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Anonymous Screenings on National Alcohol Screening Day

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Dear Annie: I want to share a personal story that I decided to be very public about: I'm a recovering alcoholic. The irony of my situation is that I made a successful career out of writing about using alcohol to cope with the stresses of parenthood in books and in my Web column.

Then one morning I woke up with the hangover from hell (I actually ended up in the emergency room), and that was literally the turning point: I got the message loud and clear that my life was a mess, and alcohol was making it that way. I remember when I "'fessed up" to the readers of my blog, "Baby on Bored." I was terrified that they'd think I was this enormous hypocrite. Instead, I got countless responses from women thanking me and recounting their own stories about their secret drinking.

April 5, 2012, is National Alcohol Screening Day(r) (NASD). Thousands of colleges, community-based organizations and military installations participate in NASD. One element of the day that people should know about is the free and anonymous screenings available online. The screenings help individuals assess whether they should visit a clinician or take a similar course of action to get a handle on their drinking. The screenings can be accessed anytime at howdoyouscore.org.

Alcohol is a problem for more people than one might think — including the "cocktail moms" I've written about. It's a health issue that's treatable, but it needs to be brought out into the open. National Alcohol Screening Day plays a big part in doing this. Sincerely — Stefanie Wilder-Taylor

Dear Stefanie Wilder-Taylor: Thank you for sharing your story and underscoring the importance of screening for alcoholism. Our readers have told us in heartbreaking letters how alcohol has destroyed their lives and those of their loved ones. Once again, those who wish to be screened can do so at howdoyouscore.org

Dear Annie: My daughter is getting married this summer, and my husband and I are upset about the informality of the groomsmen's attire.

They are planning to wear only tuxedo pants, shirts and vests. No tie, no jacket.

This is going to be a formal church wedding, and I have spent a lot of money on my daughter's dress. My husband feels this shows a lack of respect for my daughter. What is the best way to handle this without issuing an ultimatum? — Bride's Parents

Dear Parents: If you are not footing the bill, you don't have much say. Not to mention, this could be a way for the groomsmen to save money. If you are paying for everything, you should ask your daughter how she feels about it, and let her talk to her fiance. Otherwise, please stay out of it. What the groomsmen wear is of little importance to the rest of the day, and once they start dancing, the jackets and ties come off anyway. Creating ill-will before the wedding, however, will last a very long time.

Dear Annie: I didn't care for your response to "Senior Citizen Who Respects Women." You said: "Many readers pointed out that these women may not wish to have sex outside of marriage, a perfectly respectable position. If that's the case, however, they should tell him so he understands the ground rules and doesn't keep badgering them."

Why should the women have to explain themselves? Even if everyone else is having premarital sex, a lady doesn't have to give reasons for being inaccessible. And it's insulting to assume she would otherwise crawl in the sack. — Lois

Dear Lois: As a matter of etiquette, no woman is required to explain a refusal to become intimate. As a practical matter, however, if you want to keep dating a man who keeps asking about sex, it helps to explain your position.

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.

COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM



Comments

44 Comments | Post Comment
LW2 - lol, what would your ultimatum to these guys be? Dress the way I say or I'll ... I'll .. I'll... do what exactly? Forget the part about your money. That doesn't give you any more rights here than you would have without it, which is none whatsoever. Talk to your daughter about it if it bothers you so much. However, it's her wedding, not yours. If she isn't ok with what the wedding party is wearing, she & her fiancee' should work it out with them.
Comment: #1
Posted by: kai archie
Mon Apr 2, 2012 9:09 PM
LW2: I've never understood why so many people make such a big deal about their or their children's wedding day. The day is a fun time (if it's done right) but it's the marriage that counts. Does he treat your daughter well? Will he be a good father someday? Is the marriage a partnership of equals? That's what's important. Time for you and your husband to chill out.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Shaindy
Mon Apr 2, 2012 9:21 PM
Re: Shaindy

I so agree with you about weddings. Unless you are super rich, why do people waste tens of thousands of dollars on weddings? I have been to a few of those all for show weddings, where the whole bridal party go so far as to getting dance coordinators, and a few of them have ended in disaster. My family is not super rich, comfortable enough, but not with thousands to waste on flowers, over the top dresses, and just general waste. My only child, a son, is considering buying a house with his long time girlfriend, and it makes way more sense for us, his parents, to give him a very generous gift to help buy and remodel a house, than it would be to have an over the top wedding.

I admit, I get caught up in shows like "Say Yes to the Dress" sometimes, and it is fun to think of the elusive "ideal" wedding, but bottom line is that all those brides look alike in their strapless dresses, whether they cost $1,000 or $10,000. The only unforgettable brides I have seen latelyt are Ivanka Trump and Kate Middleton. No strapless, cookie cutter Kim Kardashian gowns for them.

I digress. Put your money where it makes sense if your budget is limited. If your daughter is happy with the wedding party, move on. There is so much more at stake.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Carly O
Mon Apr 2, 2012 10:41 PM
* * * * PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT * * * *

LW3 refers to the final letter on 25 January 2012 , which itself referred to the second letter on 16 December 2011.



