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The Buzz About Medical Equipment Dear Annie: Shortly after I had knee surgery, I went to the library wearing my (prescribed) compression wrap to prevent blood clots. This compression wrap makes an intermittent humming sound. A few minutes after entering, the librarian walked over …Read more. Past Anger Is Hard to Overcome Dear Annie: Twenty five years ago, my youngest son, then 18, quit the job he had had for four years. They had promised him an assistant manager job and when he turned 18, but did not follow through. After that, he would not look for a job or even …Read more. Waiting for the Sun to Shine Dear Annie: All of my life, I've heard about the "golden years." Why are mine only black and gray? I have been married to my husband for 40 years. He has not been sexually capable for half that time. I understand that, but he also does not want to …Read more. Dreaded Decor Dear Annie: My mother-in-law has a decor that was personalized for her by my husband's long-term ex-girlfriend. Every time I go to her house, it's the first thing I see and it really bothers me. The problem is, I don't feel I can say anything to her …Read more.
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Transsexual Women Are Women


Dear Annie: I have a problem, and I'm not sure how my family will react. I'm attracted to transsexuals -- well, one in particular -- but I'm not gay.

Some of the transsexuals I've spoken to don't look as if they are male at all. They easily could pass for female since birth. I don't want my family to think I'm gay, because I'm not. How do I tell them? -- Pennsylvania Pete

Dear Pete: A transsexual is someone who has undergone the physical and emotional transformation from one gender to another. It is not a simple process. It requires surgery, hormones and counseling. A male who has become female is now female. She isn't some guy temporarily masquerading as a woman. And she is entitled to have a romantic life, the same as any other woman. There is no reason for you to broadcast her prior history to anyone. Of course, if the only reason you are involved with her is because you find her background exotic or you are turned on by the fact that she used to be male, that is a different psychological issue and one you might want to examine more closely.

Dear Annie: When my mother-in-law was still living, I always helped her organize the holiday meals. After she died, I began doing it myself. I always plan a nice dinner.

Now I am having a hard time wanting to get together with my family. I have adult grandchildren, one of whom is already married. I get no assistance from any of them. It's just something they expect me to do. No one helps with the cooking or cleaning up afterward. They all wait until the last minute to arrive and sit around while I get everything on the table. After the meal, they go downstairs to chat while I am stuck with the kitchen cleanup.

I am tired, and I feel used. How can these adults not see the need to respect and appreciate all the times I have done this? My younger grandchildren enjoy the family get-togethers and don't understand why I am not enthusiastic about them.

How do I handle this? — Tired of Doing All the Holiday Planning

Dear Tired: You have to tell them. For years, you have done all the work and asked for nothing. You've trained them to think this is OK. They may even believe that you prefer it this way. So speak up. Let them know they are expected to contribute by helping with the cooking, setting the table and cleaning up afterward. They can chat while washing dishes. Assign specific duties to each person, and include the younger grandchildren so they learn that family meals are a group responsibility. If your children and grandchildren refuse to pitch in, inform them that you will no longer host these gatherings because it is too much work for you. You deserve a rest.

Dear Annie: I could relate to the letter from "Mom from Montana," whose new daughter-in-law was angry about the dress she wore to the wedding. I agree with you that the bride is just looking for an excuse to cut off contact. Our daughter-in-law of 18 years acts the same way. It doesn't matter what we do to please her — it is never right. We've held our tongues and have continued to be gracious, hoping she will mature, but it hasn't happened. We were ignored at the children's baptisms and birthdays. Our son sees all of this, but he is caught in the middle, and we don't want to make it worse for him.

We were tempted to cut off our daughter-in-law from birthday and Christmas gifts, but didn't want to stoop to her level. I would suggest that "Montana" continue to be kind to her son's wife, but start inviting him to "stop by." When our son visits without his wife, we have a wonderful time. — Nebraska

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



66 Comments | Post Comment
Re: LW1, it's almost, but not quite, accurate to say that a transexual who has been through surgery and hormone treatments is now "fully" the gender their body has been modified to emulate. Some details of anatomy and one's hormones can be changed, but others can't. A man's skull and pelvic bone structure, for example, are inherently different from a woman's. And a transexual who has undergone the change from male to female will obviously not be able to bear children. Still, the Annies' advice not to broadcast the life history of the persons the LW is interested in dating to his family, is well taken.
To LW2 - Your feeling of being used is unfortunately a reflection of the reality of the situation. You can try talking to your family, as the Annies suggest -- it may help -- but the patterns may be too well engraved to change your family dynamic at this point. If you do decide to try to keep up your relationships with the kids and grandkids, instead of "assigning chores" (which would likely be met with grudging resentment), try sending them all a friendly email saying that you're realized you're getting on in years and can't do it alone anymore, and asking for volunteers to help out. Even one volunteer would do a lot to fix the bad dynamic. If no one offers to help out, send another email saying that you've loved their company, but can't do the dinners anymore... and add that you'd love to see them all again if someone else decides to host.
Comment: #1
Posted by: sarah morrow
Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:03 PM
Anyone transforming from one gender to another is no longer the gender s/he used to be - just like the butterfly is no longer a caterpillar. You're not gay because you're attracted to someone transgender, you're a straight man attracted to the woman she now is.

And you don't owe to scream your chosen woman's male past from the rooftops any more than you would owe anyone an account of how many partners she had before you.

LW2 -
You've done all the work all by your poor self for all these years, and you're surprised it's being taken for granted?

Look. Your family are not mind readers and they can't guess that you'd now like some help.What do you do? You start assigning tasks, it's as simple as that. With a smile and a soft voice. And if they look surprised, it's perfectly okay to expound on how tired to your bones you are at your ripe old age - with a smile and a soft voice . It's amazing what a smile and a soft voice can do when they're well placed.

Comment: #2
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:04 PM
LW2--Did it never occur to you that maybe you're the only person who really wants this "nice dinner"? The others might be fine eating pizza off paper plates or getting take-out or having a potluck.

In other words, climb down off the cross, lady. Somebody needs the wood.

I don't really enjoy going to my MIL's for holiday dinners, because she expects all the women to spend their time in the kitchen, cooking and cleaning up, while the men sit on their duffs and watch TV.

Comment: #3
Posted by: Joannakathryn
Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:07 PM
LW2: I recently went to a large holiday party. The host and hostess hired some outside help to do the prep and cleanup. Worth considering.
Comment: #4
Posted by: PuaHone
Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:25 PM

LW3 refers to the first letter on 18 September 2013.
Comment: #5
Posted by: Miss Pasko
Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:31 PM

You know what's even worse? My brother and his wife for ten years now have insisted my whole family "come for Christmas dinner." If anyone offers "to handle all the work this year" by hosting dinner, they beg (and beg!) until everyone just gives up. When we offer to bring a dish, SIL gets all defensive and insulted with comments like "What? You saying I can't cook?" or "Don't you dare - it's our gift to the family!"

