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Two Boys, Mixed Signals and Hopelessly Confused Dear Annie: I am 13 and an avid reader of your column. I have been working at a summer program, and I ride a school bus there and back. Two young men ride the same bus. I have a crush on one of them (I'll call him "Liam"), but I happen to know he …Read more. Genital Herpes and Physical Intimacy Dear Annie: I am a 68-year-old woman who has been divorced for more than 30 years. I haven't been in an intimate relationship for the past 10. Last year, I discovered that I have genital herpes. The doctor said I may have had it for years before …Read more. Physical Abuse: False Charges or Different Perspectives? Dear Annie: When my daughter was 14, she falsely accused me of physical abuse. She is now 33 and brings up these false charges whenever she is having difficult issues in her own life. She blames me for all of her problems. Even worse, my sister …Read more. Yearning for Family in the Ozarks Dear Annie: Several months ago, my husband and I moved to the Ozarks after falling in love with the area. We left behind a lot of dear friends and the life we had known for 25 years, but we are quite happy here. The only sadness is my brother. He …Read more.
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Countdown To Safe Sex

Comment

Dear Annie: My younger brother, "Gary," is 27 years old and lives in a two-bedroom apartment. I recently found out from a mutual friend that he is living with "Debbie," a 17-year-old dropout. This girl quit high school, had a fight with her parents and showed up on Gary's doorstep asking to use his spare bedroom. He reluctantly agreed to let her stay temporarily. On the second night there, Debbie decided to sleep in Gary's bed, and you can guess what happened.

I love my brother, and he is the most considerate and straitlaced person I know, but he is very immature when it comes to the opposite sex. I was shocked by his bad judgment and asked what he possibly could have been thinking. Gary said he didn't know Debbie was underage until after the fact. He worried about what Debbie's parents might do. As it turns out, her parents were glad their daughter wasn't living on the streets.

Debbie will be 18 in four months, but isn't this still against the law? I can't believe her parents are so nonchalant about it. My parents live out of state and know nothing about it. Should I tell them? Should I express my concerns to Debbie's parents or just hope that Gary will come to his senses? — Disappointed Sister

Dear Sister: The age of consent varies by state, and even in states where the age is 18, there are variations on the severity of the punishment. But we agree that if this is illegal in your state, Gary could be in a world of trouble. Decide what you hope to accomplish by telling your parents or chastising Debbie's folks. Then urge Gary to help this almost-adult find a decent job and her own place. Soon.

Dear Annie: My husband is a chain cigar smoker. He refuses to acknowledge that the secondhand smoke is hazardous to my son and me, not to mention to his own health.

Somewhere along the way, he was convinced that cigars aren't as bad as cigarettes.

However, I think the secondhand smoke is heavier and therefore more dangerous to those around him. Any information you can provide on the dangers would be appreciated. — Frustrated Nonsmoker

Dear Frustrated: Insist that your husband smoke outside. According to the American Cancer Society, cigars give off more secondhand smoke than cigarettes because they contain more tobacco and often burn longer. One large cigar can contain as much tobacco as a pack of cigarettes. All tobacco smoke, regardless of the source, is known to cause cancer. Secondhand smoke from cigars contains toxins and carcinogens, just like cigarettes. And because the cigar wrapper is less porous, the tobacco doesn't burn as completely, and the result is a higher concentration of nitrogen oxides, ammonia, carbon monoxide and tar.

Regular cigar smokers are four to 10 times more likely to die from cancers of the lung, lip, oral cavity, esophagus and larynx than nonsmokers. For those who inhale, cigar smoke appears to be linked to death from cancer of the pancreas and bladder, and also increases the risk of heart and lung diseases.

Dear Annie: I loved that you told "Head in the Clouds" to go ahead and live in Ireland after college graduation. She can invite discouraging family members to visit, and maybe they will understand. I, too, had a passionate desire to travel, and although I managed to see most of the U.S. and Canada, I didn't go abroad until I was 47. Europe enriched my life so much, and my only regret is not having gone sooner. The history, the languages, the architecture, the art, the people, even the food added immeasurably to my life and will enrich hers. It helped me understand where I came from, and I looked at America with new eyes each time I returned. — Salem, Ore.

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. 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.

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Comments

116 Comments | Post Comment
LW1: WOW! So Debbie is this teenage seductress and your brother is blameless?

No, sister. Your brother is no victim, he is at the very least ignorant and at the worst a borderline pedophile. This is not a case of an 18 year old boy having sex with his 17 year old girlfriend, this is a MAN taking advantage of a girl who is 10 years younger than him in a position where she is probably doing all she can do to just stay safe! And YOU want to paint her out to be bad? Her parents don't care because they are bad parents. She ran away because they are bad parents.

Your first course of action should be to help this girl get out of the apartment. Can't you help find her another home? Forget that she is sleeping with your brother, shouldn't you care that a young girl is in essence homeless? Help the girl and stop blaming her! Your brother is a big boy and should know right from wrong by this point. Shame on YOU for blaming a teenager for his bad judgement.
Comment: #1
Posted by: nanchan
Wed Jul 4, 2012 9:36 PM
oh for goodness sake sleeping with a 17 yr old doesn't make anyone a borderline pedophile! 13,14,15? Maybe but 17? Please.

LW1 you say Gary is immature about the opposite sex, but you're the one freaking out like Chicken Little and talking about telling Mommy and Daddy. Gary is 27, not 47, and the girl is 17, not 7. You need to butt out and leave things alone. What they're doing is very likely legal even if it's not acceptable to your standards. A quick call to your police department to clarify the age issue is all that is necessary, if even that. I think you need a hobby.

If you want to actually help, get this girl to planned parenthood and on some reliable birth control hat doesn't involve her remembering to take pills daily. Because if she's as untoward as you pretend she is, I guarantee that'll be the next issue...
Comment: #2
Posted by: wkh
Wed Jul 4, 2012 9:59 PM
* * * * PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT * * * *

LW3 refers to the first letter on 14 May 2012, and was also discussed on 24 June 2012.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Miss Pasko
Wed Jul 4, 2012 10:31 PM
LW1 -
Regardless of the legal and moral aspects of Gary having sex with a minor, there are a few things that have to be considered here:
1. Gary didn't force himself upon her, he didnt even try to seduce her, it was the other way around.
2. It's entirely possible he didn't know she was underage.
3. The girl doesn't love Gary. And yet she was willing to throw herself at him, even though he wasn't exacting a payment in kind;
4. The parents have no intention of turning him in since they are grateful their daughter is not living in the street, a fate no doubt much worse;

This being stated, the girl STILL is a minor, and it doesn't have to be the parents filing in a complaint for her to end up under the CPS' tutelage and him in jail with a sex offender brand for the rest of his life. Frankly, it would be best that he return the girl to her parents and let the three of them sort it out by themselves, or help her find a job and a place of her own. Considering that the parents almost look like they're relieved to be rid of her and that she'll be of age soon anyway, I suggest the latter.

No, don't tell your parents. Apart from outlining the specifics of this situation and make clear to him the risks he is taking... there isn't much you can do, if he would rather take the risk of keeping his sweet young thing in his bed. And I don't think speaking to Debbie's parents is going to help either - not only do they seem either indifferent or overwhelmed but, frankly, although I understand your concern, this is not for you to fix. Getting involved directly is only going to be perceived as being a busybody.

LW2 -
Many cigar smokers don't inhale, that's probably where he got the idea that cigars are safer than cigarettes. Tobacco chewers live with the same fantasy, as if inhaling was the only factor in getting cancer. Are both of them ever surprised when they develop cancers of the mouth, tongue, throat, etc.

You can get a plethora of information on the Net, and I'm sure the Cancer Society will be only too glad to supply you with plenty of literature. Show it all to him, you have nothing to lose, but I doubt very much it'll be useful to anything except making you even more scared. His mind is made up, and he doesn't care anyway.

Comment: #4
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Wed Jul 4, 2012 10:34 PM
LW1 - for God's sake, keep your mouth shut. Your trying to "help" and get more and more people involved (your parents and who knows who else) could be what lands your brother in jail, if your state is one of the ones with backward laws. If the laws really are being violated in your state, clarify for him that he needs to help the girl find a better place to live. But stop freaking out about it and use your head. As Lise and wkh pointed out, we are not talking about an 11 year old girl here! The age of consent is between 16 and 18 in all U.S. states. It would be 16 in all states if common sense prevailed.

Nanchan, I've agreed with some of your postings, but you're overreacting here. It's entirely possible and likely that the 17 year old girl DID seduce the LW's sexually naive older brother as described. If you think that doesn't happen -- ha, ha. I don't know about you, but I had sex with several adult men when I was a teenager (I became sexually active when I was 16). Fortunately my parents had coached me in safe sex. And before you go into a panic and start writing grim feminist tomes about what a victim I was, and what horrible pedophiles the guys were: no law was broken because I grew up in Washington state where it's recognized that a 16 year old is perfectly capable of making that choice. BTW my husband is ten years older than me. That doesn't make him a monster, or me a fool, either.

Comment: #5
Posted by: sarah morrow
Thu Jul 5, 2012 1:05 AM
LW1 - Gary is NOT a borderline pedophile by any definition of the term. If what he says is true, he is a normal man seduced by a younger woman whom he thought to be an adult, and pedophiles are NOT attracted by grown women, no matter HOW much younger they are. They are attracted to CHILDREN who LOOK like children. Whatever her reasons were for crawling into bed with Gary, he didn't initiate the contact. in most states, Debbie would be above the age of consent, so Gary should check with the authorities there to make certain of the age in his particular state. If Debbie IS under age, he should refrain from any further sexual contact with her until she is considered an "adult". In any event, the LW should keep her nose out of it and not broadcast her brother's indiscretion to anyone else. What on earth would she gain by telling her parents about it? It's none of her business and none of their parents' business. Discussing it with Debbie's parents is also out of line and none of the LW's business. Her brother is old enough to handle his own affairs (no pun intended) and the LW should get a life and live it, NOT insinuate herself into her brother's life OR Debbie's. All that will do is cause trouble for everyone involved.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Kitty
Thu Jul 5, 2012 2:43 AM
LW1 - The age of consent varies state to state. Some states are 18, some are 17 and some are even 16. Your brother could be breaking the law and he could not be. You call your brother immature and yet you want to run to Mommy and Daddy and tattle on him. You realize the more people you tell, the more likely he is to wind up in jail if he's breaking the law? I would advise your brother to not touch her again until she's 18 but I highly doubt he will listen. Hopefully he's smart enough to keep it covered so she doesn't wind up pregnant. But the bottom line is this - your brother is old enough to handle his own problems. Let him deal with it.

LW2 - Something tells me no matter how much info you give your husband about second hand smoke and how cigars are not as bad as cigarettes, he isn't going to believe. I hope you can get him to smoke outside.
Comment: #7
Posted by: Michelle
Thu Jul 5, 2012 3:57 AM
LW1, LOL, there's a whole lot that doesn't make sense with this letter. How does your brother even KNOW this girl? Most 27-year-olds are not BFF with high school students, whether they've dropped out of school or not. For her to decide to leave home and, out of all the other people she could possibly know (other relatives, girlfriends, a boyfriend, parents of her former high school friends, a shelter) she picks HIS place as the place to take her in? And he, oh so "reluctantly", lets her move in? Sorry, but most people don't expect someone who is supposedly almost a complete stranger to let them move in, and most people don't allow an almost complete stranger who shows up on their doorstep free access to their home. Add to that the girl's parents are fine with it, and I would say your brother and this girl have known each other a lot better, longer and more intimately than he's let on. And that means it's complete baloney that he didn't know she was a minor until after the fact. If you know someone well enough that you would let them move into your home, then you're known someone long enough that you would have picked up pretty strong HINTS that she's underage by the things she talks about, is allowed to do and just maybe the fact that she showed up because she had a fight with her mommy and daddy! Duh! But also, who the heck is the "mutual friend" with whom your brother shares so many intimate details of his life-who then blabs it all to you? Weird or what!

