could use a different photographer at another time, my sister told me to forget the whole thing.

Today I was visiting my parents and I saw the family photos -- taken without me, my husband and our child. I had no idea they had gone ahead and taken the pictures without us. I am angry and hurt. I'm especially mad at my mom because she knew how bothered I was that Diane suggested excluding my husband.

Am I justified in feeling this way? Should they have waited until the whole family was able to get together? Or should I suck it up and not expect everyone to accommodate my husband's work schedule? -- OUT OF THE PICTURE IN HOUSTON

DEAR OUT OF THE PICTURE: Yes, yes and yes.

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