Comment: #4
Posted by: Miss Pasko
Mon Apr 2, 2012 10:54 PM
My husband and I have attended many weddings from a wedding that lasted a week in India, to a quiet one on a windswept hill, to our own which was held in a dumpster (my husband was in the business) . We have heard the brides screaming because the songs did not start on time. People arguing over who said what to whom, and even one where the bride and groom were so drunk (our poor friends child) that they both had to be held up to say heir vows..that one lasted six months. I guess what I am trying to say is that this is supposed to be a joyful joining of two lives. Although I am sure that each bride wants the perfect wedding, the truth is hat your wedding is remembered among many others, and the only one who still things about it is you. Ask your daughter if here is a reason that they will not wear coats, listen to her, and hen make your decision.try to lighten up a little..it is a party for you to enjoy too because, hopefully, hey are not moving in with you!
Comment: #5
Posted by: Sarah
Mon Apr 2, 2012 10:59 PM
LW2 - Just WHAT ultimatum are you planning on issuing? That you'll refuse to let your daughter marry him? You'll take back the wedding dress? You won't attend? That's ridiculous! It's not YOUR wedding and if your daughter is OK with the groomsmen's attire, it's none of your business! If she isn't, then it's between your daughter and her future husband. BUTT OUT!
Comment: #6
Posted by: Kitty
Tue Apr 3, 2012 2:39 AM
LW2 - Just WHAT ultimatum are you planning on issuing? That you'll refuse to let your daughter marry him? You'll take back the wedding dress? You won't attend? That's ridiculous! It's not YOUR wedding and if your daughter is OK with the groomsmen's attire, it's none of your business! If she isn't, then it's between your daughter and her future husband. BUTT OUT!
Comment: #7
Posted by: Kitty
Tue Apr 3, 2012 2:39 AM
LW1: Good for you, and continued wishes for success in your sobriety.

LW2: For all you know, your daughter was in on the idea of the groomsmen's lack of jackets. If she's fine with it, you have no reason to think that there is a lack of respect shown. There are so many variations for types of weddings nowadays, you should be happy they aren't wearing bathing suits on a beach. You're getting fixated on a detail and missing the big picture here. Smile, have fun at the wedding, and be supportive of your daughter and son-in-law-to-be.

LW3: I'm a little confused... are you saying that a proper lady should continue to date a man under false pretenses, then? Stringing him along without letting him know that they aren't on the same page in terms of premarital relations? That hardly sounds refined or ladylike either.

Once it becomes clear that a gentlemen is hoping for a more physical relationship after a few dates, if a lady is absolutely certain she won't agree, she should figure out some way to let him know -- that's called "being honest".
Comment: #8
Posted by: Mike H
Tue Apr 3, 2012 3:28 AM
LW1 - Continued success to you in your sobriety! A good friend of mine has been sober for a few years now and I couldn't be more proud of him!

LW2 - Leave it alone. It's not your wedding. You already had yours. If that's what your daughter and her fiance have agreed on, so be it. I, too, am curious as to what your ultimatum would be? Not to attend? My control freak grandmother threatened my mother many times that she wouldn't go to her wedding and my mother laughed and said, "Fine, your choice. I'm getting married whether you're there or not!" Would you really miss your own child's wedding over some ties and jackets?
Comment: #9
Posted by: Michelle
Tue Apr 3, 2012 4:13 AM
LW2: Lady, you need to listen to yourself -- an "ultimatum"? Really? You going to dock your daughter's allowance? Refuse to bless the proceedings with your presence? Over what the GROOMSMEN are wearing?

Look, here's the deal. Parents are a BIG DEAL in their children's lives up until age 18. Kids pretty much HAVE to listen to them and do as they say.

Some parents get WAY too comfortable with this dynamic, and forget that once the kid is of legal age, the kid has zero obligation to keep them in his/her life. Got that? ZERO. The power structure flips. Think about it: we are talking marriage, pregnancy, GRANDKIDS, helping you in your old age. No enforceable obligation whatsoever -- the relationship you will have exists SOLELY because of goodwill.

Which you are considering destroying, or at least severely damaging, all because of what her fiance's friends and relatives are wearing at your DAUGHTER'S wedding. You don't sound like the parent of a 2-year-old; you sound exactly LIKE the 2-year-old who wants her way or she'll hold her breath!

You and your husband had your chance to plan your dream wedding, back when you got married (and if you chose to let YOUR mom have HER way because SHE was paying, well, that was your choice, too). This is your daughter's wedding, and the groomsmen's attire has zero reflection on you.