They serve a ham. Yes, only a ham. (You didn't see that coming, huh?)

Nothing else - no salad, no vegetables, not even a ring of pineapple atop the ham. No cheese plate or chips on the coffee table. No pies or cakes for dessert, no coffee, no wine or soda, no bread or butter. Just a ham. Eaten on paper plates with plastic silverware; and the expensive cloth napkins from SIL's bridal registry, LOL.

It's incredibly weird. They always come to all our homes for complete Thanksgiving meals and rave about them. They are very wealthy, so that's not it. They eat in restaurants 4/5 times a week, so they have, in fact, witnessed a balanced meal.

After we all eat our slices of ham, they compliment each other about how delicious dinner was. The rest of us exchange glances and try not to laugh out loud.

It's beyond puzzling. So, BTLers --- what's your ham theory?
Comment: #6
Posted by: Johanna
Wed Dec 18, 2013 11:23 PM
Re: LW2 -- I had promised myself a while back not to provide personal input in my responses, but I just came to read the letters, and there were already four responses to the holiday dinners (timely, I must say :-)). Please realize every family is different. It was always (prior to my birth) my great-grandmother, then grandmother, then mother who made the big holiday meals. When mom became sick, it was passed on to me. It never occurred to me that “martyr” was part of the equation, just a tradition to keep the family together.

@ sarah – lovely post. I worry that stating you can't do the dinners anymore (and you'd love to see them all again if someone else decides to host) will permanently divide the family. I mean there are cousins, nieces and nephews – they will go to separate families. If you are ok with that, fine, if not we need an alternative suggestion.

@ Lise – not such a generous post and I don't think you are giving the guests any credit for intelligence (who on earth doesn't realize how much work is involved in hosting a holiday dinner?). But, yes, I do agree with expressing a need for help.

@Joannakathryn -- why don't you serve the dinner at your house? It sounds like everyone would have a much better time – no one needing to clean up, just fun times! Only make sure you aren't accused of being a martyr when you clear out the pizza boxes, bottles, glasses, paper plates – no desert? Do they need to bring their own utensils? Sounds like fun ;)

Traditional dinners are very important to many (see the problem at the airports this Thanksgiving due to terrible weather?) People want to travel to be with their families! (And I don't think they would expect pizza – LOL!) All LW2 wants is help. For me the cleanup is the worst. I have enlisted the younger generation (my kids, nieces and nephews) to help, and after last fall's engagement dinner, they are more than happy to assist me. THAT'S family. I am excited to spend time with family, this year and every year!
Comment: #7
Posted by: Jenna
Wed Dec 18, 2013 11:32 PM
LW2 - I solved the problem of no help at holiday dinners by letting everyone know that I could no longer handle cooking a large meal with just the help of my husband so dinner on holidays at our house would be a meat and cheese tray, chips, dips, and a veggie tray. If they wanted to bring dessert, that would be appreciated, if not, we would do without dessert (DH and I can't afford to provide the whole meal, after all). No one has complained, and my son and his wife host holiday dinners at their house and invite us (we can't always go because my husband has to work most holidays). It's worked out well for us. I don't have to cook a huge meal, and with what I serve, we can get by with paper plates and plastic utensils so I don't have a huge mess to clean up either.
Comment: #8
Posted by: Vesta
Wed Dec 18, 2013 11:34 PM
LW2: Oh, you poor thing, struck mute in the prime of your life! What? You mean you're not? Good! Problem solved.

Johanna (#6), you keep going after 10 years? Either you really like these people, you have nothing better to do on Christmas, or you have a high threshold for bizarre behavior. (I hope you also go somewhere else for a real Christmas dinner.) My guess is that they're supercheap money-hoarding wealthy, the hams are gifts from an employer or client, and the fact that the entire "dinner" doesn't cost them a cent gives them a big thrill. Ways to mess with their heads:

* Have everyone call at the last minute and say they've been diagnosed with a ham allergy.
* Bring your own ham. Tell them you brought it just in case they didn't have any.
* Have everyone bring a different dish, eat everything but the ham, but refer to all the food as ham ("Can I get another glass of ham?" "My ham is a bit dry. Please pass the ham." "Wow, there's nothing like ham with a side of ham!").
Comment: #9
Posted by: Baldrz
Thu Dec 19, 2013 12:20 AM
LW1: I think you need to tell your family of your "preference" if for no other reason than to let them know that you will not be having children. It will also alert them not to ask any awkward questions.

LW2: I like sarah morrow's idea of sending out an email asking for help.. In my family, we've been battling the post-dinner attitude of the guys for years (they all go watch football while the "girls" clean the kitchen). What solved the problem: my sister installed a television in the kitchen and enlisted the help of the wives to get the "boys" into the kitchen. They get to watch their football and the kitchen gets clean in record time now.

So I guess my advice would be to make it FUN for people to help you out. Figure out what you can provide (similar to how Vesta handles it) and then ask who wants to bring what to round out the meal. If you are famous for something (your sweet potatoes? stuffing?) be sure to tell them you'll make that. Offer your recipes. The same sister who had the television installed in her kitchen is a fantastic cook, and one year she sent out a cookbook of all of our favorite recipes. Now she'll just say "Can you bring the beans? It's in the book."

I don't think you're being a martyr, but maybe your family feels your standards might be too high, or that you need to control the whole process. It's time to relax your standards a bit. Whatever help you get, praise it to the skies. Whatever food anybody brings, compliment it to the highest degree. Your family needs to be more interactive in it, and not feel like they are completing a homework assignment.

LW3: Here's the reality. When someone in your family marries someone, you have to treat the new couple as a unit. Divide and conquer NEVER works, and usually ends up with you being the odd man out. While your solution worked, I doubt it makes your son happy.
Comment: #10
Posted by: nanchan
Thu Dec 19, 2013 12:34 AM
Re: Johanna (6)

All I can think of is this may be some bizarre tradition? Or maybe she's overwhelmed and can't/won't admit it?

At any rate, I wouldn't ask her if I could bring something, I'd just bring something (and tell the rest of the family to bring stuff too). Just divide it up, one person brings the veggies, another the potatoes, etc. Compliment the ham to the skies.