And LW1, unless your husband took up smoking cigarettes and then cigars just recently, after you were married and produced a son, the person who is responsbile for exposing yourself and your child to health risks is YOU. Why did your bring your son into a relationship where he would be exposed to these health risks? Why did you marry into it, and now whine for it to change? If you don't want to be exposed to these health risks, then get your kid and move out. Your husband is addicted and it's YOUR responsibility to protect your child. Once you're out, if your husband does finally decide to quit and you haven't divorced him yet, you can move back in.
Comment: #8
Posted by: AlienNation
Thu Jul 5, 2012 4:10 AM
LW1: A quick trip through Google-land shows that only 12 out of the 50 states have "age of consent" as old as 18. In 30 states its 16 and in 9 states its 17, so there's a 76% chance that your brother isn't breaking the law.

Now, just because its legal doesn't mean its ethical or wise, but I think all you can do is pull your brother aside and privately expressing your concerns to him -- in a very neutral fashion, too. If you get hysterical with him he's likely to just ignore you and maybe even stubbornly continue the relationship just to show you up.

As for AlienNation's question about how you found out and who this mutual friend is, I'm imagining a scenario where LW is just barely older than the brother, and that they are both still in graduate school, or just out of it, or went to college after a break. 17-year-old girl may also have slightly older friends who are at the same college. Its not impossible for 17 and 27 year olds to be in the same extended group of friends that way. When I was a senior in high school my closest friends were freshmen and sophomores in college, and I often attended events and parties at their campuses, even though I was only 17 at the time. Mix in a few graduate students at the same events and presto, you have a 17 year-old socializing with a 27-year old.

Now, of course, this letter could simply be a fabrication, too -- we've seen a few of those, I think, in the past.
Still and all, the LW should essentially mind her own business, aside from perhaps one private conversation with her brother to express her concerns, and then let him make his own decisions. From the details expressed, the girl is okay with this, her parents are okay with this, and the brother is obviously okay with this, so making waves or adding to the melodrama seems unwise and unnecessary.
Comment: #9
Posted by: Mike H
Thu Jul 5, 2012 4:29 AM
Re: LW2, indeed, do what you have to in order to get your husband to stop smoking cigars inside the house. Health information may help, but he sounds pretty set in his ways, so I think you're going to have to take a stand and increase the pressure on him in a variety of ways. If simple discussion hasn't worked, then you need to do more than just discuss the issue. Refuse to sleep with him, move him into a second bedroom or make him sleep on the couch, refuse to cook for him, refuse to do laundry... even, as a last resort, threaten to move you and your son out to your parents house. And then follow through if he still balks.

I'm sure there are a dozen other things you could do, specific to your household and your relationship, that could similarly increase pressure on him.

He's not going to take this seriously until you get serious about it, unfortunately.
Comment: #10
Posted by: Mike H
Thu Jul 5, 2012 4:34 AM
Sometimes this place is frustrating.

Instead of reading my post and seeing the clear intent (get the girl some help!) several of you glob on to two words and completely blow it out of proportion.

The definition of pedophile is not important. Neither is the age of consent. What IS important is that this is a young woman who is clearly calling out for help. MOST 17 year olds are not equiped to be self sufficient and yet her parents are glad she's out of their hair and don't even care she's living with a man who is ten years older. Even in the best of situations (they are just friends), the temptations are there for more to happen are there. My parents would have been dragging my butt home before I even finished the sentence, not glad that I wasn't on the street!

As for whom seduced whom or what the sitatuion is (where the HECK did someone come up with the idea of grad schools) or how these two met (that also caught my attention though)..... also not important. What is important is that the brother IS taking advantage of a very young woman by sleeping with her during a difficult time in her life. The LW should worry less about who she is going to tell and more about helping this girl get into a safe situation and away from her brother.

Comment: #11
Posted by: nanchan
Thu Jul 5, 2012 5:27 AM
LW1--"Should I tell them? Should I express my concerns to Debbie's parents or just hope that Gary will come to his senses?" Here's a suggestion Sis...butt out! None of what's happening at your brother's apartment is your business! Frankly I think you like the sound of your own holier than thou righteous indignation. I get that you don't like 'Debbie'; maybe you think she's trouble or a loser. Maybe you're right but you know what? Your brother is a grown man. While it's not the smartest idea to shack up with a teenager whose a decade younger, my guess is that "little Gary" is doing the thinking for "big Gary" if you catch my drift. Also, if Gary is as straight-laced as you say, then I'm sure he's loving the thrill and excitement Debbie has brought into his life. Let's put things into perspective shall we? Most 17 year old girls know what they're doing. Debbie in particular seems to know how to work her feminine wiles to get what she wants - in this case free room and board. Sleeping with a 17 year old, regardless of what the laws might say in your State, does not, by shear common sense, constitute rape or child molestation. Your brother isn't taking advantage of Debbie; it's the other way around. Regardless, it's none of your concern. Why don't you go back to watching the Kardashians or updating your FaceBook page.

LW2--I agree with the Annies. Tell your husband that there is to be no more smoking in the house (or the car for that matter.) If he refuses to take his filthy cigars outside, then feel free to douse him with a tall glass of water each and every time he lights one up. Inform your husband in no uncertain terms that if you see him smoking you will automatically assume he's on fire and respond accordingly.
Comment: #12
Posted by: Chris
Thu Jul 5, 2012 5:29 AM
I guess all I can add to the soap opera drama of LW1 is that no mater what happened here, who seduced who, it looks like Debbie's parents are obviously very, well, indifferent (as Lise suggests).

A few observations, though:
• I agree that while he might otherwise say no in a situation like this, I'm sure he didn't object once she did come on to him. (Wonder if she had a sleepless night the first night she stayed at Gary's ... and not because of her failed relationship with her parents, if you catch the drift.)
• The term "borderline pedophile" does not fit here. (Remember, it fits only if he were to pursue a sexual relationship with, say, a 10-year-old.)

I will agree that the laws vary from state to state, and that all it may take is a pregnancy test – if it comes to that; thankfully, there appears to be no indication of that by the letter – to get Gary into a world of trouble depending on the laws of his state.
Comment: #13
Posted by: Bobaloo
Thu Jul 5, 2012 6:31 AM
I guess all I can add to the soap opera drama of LW1 is that no mater what happened here, who seduced who, it looks like Debbie's parents are obviously very, well, indifferent (as Lise suggests).

A few observations, though:
• I agree that while he might otherwise say no in a situation like this, I'm sure he didn't object once she did come on to him. (Wonder if she had a sleepless night the first night she stayed at Gary's ... and not because of her failed relationship with her parents, if you catch the drift.)
• The term "borderline pedophile" does not fit here. (Remember, it fits only if he were to pursue a sexual relationship with, say, a 10-year-old.)

I will agree that the laws vary from state to state, and that all it may take is a pregnancy test – if it comes to that; thankfully, there appears to be no indication of that by the letter – to get Gary into a world of trouble depending on the laws of his state.
Comment: #14
Posted by: Bobaloo
Thu Jul 5, 2012 6:31 AM
LW1 -

Nanchan, don't get frustrated at us! "Pedophile" is a pretty volatile term with VERY serious implications. You can't throw it around willy-nilly and expect people not to react when we're talking about a 17-27 encounter.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that Gary was not as reluctant about it all as he told LW1. I don't think he went out looking for teenage action, but I don't think she is an ultimate seductress. She made herself available, he went with it. I am really wondering how he knows her. Did she just randomly show up at a stranger's door?!

That said, you should butt out. Tell Gary to make sure she is legal, and to be safe. He's a grown man, and she is almost an adult. Beyond that, there is nothing else you can do.

I also became sexually active in my teenage years and yes, I slept with a couple adult men. It was fine. They weren't pedophiles.
Comment: #15
Posted by: Zoe
Thu Jul 5, 2012 6:37 AM
@Nanchan: Don't use the word 'pedophile' to describe someone who is not a pedophile, and there won't be a problem with misinterpreting what you say. A 17-year-old is a borderline adult at the end of adolescence, not a borderline child with a child's mentality and physique. And any 17-year-old who isn't equipped to be self-sufficient has lousy parents who apparently did nothing to prepare their child to actually grow up. Unfortunately it seems to be a popular trend among parents these days to make sure their children stay helpless infants until they hit 30.
Comment: #16
Posted by: lilypants
Thu Jul 5, 2012 6:39 AM
nanchan, the definition of "pedophile" most certainly DOES matter - that's why people homed in on those two words. Calling anyone a pedophile - borderline or not - is irresponsible unless you know for a fact that's what he is. A 27 year old man who has sex with a willing (and apparently aggressive) 17 year old is NOT a pedophile, he's just a dope. And yes, being 17 makes her by definition the "victim" here, but I'm willing to guess you don't know many 17 year old girls who fight with their parents and move out. I have and there's plenty of blame to go around. Agreed that the parents should never "give up" that early, but I've seen cases where it's understandable. In this case, naive brother had better hope that 1. she doesn't get pregnant and 2. she doesn't decide to cry "rape".
Comment: #17
Posted by: Maggie Lawrence
Thu Jul 5, 2012 6:44 AM
@ lilypants

"Unfortunately it seems to be a popular trend among parents these days to make sure their children stay helpless infants until they hit 30."

...and then they simply turn into helpless adults who expect the rest of the world to pick up enabling and coddling them where their copter parents left off.
Comment: #18
Posted by: Chris
Thu Jul 5, 2012 6:50 AM
Re LW#1------If you want to check out the law in your state as to what age is considered a minor, and make your brother aware of it, fine, but then you really should butt out. Tattling to his parents? Really?
.
And I'm pretty sure that if your brother had the problem of a 17-year-old coming into his bedroom at night and hopping into bed with him, he was NOT physically overpowered and forced to have sex with her. No, his body (or one part of it) decided that all on its own.
.
He is an adult. He can live with the consequences of what he chooses to do sexually. You are not his conscience or his mommy or his monitor.
---------------------------
Re #2-------Shades of yesterday's column----------is there absolutely no other place to go other than an advice column to research the dangers of cigar smoking? Could this person not be pointed in the correct direction so there would be space for an actual question which might be appropriate for an advice columnist?
.
(Regarding that, re yesterday's comments--------thank you for agreeing with me, Linda (#24). I was beginning to think I was the only 'grouch', nice to know I have at least one comrade.
.
And JackS (#27)-------yes, I know there are actual places to get the info I was talking about. That was the point of what I said (I was trying for sarcasm there, maybe I didn't try hard enough???)
Comment: #19
Posted by: jennylee
Thu Jul 5, 2012 6:59 AM
LW1: You need to stay out of it. Your brother (no matter how naive) does not live with you, and the young woman's parents seem to be aware of the situation, as their relief that she's not living out on the streets illustrates. This is not your affair, and any consequences that arise from your brother's actions are his to bear. And what point would be proved by telling your out-of-state parents? You've said your peace to your brother. Now step back, stay away, and leave the situation alone.
Comment: #20
Posted by: Tracey
Thu Jul 5, 2012 7:04 AM
Re: nanchan
If the definition of pedophilia and the age of consent were so unimportant to you, you wouldn't have spent an entire paragraph ranting about what a monster he is before finally getting to the allegedly main point, getting the girl help.

Get your priorities in order when you write, if you want people to put them in the proper order when they read you. And don't misuse a word as loaded as "pedophile" if you don't want to be called upon it.

And, BTW, I was already earning a living at 17 and engaged to be married. Methinks I was pretty well equipped to take my own decisions, and I'm hardly exceptional.

Comment: #21
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Thu Jul 5, 2012 7:11 AM
@Chris
My guess is that "little Gary" is doing the thinking for "big Gary" if you catch my drift. LOL!

