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Till Death Do We Chat


Dear Annie: A year ago, my daughter met a man over the Internet. That's fine, but I have the following issues:

1. She wants to marry him without actually having met him in person.

2. He is from a foreign country where the customs are vastly different from ours.

3. I worry that he will take advantage of her just to remain in this country.

My daughter says I am concerned for no reason. She is 30 years old and has lived in a small town most of her life. How do I deal with this appropriately? — Unsure Mom

Dear Mom: All of your issues are valid and worth discussing. However, your daughter is 30 years old. If she chooses to go into marriage without meeting the man or learning more about him and his culture, there's not much you can do to stop her. Stay neutral. Suggest that he come for a visit, saying you are eager to meet him and want to give them an engagement party. Then do so. We hope he is everything she dreams of because the downside is rather unpleasant to contemplate.

Dear Annie: Is it acceptable for kids to send thank-you notes via email?

I was brought up in a more traditional way, where thank-you notes were always handwritten. Of course, back then, emails were not an option. Frankly, I think any thank you is better than no thank you, and getting my kids to sit down and write notes by hand takes forever, and I'd like them sent in a timely fashion.

I'm sure my kids would be more willing to send a quick note via email, but I'm conflicted as to whether that's acceptable or not. — Mom in Connecticut

Dear Mom: Good news! Yes, email thank-you notes are acceptable, especially if that is the best you're going to get. Please make sure your children understand that the note still has to be appropriate and appreciative. But we also hope you will continue to demonstrate to your children how much nicer it is to receive a personal handwritten note.

This should not be a dying art.

Dear Annie: "Upstate New York" wrote that their teenage babysitter drove his kids to a local ice cream place without permission. He fired her with payment, the girl's mother got involved, and now they aren't speaking.

I am a retired New York state trooper. In this state, it is illegal for a newly licensed 17-year-old to drive younger children without a parent in the car. Many states now have a type of "graduated licensing," whereby as teens age and gain experience, they are allowed to have more people in the car.

This babysitter made a conscious choice to drive those children without permission from the parents. I am positive the parents would have said "no" to this little trip. Instead, this devious girl put the children at risk. If there had been an accident, not only would the teen face charges, but her parents might have been held legally liable because she drove their car.

Several years ago, a young babysitter and her boyfriend loaded two young children into her car without the mother's permission. They went for a ride on some backcountry roads where there had been recent flooding. Part of the road gave way, and the car plunged down a culvert into the river. Everyone in the car was killed.

Upstate doesn't owe that girl any money. She and her mother owe the kids' family an apology and should be grateful he didn't report her to the police. We need to be vigilant when it comes to the safety of children. — Retired NYSP

Dear Retired: We are in agreement that the girl was clearly in the wrong. However, we don't believe she was being devious. We think she is immature and showed extremely poor judgment. We are thankful no one was hurt.

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



57 Comments | Post Comment
I send gifts to my nieces and nephews for bithdays, and I do it because I want to do it. That being said, it makes my day when any one of them takes the time to reach out and thank me, via any method at all. They are great kids, but it seems that the old manners are dying. We have to move with technology, I guess, because we are all busier than we used to be. If I get a "Thank you, and so" I will smile and be happy about it. Some of those children have sent hand-written notes because their Mom taught them well, but I appreciate the message more than the way it is delivered.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Carly O
Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:27 PM
Spell check...failing me now...birthdays, of course, not bithdays. Kids, text me, call me, e-mail me, heck, stop by and visit even!
Comment: #2
Posted by: Carly O
Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:33 PM
LW1 -
You can deal with this by being as welcoming to this man as you possibly can, so to ensure you never lose sight of your daughter.

If all he wants from her is a gateway to America, that would be the lesser of two evils. What you really don't want is for him to take her back to his country where she may end up with no protection against abuse.

You may want to research his culture and share your findings with your daughter under the pretext of enthusiastic curiosity, as well as find a way to innocently stumble on the signs of abuse and share that with her as well, but... if she is stupid, naive and, well, desperate enough to want to marry a man she's has never met and about whom she knows nothing real, I doubt very much she will listen to anything.

I really feel for you. It's like you're losing your daughter to a cult.