Comment: #11
Posted by: nanchan
Thu Dec 19, 2013 1:03 AM
Re: nanchan
Re: LW#1 I have to disagree. A couple's timeline for having children is no one's business except that couple's. Since so many people feel entitled to answers to all their much-too-personal questions, even hinting that the woman in the relationship isn't able to have kids opens the door to nosy-nellies. When the question about having kids comes up (and it will), all any couple has to say is that they are just enjoying life as a couple, and if there is any news to report, the pertinent parties will be told. I can't see any situation whatsoever that the gender of birth of the transsexual person has to be a topic of conversation outside of the couple.
Comment: #12
Posted by: KJ
Thu Dec 19, 2013 2:40 AM
LW1 - To answer the LW's question -- I really can't see any reason why he should tell his family anything about the fact that his new girlfriend is a transsexual. I honestly can't think why the subject would come up unless he or his GF bring it up themselves. I certainly can't remember any member of my family asking me if any of my boyfriends or husband had ever been women! If the relationship progresses to the point where they marry and people ask about children, all he has to say (if he wants to answer the questions) is that his wife isn't able to bear children and let it go at that.
Comment: #13
Posted by: Kitty
Thu Dec 19, 2013 2:44 AM
LW2 - If the LW wants to continue hosting the dinners, then what she should do is simply tell people that she needs some help with the preparation and cleanup. Since she's been doing it on her own all this time, there's no reason for the others to believe she needs or wants any help unless she tells them. I think it's a little odd that no one offers to help, especially with the cleanup, but if she can't or doesn't want to do it on her own, then TELL them.
@ Joanna and the ham
That's definitely weird, and I've never encountered anything like that, but I like nanchan's suggestion that the rest of the family NOT ask if they can bring a dish, but just go ahead and DO it. Not knowing your SIL, I have no idea how she would react to that, but it's a possibility. At least everyone would have a balanced meal instead of just ham slices. Either that or eat dinner before you go and just think of the ham as "dessert" :D
Comment: #14
Posted by: Kitty
Thu Dec 19, 2013 3:04 AM
(sorry Johanna - misspelled your name. I apologize)
Comment: #15
Posted by: Kitty
Thu Dec 19, 2013 3:05 AM
Johanna and Baldrz - I myself would not be able to skip something so bizarre as a ham only dinner year after year, plus it makes a great story. I would be tempted to bring other ham related food or gifts to mock them - maybe cut out sugar cookies in the shape of a ham? A case of Hamm's beer? Party hats shaped like hams? There would have to be something to take advantage of this opportunity.
Comment: #16
Posted by: kai archie
Thu Dec 19, 2013 3:09 AM
LW1 - I can't see a reason to tell your family anything about this person's past. Is the problem that she looks more like a man than a woman? Did your family know her when she was a man? "Did your girlfriend used to be a guy?" Is not a question that ever comes up on its own. If you think your family is likely to discover this info on their own, you should probably tell them yourself, but otherwise, there's no reason for you to bring it up.
Comment: #17
Posted by: kai archie
Thu Dec 19, 2013 3:16 AM
It could be that he is worried that his family will notice and he is thinking it might be better if he justs tells them beforehand so that they will not be surprised when they meet her.
I know several transgender women with whom it was pretty obvious, but I know there are some transformations that are more successful. If his family won't be able to tell she is transgender then he doesn't need to tell them, at least not until the relationship is serious, they are thinking of marriage, etc.
Comment: #18
Posted by: Emmie G
Thu Dec 19, 2013 4:23 AM
LW2: It's an innovative concept called speaking up. Try it -- it may work.
Comment: #19
Posted by: Bobaloo
Thu Dec 19, 2013 5:15 AM
re: LW1

Now, if the LW had said "I recently met a woman that I am in love with. She is a transsexual." I would agree with KU. HOWEVER, the LW clearly states that he is attracted to transsexuals IN GENERAL (although he does admit he's attracted to one in particular right now).

I think Emmie said it best here. It would also depend on his family and how receptive and educated they are. It's a lot easier these days since people like Chaz Bono have gone through the process on television and shown how difficult it is. But there are some people who would think the LW is gay because he's attracted to transgender women.

The LW asks "How do I tell them?" which to me indicates he wants to "come out" as it were that this is not an isolated incident. My advice to him would be to discuss this the folks at PLAG, as they also handle transgender issues as well as lesbian/gay issues.

If the family were to find out (or God forbid confront the girl!), it would be disastrous for all concerned. The LW needs professional advice on how to inform his family of this before any of that happens.
Comment: #20
Posted by: nanchan
Thu Dec 19, 2013 5:31 AM
Re: kai archie (16)

I love that idea! Bring all the stuff in pig bowls, etc. That actually sounds like a lot of fun!
Comment: #21
Posted by: nanchan
Thu Dec 19, 2013 5:36 AM
Sorry, but being transgender does not make you female (or male), no matter how much you wish it was so or how politically correct it is to say so. Hormones and surgery can only do so much. I found the Annie's response here to be a bit hostile to the LW. Who says he's going to broadcast it? If this couple spends time around the LW's family, they are going to know she was born male, whether the LW says anything or not. I think what was the bigger issue here, is why does the LW care so much about whether his family thinks he's gay, straight or anything else? And why does he, and the Annies for that matter, have to put a label on this attraction at all? The heart wants what the heart wants. If the LW wants this transgendered person, that's who he wants. There's no need to label it, and the family will either accept it or not.
Comment: #22
Posted by: Jane
Thu Dec 19, 2013 5:48 AM
BTL has given me such holiday joy today!

First, JoannaKathryn's quip "...climb down off the cross, lady. Somebody needs the wood" tickled me because I was once told the first part of that, but the second part was new to me. Hilarious!

Then Johanna's ham story--that's a riot and like someone else said, I'd keep going just for the story.

The icing on the cake is Balderz solutions to the ham dinner. Priceless!

thank you all!!
Comment: #23
Posted by: Curl
Thu Dec 19, 2013 5:49 AM
We have recently started a tradition of having a big holiday meal on Boxing Day in the party room of my mother's condominium. Aside from being fully equipped with everything you could possibly need for a party, my mother sends out an email that says, "This is what I'm providing and this is what we need ..." and from then on it's a free-for-all with people debating and deciding what they will bring. Sometimes we're top-heavy on veggies, sometimes desserts, and sometimes appetizers - but it all gets sorted out, everyone helps (including the men), and everyone has a wonderful time.
Comment: #24
Posted by: TracyR288
Thu Dec 19, 2013 6:24 AM
Re: Johanna #6
Since they keep doing this year after year, it is obviously done on purpose. Since I am not in their (weird) mind, I cannot know for sure if it's terminal cheapness, the sadistic joy of spitting in the face of everyone with a smile, passive-aggressivity taken to an art form or a combination of the above (I think Baldrz may have nailed it), but I DO know what I would do about it if it were me.

Stop paying attention to their "Don't you dare" and plan the celebration somewhere else. If they get all indignant because their little fun was pulled out from under them, so be it. Why would you bother sparing the wittle feelings of anyone going out of their way to be such poor hosts?

Or you could do what nanchan suggests. And if she wails again, "What? You saying I can't cook?", you have my permision to say, "We're not saying you can't cook, I'm sure you could, but you don't, and we're tired of going hungry at your table because you won't".

P.S.: W-e-i-r-d.