Comment: #22
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Thu Jul 5, 2012 7:13 AM
Sorry - forgot the quotations marks.
Comment: #23
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Thu Jul 5, 2012 7:15 AM
LW1 - Not much I can add to what others have said, and I agree with MYOB. My main concern with the brother is whether he's using protection, especially if he's as naive as Sis says he is. Nothing like STDs or pregnancy to wake him up to reality; hope it doesn't come to that.
LW2 - Tobacco is a filthy habit and a filthy addiction. Addicts tend to be unbelievably self-centered, so it's up to you to protect yourself, your home, and your family. Or look forward to a lifetime of breathing in his crud.
LW3 - Reading your letter made me so grateful that I traveled so much when I was younger. I've been to over 25 countries in Europe and the Americas. I still travel, but not as much now that I'm aging - it's usually easier when you're younger, in good health, and more willing to deal with the inconveniences of long-distance travel (which seem worse now than 20+ years ago). I have great memories and mementos from those countries, and encourage anyone who can to go NOW, if you really want to and it's at all possible.
Comment: #24
Posted by: Linda
Thu Jul 5, 2012 7:24 AM
@ Chris and Lise-------
Please be careful about using the phrase "little Gary"------------you will give the poor man a complex. I doubt that many men want to have the word 'little' used about them, or specific parts of them, in this context.

(Next thing you know he'll be so traumatized he won't be ABLE to be having sex with a 17-year-old, or with anyone. Or maybe that is the point??????? If so, good idea!!!!! LOL)
Comment: #25
Posted by: jennylee
Thu Jul 5, 2012 7:54 AM
@ jennylee

Hahaha! You are correct, I should have been more careful! LOL!
Comment: #26
Posted by: Chris
Thu Jul 5, 2012 8:10 AM
Re: nanchan17
Quit spewing ignorance. My husband and I got together when I was 17 and he was 31. He's no sicko and I loathe judgmental morons who imply that such an age difference must mean someone's a pedo. We're going on 15 years together and happily married. He certainly did not take advantage of me and in fact, saved me.
Comment: #27
Posted by: Miss Sashay
Thu Jul 5, 2012 8:11 AM
I sure hope LW1's brother knows about birth control.

Guys who hook up with women “with issues” can pay for it for years! Case in point: a friend who married when she got pregnant and first put up with a disastrous marriage while his wife slept around. Now that they are divorced she still sleeps around but brings her hook-ups home to her kids and uses drugs in front of them. Her main “boyfriend” verbally abuses her kids, yelling at them, calling them stupid f*ckh*les and so on, but it doesn't bother her. My friend pays child support and, in this economy, is barely making ends meet. He still owes thousands to lawyers from his last go-round in court. His heart bleeds for his two children but, besides the weekends when they are with him, there's nothing he can do.
Comment: #28
Posted by: Cyn
Thu Jul 5, 2012 8:26 AM
Re: jennylee
Hee hee!

Comment: #29
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Thu Jul 5, 2012 8:37 AM
Most of what I have to say about LW1 has already been said, but when has that ever stopped me...

* on parents not turning him in -- just want to point out that just because the girl's parents appear to be grateful that their daughter isn't on the streets doesn't mean they won't eventually have a change of heart and turn Gary in (depending on consent laws in that state). Still, this may not be an issue, either because of the law in that state or because the parents don't change their minds. I just wouldn't want to be banking on that, as it doesn't sound like those parents are playing with a full deck.

* on 17-year-olds as seductresses... it is certainly possible that the sex was entirely the 17-year-old's idea (indeed, I can well imagine her believing that is the best way to keep Gary interested and happy to support her). But, as others have pointed out, who seduced whom is completely beside the point. Even if she seduced him, if the age of consent is older than 17, he's screwed (no pun intended). And as others have pointed out, it's HIGHLY UNLIKELY that she forced herself upon him.

* There's clearly a LOT missing from this letter -- there's no way "Debbie" just picked a random place to knock on the door, and it just happened to be "Gary." These two knew each other before this, and how they knew each other and how long are two extremely key points of the story that has been left out. Could be the Annies' overzealous editors, or it could be the LW doesn't know -- or knows that those two points might make her brother look worse and therefore has kept that bit to herself.

Any way you slice it, LW needs to butt out of her brother's business.

@nanchan -- While I do agree that it would be nice if the LW were more concerned about a 17-year-old who clearly needs help, I don't think anyone should be all that surprised that she is more concerned for her brother's wellbeing than some random teenager, particularly if she barely knows said teenager. As others have noted, people glommed onto the "borderline pedophile" bit because it was over the top. God knows I've been known to exaggerate for effect, but given the level of vituperation that is regularly and almost-universally heaped upon pedophiles, we should be awfully darn careful about painting someone with that brush. As the saying goes, "them's fightin' words."
Comment: #30
Posted by: Lisa
Thu Jul 5, 2012 8:49 AM
Most of what I have to say about LW1 has already been said, but when has that ever stopped me...

* on parents not turning him in -- just want to point out that just because the girl's parents appear to be grateful that their daughter isn't on the streets doesn't mean they won't eventually have a change of heart and turn Gary in (depending on consent laws in that state). Still, this may not be an issue, either because of the law in that state or because the parents don't change their minds. I just wouldn't want to be banking on that, as it doesn't sound like those parents are playing with a full deck.

* on 17-year-olds as seductresses... it is certainly possible that the sex was entirely the 17-year-old's idea (indeed, I can well imagine her believing that is the best way to keep Gary interested and happy to support her). But, as others have pointed out, who seduced whom is completely beside the point. Even if she seduced him, if the age of consent is older than 17, he's screwed (no pun intended). And as others have pointed out, it's HIGHLY UNLIKELY that she forced herself upon him.

* There's clearly a LOT missing from this letter -- there's no way "Debbie" just picked a random place to knock on the door, and it just happened to be "Gary." These two knew each other before this, and how they knew each other and how long are two extremely key points of the story that has been left out. Could be the Annies' overzealous editors, or it could be the LW doesn't know -- or knows that those two points might make her brother look worse and therefore has kept that bit to herself.

Any way you slice it, LW needs to butt out of her brother's business.

@nanchan -- While I do agree that it would be nice if the LW were more concerned about a 17-year-old who clearly needs help, I don't think anyone should be all that surprised that she is more concerned for her brother's wellbeing than some random teenager, particularly if she barely knows said teenager. As others have noted, people glommed onto the "borderline pedophile" bit because it was over the top. God knows I've been known to exaggerate for effect, but given the level of vituperation that is regularly and almost-universally heaped upon pedophiles, we should be awfully darn careful about painting someone with that brush. As the saying goes, "them's fightin' words."
Comment: #31
Posted by: Lisa
Thu Jul 5, 2012 8:49 AM
@Michelle (#7) -- Sadly, I believe you are absolutely right. She could have 100 oncologists come to her house to do a whole dog-and-pony show about the health risks related to cigars, and somehow I bet the guy would STILL not believe them.

@Mike H -- and sadly, you are also right that unless she's willing to get tough on this, he's not changing his ways. This is a prime example of where an ultimatum should be put to good use -- and a prime example of why it won't work unless she is willing to really mean it.

@Lise -- and you, too, are correct about most cigar smokers thinking it's OK because most cigar smokers don't inhale. Of course, it should occur to them that if THEY'RE not willing to inhale, that should give them pause about making everyone around them inhale that crap! The other reason so many cigar smokers think it's "OK" is because there are lot of people out there who only smoke cigars very occasionally (birth of a child -- and how ironic is that, when you think about it? -- and other celebrations). They figure, "I only smoke a cigar once in a blue moon..." There are plenty of cigar smokers out there who are every bit as hooked as most cigarette smokers are, of course, but for many, it really isn't a habit, so they figure "where's the harm?"
Comment: #32
Posted by: Lisa
Thu Jul 5, 2012 8:57 AM
Re: AlienNation (from yesterday)

I find everything worthy of sarcasm, don't worry about it :P
Comment: #33
Posted by: Zoe
Thu Jul 5, 2012 9:01 AM
Regarding a 17-year old girl and how mature/immature she may or may not be -- even within the last 100-200 years women who were younger than 17 were getting married and starting families of their own. It's only a fairly "recent" development, culturally, that we expect women to be older than teenagers when they get married. In fact, a marriage between a 27-year old man and a 16 or 17 year old woman would not have been given a second thought in the 1800s or even early 1900s.

So, while there may actually be advantages to a prolonged adolescence, on the flip side we shouldn't automatically assume that a 17-year old who initiates a sexual encounter with an older man is automatically troubled or disturbed, either.
Comment: #34
Posted by: Mike H
Thu Jul 5, 2012 9:07 AM
@Lisa, #32, exactly -- from her letter its pretty clear she's already tried the reasonable discussion route, which is usually where I prefer to start problem-solving. Since that got her nowhere, she either has to give up (which, given the health risks for her and her son, I do NOT recommend), or she needs to get tough, which won't be easy. And if she doesn't follow through, he'll never believe she's serious about this or respect her side of the issue.

Frankly, if the best she can do is get him to smoke outside rather than inside, that's at least enough of a compromise to help her concerns about her own health and her son's even if it doesn't help the husband's health. And smoking only outside the house rather than in is a rather small concession to make, so if he won't even go that far, she shouldn't hesitate to go for the nuclear option, as far as I'm concerned!
Comment: #35
Posted by: Mike H
Thu Jul 5, 2012 9:13 AM
Re: nanchan


Nan, you say the definition of pedophile is not important. If you really feel that way then please stop using the word carelessly. The definition certainly has a legal meaning. A conviction of being a pedophile can put someone in jail for years and result in a stigma that follows him or her the rest of his or her life. The word refers to something ghastly (an adult sexually preying on an underage CHILD, not a 17 year old young woman), and is intended to raise hackles.


People tend to use it carelessly and frankly stupidly. I've heard it used in these BTL comments to describe a 30 year old who slept with an 20 year old. The way you're using it is similarly ridiculous. It's also a word guaranteed to generate an emotional response, which is why people use it to try to generate horror and sympathy in readers in these comments, especially when their logic has a week foundation, as I'm afraid yours does here.


Re: your notion that the brother is taking advantage of the girl by sleeping with her, I would say it's highly questionable. He could be, but who's to say? He has given her a roof over her head. If your big concern, as it seems to be, is the age difference, I'm glad you're not making the laws in this country. Were the men I slept with when I was 16, and 17 taking advantage of me? No. I was experimenting sexually and knew what I was doing. You don't know the parties involved, and your argument is a little silly frankly. Of course I agree that the young woman should be encouraged to find a place of her own. But to turn that into an attack and name calling against the somewhat befuddled man who's given her a roof over her head while she sorts it out, is reminiscent of the worst kind of feminism (a rather balmy distortion of the feminism I grew up fighting for), which regards women as helpless little victims.
Comment: #36
Posted by: sarah morrow
Thu Jul 5, 2012 9:19 AM
In rebuttal:
First of all, to the posters who have husbands/SOs ten years plus then them, MY SO is also ten years older than me. I met him first when I was 23 and he was 33. At that time, he did not want to be in a relationship with me, in his words "I knew you weren't ready, even though I was very attracted to you, and I wanted you to have some more life as a single woman before settling down."

He was right, even though at 23 I was technically an adult and I definately wanted him to "save" me at that time. The age difference at 17 and 27 is MUCH different than the age difference at 30 and 40. Ten years at 17 IS a significant age difference and as the older person, the LW's brother SHOULD have excersized good judgement and not been seduced at all.

In my situation, my SO and I got back together after life had taught us we need to save ourselves. Most of you know about my situation iwith my husband, I had thought he was IT when I married him and yes, he did "save" me there for awhile. I had fallen into that Cinderella Meets Prince pit and later found out that "saviours" often become "controllers". My SO now is not my savior, he's my PARTNER. That couldn't have happened with him when I was younger. He truthfully is the best thing in my life NOW, but had we married when I wanted to (when I was in my 20s) we probably we have ended up divorced and hating each other.