"Hmm. Well, that will make for some interesting photos in about 10 years" is about the most you can say, and I think you'd be smart not to say that.
Comment: #10
Posted by: hedgehog
Tue Apr 3, 2012 4:15 AM
To LW#1-------Excellent cause to promote, but did you need to include the shameless plug for your books and your blog? You could have just as well made the statement without that bit of info.
I hope everyone reading does do the screening if there is the slightest reason to suspect he/she has a problem with alcohol. It can ruin so many lives.
-----------
To LW#2--------You are a control freak. Butt out. You presumably controlled YOUR life--------now leave your daughter alone to control hers. If she wants to get married with the wedding party all wearing gunny-sacks, she can.
I hope she will be living far away from you, otherwise you have the potential to interfere to the point of ruining her marriage and her life. Hopefully she won't let you.
---------------------
Re LW#3-------I don't think the Annies ever said a woman needed to explain WHY she doesn't want sex outside of marriage, just THAT she doesn't want it. It's good to be clear about expectations, on both sides. If the man is clearly indicating, by words or actions, that he does want sex, she needs to be equally clear that she doesn't. Then he can go on and find someone who wants it, and she can find someone who doesn't. Better for everyone if that is made clear from the get-go.
Comment: #11
Posted by: jennylee
Tue Apr 3, 2012 5:37 AM
LW2: Look, parents have been objecting to things their kids do since the beginning of time. I'm pretty sure the caveman parents were SHOCKED when their younguns came in wearing those crazy pelts.... I know my mother's mother told her she could never wear shorts after she had a child (?) and my own mother thought I was nuts to wear pink with red. My daughter wears some crazy stuff, she has a friend who wears cat ears and platform shoes all the time.... yikes! I'm afraid the little kitty cat is going to fall down!

... but what is more important to me is that my daughter is a good kid, that her friends are all nice and respectful. If she got married tomorrow, I wouldn't give a fig what anybody wore, but I would sure be worried about the character of said new son in law to be (her new boyfriend is very nice, but they are years away from being married).
LW2: you are totally focusing on the wrong things. You should be more concerned about the couple and helping them prepare for a LIFE together then what the groom's men wear.

PS: you sound like a frustrated wedding planner to me. If you are that concerned about details, then go into the business and stay out of your daughter's day.

LW3: I agree! Why should it be assumed that a woman of ANY age is going to put out??? Plus, can you imagine an elderly lady , who possibly has only slept with her husband, having that conversation on a first date? (shudders)

A woman at any age does NOT have to explain why she doesn't want to have sex and it should not be assumed that because she is provided dinner that she has to have sex. To assume that a woman will "give you some" if you feed her or take her out is to tacitly imply that she is a prostitute. Sex should be a bi-product off mutual attraction and that has nothing to do with who pays for dinner.
Comment: #12
Posted by: nanchan
Tue Apr 3, 2012 6:21 AM
@LW2: Letter writers like this just piss me off. Weddings come in all shapes and sizes. Whether it was my dad's rocking white suit he wore in the 70's, or the giant shoulder pads in the bridesmaids dresses of the 80s, or the big ole bangs that can be found on countless brides in the 90s. None of this should matter. A wedding is just a party to celebrate the most important aspect: marriage. As shaindy so perfectly put it “it's the marriage that counts.” In the day of bridezillas, and “bigger is better” and one up-menship, people are forgetting what weddings are all about it. Just because you have a jewel encrusted gown, doesn't mean you're going to have a more successful marriage than the woman who wears a suit at her wedding at the courthouse. Maybe I'm a little desensitized, because I live in the Midwest and I've seen some HICK weddings in my day. I've also seen very formal weddings. My sister had an extremely formal wedding. Just let your daughter and her fiancé do their thing. It's not a reflection of their marriage anyway.
Comment: #13
Posted by: Casey
Tue Apr 3, 2012 7:39 AM
In addition to the irk prompted by LW2 and her delusion that paying for the wedding dress entitles her to dictate how the wedding goes in any regard, I had a funny mental picture. So let's say LW2 doesn't like the tux-with-no-jacket idea and DOES take back the wedding dress in a fit of pique. Exactly what would the bride wear, then? Maybe a tux with no jacket? Ha!

Chances are that no matter what the bride wears, LW2 sounds like the kind of mother-in-law who will gripe about the crappy wedding pictures (because the groomsmen wore no jackets) until the bride celebrates her golden anniversary. Honestly, lady, it's one damn day. If money is so important to you, maybe you should've kept your dough instead of thinking it would buy you leverage in the wedding plans. Instead of worrying so much about appearances and money, maybe you should think about your daughter and whether she's marrying a decent guy who will make her happy. Is that not the important thing, after all?
Comment: #14
Posted by: limniade
Tue Apr 3, 2012 7:51 AM
@nanchan, I think the issue with LW #3 is not the idea of the *assumption* that all women will have sex if you take them out to dinner, but the idea that she shouldn't even have to TELL her date that she doesn't believe in premarital sex. She seems offended that she should even HAVE to say "no, I don't do that".

And I disagree with that attitude, because I think honest communication is an important part of the dating process. If a woman *hides* the fact that she doesn't believe in premarital sex but continues to date a man who obviously does believe in it, then the woman is being deceptive, stringing the guy along, and I can't say she's exactly standing on the moral high ground there.

But I agree with your point -- in fact, no one should assume anything about someone they are just starting dating -- that's why dating exists, to get to know someone better and to have fun while you do it, discovering whether or not there is any long-term potential.