@Jenna #7
"(who on earth doesn't realize how much work is involved in hosting a holiday dinner?)"
Actually, I have seen plenty who only have a very vague idea because they've never done it themselves, not to mention those who only think it's hard work when THEY do it. If you've never run across some of those, your real name must be Lilith and you're still in the Garden of Eden!

And besides, after all these years of her managing on her own, even the ones who do know what a lot of work it is won't know she now wants help. There are a lot of people who don't want to be invaded in their kitchen with a bunch of oafs who don't know where anything is and who are basically just underfoot, me being one of them. It looks like she used to be one of them too, only she's running out of steam. They can't know that, not knowing that doesn't make them stupid and I never suggested it did. So no, I don't need to credit the family with more intelligence, because I never suggested they were lacking any.

@nanchan #10
"I think you need to tell your family of your "preference" if for no other reason than to let them know that you will not be having children."
Why is he obligated to inform anyone at all that he will not be having children? This is extremely personal, not public domain. If the subject ever comes up and the LW actually feels like informing his family of anyhing at all, merely stating that his wife cannot have children suffices. The reason why is none of their business. Since when are they owed a complete medical report?

Comment: #25
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Thu Dec 19, 2013 6:32 AM
LW1 -

You don't need to say anything at this point. If you are in a serious relationship with a transgender woman, or if you date one that looks a bit "too" masculine, you can mention it to your parents. How you do so depends on how you think they will react, but likely they will be taken aback at first and get over it eventually, especially if they've already gotten to know and like her.

LW2 -

Just ask! I am sure some of them would be happy to help. If they don't volunteer, then stop hosting. It's not worth your building resentment - you guys can go to a restaurant instead.

LW3 -

Sounds like you're handling it as best as you can. Hopefully she will wake up some day.

Re: Baldrz

Hah! You're such a ham.

Re: nanchan

"if for no other reason than to let them know that you will not be having children."

I disagree. Just because he's attracted to transgender women doesn't mean he won't end up with a biological women. Or that he won't adopt. If he ends up in a serious relationship with a transgender woman, or one who is quite obviously a former male, then he can broach the subject. Otherwise he doesn't need to say anything.

Re: Jane

"Sorry, but being transgender does not make you female (or male)"

Yes it does, that's exactly what it does.
Comment: #26
Posted by: Zoe
Thu Dec 19, 2013 6:49 AM
Lise: you took that out of context (not surprising from you)

If you read my post 20, I go further into detail about this.
Comment: #27
Posted by: nanchan
Thu Dec 19, 2013 6:54 AM
Re: Jane (22)


The process of changing one's sex does NOT change the chromosomes of the individual. This has been highly controversial in sports, lots of debate on whether transgender females (who used to be male) can compete because there are some things that can't be changed by surgery.

Zoe, you bring up a great point that he COULD end up with a biological woman at some point. But so could a gay MAN. Would you tell the gay man not to be honest with his family about being attracted to men?

This is not the same thing, but similar. But the fact is the LW WANTS to come out to his family, and asks HOW. My advice in post 20 still stands.
Comment: #28
Posted by: nanchan
Thu Dec 19, 2013 7:03 AM
Why say the wife cannot have children? That more or less puts the "blame" on her. Just say the two of you don't want children. Give ANY reason if you feel you MUST give one: you don't want children growing up in today's culture of violence, you don't want children to interfere with both your careers, you don't feel you currently have the financial stability to start a family. If you want to give a reason without placing the decision/blame on your wife, say that you recently learned you are sterile and that you're not interested in adoption. NEVER initiate the conversation on the subject; jsut have ready, plausible responses without "implicating" anyone.
Comment: #29
Posted by: graham072442
Thu Dec 19, 2013 7:05 AM
Re: nanchan

"Zoe, you bring up a great point that he COULD end up with a biological woman at some point. But so could a gay MAN. Would you tell the gay man not to be honest with his family about being attracted to men?"

Oh, I don't mean to say that he should never tell his parents. I think it's unrealistic and unkind to expect him to keep such a "secret" just because it's "not their business". I'd say the same thing to a gay guy: if you aren't excited about coming out, wait until you're actually going to bring a guy home. But he doesn't need to tell his parents what he's attracted to. I think man boobs on slim/normal men are sexy but I haven't announced that to my parents (I know it's not the same thing, but you know what I mean - he doesn't need to tell them now).

I just don't think he should tell them now to inform that he won't be having children, because he could easily, easily end up having a children. There are many reasons that he should (sooner or later) tell his parents, but kids aren't one of them IMO. They may end up discussing kids as part of the "mom, dad, I wanted to tell you that Sarah is transgender" conversation, of course.
Comment: #30
Posted by: Zoe
Thu Dec 19, 2013 7:11 AM
Re: graham072442

I totally agree about not putting the blame on her if they decide not to have kids. They could even just say "we can't have kids, and we are okay with that, we might adopt in future" and no go into detail.

However, if anyone says this to me: "you don't want children growing up in today's culture of violence" Imma kick them in the nuts because seriously. Hah.
Comment: #31
Posted by: Zoe
Thu Dec 19, 2013 7:13 AM
Whatever happened to the concept of not making announcements about your intimate preferences? Oh - whoops - that must have been in the BF Days (Before Facebook) - but then the impulse asserted itself in braggart Christmas letters. LW1 asks "how do I tell them?" as if it were something that he had to tell. That he's generally attracted to transsexuals? That his particular squeeze used to be a man? Just zip your lip and carry on.

And I do have to agree with nanchan and Jane on this one - all the surgery and hormonal treatment in the world is not going to turn one sex completely into another. That's why I think there ought to be a pronoun that covers it. The terms "male" and "female" are specific to reproductive design - whether or not they function properly. A man who has undergone transsexual surgery does not suddenly have a woman's reproductive design and we can call him "her" to make them happy, but he is still not a woman.

Zoe, your analogy is off. A caterpillar, if it lives, will always become a butterfly. It is a stage of a species' growth. A male butterfly will never become a female butterfly - or a moth - or anything else.
Comment: #32
Posted by: Maggie Lawrence
Thu Dec 19, 2013 7:15 AM
Johanna: I never comment on here, but the ham story is hilarious. I would ask to bring a different friend every year so they could observe this bizarre ritual. It's like something from a Seinfeld episode.
Comment: #33
Posted by: Eldorito
Thu Dec 19, 2013 7:16 AM
Re: Maggie

I'm not off. I never said anything about a caterpillar.

And there are lots of animals that can switch genders with relative ease.

As for the male-to-female thing - I really don't see any practical use in refusing to call people what they want to be called - he, she, male, female or whatever. When it 'matters' (at the hospital, at the Olympics, etc) then yes we can specify biological gender. But in daily life? What's the point, other than to make people feel bad? They know they weren't born the gender they feel they are.

Comments like this: "we can call him "her" to make them happy, but he is still not a woman." what is the purpose? That is deliberately trivializing, dismissive and hurtful. Do you go around telling women who've had breast implants after breast cancer that they aren't REAL breasts, just silicone bags? That she can never breastfeed out of it?