To the poster with the husband who was 31 to her 17. Congratulations on your marriage and success.

WRT: borderline pedophile comment

MANY other posters have used that term here before. It's interesting that this still is being beaten like a dead horse instead of people reading the intent of BOTH posts of mine which is it should be more about trying to help the girl (who is still a child, not at age of adulthood). Thank you Lisa, for addressing that issue. I can understand that the LW wouldn't much care about someone she doesn't really know. however, if it was MY brother pulling that crap, I would have the girl out of the house anyways. I would take her out to lunch and ask her what her plans are and try to get her in touch with social agencies or churches that could help her find a place to stay either on her own or in a proper group environment. There are other options out there for her: she doesn't have to be living with some guy and sleeping with him in exchange for a place to live (which is what it sounds like to me: and he's stupid enough to fall for this crap). Doesn't she have other GIRL friends? What about a relative? A teacher she could ask for help? Social services are there for a REASON. If her parents are abusive or just bad parents, there are places out there to help her. And by helping get HER out of the house, I would be helping my BROTHER too.

Can we stop beating up on the borderline pedophile term please? Just substitute creepy old loser guy.
Comment: #37
Posted by: nanchan
Thu Jul 5, 2012 9:31 AM
Re: nanchan
YOU may think that the definitions of words aren't important, but you're WRONG.
Use the CORRECT terms or admit you're using language incorrectly to elicit a more emotional response.
Or just STFU and take it when you're called on your mistakes.

Or, are you just too stupid to learn the correct terms and definitions?
Comment: #38
Posted by: moon
Thu Jul 5, 2012 9:41 AM
Just a general comment: Countdown to Safe Sex...huh? I think that's just weird.. anyway ..

LW1 - You are not her parents and you've indicated that they know so leave that one alone. You are not your brother's keeper and he's an adult (he's also not as immature as you think most likely) so leave that one alone too. That just about covers it except for you and your own business so start minding it.

LW2 - Yes, insist that he smoke outside and when that doesn't work since he's kind of an ignorant clod write back and see what ladies have for Plan B.

Comment: #39
Posted by: Rick
Thu Jul 5, 2012 9:45 AM
Re: nanchan

Why don't you try:

"Sorry, I used the term incorrectly; it was just the first term that came to mind when I was thinking of him as a creepy old loser guy."
Comment: #40
Posted by: Zoe
Thu Jul 5, 2012 10:00 AM
LW1 says "I was shocked by his bad judgment and asked what he possibly could have been thinking. Gary said he didn't know Debbie was underage until after the fact.He worried about what Debbie's parents might do. " To me that sounds like it's possible that they only had sex that one time, or at least only until he found out she was underage.

Also, there is certainly no indication whatsoever that she traded sex for a place to stay. Not even the LW, for all her concern, says that. I'm not sure why so many poster are going there, unless they think something was edited out. Which of course we know never happens, right?

Like Lisa said, how they met and why she chose to go to his place are extremely important. If the LW included that information and it was edited out, the Annie's need new editors. But I guess we already knew that, didn't we?

Total speculation here, but maybe Gary is a customer where Debbie had a part-time job and they became friendly. Or he works at store that she frequents. Maybe she didn't want to go to a friend's house so that her parents could find her - at the time she might not have known that her parents wouldn't force her to come home. So perhaps Gary's was the only place she could think of to go.

Also, maybe she wasn't crying out for help by seducing Gary. Maybe she was just plain horny. It happens at that age, you know - to girls as well as guys. And how many 27 year old guys do you think are going to turn down what the think is a young but legal age girl? And if she was a senior in high school, I think it's understandable if he thought she was 18.

Yeah, I know I repeated the word maybe many times. But that is because I wanted to make it clear that this is all speculation.
Comment: #41
Posted by: C Meier
Thu Jul 5, 2012 10:36 AM
It may not be statutory rape, but wouldn't it still be considered contributing to the delinquency of a minor? And that's no small problem... I have no trouble believing that Debbie was the sexual aggressor, but that doesn't change a thing. If she's under age and a runaway, letting her live there (whether he sleeps with her or not) could certainly be a crime.
Nanchan has a good point that Debbie is a young girl in trouble, and that what she needs is help, not judgement or being taken advantage of sexually.
Comment: #42
Posted by: Sweeby
Thu Jul 5, 2012 10:40 AM
Re: moon

Bless your heart. You must be having a bad day. I wish you all the peace and happiness in the world.
Comment: #43
Posted by: nanchan
Thu Jul 5, 2012 10:47 AM
Quite a few comments are acting like the girl is a teenage whore looking for a sugar daddy. The only word we have of who seduced whom is the brother's excuse for what happened. What if this girl, and I also would like to know how he knows her, was being sexually abused by her father and the mother didn't care (been there, done that), so she wanted to escape anyway she could? What if the brother is not quite as "innocent" as sissy makes him out to be? What if the girl thought it might be a safe place to be for a few nights, and then it was made obvious to her, put out or get out? Yes, there are teenagers girls who are sexually active on their own, but how about we do not turn her into Lolita until the real facts come out.
Comment: #44
Posted by: Sarah
Thu Jul 5, 2012 11:02 AM
Sweeby-
"contributing to the delinquency of a minor" is involving them in an illegal activity, giving them alcohol, etc. If they live in a state where the age of consent if 17 or under, there is no illegal activity. And she's wouldn't be considered a runaway anymore if her parents know where she is and are OK with it.
Comment: #45
Posted by: C Meier
Thu Jul 5, 2012 11:03 AM
Holy Cow! I thought that *I" was speculating, but Sarah took speculating to a whole new level!
Comment: #46
Posted by: C Meier
Thu Jul 5, 2012 11:10 AM
@Sweeby, I doubt that it would be "contributing to the delinquency of a minor" if the state's "age of consent laws" don't prevent it -- unless the brother was driving across state lines in order to specifically bring her back to his home for sexual purposes, then there's a *chance* what your saying might fall under federal statutes.

But given that the girl's parents know and approve, and that he doesn't seem to have crossed state lines, then the only real issue is whether or not they live in one of the 12 states whose "age of consent" is 18.

And again, that's only regarding the legal issue, not any ethical one -- but we really don't know enough of the backstory to immediately assume she *is* a young girl "in trouble".

Would you be unconcerned if she was 26 and did the same exact thing? Probably most people wouldn't be as concerned. And yet, there are plenty of 26-year-old women who are in more trouble and more in need of help than many 17-year-old women.

The age is a cause for a certain degree of caution, but not necessarily alarm. And even that caution is ameliorated by the indication that the girl's parents are fine with the situation -- there's very few people who would even attempt to prosecute such a case.
Comment: #47
Posted by: Mike H
Thu Jul 5, 2012 11:12 AM
@Rick -- Yeah, the headline is stupid. I get what they were saying -- if age of consent is 18, and she's four months away from turning 18, then the countdown to "safe" (as in legal) sex is on. But it's still really stupid.
Comment: #48
Posted by: Lisa
Thu Jul 5, 2012 11:15 AM
@Mike H -- I think we mostly agree, given your previous posts, but I just wanted to raise two points related to your response to Sweeby.

1) I really do think we can conclude this is a girl in trouble. She quit high school and ran away from home (whether her parents are OK with it or not, that still is basically what she did). Even if she had run to a more appropriate place (a 17-year-old girl's house, with good parents in the home, for example, or a shelter for teens), the very fact that she felt like home was not a good place for her suggests she's got some trouble in her life. Same goes for quitting high school. I get that not everyone excels at high school, but it's extremely tough for a high school drop-out to become an independent, contributing member of society. So yeah, I'd say she's in trouble.

2) And actually, if I knew a 26-year-old woman who basically "dropped out" and ran off to shack up with a man (regardless of his age), I'd be worried about her, too. In that case, one assumes she wasn't dropping out of high school -- but she could be dropping out of college (or whatever continuing education she may have chosen), or she may have quit her job. For a 17-year-old, her "job" is to go to school -- so dropping out of school is quitting her "job." In both cases, we have someone who has suddenly taken herself off the path of being a contributing member of society (presumably not because she's won the lottery and no longer has to work for a living). When I see someone go from being a productive member of society to a non-productive member of society without any sort of solid reason (could be the opposite of winning the lottery -- could be she's got cancer and can no longer care for herself, much less go to work), that could be cause for concern. In the case we are discussing, that the girl is 17 absolutely does add to the concern, but like I said, it's not the only reason to be concerned.
Comment: #49
Posted by: Lisa
Thu Jul 5, 2012 11:26 AM
Re: Sweeby

Thank you.
Comment: #50
Posted by: nanchan
Thu Jul 5, 2012 11:50 AM
LW1: "This girl quit high school, had a fight with her parents and showed up on Gary's doorstep asking to use his spare bedroom" I just noticed this, and it is once again pure speculation, but the way it reads seems like maybe the fight with her parents was about her quitting high school. And maybe she (incorrectly) felt that home was not a good place for her because she didn't want to obey her parents rules, not because something horrible was happening at there. Which would also be why she wouldn't have gone to a high school friend's that has good parents in the house, since good parents pretty much by definition means rules.

Being a high school drop out may mean that her options are limited at this point, but so are high school grad's options if they don't receive at least vocational training. Lots of vocational programs don't require you to even have a GED once you are a certain age, which varies, but is usually no more than 21. So she can certainly turn her economic opportunities around.

Maybe she was flunking out anyway because she can't do the required math, etc., but she might excel at something like graphic arts or whatever that don't help you graduate from high school. Being artistic is a natural gift, and she could either get formal training or be trained on the job as to how to use the software that is specific to that industry. Art is just an example, obviously.

My nephew made $500/wk at a part-time telemarking sales job while he was in high school. When he graduated he stayed with the company and made $50,000 his first year. They probably would have hired him full-time even if he hadn't graduated. Just another example that if you are naturally good at something, you don't need a formal education. BTW, my nephew is far from responsible. I lost track of the number of times that he got busted for underage drinking and smoking pot, so if you want to call that "troubled" (I call it being a normal teenager), it didn't stop him from being sucessful in his job.
Comment: #51
Posted by: C Meier
Thu Jul 5, 2012 12:18 PM
@Lisa, good points, both, and I guess I shouldn't have made it sound as if I were cavalier about this young woman quitting school. Although quitting school and running away from home aren't necessarily the worst things in the world, either, and there may not be much more to her story than that.

In fact, there are plenty of scenarios in which quitting school and leaving her parents is the *healthy* response, but without any details beyond what we have, that's all speculation.

So... maybe she does have a solid reason for "taking herself off the path of being a contributing member of society"? LW herself might not even know the full story.

But, to be clear, I agree -- there is reason for concern about this young woman, depending on the events surrounding her decision. (I'd still fall short of being "alarmed", though, without more information.)

Comment: #52
Posted by: Mike H
Thu Jul 5, 2012 12:22 PM
Looks like Bloom Hilda and Company won't be able to rag on Lise for being the person who posts the most times a day as long as I remain unemployed!
Comment: #53
Posted by: C Meier
Thu Jul 5, 2012 12:23 PM
Mike #34 wrote, "even within the last 100-200 years women who were younger than 17 were getting married and starting families of their own. It's only a fairly "recent" development, culturally, that we expect women to be older than teenagers when they get married. In fact, a marriage between a 27-year old man and a 16 or 17 year old woman would not have been given a second thought in the 1800s or even early 1900s."

