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Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar


Past Anger Is Hard to Overcome Dear Annie: Twenty five years ago, my youngest son, then 18, quit the job he had had for four years. They had promised him an assistant manager job and when he turned 18, but did not follow through. After that, he would not look for a job or even …Read more. Waiting for the Sun to Shine Dear Annie: All of my life, I've heard about the "golden years." Why are mine only black and gray? I have been married to my husband for 40 years. He has not been sexually capable for half that time. I understand that, but he also does not want to …Read more. Dreaded Decor Dear Annie: My mother-in-law has a decor that was personalized for her by my husband's long-term ex-girlfriend. Every time I go to her house, it's the first thing I see and it really bothers me. The problem is, I don't feel I can say anything to her …Read more. Sick of Being the Third Wheel Dear Annie: I live in the same town as two friends from high school. One of these friends married right out of high school and starting having children. My other friend and I both went to college together, and then she also married and started her …Read more.
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Annie's Mailbox

Dear Annie: My boyfriend and I have a roommate, "Joe," a jobless veteran. Joe lies in bed all day, getting up once or twice to use the restroom and maybe eat or drink something. The problem is, Joe doesn't bathe. In the three months he has lived here, he has not stepped in the shower more than three or four times. Not only do I find this repulsive, but he has quite a horrible body odor, and it is beginning to permeate the whole house.

We've told Joe he is more than welcome to use our towels, soap, shampoo, etc., anything to get him to bathe. His response is that he doesn't need to shower since he is home all the time and doesn't need to impress anyone.

I cannot stand the smell anymore. Is there any way to make Joe understand how disgusting this is without hurting his feelings? Please help. I can't take it any longer. — Beth in Indiana

Dear Beth: You are being too polite. Be direct. Tell Joe his hygiene needs improvement and his body odor is noticeable. He may not need to impress anyone, but he shouldn't be repelling the people he lives with. Explain that he must shower at least twice a week if he wishes to use the common areas of the house, such as the kitchen or living room. P.S.: Has Joe been to his local VA for medical care? He sounds depressed. If he has not seen a professional, please suggest it to him.

Dear Annie: Ladies, please don't force your husband to go shopping with you. He doesn't think it's fun to shop for your clothes. Unless a husband has better taste than you do, there's seldom a valid reason to do this. He's just miserable and in the way. But, if you insist on bringing him, here are some hints:

Don't bother asking whether he prefers the chartreuse or the lime green. To him, both colors look the same.

Don't ask, "Does this make me look fat?" You can't win.

Don't ask him which of three shoe styles he likes best on you.

He doesn't care, and can't tell you how they feel on your feet.

Don't ask him what he likes and then second-guess him. If you didn't want his opinion, why did you ask for it?

Don't, I beg you, bring him into the fitting room. That is not fair to the other women.

I assure you, your husband is bored and doesn't want to be there, and we don't need him there. Leave him at home. The rest of us won't miss him. — Torrance, Calif.

Dear Torrance: Aside from women who need transportation or physical assistance, we cannot think of a good reason to bring a man shopping for women's clothing unless he specifically asks to be there. Many women think it's a "bonding experience," but for some guys, it's a form of torture. Women, imagine a three-hour trip to the hardware store to check out hammers.

Dear Annie: I hope you don't mind one more suggestion for "Monda in Mobile," who is still grieving the loss of her husband.

The activities she describes that she keeps busy with — computer, reading and sewing — are all solitary activities. She will lift her spirits more if she involves herself with other people. Taking a sewing class or craft class, joining a book club or reading to patients in the hospital or kids at the library will allow her more interaction with others, while still doing what she enjoys.

People are social animals and are wired to be around their own kind. A study I read a couple of years ago showed that the human brain releases endorphin-like chemicals when engaged in face-to-face interaction with other people. These are the same chemicals that prevent depression. Easy to see the connection, right? — Sue in Orlando, Fla.

Dear Sue: Makes sense to us. We appreciate your excellent suggestions.

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to, 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