I am surprised at some of the comments here... I though BTL was a more enlightened bunch than this...
Comment: #34
Posted by: Zoe
Thu Dec 19, 2013 7:29 AM
LW1: The Annies are incorrect. A transwoman has NOT necessarily gone through any surgery (many will not, as complete reassignment is expensive, painful, not covered by insurance, and worst of all- not perfected yet and can lead to significant loss of sensation). A transperson is someone who identifies as a gender contrary to their biological sex. That's it.
Comment: #35
Posted by: Jodie
Thu Dec 19, 2013 7:35 AM
L2 really needs to speak up about wanting help. Once she does that and people step up, she also needs to let them do stuff. Not saying that she is one of them, but I've seen way too many women who think they are the only ones who have ever set a table or washed a dish correctly.

Let them know you need some help and get them involved. Just keep in mind that they are adults, and you will be trading work for control.
Comment: #36
Posted by: Shirley
Thu Dec 19, 2013 7:40 AM
Jane and nanchan: your bigotry is showing, you might want to tuck it in.

Yes, trans surgery/hormones does make you the gender you truly are.
Comment: #37
Posted by: Hateful
Thu Dec 19, 2013 7:54 AM
LW2 - I like hosting Thanksgiving dinner, and I like having my guests there as --- guests. If I wanted to throw a pot luck, I would announce it as such.

You are not being used. The person issuing the invitation sets the agenda. They are behaving exactly like you have led them to believe you want them to. I don't know why you have pretended to want this for so many years, but it is your responsibility to tell people what kind of gathering they are being invited to.
Comment: #38
Posted by: Girl Scout Leader
Thu Dec 19, 2013 7:56 AM
LW1--I mostly agree with the Annies answer. If you met a lovely woman and she happens to be a transexual, then there is no problem with how you view your sexuality. If on the other hand you purposely sought out transexuals and one in particular has stolen your heart then there might be a deep-seated kink in your sexuality. In other words, you're not entirely straight; maybe a bit bent. But there again, it shouldn't be a problem because who you fall in love with or are attracted to isn't anyone's business but yours. It seems that the problem lies with your family. You seem desperate that they not view you as gay. Would that be the end of the world? If it would, then that is your family's problem, not yours. If you believe that being gay makes you flawed somehow, then please seek therapy. You are who you are, don't fight it or you'll just make yourself and anyone you love miserable.

LW2--I'm sorry but evidently you expect your family to be a band of mind readers. You took it upon yourself to take over the holiday dinner party from your mother-in-law, who apparently took care of the planning herself for years. Of COURSE your family simply expects the dinner to happen without their assistance; that's apparently been happening for years. If you want some help, you're going to have to speak up! It's unfair of you to simmer in your own stew as it were and resent your family when they probably have no idea you even WANT any help, much less need it. Next year, put out a note to a few family members to whom you're close and explain that if the family wants the dinner tradition to continue, you're going to need some help. Leave it up to them to recruit some helpers to pitch in with the groceries, help you prepare the meal, and to clean up afterwards. If the only response you get back is the sound of crickets chirping then let everyone know in advance that the dinner has been canceled. Maybe it's time for a new tradition.

LW3--No, don't stoop to your hateful daughter-in-law's level, but don't stand for her crap either. If she blatantly disrespects you, talk to your son about shortening his wife's leash.
Comment: #39
Posted by: Chris
Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:04 AM
@ Zoe Re: #34

"And there are lots of animals that can switch genders with relative ease."

I wouldn't exactly say gender bending animals can do so with "relative ease" but you bring up a fascinating topic. Usually if an animal is born with two X chromosomes, they're female while XY is always male. Interestingly though, there actually are a few animals that can in fact alter its gender completely, one being a type of Clownfish. If a male's mate dies, it will become female and pair up with a new male. This sort of thing actually happens with several species of fish. Many types of worms and snails are hermaphrodites meaning they possess both female and male genitalia. And then we have water fleas in which the entire population is female at first and reproduces by cloning to keep their numbers up. If they get too overcrowded, then males begin to hatch from dormant eggs and mate with the females who then lose their ability to clone themselves but lay new eggs that will hatch once the population drops too low. All of these tricks are of course to ensure that a species reproduces and survives into the next generation. I love nature!
Comment: #40
Posted by: Chris
Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:20 AM
Re: Chris

There is also a species of female-only lizards who also reproduce by cloning! Fancy.

PS - How do you know the clownfish's transformation isn't relatively easy? I'll ask one next time I'm scuba diving!
Comment: #41
Posted by: Zoe
Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:26 AM
Zoe, I don't "go around" telling any woman anything about her breasts - but that's because I don't know any women who "go around" announcing that they've had implants, or surgery, or whatever. And even if a woman did, I would smile and say "that's nice." Just as if someone thought he/she should "go around" announcing their gender preference, I'd give my best meaningless smile and say "that's nice."

And if you know of any mammal - ANY mammal - that can "change genders with ease", I would be fascinated to hear about it.
Comment: #42
Posted by: Maggie Lawrence
Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:32 AM
Re: Maggie

What does this have to do with "announcing" gender preference? Comments such as: "we can call him "her" to make them happy, but he is still not a woman." have nothing to do with how the information is learned. Maybe it's a close friend who told you, maybe you heard it through the grapevine. Maybe you could tell just by looking - who cares? But you'd be THINKING that her breast isn't real, no matter how much she wants it to be? That seems to be what you think with transgendered people, like you'll only extend them the courtesy of calling them the gender they identify as to "make them happy". Humoring them. How altruistic.