Getting offended that she should have to be honest with someone she's dating, though, is not a position to LW3's credit.
Comment: #15
Posted by: Mike H
Tue Apr 3, 2012 8:16 AM
Re: Mike H
I think that a lot of the disagreement about what should and shouldn't be told Re LW3 was in the interpretation. And quite possibly men are interpreting differently than women - especially dating women. I read the original letter and was annoyed because since my divorce I've been on more than a few dates. Too many times the subject of sex and whether or not we would be having it came up. I *was* offended because how on earth did this guy assume he was even going to get a second date let alone hit a homerun with me? No guy that has approached sex on the first date has ever had a second date with me, because I know that that is the guy I would have to be fending off and saying no to. Not worth it.
That was the impression I got from this LW - that he felt it was the woman's responsibility to let him know that they weren't interested in sex - not after building a relationship, but pretty much right away so that he didn't invest any time if he weren't getting any.
If a woman is continually dating a man, then absolutely the subject will come up and she should explain where she stands.
Re LW2 - where do these people who think they have the right to dictate so much about things that really mean so little. How sad that she would have so many strings attached and be willing to insert ill-will into her relationship with her new son-in-law. An ultimatum...I have never seen anyone get what they want out of an ultimatum, or be happy with what they got even if the got what they wanted.
Comment: #16
Posted by: kristen
Tue Apr 3, 2012 9:24 AM
LW2: What the bride and groom, and wedding party, wear is no one's business except the bride and groom. I do think it would be nice for the groom to have a jacket available for a couple of pictures. Let the bride's parents have a "traditional" bride and groom picture to hang on the wall, but I wouldn't go beyond that.
Comment: #17
Posted by: Girl Scout Leader
Tue Apr 3, 2012 10:17 AM
@kristen, ah, sure, but thanks to Miss Pasko's public service announcement, I read that the original LW was talking about "after a few dates", not on a first date.

I agree that expecting or even discussing sex on a very first date is a bit much! But "after a few dates' it's not at all unnatural for the subject to be broached, either directly or indirectly... in which case today's LW3's position "Why should the women have to explain themselves?" still fails the sniff test as far as I'm concerned. After a few dates, you either let the guy know you won't sleep with him before marriage, or you let the guy go without explanation -- but you do NOT keep dating him AND refusing to let him know that sex is off the table.

And it seems we're in agreement on that point, if I understand you correctly!
Comment: #18
Posted by: Mike H
Tue Apr 3, 2012 10:34 AM
@Mike H & kristen -- I haven't used Miss Pasko's PSA, so I admit I might be wrong about this, but if I'm remembering correctly, the original LW came from an older man (post-retirement age), which presumably means he is also then dating post-retirement aged women. Most women in that age bracket were raised before the advent of the Pill and the sexual revolution, making them far less likely to just hop in the sack after a few dates (if ever, without a ring). I would hazard a guess that "Lois" is post-retirement age herself. She figures that if it's clear that she's a lady, then it should be clear to the gentleman courting her that 1) she's a lady and 2) ladies don't have casual sex, and therefore,there's no need to have any discussion. I don't happen to agree with her stance, but I think that's where she's coming from. To be honest, I find it a little surprising that the horny old goat doesn't get that himself!

I agree that no one (male or female -- but yes, usually female) should have to explain WHY s/he doesn't want to have sex, and no one (male or female -- but yes,usually male) should EXPECT sex just because s/he paid for dinner or what have you. And I also agree that while no one should have to explain why s/he doesn't want to have sex, one should certainly be honest about whether it's ever going to happen or not.
Comment: #19
Posted by: Lisa
Tue Apr 3, 2012 11:21 AM
Re: Mike H
First, I have to address my grammar use! "...so that he didn't invest any time if he weren't getting any." I actually know how to use wasn't vs weren't :)
We are in agreement, Mike, though I still have issue with even a "few" dates. I mean, yes, people are jumping into bed at this stage of dating, but I don't think all that many people really are. I'm nowhere near the age of retirement, but even a few (meaning 3) is too early for any guy to think we're ready to go to bed. At this point I'm just considering if I'm going to let the guy know where I live...and haven't a clue if I'm going to like him 3 weeks from now (I think it's good to maintain interest in someone I'm intimate with.) If someone had that attitude with me - the you should let me know if/when I can expect sex - at date 3, well, I can tell you he wouldn't be standing near me again.
Maybe my exception to the original LW was more that he actually thinks and believes that he is respectful to women. What I took away from his letter was the same feeling I get from all those self-proclaimed "nice" guys. Personally, I'm dating a very nice, very respectful guy and his attitude towards things is miles away from the "what can I get" attitude portrayed with that guy. LW was about getting some, vs a respectful stance is knowing the woman and sex being a (major) bonus that comes with knowing her. Well, from my point of view, anyway :)
And Lisa, I think you are right about the generational impact of the women's attitudes, including this recent LW. I'm surprised this guy doesn't get that either. Then again, who knows what is really going on in the retirement community...after all, they say that that age range is where they've seen the greatest increases in HIV and STDs.
Comment: #20
Posted by: kristen
Tue Apr 3, 2012 12:07 PM
LW2 - A note about weddings. My one cousin and her husband didn't have a lot of money but they wanted their family and friends to be a part of their wedding day. So they decided to get married in a park and had a "cookout reception" with burgers, dogs and salads. It was in July, and we all wore shorts and t-shirts. My cousin wore a simply, white sundress. They also set up badmitten and horseshoes and there were swings and such for the kids. It was a very fun wedding! Nobody cared that it "didn't look proper." All I remember from that day was seeing a happy couple and having fun with family and friends.
Comment: #21
Posted by: Little Cookie
Tue Apr 3, 2012 12:24 PM
RE: LW2 -- And we wonder where Bridezillas come from?
Comment: #22
Posted by: Lisa
Tue Apr 3, 2012 12:25 PM
Re: Lisa