Very, very true. My grandmother, who is 79, was 16 when she married my grandfather. He was 24. My great-grandmother was also 16 when she married my great-grandfather and he was 25. And it seems nowadays that people raise an eyebrow if you even have a high schooler dating a college guy. My mother was a junior in high school when she met my father, a college freshman, and they started dating and nobody batted an eye. A friend of mine has a daughter who is a junior (17 years old) and her boyfriend is a college freshman (19 years old) and so many people have said to him, "She can't date him, that's illegal!" Um...no it's not. The age of consent in my state is 18 but it's not illegal to DATE her. My friend tells them to mind their own business.

Comment: #54
Posted by: Michelle
Thu Jul 5, 2012 12:27 PM
Re: nanchan
Hi nanchan, again, I've agreed with many of your past posts, and I respect your point of view, but when you use a term like "borderline pedophile," you can't ask people not to respond to it. If you want people to stop responding negatively to the inappropriate use of the word "pedophile," please stop using it inappropriately. Problem solved.
If I used the terms "borderline rapist" to refer to a person who reached over pat someone on the shoulder without permission, I expect (and hope!) that people would object. (Though I'm sure some people would vehemently declare that any unwanted touch, even for a moment and accidentally, is "just as bad as rape.") If I used the term "borderline bank robber" to refer to someone who picked up a penny off of the ground, people would point out that I was being ridiculous. (Though some nuts would probably agree with me.)
While legal and psychological definitions vary, most definitions of the word pedophile use it to refer to an ATTRACTION TO PREPUBESCENT CHILDREN. From the Mayo Clinic definition: "A pedophile is someone who has a primary or exclusive sexual attraction to prepubescent children of either sex." If we could all agree to use it this way in the future I don't think there's be any more "bashing" of misuse of the term.
The other reason I strongly object to characterizing a person having sex with someone ten years younger, is that it's used thoughtlessly to attack mixed-age marriages. People who are happy to endorse untraditional marriages of other sorts, still fly into a frankly insulting rage when seeing an older man or woman in a relationship with a younger one. I am sick of that attitude, and any time I see it here I will go on expressing how offensive it is.
I've been guilty myself of using some terms incorrectly. I once used the term "common law marriage" to refer to a situation in which people had been living together for a few years. Others pointed out that I was using it wrong, according to the legal definition in a few states. They were right, and I've stopped misusing the term. I'm just asking that people please try to do the same thing in relation to the word "pedophile."
Thanks and have a good day.
Comment: #55
Posted by: sarah morrow
Thu Jul 5, 2012 12:32 PM
@C Meier -- you raise legitimate points, so I'm not arguing these aren't very real possibilities (even if they are speculation -- hey, I'm speculating, too, so I'm not going to call you out for that!). And yes, there are ways to support oneself without a high school diploma or GED (heck, look no further than the NBA -- but how often does that work out for a kid?). And as I noted, I do understand that not everyone loves or excels in high school, and that, in and of itself, doesn't make them troubled or doom them for eternity. But would you agree that, in MOST cases, it is awfully tough to support oneself (much less get ahead) if one drops out of school? Your nephew is a prime example of someone who likely COULD have been successful without his high school diploma -- but would you agree he is more likely to be the exception to the rule? Does it happen? Of course it does. Does it happen all that often? I doubt it. And BTW, we don't know for sure that firm would have hired your nephew full time. My guess is they would have, but we don't know. And let's say he at some point gets laid off -- would you want to bank on his finding equally lucrative employment without the diploma, even though he can point to a solid and successful job history? I wouldn't want to bank on that, not in this economy. Most employers are looking at multiple candidates for a job. If all else is equal among the candidates, they are looking for reasons to to hire one person over the others. The diploma can be that reason.

And did your nephew run away from home, or did he continue to have a relatively healthy relationship with his parents (where "healthy" doesn't mean "perfect" and accounts for natural amounts of rebellion on the part of the teen, etc.)? The girl in question didn't JUST drop out of school, and she didn't JUST run away from home. She did both. And even if the reason she ran away from home is BECAUSE she dropped out of school, what are the odds that there's nothing else going on here? Yes, it's POSSIBLE that she just isn't a good student, or has a learning disability or is particularly challenged in one area (be it math, English, what have you) and dropped out because she was flunking out anyway, and then her parents flipped out. All of those things are POSSIBLE. But the odds are good that there's a whole lot more going on here, IMHO. Again, not saying your scenario isn't possible, I just don't think it's likely.

@Mike H -- totally agree that there are scenarios where running away from home actually is the right thing to do. But wouldn't you agree that's TROUBLE with a capital "T?" If your home life is so bad that running away from it is the right thing to do, then you have problems. The problems may well be your parents' and not yours, per se, but that is someone who absolutely IS having trouble and therefore is someone who needs help. Maybe that help is merely a roof over her head, but I'd bet someone whose home life is that bad probably also needs counseling of some sort. Yes, there are worse things than quitting school and/or running away from home. But the odds are good this girl needs more than a roof over her head, and I have a feeling (ah, speculation) the 27-year-old she's sleeping with isn't really equipped to provide that. And BTW -- I do get that we basically agree. Just raising the point.
Comment: #56
Posted by: Lisa
Thu Jul 5, 2012 12:55 PM
Re: nanchan
"MANY other posters have used that term here before."
That's right, and nobody ever got away with it, every one of them bar none was called upon it.

"Can we stop beating up on the borderline pedophile term please? Just substitute creepy old loser guy."
Yeah, why didn't YOU do that? The way you're saying that, it's almost like somebody else is using the term incorrectly instead of you!

(Not to mention that even "creepy old loser" doesn't apply to this guy - at 27, he's hardly old, and he doesn't become creepy and a loser just because the girl is ten years his junior!)

As for the age difference, so you weren't ready at 23. Some young women are at 17. Everyone's different, you can't go by just your own self.

Comment: #57
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Thu Jul 5, 2012 12:58 PM
@Lisa, #56, yep, we are basically agreeing. And, whatever trouble she might have had at home or at school, even if the LW's brother isn't the "best solution", for all we know its still substantially better. This may even be her first steps towards fixing her life.

That's why I'm drawing a line -- admittedly arbitrary -- between "concern" and "alarm". But if the girl *and* her parents think this is a reasonable situation, then maybe she's already in the process of getting her life together. So that someone else swooping in to "save" her -- or worse "return her" to home or school -- would be counterproductive.

Speculation, indeed, though!

For the most part, she's old enough, or nearly so, to be making these choices for herself.
Comment: #58
Posted by: Mike H
Thu Jul 5, 2012 1:51 PM
I'm not sure why everyone's so surprised that a 17 YO knows a 27 YO, and it's not that it's some creep cruising the local high school campus or scouting high school athletic events.

Remember, Debbie's no longer in high school, and she may well be working with Gary. My daughter worked at several places (retail store, restaurant) with people who were mid to late 20s (and managers in their 30s) when she was in school, and became good friends with a young woman about 10 years older who was married and had a baby. Gary may well have met Debbie through work (or, if they're not co-workers, they may have been introduced by someone she works with).- Unless he's her supervisor, he'd know her age only by what she told him.

It's certainly not unusual for a 17 YO to want to appear to be "adult" -- and for some, that means taking on what they think are adult behaviors, including drinking and having sex.

Is it smart for him to be involved with her? Or for her to be involved with him? Probably not. Should LW do more to put an end t it? Probably not; it would most likely cause more problems for all concerned. She's 120 days (maybe less, depending on when the letter was received) from legal adulthood and while her long-term prospects for personal life success aren't good without a GED/diploma, she's not been kidnapped and she's not being abused and she doesn't have parents who are likely to be helpful. Forcibly pulling her out of this situation is unlikely to cause her to have an epiphany about applying herself scholastically or staying away from older men or even having sex. And by the time an investigation is completed according to regulation, she may well be 18.



Comment: #59
Posted by: hedgehog
Thu Jul 5, 2012 1:57 PM
Lisa-
The main point I had wanted to make in my post #51 was the first paragraph about why she may have run away and not gone to a friend's house. I kind of got carried away in my response to your saying that it will be very tough for her to becoming a contributing member of society as a drop out.

But since you asked: My statements regarding HS dropouts are based on the experiences of the people I know who have done so, which is really all I can go by, isn't it? My nephew, while he didn't drop out, probably would have been successful anyway.

My high school boyfriend dropped out, "ran away" and went to Texas to work on the oil rigs being built there at the time. There was huge money to be made, especially for a 17 year old. I put the ran away in quotes because that was what people said, but he basically just left home. His family knew from the start where he was going and why. When he moved back here, he got an entry level job at an energy company, became the district manager and is now the regional manager (last I heard, anyway. our parting was not on friendly terms, so just hear things through the grapevine).

My husband also dropped out of high school in the 10th grade. (Gosh! I think I see a pattern here!) He was bullied, has social anxiety disorder and panic disorder, so school was pure torture for him from day one. However, he is an amazing musician (lead guitar and lead singer), and started playing for money when he was 14. When I was making $200/wk, he was making $200/night playing with his band for wedding dances or $300 for the weekend playing at bars. I eventually became a CPA, so I obviously started making more than him then, even though what he made had also increased. (Side note: He's on disability now because of a screwed up surgery. We'd be rich from a malpractice lawsuit except it was the Mayo Clinic that did it, and no attorney's around here will take them on, even though the attorney's agree that he has an excellent case).

So, no, I don't see my nephew's case as being exceptional, because dropouts that I know have done just fine.

However, in the interest of full disclosure, I should say that I live in the rural Midwest, in an area where today only a few percent of students drop out. None of my friend's kids dropped out. Even fewer dropped out when I was in High School. In fact, there was nobody in my class, the two classes ahead of me or the two classes behind me that dropped out. Other than the people I just commented on, I don't know anybody who dropped out.

I can't speak about the places where 30% or 40% or more of the students drop out because that is foreign to me. I admit that there could very well be a totally different outcomes for those people. But it seems like the schools with the high dropout rates aren't all that great, so it could also be that your future isn't too bright even if you do graduate from one of them.

There are also areas and schools that fall in the middle of those two extremes, so I would imagine that then it totally depends on the person, their talents, and how much effort they put into making a success of their lives even without a diploma. Since I have no idea if that is a small percentage, a large percentage, or somewhere in middle, I don't can't say if the people I know who dropped out are exceptional, average, or "other" - whatever that might be.
Comment: #60
Posted by: C Meier
Thu Jul 5, 2012 2:07 PM
Re: C Meier
Hey - I only go yackety-yack when I have something to say (God knows that happens often), if somebody has even *more* than me to say, there are no limits on the number of posts! Nor does it bother ME one bit if someone posts 20 times in one day - 'ts fine with me! ;-D

@Michelle
Back in the days of the French colony, girls had to be married at 14 and boys at 16 by order of the King.

"She can't date him, that's illegal!"
It's never illegal to *date* her. What may be illegal depending on the state, is to have sex with her.

@Sarah Morrow
"(Though I'm sure some people would vehemently declare that any unwanted touch, even for a moment and accidentally, is "just as bad as rape.")"
Well, I DID call the groping on the Georgie Porky Pig thread 'rape lite'... if we go by her description, his behaviour was quite a bit more than just a touch on the shoulder... Just thought I'd make that clear, even though I know you're being hyperbolic. ;-D

Comment: #61
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Thu Jul 5, 2012 2:52 PM
Re: C Meier
Off-topic question: please enlighten me here. Why would nobody touch the Mayo clinic with a barge pole? Are they God or something?

As for your post #60, I would hazard to say that the reason why kids drop out and especially what they turn to instead, would be the deciding factor on how successful a high school drop out can be.

Comment: #62
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Thu Jul 5, 2012 3:00 PM
Re: nanchan

Regarding the use of the "creepy old loser guy" term –  But you know, and I agree with others that have objected to even using that term, that even the use of this term has serious implications (in the very least, social). We don't know what type of person Gary is – for all we know, he could be a creep (maybe) or he could be an upstanding guy who just made a choice – seduced or not – to have sex with a 17-year-old. Again, maybe.