I didn't say "mammals", I said animals, and I'm not the one who brought it up in the first place. Why does this matter? Does a mammal need to do it for you to call a transgender woman "her" or "she" without being condescending about it?
Comment: #43
Posted by: Zoe
Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:47 AM
Some of us BTL have been commenting together for so long now that we're all on the same cycle! Either that, or the approaching holiday is making some of us a bit testy lately. God knows I've been a total b*tch the last couple days! People seem to be getting on my last nerve! I almost strangled a woman at Target yesterday with a string of holiday lights because she ran over my foot with her cart while trying to cut in front of me at the registers. Thankfully I still had on my steel toed shoes. Then I had to restrain myself from telling a screaming six year old that there was no Santa Clause after hearing him screeching about some toy he apparently needed more than oxygen for a half an hour. Thankfully his mother shoved a candy bar in his mouth in the nick of time which shut him up. Some creeper was stalking me for my parking place at the mall, so I purposely took a long zig-zagging route through the cars to get to mine. Thankfully I made it home without being killed by one of the dozens of people who were texting while driving or running through red lights. My point is, there is always something to be thankful for. 'Tis the season!
Comment: #44
Posted by: Chris
Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:01 AM
L1: I live near a couple where one spouse is transgender. My neighbors are probably some of the sweetest, most thoughful people you could ever meet. The husband began preparation to become a woman several years ago, with his wife's full support. He changed his name from Michael to Michelle, but in the eyes of the law, he is still a man. I took my cues from his wife (is Michelle a he or she to her?), but although she still refers to him as a he, they swap jewelry and wear each others clothes and have a good old time.
Jane is correct; biologically, Michelle will always be a he. No amount of surgery will change his chromosomes, which are still XY. But Zoe is also correct; the way society sees him will shift from male to female, and few Americans are going to demand a chromosome analysis to check if they're carrying the "correct" sexual identifiers.
My question to you, LW, is this. Are you genuinely attracted to this TG person for the right reasons? Does this person make you laugh, you have a lot in common, etc.? Or is it because this TG person is exotic and you're imagining kinky things? If the latter, do the TG person a favor and stay away. If it is true interest, this hardly makes you gay, to love the person the way she is now rather than how society saw her before. If anything, it could give you greater compassion for those who are different and are ridiculed for it.
L2: Get your younger grandchildren to help! Kids love to help and feel important, and even the littlest can help serve bread and bring out the cranberry sauce. The older ones can help do the dishes or load the dishwasher. If the parents get upset, just say you're bonding with your grandbabies, which you are. Maybe some of them will start stepping up after being shown up by a bunch of kids. :)
Comment: #45
Posted by: cadence
Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:10 AM
Re: cadence

I agree with everything you wrote but I wanted to comment on this:

"Or is it because this TG person is exotic and you're imagining kinky things? If the latter, do the TG person a favor and stay away."

We all have things we are attracted to - a certain race, hair colour, accent, body type, etc. I don't think it's necessarily bad to pursue people who have those traits because it is important to find someone you are physically into, as long as you make sure that your personalities are compatible before entering into a real, serious longterm relationship (because obviously the novelty and excitement does wear off - so there has to be something else there to support it).

Like if you just LOVE fat guys, then I'd say go out and look for fat guys - I am sure they would love to find someone who looks at them and is turned on by the thought of greasing 'em up and rolling around on their belly. Just make sure you get along outside the bedroom, you know?
Comment: #46
Posted by: Zoe
Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:20 AM
Re: Jenna>>

>>why don't you serve the dinner at your house? It sounds like everyone would have a much better time – no one needing to clean up, just fun times! Only make sure you aren't accused of being a martyr when you clear out the pizza boxes, bottles, glasses, paper plates – no desert? Do they need to bring their own utensils? Sounds like fun ;)<<

I have served the dinner at my house, several times, but my in-laws live in another state, so it's not like we can all get together in a few hours.

When I have the dinner, I prepare in advance, and, yes, I do spend hours getting everything ready, but it's because I WANT to. As far as utensils, we use the real silver. And dessert? Well, nobody has ever turned down my pecan or key lime pie or chocolate mousse loaf.

Afterwards, I'd prefer everyone leave the cleaning up to me, because I can clean everything up in about 15 minutes. If people insist on "helping," it takes at least an hour. And then, after my MIL has been here, I'll find things put away in the wrong places, despite me asking and begging her to "let me do it."

The bottom line is, I wouldn't do it if I didn't want to, and if I find myself feeling like a martyr, I won't. Holidays are a lot more fun when there's not somebody pouting about "having to do everything" in the kitchen.

Comment: #47
Posted by: Joannakathryn
Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:22 AM

I don't do holidays, but your experience is most strange. I had the feeling, as another poster does, that they are just doing it to make idiots out of all of you.

I guess you can either keep doing as you have, or bring food anyway and let them holler, quit going to their house and caving in to their whining, or have a family dinner the day before or after.

I lean toward you taking turns hosting and just letting them holler about it. Enough already.

Comment: #48
Posted by: jar8818
Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:31 AM
Re: Chris (29)

re: your response to LW1. Yes. That's exactly what I was trying to say.
Comment: #49
Posted by: nanchan
Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:32 AM
Re: nanchan #27
What context? Your post #20 had not appeared on my screen when I posted.

It doesn't change anything anyway, as I don't see anything in there that would justify him telling them anything. It may not be because he "wants to come out". It may very well be because he wrongly feels, like a lot of people who have been bullied into thinking that, that every question is owed an answer. Is not.

I hope he keeps this to himself. Not because it's a shame, but because it's private information, and because there is a lot of bigotry in the world. All he would do is set up his wife for rejection.

@Maggie Lawrence #32
"Zoe, your analogy is off. A caterpillar, if it lives, will always become a butterfly. It is a stage of a species' growth. A male butterfly will never become a female butterfly - or a moth - or anything else."
That was me, not Zoe. And I wasn't talking about what else a caterpillar can become besides a butterfly (nothing), I was talking about what it is now compared to what it once was. You find the analogy off only because you're looking at it from the wrong direction.

@Jodie #35
You are technically correct, but if this is the case for the LW and the object of his fancy, then he WILL have to develop gay tendencies in order to have sex because in that case, as much as "she" may identify "herself" as female, "she" still has a male body and male equipment.

@Zoe #43
"I didn't say "mammals", I said animals, and I'm not the one who brought it up in the first place. Why does this matter?"
Probably because the reproductive system of insects and fish is very different from that of mammals, which makes it possible for some of them to switch genders with relative ease, whereas mammals will have a much harder time. I completely agree with the rest of your post #35, though.

Comment: #50
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:33 AM
Johanna, I LOVE your ham story. It would be easy to bring a side dish, but this is so deliciously weird, I would have to see how long they keep this up! You will miss the lone ham when they are gone! Of course, you could say what Lise suggests, but I think it is funnier this way. As long as no one is watching their salt intake, that is. I think I would photograph the ham, post it on Facebook, and add all kinds of comments about how great the ham was. Then, when someone posts a comment like, what did you have with it, I would post, why, nothing, just the lovely ham!
Comment: #51
Posted by: Patty Bear
Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:33 AM
On LW1 -- There is a very good reason to tell family about a transgendered person's past that has nothing to do with bearing children and nothing to do with a person's sexual orientation and/or preference and nothing to do with whether the person "can pass" or not: this person started out life in one gender and changed to another and likely has spent most of his/her life the gender s/he was born with. While I've not been through this myself and do not personally know anyone who has, I have to assume that figuring out that one was born with body parts that don't match one's gender identity is a MAJOR discovery and that the entire experience and revelation is a defining factor in that person's life. While I can understand not wanting to talk about it, as many people are still very judgmental about this, to pretend like it didn't happen, doesn't matter and has nothing to do with who you are today just doesn't seem honest (and I mean honest to oneself, not simply honest with others).