I think you mean Momzillas :)
Comment: #23
Posted by: Little Cookie
Tue Apr 3, 2012 12:29 PM
@Little Cookie -- no, I really did mean Bridezillas. Yes, the LW is a Momzilla, for sure. But what I meant was that the reason there are little girls who grow up dreaming of "the most important day of their lives" and then become Bridezillas is because there are Momzillas out there feeding them that pap. Ergo, where do Bridezillas come from? From women like LW2!
Comment: #24
Posted by: Lisa
Tue Apr 3, 2012 12:48 PM
Most women in that age bracket were raised before the advent of the Pill and the sexual revolution, making them far less likely to just hop in the sack after a few dates (if ever, without a ring). I would hazard a guess that "Lois" is post-retirement age herself. She figures that if it's clear that she's a lady, then it should be clear to the gentleman courting her that 1) she's a lady and 2) ladies don't have casual sex, and therefore,there's no need to have any discussion.
I don't happen to agree with her stance, but I think that's where she's coming from. To be honest, I find it a little surprising that the horny old goat doesn't get that himself!
*********
Reality check: Original LW said he's 72. The Pill was first introduced in the 1960s. Fictional TV character Mary Richards (you know, the one who could turn the world on with her smile) considered going on The Pill, and according to her character bio, she was born in 1939, making her 73. Noted groupie Pamela des Barres turns 64 this year. The generation just entering retirement communities is the one that invented the free love movement.

Yes, many women were not part of it. Still, I don't think it's fair to thwack the original LW with a thimble (or label him a "horny old goat" -- that is ageism). It's entirely possible that he had sex with women of his generation in the 1960s!

What's more, it's entirely possible that he supposes the reasoning for the virginity until marriage was primarily to prevent a woman from being left with a fatherless child -- and that's not so far off the mark, speaking from a societal point of view. But neither virginity nor pregnancy are primo concerns for widows living in retirement communities.

Of course, casual sex is anathema to many women (men, too) for some other, very good reasons, none of which need to be shared with a date who is pushing for intimacy. (STDs, emotional vulnerability, physical safety, are a few of those reasons.).

But if you are getting to know someone, part of that entails their views on sex -- is it good? is it bad? is it physically possible? does it take place only after marriage? Yeah, two people who are seeing each other in a romantic context DO need to disclose this kind of thing, out of fairness. Lois's letter today fairly reeks of "I'm entitled to dinners and gifts and entertainment and making him THINK I'm interested, but I don't have to have sex and I don't have to tell him that I'm never gonna give it up, either!" That's pretty insulting, too.

Allowing things to proceed on the assumption that "of course, if we marry there will be sex" can lead to some bitter disappointment for newlywed husbands married to women who have sworn off all sex, and for new wives who loved their husband's gentlemanliness during courtship, only to find he suffers from ED and has no interest in any physical relationship.
Comment: #25
Posted by: hedgehog
Tue Apr 3, 2012 12:52 PM
@kristen -- I am so with you on this. On a different column at creators just a little while ago, a woman our age (I think you said earlier you're 40? I'm 41) wrote in and said she's recently divorced and has rejoined the dating pool, and she wanted to know how long she had to wait before having sex with a guy. Basically, she wanted to have sex ASAP without being thought an "expendable floozy" by the guy in question. There was some discussion about the 3rd date being the sex date. I have heard this before, too, and I'm just floored by it. I mean, whatever works for other people is none of my business, but personally, I can't imagine sleeping with someone I barely know -- and after three dates, IMHO, I barely know someone. And let's put aside the double standard-esque morals BS about being "easy" or "loose," because that's not even an issue in my book -- let's just talk about practical safety. Sex puts people -- especially women -- in a highly vulnerable position. I'm only doing that with someone I know and trust. It takes me more than three dates to build that kind of trust. It's not my job to suggest how long it takes anyone else to build that kind of trust, I just can't imagine it happening in three dates for me (unless, of course, it's someone I've been friends with for a long time before we started dating).
Comment: #26
Posted by: Lisa
Tue Apr 3, 2012 1:01 PM
@hedgehog -- you're right, I hadn't done the math (but then, I also didn't remember exactly how old the guy was). As you point out, however, a lot of women didn't immediately run right out and get the Pill and start jumping in the sack with men on the third date. And even with a "revolution" the effects often take a long time to really take hold. My mother will be 67 this year. She and I have had a number of very frank talks, and I can tell you with all certainty that she has slept with exactly one person -- my father, who will be 74 this year. Thanks to the Pill, she did have sex with before they married,and thanks to the Pill, they were able to plan when they had children and how many. For her, it was a "revolution" that she could "safely" have sex with the man she intended to marry before actually marrying him, and it was a "revolution" that she could basically choose when/if to have children and how many.