The LW doesn't state this, but I'm curious if she has children and (if so) are they Debbie's age (or friends who have teen-aged children who went to Debbie's school), and this is how she found out?
Comment: #63
Posted by: Bobaloo
Thu Jul 5, 2012 3:28 PM
Lise re: Mayo Clinic. Are they God or something? Yeah, most people around here and even around the world think that the doctors there are. Saudi Arabian Shiecks (sp?) have paid to have wings remodeled for their stay there, lots of heads of states, particularly from the Middle East go there for treatment, and Mayo is considered by most people in the US to be the absolute best. People die, there, of course, but the impression is that it is never, ever because the doctors made a mistake.

Attorneys don't want to take the cases because Mayo will NOT EVER settle a case out of court because they believe (probably correctly) that it prevents people from suing in "iffy" cases hoping that Mayo will through them a few bucks. They also will spend vast amounts of money to fight any cases that do go to court. So the plaintiff's attorney will spend vast amounts of time with no assurance of any receiving any fees.

It is also very, very hard to get other doctors to provide expert testimony for the plaintiff. One reason where I live is that we are only 120 miles from Mayo, and most of the clinics in Southern Minnesota are now part of Mayo. Another reason is that a lot of specialists, no matter where they are from, would kill to work there, so they aren't willing to be their adversary in a lawsuit.
Comment: #64
Posted by: C Meier
Thu Jul 5, 2012 3:41 PM
Good God, Bobaloo. Please read the letters better before you comment. The LW says "I recently found out from a mutual friend that he is living with "Debbie," a 17-year-old dropout." A mutual friends of hers and Gary's. Not anything to do with anybody who knows Debbie. Either you can't read, can't comprehend what you read, or just like to make stuff up.

I know I said I wouldn't read or respond to your posts, but they are just so ridiculous that I can't help myself.

By the way, I can spell and write sentences that make sense, I just can't proofread, as you may all have noticed in most of my posts.
Comment: #65
Posted by: C Meier
Thu Jul 5, 2012 3:53 PM
Re: AlienNation (post #8)

I agree about LW2; why on earth did she marry a cigar smoker?
Comment: #66
Posted by: Paul
Thu Jul 5, 2012 3:56 PM
Re: Paul
.
"My husband is a chain cigar smoker. He refuses to acknowledge that the secondhand smoke is hazardous to my son and me, not to mention to his own health.

Somewhere along the way, he was convinced that cigars aren't as bad as cigarettes."
.
sounds more likely to me that she married a cigarette smoker who decided to become a cigar smoker... and since he thinks that cigar smoke is not as bad (and he likely doesn't inhale, making him think it's even *less* bad), he feels it's perfectly OK to chain smoke them.
.
YUCK.
i HATE the smell of cigar smoke even more than i hate the smell of cigarette smoke (being a reformed smoker can do that to a person!) and i cannot *imagine* living with a man who smokes cigars practically every minute he's home.
.
Comment: #67
Posted by: Catherine E
Thu Jul 5, 2012 4:09 PM
LW1: I can imagine not approving of the situation but I can't imagine actually trying to do something about it. Why? Because it would be none of my business. Don't you have a life of your own? Is your life so perfect that you feel you are in a position to dictate to others? I highly doubt it. Get a grip on reality and learn to mind your own business.

LW2: Holy Mother of God! Listen, moron, barraging your husband with information provided by others is not going to do anything but piss him off. If you don't like the smoking - leave the room. He's not the problem - you are. You need to learn that its not other people's job to make you happy. How old are you? Figure it out already.
Comment: #68
Posted by: Diana
Thu Jul 5, 2012 4:26 PM
Re. Hedgehog

I dont think anyone is surprised... We jus want to know how they know each other.
Comment: #69
Posted by: Zoe
Thu Jul 5, 2012 4:30 PM
Re: Bobaloo - "Regarding the use of the "creepy old loser guy" term – But you know, and I agree with others that have objected to even using that term, that even the use of this term has serious implications (in the very least, social). "

Hey Bob, I didn't see anyone objecting to "creepy old loser guy" and I'd really like to know what "serious (social) implication" you are now imagining with that term. As a woman who was once, according to my first husband, "the most crept after girl on campus" I consider myself an authority on spotting creepy old loser guys. Can't think of a better term than that.

And just so you know, I actually like reading your posts - I like seeing what new outer space interpretation you're going to come up with.
Comment: #70
Posted by: Maggie Lawrence
Thu Jul 5, 2012 4:39 PM
@Diana, have you *ever* been in a successful long-term relationship yourself??? Because to have one, you and your partner DO absolutely need to show far more respect to each other than the husband is showing the LW. Or that you are suggesting she should put up with.

He should smoke outside, if he's not willing to quit -- its absolutely not the LW who should be chased out of her home for HIS unpleasant and unhealthy habit. You could not be more wrongheaded in your "opinion", regardless of how forcefully you express yourself.

How old are *you*? What a terribly immature comment you've made, and for you, that's saying something.
Comment: #71
Posted by: Mike H
Thu Jul 5, 2012 4:50 PM
@Maggie, well, I suppose one *could* stretch things a bit and see Lise's and Hedgehog's posts as objecting to the use of "creepy old loser guy"... to try to offer the benefit of the doubt to Bobaloo here.

I don't think the phrase really fits, myself, since 27 ain't that old, and we have no idea if he's really a creep, and certainly no idea if he's a loser. I mean, he obviously holds a steady enough job to keep a 2-bedroom apartment without a roommate, so "loser" isn't the first description that comes to mind! Now, if he was *37* and lived in his parent's basement and the 17 year-old did this, that might be a more apt descriptor. :-)
Comment: #72
Posted by: Mike H
Thu Jul 5, 2012 4:55 PM
Re: Lise Brouillette (#61)
.
yeah, the discussion continues re "georgie porgy pig" even today. i DO wish mike h would return and answer the questions put to him by me (#89) and by van wickle (#105). it sure would make me feel better since a few of us took umbrage at his stance... you included. i doubt he's read zoe's post (#110), which pretty well summarizes, IMHO, the reason why about a half dozen of us (or more) were upset.
Comment: #73
Posted by: Catherine E
Thu Jul 5, 2012 5:05 PM
Re: C Meier
That's very bad. Reminds me of the reputation of firemen as almost canonized saints, "heroes who save lives". I was sadly disabused of that notion when I had a fire at my place. Heroes don't treat people like they do. I sure hope the American ones are different and still of the old breed...

P.S.: Saudi Arabian sheiks (or sheikhs, or shaiks). I looked it up.


Comment: #74
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Thu Jul 5, 2012 5:23 PM
Zoe, one poster did express incredulity that they even knew each other because high school kids don't hang around with 27 year olds; and Mike H. offered one possible scenario (which I believe someone else found unlikely). At lleast 3 other people indicated that they felt how the two met was of major importance in determining their opinion of the situation.

I'm just sayin' it's not rare for a high school dropout who's 4 months from legal adulthood to meet and befriend a 27 YO in situations that don't indict him as Evil, Creepy or Incredibly Naive.

Comment: #75
Posted by: hedgehog
Thu Jul 5, 2012 6:05 PM
@Catherine E, I have nothing more to say that I haven't already said, more than once, regarding that old thread. It's a closed chapter as far as I'm concerned, and I'm not going back to that thread.

It's a well that I consider far too poisoned to be a useful or healthy place for me to go.
Comment: #76
Posted by: Mike H
Thu Jul 5, 2012 6:10 PM
@hedgehog, did someone really find that scenario unlikely? I must have missed that. I find it amusing, though, because I go to work every day in an academic department where 17-18 year olds are meeting 27 years olds all the time. :-)

Well not right now, since it's summer and the faculty and students are pretty much all gone, but otherwise...
Comment: #77
Posted by: Mike H
Thu Jul 5, 2012 6:12 PM
Catherine E @ #73:

You DO realize that Mike H. is reading here right along with Lise, right? And that you can do him the courtesy of addressing him directly rather than talking about him as if he were not present?

And that if he'd felt the discussion were worth continuing, he almost certainly would have responded (on that thread, which is still open to comments), right? Which is his prerogative, same as anyone's, yes?

Sometimes it's best to recognize that reasonable people can draw vastly different conclusions from the same situation, based on their individual life experiences, and let a discussion go, rather than bait them. Which you're dangerously close to doing, IMO.
Comment: #78
Posted by: hedgehog
Thu Jul 5, 2012 6:15 PM
Re: Mike H
.
understood. in more ways than you think. it changes my perception of you, but we learn as we go along, don't we?
.
Comment: #79
Posted by: Catherine E
Thu Jul 5, 2012 6:20 PM
Re: hedgehog
.
"You DO realize that Mike H. is reading here right along with Lise, right?"
.
nope, i'm stupid.
.
i am still pretty upset at his stance on that letter and the fact that he claims the "well is too poisoned to return" is useful information. he KNOWS what our questions are and refuses to answer them. so be it.
.
he answered me and i have responded directly to him, just now, so no need for you to play net nanny. which you are dangerously close to doing, IMHO.
.
Comment: #80
Posted by: Catherine E
Thu Jul 5, 2012 6:34 PM
*sigh* No, Catherine E, I'm pretty sure you don't understand, but that's kind of the freaking point, isn't it? We were never disagreeing about the same thing to begin with, we kept talking past each other. Over and over and over and over. Why do you think one more iteration of that discussion will do any good? I don't think it will, because when I left that thread the people who did have problems with my statements were still doing the exact same thing that caused me to respond the way I did in the first place.

Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is one definition of insanity. I just decided to get a bit more sane about that discussion, Catherine E.

Believe what you want, but don't assume you understand. Because that's the whole point of that overlong disagreement. What I cared about in that thread was not what you cared about in that thread. So let's just give it a rest. I'm sure the others don't need a retread, the original will be there forever if anyone truly wants to see a rerun. But its ugly and unfortunate and just thinking about it makes me frustrated all over again, and I'd just gotten to the point where I was no longer frustrated.

This forum is supposed to be about fun and entertainment, and I don't find that previous thread all that entertaining. Did you?
Comment: #81
Posted by: Mike H
Thu Jul 5, 2012 6:40 PM
Re: Catherine E
Considering neither protagonists of this fracas is likely to back down on that one, I believe the wisest course would be to just bury the war hatchet and let sleeping dogs lie... with the war hatchet buried right next to their bone (of contention)... ;-D

Comment: #82
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Thu Jul 5, 2012 6:59 PM
Re: Mike H
"I don't find that previous thread all that entertaining. Did you?"
Oh, jpp did. But then, s/he always likes a good scuffle! ;-D

Comment: #83
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Thu Jul 5, 2012 7:01 PM
"You DO realize that Mike H. is reading here right along with Lise, right?"
.
nope, i'm stupid.
***************

Nice. Call me names if you like.

But when you post in a public forum, ANYONE is allowed to respond to it -- to comment on your word choice, your tone and your tactics. If you're so upset that you're resorting to rude behavior, you might really do better to walk away a bit and take a break.