And basically, in order to avoid talking about it, I would think that a transgendered woman would somehow have to pretend like her entire childhood (and likely most of her life) simply didn't happen and talk only of things that have happened to her since her surgery. I've never met someone who didn't talk about his or her childhood, teen years, college years (or, if not college, young adulthood, etc.). And, in all likelihood, in talking about some of those things, even though they may have ZERO to do with one's sexuality or gender, it would likely sound a bit off if a transgendered woman spoke of her days as a little boy without any sort of explanation.

It would be like if a woman who was born and raised Catholic converted to Judaism and wanted people to believe she had always been Jewish. This would require her to either lie about some things (like pretending she celebrated Hanukkah as a child) or avoid talking about anything that might reveal her previous religion. Basically, she would have to pretend like a defining moment of her life -- when she realized her entire belief system needed to change -- didn't happen. It could be done, of course, but it would likely come across as her trying to hide something about her past. No, she doesn't "owe" anyone the truth about her religious past, but she is going to have to deal with people interpreting her desire to avoid talking about stuff that most people wouldn't bat an eyelash at as her having something to hide -- and people generally assume (right or wrong) that someone would only hide something they considered to be shameful, when there should be no shame in having been born one religion and then converting to another.

The analogy isn't perfect, I realize, but it's the best I've got. And the bottom line is that there should be no shame in being transgendered -- but I do realize that many people today still would see that as something bizarre at best and shameful at worst. So, I'm not saying this is simple and straightforward. I'm just saying that this isn't the kind of "none of your business" that is so easy to keep to oneself.

Having said all of that -- I'm not entirely sure the LW is concerned about telling his family that someone he is seeing is transgendered (it's not even clear he's dating her yet -- he just says he's attracted to transsexuals and one transsexual in particular). I think he is concerned about telling his family that he is attracted to -- and generally prefers -- transgendered women over women who were born female. In other words, this isn't about "outing" the person he is dating, but rather about "outing" himself. I say this because nowhere does he talk about actually having a girlfriend to whom he wants to introduce his family. It's all fine and good that he is attracted to a particular transgendered woman -- but that doesn't mean she's attracted to him, and that doesn't mean they are dating. To be honest, he doesn't sound particularly concerned about what his family will think of the woman in question -- he's concerned about what they will think of him.
Comment: #52
Posted by: Lisa
Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:36 AM
Re: Lise B

"Probably because the reproductive system of insects and fish is very different from that of mammals"

Oh yeah I know - I just don't know why Maggie needs to see a mammal capable of changing its gender to validate a transgendered person or something.
Comment: #53
Posted by: Zoe
Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:41 AM
@Johanna: She must be one of the legendary Hamurai.
Comment: #54
Posted by: R.A.
Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:45 AM
Re: Joannakathryn (#47) -- Holiday dinners mean so much for our family that I know it would indeed “hurt” to find out that somebody attends the celebration with the attitude “I don't really enjoy going to my MIL's”. I would rather they claimed to be busy that day. People who come merely out of obligation tend to show their feelings in ways other than words – and it's not very appealing.

That you host dinners at your house and prefer people not to help is your choice. They offer, you decline. When someone traditionally hosts the holiday dinners, year after year, people should be observant enough to realize the job gets tougher as the years catch up to us, and have the class to offer to pitch in so the host can have an enjoyable time as well.

My sister once said if I didn't host these meals for our entire extended family, she didn't think anyone else could – just because of the size of my house. It is possible that is one of the reasons why LW2 is the only host, but she shouldn't be punished for it. Anyone who is interested enough to attend should at the very least offer to assist in anyway needed.

I agree with cadence (#45) asking the grandkids to help. In my experience the kids want to assist, even offering to come by the next day to ensure all is cleaned up. Siblings, not so much… hmmm.
Comment: #55
Posted by: Jenna
Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:47 AM
My first thought for LW2: Did you ever ASK for their help?
Comment: #56
Posted by: Paul W
Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:48 AM
My apologies for continuing ad-nausea – For all who say “did you ever ask for help?” Well, Joannakathryn's MIL did, therefore she doesn't enjoy going to the dinner's. My thought would be: therefore she shouldn't attend. Go ahead and tell MIL that you don't like to go, if effort must be extended on your side. See how you come across in that scenario. End rant..
Comment: #57
Posted by: Jenna
Thu Dec 19, 2013 11:00 AM
Regarding comment #33 Eldorito:
Yes, this does sound like a Seinfeld episode. I would suggest to the letter writer that next time, she should bring a marble rye ; )
Comment: #58
Posted by: Tinkerbelle
Thu Dec 19, 2013 11:53 AM
@ Johanna Re: #6

Your SIL seems like quite the ham. My theory is that in her mind she has perfected the art of cooking ham to the utmost of her ability and damn it if once a year she isn't going to make you all enjoy the fruits of her ample labor. She doesn't need any help because clearly only she can make a ham like this one. the paper plates and plastic silverware are intentional because no fancy china or sparkling dinnerware is going to compete for the attention that should rightfully be placed on her ham. I mean, why serve anything else when you have her utterly perfect ham? She obviously thinks that ham speaks for itself, don't you?
Comment: #59
Posted by: Chris
Thu Dec 19, 2013 12:02 PM
LW2 -- Like a lot of others, I suggest you simply ask for help. Honestly, if asking for help means people don't want to attend anymore, then you've got way bigger problems than having some pretty clueless family members.

In my family, Thanksgiving was a pretty big affair -- we're talking upwards of 30 people. But it was never a mega burden for just one member of the family because we had several rules:

1) Each family invited to the event took a turn hosting the event, so it rotated from house to house.
2) Each family invited to the event brought one dish. The host family provided the turkey and the stuffing. All the other side dishes, desserts, snacks, etc., were provided by someone else.
3) If you didn't help cook any food, you were expected to either help with set up and/or clean up.

My family isn't a group of perfect people living in Utopia, but everyone knew what was expected, and it just wasn't ever a problem. And it really wasn't hard figuring this out.

Then I married my husband and was introduced to his family's traditions. Their Thanksgiving was just for their immediate family -- mother, father and three sons (and then me). I figured that since it was a much smaller group, it would mean a whole lot less work. Not exactly. The mom did all the cooking and cleaning, the father and sons enjoyed the fruits of her labors and then sat their butts on the couch to watch football. When I attended my first Thanksgiving with them, I was appalled. I was the only one who thought to say, "how can I help?" I was the only one who automatically brought her dish to the sink (and then helped clear the whole rest of the table). At that point, I was too new to the family -- and too much in shock -- to do anything about it. But I was ready for the next big family meal. As everyone was finishing up theirdessert (but before anyone was already heading out the door), I said, "Sara, you have outdone yourself as usual. You've earned yourself a rest -- let us take care of the cleaning up." At first, the "boys" looked around as if the "us" must surely mean someone else. But I just smiled at my soon-to-be FIL and said, "Joe, I don't know where everything goes, so maybe you can help direct things." And, of course, I had already talked to my BF in private and told him this was one family "tradition" that should be put to an end, so he knew what I was going to do and was already helping to clear by the time I stood up.