And you'd be surprised at the difference seven years can make, because from those frank conversations with my mother, I also know that having sex before they got married was my mom's idea, not my dad's. He was (pleasantly) surprised that my mother was up for it -- he just assumed she wouldn't be.

So, like you said, maybe this guy was having sex with more "liberated" women in the 1960s and is truly astonished to discover that some women aren't quite so liberated.

And you are also right that perhaps I shouldn't have referred to him as a "horny old goat" -- but then again, he shouldn't be expecting women of ANY age to be ready and willing to jump in the sack with him. While the "old" part was ageist on my part, I can assure you I'd feel the same way (but perhaps would use a different term) for a younger guy who felt similarly entitled to sex.

Still, just to be sure I'm being clear -- you are absolutely right that I had the math wrong. And you bring up a number of other excellent points, such as the fact that for some of those post-retirement aged women who "held out for marriage" a few decades ago see no reason to "hold out" now, since they have long since lost their virginity and pregnancy isn't an issue for them (which is the reason that, as kristen pointed out, one of the fastest-growing demographics for STDs is the retirement community crowd -- they figure no one's going to get pregnant, so no need for condoms).

And I also definitely agree that the "I'm entitled to gifts and dinners..." bit is just as insulting as "I'm entitled to sex..." People embarking on real relationships need to be able to talk openly about sex -- and that's true at any age. To be honest, I didn't get the impression that original LW was all that interested in "real relationships" -- he sounded like he was interested in just having sex.
Comment: #27
Posted by: Lisa
Tue Apr 3, 2012 1:41 PM
@hedgehog -- P.S. maybe we need to introduce the original LW to Pamela des Barres!
Comment: #28
Posted by: Lisa
Tue Apr 3, 2012 1:42 PM
So - what's wrong with "horny old goat" if that's what he is? Some people are old at 50 - some not until 85 - it's a perfectly good word. At 63, I'm pretty sure there are plenty who consider me "old." So what? I think calling people "ageist" is just another way to make people terrified of their own shadows when they open their mouths.
Comment: #29
Posted by: Maggie Lawrence
Tue Apr 3, 2012 2:03 PM
@Maggie Lawrence -- LOL. The funny thing is, the term I'd have used for a younger guy -- which could certainly be used just as easily for the older guy -- was actually not nearly as kind as "horny old goat," so go figure.
Comment: #30
Posted by: Lisa
Tue Apr 3, 2012 2:25 PM
LW1--The only thing I can add to this LW are these wise words: "All things in moderation...including moderation." In other words, alcohol is not the problem, rather, abuse of alcohol is the problem. Having a drink or two after work or in the evenings to wind down after a stressful day or having a few cocktails out with friends on the weekend isn't unhealthy. Binge drinking to the point of passing out or waking up with the "hangover from hell" are problem signs. There are some who simply cannot handle alcohol; these people will drink until they completely lose control of their faculties and judgment. Others will achieve a light buzz and then call it an evening. My advice is to figure out what type of drinker you are and if you discover you cannot drink without doing so dangerously and excessively then avoid drinking altogether and avoid places that are serving alcohol.

LW2--"My daughter is getting married this summer, and my husband and I are upset about the informality of the groomsmen's attire." I almost stopped reading your letter right there. Sorry mom, but this is your daughter's and her fiance's wedding; not yours and your husband's. How they choose to attire the bridesmaids and groomsmen are really not your concern. That the wedding is taking place in a church or that you spent a lot of money on the dress or the ceremony is irrelevant and has nothing whatsoever to do with respect. If you want to figure out the perfect way to cause undue stress or alienate your daughter, her new husband and possibly his family and their friends then go ahead and make a stink over the groomsmen's outfits. Is it really worth it? The answer is no. My advice is to zip your lips and be happy for the bridal couple. Look at the bright side, all eyes will be on the spectacular wedding dress you paid for and not on the duller attire of the groomsmen.
Comment: #31
Posted by: Chris
Tue Apr 3, 2012 3:00 PM
And you are also right that perhaps I shouldn't have referred to him as a "horny old goat" -- but then again, he shouldn't be expecting women of ANY age to be ready and willing to jump in the sack with him.
*******
Well, I don't think we knew that he is -- his letter wasn't clear on that at all. He just said he brought up the topic, and he didn't mention in what context. He described himself as behaving gentlemanly, which I take to mean he wasn't pawing or prodding. or leering. I don't think asking whether something is a possibility is the same thing as "assuming" (as Lois says today) or "expecting" (your words) that she is "ready and willing to jump in the sack with him".

f sex is important to him, I think he's right to bring up the question. I do wonder if perhaps he is bringing it up in an inappropriate way, if this is the response he's getting from ALL women he dates. If he's all, "well, I've been patient, but it's been 3 weeks now -- whaddya say we get to it" then, yeah, that's an icky assumption.