10 Comments | Post Comment
Sorry, "Torrance, Calif.," but your over-generalizations make your letter more offensive than useful. Maybe if you'd written a letter suggesting that people not bring someone clothing shopping who hasn't asked to be there, I could happily agree with you. Especially if you include their kids and bored girlfriends who hate shopping in your "do not bring" category. But some men DO like shopping with their wives occasionally. Mine likes to do this once or twice a year, always at his suggestion. He's a good shopping companion, since he's trying to help me find clothes he likes to see me in. He does know the difference between chartreuse or the lime green, and he can tell me which pair of shoes he likes best (not based on how they fit, obviously, but on the style). And I only ask, "Does this make me look fat?" if I want to hear the real answer. If I'm feeling sensitive about my figure, I'm no dummy...I don't ask that question.
At least I agree with one of your points: I would NEVER bring him into a dressing room. Everyone should leave that kind of show-and-tell for home.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Janie
Fri Apr 9, 2010 10:15 PM
One of the things I enjoy about my husband is the he will shop with me. No, it's not really his favorite activity. He does it for me. I appreciate that. No! I would NEVER bring him into a dressing room. He's married. He's not blind. Why would I want to him to go where he can see OTHER women undressed?
Comment: #2
Posted by: Irene Hollimon
Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:10 AM
LW1--I'm with the Annies. The bottom line is that regardless of the reasons, the cleaning isn't getting done and people are starting to notice. Document a few client complaints and simply deposit them in the proper channels. Nobody is going to retaliate against you for pointing out the obvious.

LW2--People are lazy and sedentary enough without having a hip-high stool located within arms reach to park their fat asses while at work. Not everyone in the workforce is elderly or infirm. A more realistic recommendation is to check into those new fangled gel insoles. They're like standing on an anti-fatigue mat no matter where you're at.

LW3--Did it occur to you that your step-children grieved the loss of their father and said goodbye years before he died? Maybe he was the world's biggest jerk; perhaps he abandoned them physically or emotionally; maybe he was never there for them. Think on those things before you generalize and place blame on children for not dropping everything to spend the final moments of a dying man whom they "lost" years before.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Chris
Thu Apr 11, 2013 5:08 AM
Re the young woman who wanted to sleep with her boyfriend on a camping trip with his parents. Years ago my then "boyfriend" (in his 50's) and myself, 40-something, visited his parents in Wisconsin. They were also very religious, and had about six foster kids. "Sam" (not his real name) slept in the 'boy's" dorm-type room, and I slept in the girls. Their house. Their rules. No problem.
Comment: #4
Posted by: mary clyde
Wed Jun 12, 2013 6:16 AM
Dear Ladies
In a recent column you accidentally indicated that both of you u must have slept through part of High School Biology.
"Grandmother" wasn't fibbing about being a universal donor, then she is not the respondent's biological grandmother. A type O mother will not have an AB daughter. (Also, an AB mother wil not have a type O daughter.) "R" has every right to look for the truth of this family mystery.
Unless things have changed since I took biology some sixty five years or so ago, you ladies "blew that one, big time."
Comment: #5
Posted by: dEAN L SINCLAIR
Mon Aug 26, 2013 2:15 PM
LW1: He is living in your house rent free. You get to set the rules. Make him shower or bathe twice a week like was suggested. He doesn't like it show him the door. And BTW, just being a veteran doesn't mean one is going to get VA assistance. Maybe he's gone down that road already.
LW2: I too am one who doesn't mind shopping with my wife. We don't go that often as she is not fond of shopping but she does request my assistance and when it comes to clothes she really does value my opinion. I don't get those questions like "does this make me fat?" Why ask it when there is no right answer? And...she does accompany me when I am shopping at the sporting goods store. It's called compromise.
Glad I found this online. Been reading this for many decades back in the Ann Landers days. Now that I can interact here...Will be adding g my $0.02 often! :)
Comment: #6
Posted by: Lancelot
Tue Apr 22, 2014 5:16 AM
Just a comment on the letter about unprofessional dress for women broadcasters. As she said we must boycott the offending network which I have already done. Writing the network is a must to let them know why you will no longer watch and how much damage it is doing to young women looking for role models.
Comment: #7
Posted by: Kandy Aker
Fri May 9, 2014 4:59 PM
Comment: #8
Posted by: Mimsey Borogove
Tue Aug 5, 2014 11:20 PM
One more possibility for "Holding My Breath" whose husband has halitosis-- A problem called tonsil stones which are very small "balls" of food/etc. caught in the folds of your throat and have a terrible odor. I suffer from them and have to gargle very deeply on both sides of my throat to dislodge them. It's very embarrassing to think I might have missed one. The dentist didn't tell me about them, but I discovered the problem at an ENT appointment when the doc removed a larger smelly tonsil stone.
Comment: #9
Posted by: can identify
Wed Apr 15, 2015 12:53 PM
LW1: What dose your novio or boyfrein say? Thats all that matters. This guy he fight for he country. Maybe you just dont like a man smell. The world dont smell like foo foo flowers. Deal with it.
LW2: Why you want to leave your husban at home? How can he tell you waht to bye and what you cant wear? Maybe you spend to much and you want to use all the ber cerveza or lotto money for your dress or something. Womans their slye. There evil. Dont fall for there tricks pepole. Theres always more to the storys.
Comment: #10
Posted by: JuanitaaDulces
Sun May 31, 2015 9:02 PM
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