No one pouted. No one complained. No one stopped coming or threatened to stop coming. The "boys" all chipped in -- and quickly learned that if they helped out with set up BEFORE the meal, they were less likely to get roped into cleaning up AFTER the meal, which meant they could get back to football sooner (and also was frequently of more help to my MIL than helping her with clean-up).

So, it was very, very easy to fix. And yes, as I said, I completely agree with everyone who said the LW simply needs to ask for help. But I also understand why the LW is upset that she even NEEDS to ask. Seriously, only an idiot doesn't get that this takes a lot of work. Even if you've never done it, you know it's a lot of work. And those who will claim "oh, but I thought she LIKED it this way..." that is a piss-poor excuse if ever there was one. Yes, I am well aware that there are people out there who prefer to do it all themselves (at least one BTLer noted that she preferred not to have the help with clean-up because then she could never find anything since things weren't put were they belonged -- I can relate to that, actually), but all you have to do is say, "gee, would you like any help?" and then the host can say, "no, no -- I have my own way of doing things and prefer to do it myself." So, again, yes, LW should just tell her family she needs help. But honestly, it's a pretty pathetic group of individuals who don't think to at least ASK, "how can I help?"
Comment: #60
Posted by: Lisa
Thu Dec 19, 2013 1:39 PM
"I think you need to tell your family of your "preference" if for no other reason than to let them know that you will not be having children."

It is completely ignorant to assume the LW will not be having children. He did not say he didn't plan on having children, only that he's attracted to transexuals, which in no way indicates he won't have children. It also isn't his family's business.
Comment: #61
Posted by: jjmg
Thu Dec 19, 2013 3:19 PM
Re: Jenna-- >>Go ahead and tell MIL that you don't like to go, if effort must be extended on your side. See how you come across in that scenario. End rant..>>

Believe me, if I could, I would, but for a lot of other reasons than all the cooking and cleaning. It's not "extended effort," but the fact that I don't feel comfortable working in somebody else's kitchen.

I could make a list of why I don't enjoy going there, ("helpful hint" comments about weight loss and her right-wing politics are just a couple) but a visit there is a 3-4 day occasion, and it's always the same. It's not just one holiday dinner.

And don't get me started on having to be with my religious fanatic, holier-than-thou sister-in-law, who ruined Christmas for us for years because she refused to let her kids believe in Santa. (Hehe--her grandkids do.)

The men eat, plunk down on the couch and watch TV. Then they eat, go out and play golf. Then eat, more TV. Eat, go skiing. While the women are expected to cook and clean up and cook and clean up and cook and clean up.

I enjoy cooking and cleaning up in my OWN kitchen, not somebody else's. And I'm perfectly capable of getting a meal on the table for myself and my own family, so there's no reason for her to think she has to constantly be cooking, but she does. She wants to wait on her husband and sons and thinks her DILs should, too.

Why should it only be the women who are expected to help?

Well, it's my holiday/vacation, too, and I'd rather eat out occasionally. I've told my husband that if I ever got to do anything I liked to do, I might enjoy going there more often. And believe me, I've made suggestions about going antiquing (she doesn't even know where the shops are), going to the movies (she doesn't approve of most modern movies), etc. I don't particularly care to sit and watch Faux News with her.

So with my own DIL, I've told her to stay out of my kitchen and I'll stay out of hers.

We used to host a Christmas Eve soup supper for after candlelight service for anybody who didn't have family plans. We've had as many as 20 people for that. Afterwards, I shoo everybody out of the kitchen and tell them to just visit. If it was too much of a chore for me, I wouldn't do it.

Pouting about having to do the work and playing the martyr don't make the holidays fun for anyone and defeats the purpose of having guests.

The LW today might find out that nobody cares if she makes the big meal or not, so she's probably doing it for herself more than anybody else.

Comment: #62
Posted by: Joannakathryn
Thu Dec 19, 2013 4:24 PM
I would go to the ham only dinner just for the stories! :) I would be veeery tempted to bring green eggs this year, though. ;)
Comment: #63
Posted by: Eliza167
Thu Dec 19, 2013 6:20 PM
Johanna, here is what to do about that holiday ham dinner:

Every December, Washington Post advice columnist Carolyn Hax devotes a good part of one of her Friday live chats to a Hootenanny of Holiday Horrors. These are tales of bizarre happenings, traditions, gifts, etc. that her readers have experienced.

Unfortunately, this year's Hootenanny just took place... but you simply MUST submit this for next year's event. It is a shoo-in.

Oh, and what you should actually do about the dinner? Well, if the tradition truly has outlived its unique charm, by all means just have everyone start bringing a dish to pass, with no prior clearance from the hostess. Make up some excuse if you must ("low sodium diet this year," "my neighbor made this and we'll never be able to finish it all ourselves" "I just couldn't wait to try this recipe!" ) but if everyone brings a dish, the hosts are hardly likely to bar you all. Just make sure you compliment the HAM above all and thank them for hosting. The nileage you've gotten and will continue to get from this story, though, is priceless.
Comment: #64
Posted by: hedgehog
Thu Dec 19, 2013 6:31 PM
Okay, been gone all day and now I see the discussion has gotten funny. But really Zoe, I can't resist this: "But you'd be THINKING that her breast isn't real, no matter how much she wants it to be? That seems to be what you think with transgendered people, like you'll only extend them the courtesy of calling them the gender they identify as to "make them happy". Humoring them. How altruistic."

It's irresistible because this sounds like a "thought police' problem to me, as in "Why is it anyone's business what I'm THINKING about someone else's breasts?" Not that I think of them, but still. And you did try to turn that into "what I think of transgendered people." But you know what? If I call a man transgendered female a "she" you're dern right it's "altruistic." Because it IS humoring him. So what?

And I'm not the one who tried to make lower life forms that can perform either sex role a part of the discussion. They have nothing to do with human transgenders - so bringing it up in the first place was just weird.
Comment: #65
Posted by: Maggie Lawrence
Thu Dec 19, 2013 7:49 PM
Re: Maggie Lawrence

Oh, please. "Thought Police"? This forum is exclusively people who just want to post and discuss what they think about things. All of a sudden it's hilarious that I'm commenting on what someone is thinking? I'm not buying it, Mags - that's the most transparent red herring I've ever seen.

"Because it IS humoring him. So what?"

Man, I never thought I'd see the day when the Annies are perfectly understanding and gracious, and YOU'RE bigoted! Tut tut.

"And I'm not the one who tried to make lower life forms that can perform either sex role a part of the discussion. They have nothing to do with human transgenders - so bringing it up in the first place was just weird."

Neither am I!

You're the one who keeps talking about it to me! I didn't bring it up and I certainly didn't compare them to transgendered people at all. I discussed it briefly because it's an interesting topic.
Comment: #66
Posted by: Zoe
Fri Dec 20, 2013 6:58 AM
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