If, however, they've been eating meals together, he repaired a stopped clock for her, she's dropping off homemade cookies and they've been out together a few times and their friends are seeing them as an item, I sure don't see it as presumptuous for him to say, "Look, I like spending time with you, and have very much enjoyed getting to know you better. I'm starting to care for you, to the point where I don't want to see anyone else. I'm not the kind of guy who plays around. But I have to be fair to both of us. I'm very physically attracted to you, and if you're not physically attracted to me, this isn't going to work out. Let's be clear -- I'm not pushing you into something you may not be ready for, but I AM asking you where you feel sex fits into a romantic relationship?"

Maggie Lawrence, I don't think this guy is necessarily a "horny old goat" -- which to me connotes a guy who's behaving inappropriately. I don't know that wanting sex in the context of a romantic relationship makes someone a horny goat. I don't get anywhere in his letter that he's pursuing them simply in hopes that he'll get sex? I'm getting that he thinks it's vital to make sure he doesn't end up marrying someone who informs him that she thinks sex is disgusting and she's having no part of his nasty little desires because sex is for making babies so she doesn't have to put up with that nonsense anymore.
Comment: #32
Posted by: hedgehog
Tue Apr 3, 2012 3:18 PM
@hedgehog -- I still haven't gone back to re-read the letter, so I honestly don't know if he was being inappropriate or not. I think we pretty much agree on the idea in general that people should be honest about what they do and don't want with regard to sex. If the LW was doing something similar to the "Look, I like spending time with you..." scenario you suggest, then I would agree there is nothing presumptuous or inappropriate about that. If it was more along the lines of the "well, I've been patient..." scenario, then he's being a jerk. We none of us know which way he is approaching this. Like you, I would guess that if he's getting negative responses over and over again, I'm going to bet he's being a jerk.
Comment: #33
Posted by: Lisa
Tue Apr 3, 2012 3:50 PM
@kristen, no worries, this "typing into a white screen with grey letters" set up means that I've made far more than my share of spelling and grammar errors, and I'm not going to cast aspersions on anyone. Only if there is some misunderstanding based on grammar or spelling will it become an issue!

I think we're all mostly in agreement that honest communication is generally a good thing -- if nothing else, to weed out potential mates with values that are too different from our own to make continued dating worthwhile!

But I don't know if the issue is that the original LW was *expecting* sex by date number three, or if he was raising the subject of sex "after a few dates"... which of course are different things. I think these guys you speak of dating, kristen, are self-selecting themselves OUT of a relationship, and you have every reason to be suspicious of guys with those expectations. (And that's not to say that I think having sex on the third date is a bad thing if it happens, it's the expectation that it SHOULD happen by the third date that I would disagree with).

I think, without knowing the original LW's exact moves, that it's impossible to judge if there's merit to his complaint or if he's the one being a bit clumsy, heavy-handed, or creepy. But, regarding today's LW3, I think it's ultimately pretty clear that she's only hurting herself with such a policy of silence -- and it's not that women have to *explain* themselves (which isn't what the Annies said anyway!), but that women who don't believe in premarital sex ought to say so, in some fashion, at an appropriate point in a new dating relationship -- and ESPECIALLY if the subject arises in some way.

There's no value for LW3 to keep her feelings to herself out of some strange sense of "ladies don't have to explain themselves!", because all it does is extend the life of a dating relationship that isn't going to end well anyway. And what's the point of prolonging the agony?
Comment: #34
Posted by: Mike H
Tue Apr 3, 2012 5:10 PM
@ Mike H

"...this "typing into a white screen with grey letters" set up means that I've made far more than my share of spelling and grammar errors..."

Ah, I assume you're using Internet Exploder on Windows. In Mozilla Firefox on Linux, I have black letters in a white box, and spell checking! :-) Try Firefox on Windows and see if you don't see an immediate improvement in the Creators experience. Another suggestion is to type up your response in a word processor, where you'll have access to the cutting edge in spelling and grammar checking, then copy and paste result into the comment box of Creators. The advantage of this is that you'll also be able to see others responses for reference while you type yours (I'm sure you've noticed that all the comments disappear once you enter your log in credentials.)
Comment: #35
Posted by: Chris
Tue Apr 3, 2012 5:39 PM
Coming back in late in the game, but an interesting discussion to be sure!

I guess my point is even bringing it up is a little, shall we say, presumptious to me. Here's a couple of my dates from hell regarding this:

1. Age 16: Went on a date with a guy from another high school. Was told that I had two choices, I could sleep with him and he would tell people nothing happened between us, or not sleep with him and he would tell people something happened. I didn't. He told. Unfortunately for HIM, his parents transferred him to my high school later, he starts the talk, I confront him in the lunch room in front of most of the school.

2. Age 19: REALLY liked this guy. Very cute, very smart, very funny. I was leaning towards doing the deed UNTIL he told me casually after dinner that he dropped all his girlfriends if they didn't put out by date 3. I said fine. Date 3 happened, I dumped HIM.

3. Age 23: Date a guy (he's still my friend), one night he insists on sleeping me in my bed "to see if we are compatible". Refused to leave my house. Slept in the same bed with him, No action. We laugh about it to this day.

4. Significantly later (after leaving husband). Meet wonderul man, cute, smart, funny, a nice guy. He tells me on date one that he has high sexual needs and wants someone to LIVE with him in the next three months (!!!). NO second date.