Comment: #84
Posted by: hedgehog
Thu Jul 5, 2012 7:12 PM
Re: Mike H
"But its ugly and unfortunate and just thinking about it makes me frustrated all over again.
This forum is supposed to be about fun and entertainment, and I don't find that previous thread all that entertaining. Did you?"
.
*sigh* no, just frustrating, but sometimes frustration leads to a learning experience. i learn a little bit from each post on each letter, whether it's actual information or a look into someone's soul. sometimes good things, sometimes... well, it's just more to factor into a person's personality, good or not quite so good.
and you are learning about me, the selfsame way.
.
"Why do you think one more iteration of that discussion will do any good?"
.
because DIRECT, succinct questions were asked of you, both before you left the thread (mine, which you ignored in your response) and after (van wickle's) and we WOULD have liked direct answers... but, the well is "too poisoned" for you to return. i learned from that response. and, so be it.
.
"Believe what you want, but don't assume you understand."
.
right back atcha, mike h. right back atcha.
.
Comment: #85
Posted by: Catherine E
Thu Jul 5, 2012 7:14 PM
Re: hedgehog
.
WHAT? i said "i'm stupid". how is that calling YOU names? i did (and still do) find your posts to me rather condescending... hence the "net nanny" title. or, hall monitor, if you prefer. so, it's ok if you keep asking me rather obvious (aka condescending) questions, right? and it's ok if i take *a little offense* at your condescension, right?
.
"If you're so upset that you're resorting to rude behavior, you might really do better to walk away a bit and take a break."
.
a timeout now? yes, ma'am. when may i please post again? tomorrow?
.
in case you're not aware, playing net nanny or hall monitor is also considered rude behavior on internet forums and comment threads.
.
Comment: #86
Posted by: Catherine E
Thu Jul 5, 2012 7:25 PM
@Catherine E, and your rather snarky and aggressive attitude right now doesn't exactly inspire me with confidence about how truly open you would be to anything I would have to say.

And since *my* concerns during that thread were also *never* addressed to *my* satisfaction, either, I guess whatever you are concluding of me, I can fairly conclude of you, no? What, exactly, do you think I'm learning about you with such comments, hm?

Are we having fun yet?
Comment: #87
Posted by: Mike H
Thu Jul 5, 2012 7:28 PM
Re: Lise Brouillette
.
yeah, you're right, lise... it's buried. leave it to you to find the least contentious words to put this to rest! ;-D
.
sorry, mike
.

Comment: #88
Posted by: Catherine E
Thu Jul 5, 2012 7:31 PM
@Lise, and you know, if any of the protagonists were even on the same page, maybe further iterations might eventually help. But I think, in retrospect, that we weren't even talking apples and oranges, we were arguing apples and lemurs.

Since there isn't even agreement on what the basis of the discussion was, further discussion -- especially discussion that just continues in an unpleasant or antagonistic air -- doesn't seem either warranted or productive.

Sometimes, everyone just leaves equally dissatisfied, but such is life.
Comment: #89
Posted by: Mike H
Thu Jul 5, 2012 7:31 PM
Ah, the dangers of crossed posts.

Apology accepted, Catherine E, and for what it may be worth, I'm certainly sorry I allowed the previous thread to go on as long as it did. My own hot button got pushed, but what I got entrenched about was very much orthogonal to your own concerns.
Comment: #90
Posted by: Mike H
Thu Jul 5, 2012 7:33 PM
@Mike H. -- I thought I'd read that someone found it unlikely -- but perhaps I misremembered. I was going faster than usual today.

I don't think it's an unlikely way for "a" 17 YO to meet "a" 27 YO. I do think it's somewhat unlikely for this particular 17 YO, partly because many (most?) towns don't have colleges, and there's no indication that this is taking place in a city of any size, or with anything beyond a two-year campus with no grad program.

It's also been my experience that the high-school age kids who socialize with college students tend to be college-bound themselves, rather than high school dropouts.

Comment: #91
Posted by: hedgehog
Thu Jul 5, 2012 7:35 PM
Re: Mike H
.
apology accepted in return. my hot buttons were ALSO pushed with that letter.
.
and, thanks for teaching this college grad a new word! when i saw it, i was thinking birds, braces... but, you're right.
.
like i said, i learn something new from dang near every post!
.
Comment: #92
Posted by: Catherine E
Thu Jul 5, 2012 7:53 PM
@hedgehog, good points, for sure -- although I guess it depends on the college in question too. For all we know she may have indeed been college-bound before whatever happened to derail her.

But I'll admit the scenario was just what first came to my mind and was certainly influenced by my own daily environment! Other scenarios posited today seem as likely if not more so. A mutual workplace, for example. When I was an undergrad, I worked for a telemarketing firm, and the phone banks were staffed by people as young as 17 and as old as 50. The account managers were all in their late 20s.

Had a 17 year old caller socialized with a 27 year old account manager, I would not have been surprised!

I guess the real answer is just that, no, it's not inconceivable that there are a set of circumstances that would have allowed this 17 year old and the LW's brother to meet and even become acquaintances in a non-creepy way.
Comment: #93
Posted by: Mike H
Thu Jul 5, 2012 7:58 PM
Re: Diana
.
pardon me if this is a double post, but i originally posted it several hours ago and it has not yet shown up:
.
apparently, YOU have not heard of thirdhand smoke!
.
please google it... or, better yet, here's an excerpt from the world-renown mayo clinic:
.
"Studies show that thirdhand smoke clings to hair, skin, clothes, furniture, drapes, walls, bedding, carpets, dust, vehicles and other surfaces, even long after smoking has stopped. Infants, children and nonsmoking adults may be at risk of tobacco-related health problems when they inhale, ingest or touch substances containing thirdhand smoke. Thirdhand smoke is a relatively new concept, and researchers are still studying its possible dangers.

Thirdhand smoke residue builds up on surfaces over time and resists normal cleaning. Thirdhand smoke can't be eliminated by airing out rooms, opening windows, using fans or air conditioners, or confining smoking to only certain areas of a home. Thirdhand smoke remains long after smoking has stopped. In contrast, secondhand smoke is the smoke and other airborne products that come from being close to burning tobacco products, such as cigarettes.

The only way to protect nonsmokers from thirdhand smoke is to create a smoke-free environment, whether that's your private home or vehicle, or in public places, such as hotels and restaurants."
.
so, once again, i find myself telling you to EDUCATE YOURSELF before you go off on the LW and call her names! she is absolutely correct and you are absolutely WRONG.
.
Comment: #94
Posted by: Catherine E
Thu Jul 5, 2012 8:01 PM
Well put, Catherine E! Since when is someone a moron for trying to protect her family's health? If her husband doesn't want to take care of himself, there's only so much she can do about that, but she is well within her rights to insist that he not breathe poisonous crap at her and her son. Third-hand smoke may not be as carcinogenic as first- and second-hand, but it's enough to trigger migraines and upper-respiratory inflammation. She shouldn't have to tolerate it in her own home.
Comment: #95
Posted by: Baldrz
Thu Jul 5, 2012 8:18 PM
I waited to post until after I was sure someone would explain;
1. Why 'how they met' was an important detail.
2. How poor old Gary became a "creepy old loser guy" at 27.
3. Why this is any of the sisters business.
4. How come Timmy never learned to avoid the well.
Comment: #96
Posted by: Penny
Thu Jul 5, 2012 9:17 PM
Re: Penny
.
wow, good questions, all!
.
1) it's not, really.
2) he's not, really.
3) it's not, really.
4) lassie had to have SOMETHING important to do! really!
Comment: #97
Posted by: Catherine E
Fri Jul 6, 2012 12:00 AM
Re: hedgehog
Hedgehog, he could be connected to someone she knows in some way, as in, the elder brother of a fellow student, co-worker or friend. It's not likel 17 YO are all locked up in a cage and allowed to talk to no one else. Frankly, I don't see why this is such a big deal.

@Baldrz & Catherine E
Diana calls EVERYBODY an idiot and a moron. Projecting much, I think.

Comment: #98
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Fri Jul 6, 2012 2:43 AM
OK everyone, I'll admit that Gary is my next door neighbor. I stopped by his apartment this morning and asked him how they met. He said it didn't matter, he just wants to know how to get his sister off his back. I wisely told him to write to the Annie's, check BTL and it will all be explained.
Comment: #99
Posted by: Penny
Fri Jul 6, 2012 6:34 AM
...I just wanted to get the comments to 100. I'm silly that way. ;-)
Comment: #100
Posted by: Mary Ann
Fri Jul 6, 2012 7:44 AM
I was one of the people who said I think that how Debbie and Gary know each other is important. Not "how could they possibly know each other with the age difference", but how as in "did they work together?" If they did, then they would know each other well enough that I can see her going to his place. He's the older brother of a friend? Can't say that I had friends with brothers 10 years older than them that I knew very well at at, so in that case, I don't understand why she would go to his place. Unless he had hit on her in the past and she figured he'd give her a place to stay. But I wouldn't consider it to be so innocent by her or him in that case.

That's why I think the "how" is important.
Comment: #101
Posted by: C Meier
Fri Jul 6, 2012 9:59 AM
Re: C Meier,
.
in thinking about my own family and friends... my brother is 12 years older than his wife. they met when she was in high school but, nearing their 30th anniversary, i honestly can't remember anymore HOW they met.
.
both my best friend and my husband's sister have later-life children who are ten years or more younger than the next youngest sib.
.
my daughter worked at a fast food place in high school. she met... and liked... the district mgr, 11 years older than her. he was wise enough and married enough to keep his distance. she ended up quitting after HS and moved to another town. when she decided to move back, she went into management at McDs but at a different store... and he was now the regional mgr... this time, he didn't keep his distance.
.
my mom is 12 years older than her husband... they met on a artist's workshop tour in europe, both being professional artists, but they were both well into adulthood when they met.
.
my point is that there are many examples all around us of olders with youngers, but we might not be quite so aware of them and how... or why... they met.
.
i'm voting for something like my daughter's scenario, except that maybe gary is a customer where the girl works for min wage (not enough to get herself an apt) or vice versa.
Comment: #102
Posted by: Catherine E
Fri Jul 6, 2012 12:25 PM
Re: Maggie Lawrence

Oh for pete's sake ...

We don't know the guy is a "creepy old loser." We know nothing of him other than 1. He is the LW's younger brother, 2. He let a 17-year-old stay with him, 3. They slept together. That doesn't mean anything by itself.

It's like what Mike H said earlier in his posts: If he can afford to live in a two-bedroom apartment, he must have a good job and be living on his own ... and 27 doesn't make him "old." (In reality, 37 really isn't either, but that's another discussion, although living at home and not having a steady job AND going after hot young things would make it an entirely different story.) For all we know, Gary could be president of the local bank, be on the church council and lead the Kiwanis club in town. While I agree that "creepy" men come in all ages and sizes, job or no job, on their own or not, it doesn't fit here and that's what makes it offensive.

That's not an outer space interpretation, that's just fact.

Just say that Gary may or may not have made a serious mistake, depending on the laws of his state and what actually happened between him and Debbie, and be done with it, OK? If the laws are such that he can have sex with a 17 year old without legal consequence and it was consentual, then there's nothing more to be said.

Can we at least agree on that, Maggie? Can we actually agree on ANYTHING?
Comment: #103
Posted by: Bobaloo
Fri Jul 6, 2012 1:36 PM
Re: hedgehog

Great point about how the 17- and 27-year-olds met up. I'd also think that a grocery store might come to mind (a 17-year-old checker and the 27-year-old assistant manager), or even a church setting where the two go to the same church.

I suppose it is even possible – dear God, I hope Tommy the waitress stalker isn't reading this and gets hope for his hopeless cause – for a customer at a restaurant to develop a non-creepy friendship with the 17-year-old waitress. OK, going off on a limb there, and I think the previous two scenarios are far more plausable.

I guess the point is made: There's many ways – non-creepy ways – that two people with age differences can meet.
Comment: #104
Posted by: Bobaloo
Fri Jul 6, 2012 1:45 PM
Re: C Meier (Post 65)
And I make plenty of sense, too. I read the post clearly and understood it.
I believe there are plenty of ways the LW could have found out. This includes the "mutual friend" (one of her and Gary) who has children in school that are Debbie's age. They (the children) told their parents (the mutual friend), and that's how she found out.
Can I make it ANY MORE CLEAR TO YOU?
Goodness, I hate using all caps, since it is the equivalent to shouting, but I don't know how else to express myself without making a statement that would get me kicked off here.
Comment: #105
Posted by: Bobaloo
Fri Jul 6, 2012 8:17 PM
Bobaloo- "I believe there are plenty of ways the LW could have found out." Except the LW told us how she found out. So any other way that she could have found out is not relevant.