5. Another date from hell, post leaving husband: guy asks me out, he's ok, no heartthrob. first date (coffee) goes ok, I decide to give him another chance. Date 2: disaster. He talks about sex the whole time. He goes to the restroom, I pay my part of the check, have him drop me off at home by 9pm!

My point is that honesty, Mike, is lovely and right, but it is also passion dousing when you are in the courtship phase. A man who talks about sex a lot will rarely get it. If the original LW was SMART, he'd spend more time romancing these women, getting to know them. THAT'S sexy. Talking about sex at the beginning is NOT sexy. It makes you feel like a canary being watched in a cage by a cat.
Comment: #36
Posted by: nanchan
Tue Apr 3, 2012 6:31 PM
@nanchan, except we're not talking about *lots* of talking about sex, or talking about it *all the time*, nor are we talking about teenagers. We're talking about older adults, and about possible differing expectations about when the relationship will get physical. Of a man either bringing up the subject after a few dates, or possibly even making a pass after a few dates. Neither situation is really that outside of the norm at all, especially among experienced adults in their senior years.

There's no indication that the original LW was a perv or disgusting or talked about it incessantly. Simply that after a few dates he was interested in knowing where the relationship was going, in the physical sense.

"You know, we've had such a lovely evening" *significant look* "would you like to come back to my place to have a nightcap?"

Nothing pervy, inappropriate, or unnatural about such a comment after a very nice, romantic third date. And EXACTLY the right time for a person to be honest about their value system, even if they don't want to be direct about it. And if they go out for a 4th date, and a 5th date, and the question keeps being raised in that way, and the non-premarital sex person still isn't going for the nightcap but avoids talking about the fact that the nightcap isn't ever going to happen until a ring is on the finger, then that person is being dishonest.

Continuing to romance a person of either gender, when you believe in premarital sex and they don't, isn't sexy or smart, it's a recipe for frustration, recrimination, and ill-will on both sides. Honesty really IS the best policy, even here.
Comment: #37
Posted by: Mike H
Tue Apr 3, 2012 7:08 PM
@Chris, nope, I'm using Safari on a Mac that runs Lion. The point about using another program to type a response makes sense and is an excellent suggestion, though!
Comment: #38
Posted by: Mike H
Tue Apr 3, 2012 7:11 PM
Re: Little Cookie---That sounds like a really fun wedding!!!
Comment: #39
Posted by: Cathy
Tue Apr 3, 2012 8:15 PM
Sorry, Mike, I'm afraid you just don't get it. Someone saying "Wanna come up or a nightcap" is totally diferent than what the LW was referring to.

And since you can't/won't see what a lot of WOMEN are saying it's just not worth going over again to me. You won't get it and that's ok.

Have a lovely night and see you tomorrow here BTL!
Comment: #40
Posted by: nanchan
Tue Apr 3, 2012 8:23 PM
LW2: You should set fire to yourself in protest. That'll show em.
Comment: #41
Posted by: Diana
Tue Apr 3, 2012 9:30 PM
@nanchan, I'm sorry, but what you're suggesting isn't in the original letter, so I'm not sure that *I* am the one who doesn't get it. What you're doing is inserting a lot of assumptions into how it must have gone down, assuming a lot about what this guy was saying, but that is jumping to a conclusion. The original letter was quite spare in details. Please, re-read the original letter -- its easy enough to find through Miss Pasko's announcements. (The scenario I propose might be EXACTLY what this guy was doing, for all we know.)

And... it seems like most of the women and I aren't really in disagreement on this issue -- you're really the only one who seems to be thinking that it's okay for women not to be communicative at all -- something I still think is a bit odd. Holding back, being dishonest, being uncommunicative about something that is an important value -- that isn't going to help anyone out while dating.

There may be something that I'm saying that you don't seem to want to get, and I'm sorry for that.

Also, re-read my responses to kristen -- I agreed that on a first date, or having an expectation that sex SHOULD be on the table after a few dates, is not cool. But that's not what this is about. Not even being able to respond if the topic comes up, even indirectly, after multiple dates? And when one is an experienced adult in their senior years? No, I'm sorry, that's not something that seems defensible or useful to either party, and in fact, it probably prolongs the agony for the *woman* in terms of dating a guy that isn't a good match for her.

And that's not in anyone's best interest.

Comment: #42
Posted by: Mike H
Wed Apr 4, 2012 3:31 AM
@nanchan, one more thing... it seems to me that your litany of your own personal dating history kinda proves my point... far better that you found out earlier rather than later that these guys weren't compatible with your value system!

And some women would have been fine -- and probably were fine -- with any of those men who weren't compatible with you and your values.

Which is why being open, honest, and communicative is a good thing, all around.
Comment: #43
Posted by: Mike H
Wed Apr 4, 2012 3:50 AM
LW1 -
Hey - it takes one to know one, right? Don't flog yourself. Your personal brand of human imperfection makes you MORE competent to talk about it, not less.

LW2-
Even if you did pay for the wedding and not just the dress... it's her wedding and her day, not yours. What the others said.

Comment: #44
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Thu Apr 5, 2012 5:28 PM
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