The logical way to read that the LW found out from a mutual friend of her and Gary's is that the friend knew about it because they are a friend of Gary's and he told them, or they were at his house when Debbie was there and he had to explain the situation. If she found out from a friend who heard it from their daughter, there would be no need to mention that it is a mutual friend of her and Gary's, because it wouldn't matter.

And you are obviously just trying to cover your tracks because in the post that we are disagreeing about, you said in that post "maybe the LW has a daughter Debbie's age" and maybe that is how she found out. If she found out from her daughter, that would not be from a mutual friend of her and Gary's. You are now ignoring the fact that you said that and focusing on what you said about maybe it being a friend with a daughter that knows Debbie.

So I stand by my statement that you either did not read the letter closely, or didn't comprehend what you read. Or just like to make stuff up. Speculating is fine, but it is not speculating when you say things that that are plain out wrong based on the letter, like saying she might have found out from her daughter.
Comment: #106
Posted by: C Meier
Sat Jul 7, 2012 8:22 AM
Bobaloo (again) re: #105 I don't think many, if any, posters thought that there aren't many ways that they could have met. Just that we would like to know how they met so we would know if it was appropriate for her to have shown up on his doorstep. In my case, how she knows him would indicate how well she knows him, which I think is important.

And speaking of appropriate, you said "I'd also think that a grocery store might come to mind (a 17-year-old checker and the 27-year-old assistant manager". That is not a creepy way to meet, but if she is a checker and he is a manager (even an assistant manager), then it is inappropriate for them to have slept together, legal age or not. He would no doubt lose his job if his employer found out. Probably something the LW would have said if that was the case. No problem if they both just worked there and he isn't a manager, but that's not the example you gave.

There are to many posts to back and check them all, but I don't recall anybody saying they met in a "creepy" way, other than nanchan's "creepy old loser" comment, which other commentor's said they didn't feel was an accurate description. But not meeting in a creepy way doesn't mean it may not have been creepy that she went to his place, depending on how they know each other. And all the speculation in the world isn't going to answer that question for us.
Comment: #107
Posted by: C Meier
Sat Jul 7, 2012 8:56 AM
Re: C Meier

While I agree that it is possible that Gary said something to the "mutual friend" (either on the street or when the friend visited), do you NOT also agree that it is ALSO possible that Debbie could have said something to one of her friends, and that friend happened to be the child of one of the friends of the two siblings (Gary and the lW) and said something? (As in the daughter telling her folks, the mutual friend(s) "I heard Debbie went over to Gary's house and they slept together.") Even if the LW doesn't explcitly say to the effect, "I heard from a mutual friend that her daughter said such and such happened ... " it is a perfectly logical conclusion. If you don't think that happened, then fine, you don't.

And yes, many companies DO have policies -- some unwritten, others clearly stated -- against employees sleeping together. Period. Even if they aren't manager-subordinate. I don't know, the example I gave was just a possibility, and I sure would think he would be aware of it and if so, he either forgot in his horniness.

As far as the original letter, "On the second night there, Debbie decided to sleep in Gary's bed, and you can guess what happened" -- all I know is what I said originally, that she came on to him and he probably didn't object. How they met was likely not creepy. Whatever else happened at Gary's apartment during the time she stayed there ... creepy, consentual, totally on the level ... we'll never know. And I ain't speculating on that except to say, "anything could have happened" that led to the sexual encounter.
Comment: #108
Posted by: Bobaloo
Sat Jul 7, 2012 9:31 AM
Bobaloo-While not totally impossible that Debbie told friend who told mother who told LW, I think the chance of that being the case is Infinitely small. Then the LW would just have said "a friend told me", since it had nothing to do with rather the friend knew Gary or not in that case. And it doesn't matter how she found out. I just get throughly annoyed at you coming up with stuff that is not supported by what is in the letter. The LW said it was a mutual friend of hers and Gary's. Why even bother to speculate further? I think you did it because you didn't read the letter carefully, which is supported by the fact that you said it may have been the LW's daughter that told her because she goes to Debbie's school Which you conveniently ignored in your response to my post.

I'm bored now, as I'm sure is everyone else who read the few posts, because it does.not.matter.how.they.met. So, please, let's both just drop it. I should haven't known better than to call you on your b.s. ideas based on past experience of myself and others.
Comment: #109
Posted by: C Meier
Sat Jul 7, 2012 3:04 PM
Re: C Meier

Frankly, I am bored too with this back-and-forth, but DO NOT EVER CALL MY POSTS OR OPINIONS BULLS--- AGAIN!!!!!!

But as it does nto matter to you how they met, apparently someone other than myself did, because there are plenty of other posts that speculate on just that. WHY PICK ON ME????!!!! BECAUSE IT DOES MATTER HOW THEY MET, GODDAMN IT! IT DOES IT DOES IT DOES!!!

Happy? Becuase it sure didn't matter to me until you kept rebutting my posts!

Comment: #110
Posted by: Bobaloo
Sat Jul 7, 2012 6:36 PM
OK, I think some explanations are in order here insofar as how things got to this point, and then it's going to be dropped:

1. One of the earliest posts on here suggested Gary was a "borderline pedophile" for inviting a 17-year-old female friend to stay. Others -- including myself -- quickly rebutted this notion.

2. Afterward, the same poster suggested that "creepy old loser" was perhaps an apporpriate term to describe Gary for inviting a 17-year-old female friend to stay. Again, this notion was rebutted by others, myself included.

3. In the rebuttals, several of us suggested different scenarios where Gary and Debbie may have met, such as through work or church. This is where it begins to get hazy here.

4. It was then suggested by myself how word got around about Debbie staying at Gary's apartment. Perhaps they live in a small town, for all I know, and in small towns gossip gets around.

I acknowledge that C Meier's theories are probable (Gary said something to someone, or a mutual friend happened to visit while Debbie was in his bed); there IS NO disagreement in that. But again, I'm suggesting -- and it is ONLY a suggestion -- that Debbie also could have said something to her friends, and one of those freinds told her parents (who happen to be the mutual friend(s) of Gary and the LW), one of them brought it up ... and that's how it got around. (Especially if this all happened in a small town, where gossip spreads quickly.) No matter how small of a chance that is, it is possible. It doesn't mean it did happen that way. For all I know, word could have gotten around some other way.

What's my point, now that you're all bored to death reading this? It is that suggestions about Gary's character didn't really matter in the first place. For all I care, it was something that happened and now the LW is going to have to forget about it, and acknowledge that Gary is a big boy -- and agree or disagree -- he is the the one that is going to have to deal with the social and moral consequences (even if the age of consent is 16 or 17 in his state).
Comment: #111
Posted by: Bobaloo
Sun Jul 8, 2012 7:28 AM
LW1: It's not your business. If you tell others, the police will take Gray to jail, and you will be to blame. What will you have accomplished then, you little gossipy busybody? I totally agree, this is not a good situation, and if you want to do something to HELP, you will talk to Gary and tell him that she is probably trying to get pregnant, and he will soon owe child support, and that he needs to grow up and stop being infatuated with young ladies who offer sex for a place to stay - basically prostitution. Help him come to his senses - telling mommy and daddy on him makes YOU immature. Grow up yourself, and talk to your brother, nicely, and in a nonjudgmental way. Then wait for her to turn 18, and leave it alone.
Comment: #112
Posted by: Salty
Sun Jul 8, 2012 7:32 AM
Bobaloo-I misspoke when I said it doesn't matter how they met. My bad. I think that is very important, as I said in my posts. What I meant to say is that it doesn't matter how the LW found out that Debbie was staying there. My problem with your posts is that you are "speculating" things that are obviously not true based on the letter. Such as, you said it may have been the LW's daughter that told her because she goes to Debbie's school. But you don't defend that statement because you can't, since it contradicts what is in the letter.

And I will continue to call your posts bull if that is what I think they are. Like saying the LW found out from her daughter. And sleeping with a manager where you work is not innocent (that's on him, not her).

What exactly do you plan on doing about it if I continue to call your opinions or post bull? I am not attacking you personally, just your opinions, which, as I understand it, is not in voilation of Creator's policy.
Comment: #113
Posted by: C Meier
Sun Jul 8, 2012 11:14 AM
C Meier:

Don't worry, no threats or anything like that. And no -- as long as you don't personally attack me -- I have no intent of reporting you. Just don't call my posts bull again, even if you strongly disagree; just calmly say why you disagree without calling it "bull" and leave it alone. It's not worth stressing over. That's all I ask.

But regarding the possibility of the LW's friend's daughter – YOU misspoke there. In post 111, I said "Debbie also could have said something to HER FRIENDS, and one of those FRIENDS told her PARRENS." Meaning, the MUTUAL FRIEND may have a child who knows Debbie.

And no, I never called what happened between them "innocent" (or anything, for that matter); as I said before, even if she initiated it, he probably didn't do anything to stop it.

Salty: Not sure what you mean there by his infatuation with young ladies who offer sex for a place to stay. I didn't see any indication in the letter that sex was even part of the original agreement; all Gary was offering Debbie was a place to stay for a night or two, and sex was part of it on the second night. The LW's statement "... he is very immature when it comes to the opposite sex" doesn't necessarily mean Gary is champing at the bit to have sex with a 19-year-old girl; it could mean a lot of things, which I don't have the time or energy to get into at this time.
Comment: #114
Posted by: Bobaloo
Sun Jul 8, 2012 1:03 PM
Bobaloo - Your exact words in post #63 were "The LW doesn't state this, but I'M CURIOUS IF SHE HAS CHILDREN AND (IF SO) ARE THEY DEBBIE'S AGE (or friends who have teen-aged children who went to Debbie's school), and this is how she found out?" (emphasis mine)

I agreed in #109 that is is possible though improbable the what you said in #108 and #111 could be what happened. You have over and over again ignored the part that I have an issue with, which is where you said the LW may have found out from her own children. That is why I got frustrated enough to call your posts bull.

We know from the letter that she didn't find out from her own kid(s), so instead of ignoring that you said that, why not just fess up and say, yep, guess I was wrong there instead of continuing to debate something I already agreed could be a remote possibility?

I spent a lot of time arguing a "different fathers" position in the "Selfish or Sane" column. But as soon as somebody pointed out to me that she could have had twins, which had never crossed my mind, I issued a Mea Culpa. I realized later that another poster had mentioned twins way early in the thread, and I missed it. But I don't think not reading every word of every post is the same as not carefully reading the letter unless you are going to challenge what that poster said or the comment had been directed to you.
Comment: #115
Posted by: C Meier
Sun Jul 8, 2012 3:58 PM
C Meier:

Yes, the mutual friend told her. I agree with that. I've NEVER TRIED disputing that. And yes, I did ask if the LW had kids that were Debbie's age. But somehow, for whatever reason, I got away from that and got on this track about the mutual friend maybe having children.

What I have suggested since then is that the LW's friend (the mutual one of her and Gary) has children that are Debbie's age. The letter DOES NOT say whether the mutual friend found out firsthand, and frankly the LW didn't really have to say that (she didn't think it was important or didn't think of it or something). You do have to agree with that, which leads it open to interpretation -- your suggestions, mine or maybe 100 different others neither one of us thought up, which I have neither the time or energy to list. That's the whole point of this continued debate -- the POSSIBILITY (small or not) that the FRIEND (not the LW's children) possibly has children and the FRIEND then relayed the information to the LW.

I can't speak for your "Selfish or Sane" argument; whatever happened there happened. If I thought I was wrong on here -- or any other thread -- and there was clear proof, I would have conceded long ago. Believe me. But in this case, there isn't. Sorry.
Comment: #116
Posted by: Bobaloo
Sun Jul 8, 2012 7:08 PM
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