LW2 -
"Is it acceptable for kids to send thank-you notes via email? "
It sure is in my book. Yes, there will also be the prissy auntie bemoaning the good old days of yesteryear, who would want kids to send out thank-you notes hand-calligraphed with a quill pen, but we all have things we miss from past times... and others, not so much.

This is 2012. If kids find the Internet an easy way to stay in touch with older members of the family and actually express gratitude fo a gift, parents and family should count their blessings and quit while they're ahead.

Dying art? I would rather see hand-written thank you notes die out than the act itself of thanking and reaching out, whatever the medium.

Comment: #3
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:41 PM
P.S. to LW1 -
He may have a wife already in that foreign country.

Comment: #4
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:47 PM
Laughing, OK Lise, I will hold my footman more hand-delivered thank you notes for you!

Kidding, of course. On this point, I totally agree with you. I have twin nephews who turned 18 last year, and we sent each of them a generous gift. Both boys. They called when we were not home and left a charming message. We laughed, and were very happy with that acknowledgement. Good enough.
Comment: #5
Posted by: Carly O
Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:56 PM
I made my son write thank-yous for birthday gifts, graduation, etc. I hope he and his wife wrote thank-yous for their wedding gifts.

I'll never forget how happy my elderly aunt was about the thank-you he wrote her for a Christmas gift. She proudly showed me the note. The note that I addressed, left at the foot of the stairs, told him to write, stamped, and mailed.

Oh well, it didn't hurt for her to think that he'd done it all by himself.

Comment: #6
Posted by: Joannakathryn
Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:19 PM
Lovely sentiment Joanna but I would prefer a sincere, voluntary text message from the kids, and I do get them.
Comment: #7
Posted by: Carly O
Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:32 PM
I have an idea that might help get kids started in the habit of writing thank you notes, or at least make them appreciate how special they can be. It probably works best when started at a young age, but what doesn't?
Try sending them thank you notes every so often in the mail. For a young kid they don't have to be mailed, just handed out when you are going through mail for everyone else. Whether it is to thank them for the plaster cast of their hand from art class, or for gong right to bed without complaining, model for them the behavior you want them to display. Most little kids when I was young were excited about getting something in the mail; that has probably gotten even more true as mail gets more and more rare. That way they will know first hand how meaningful it can be to get a thank you in the mail.
Comment: #8
Posted by: geminilee
Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:50 PM

LW3 refers to the second letter on 20 January 2012.

Comment: #9
Posted by: Miss Pasko
Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:16 AM
LW1 - Lise pointed out some possibilities for you regarding your daughter's "fiance." It could also be a scam where he asks her for money so he can fly out to see her, she wires him a wad of cash and she never hears from him again. I agree in that you should be eager (act if you have to) about meeting and the engagement party is a good idea. If this guy is a scam or up to no good, I hope that scares him enough that he disappers. Sure, your daughter's heart will be broken but that will heal in due time.

LW2 - E-mailed thank yous are okay with me. I'm not rich so I understand saving that stamp, LOL!
Comment: #10
Posted by: Michelle
Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:18 AM
LW1--"She is 30 years old and has lived in a small town most of her life. How do I deal with this appropriately?" Um, by minding your own damn business and letting your daughter make her own mistakes for once in her life! Your daughter is 30 years old and a legal adult. If you go to your dictionary and look up what that means you'll find that your daughter is "A person who by virtue of attaining a certain age, generally eighteen, is regarded in the eyes of the law as being able to manage his or her own affairs." Pay particular attention to that last bit. Nothing more needs to be said. If you don't support the wedding, fine; my advice is to keep your mouth shut, plaster a smile on your face and manage to be happy for your daughter. You're not obligated to do anything more. If something should go awry in the future, let your daughter handle it. It's not your job to hover over and kiss her every little boo boo. Get in your Huey and zoom away mom.

LW2--'Thank you' notes again Annies? Really?

LW3--Yeah, my state has exactly the sort of graduated licenses for young drivers that you describe...ask me how often it's actually enforced? Based on my observations from the road every day, the answer is zilch!
Comment: #11
Posted by: Chris
Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:08 AM
I am a retired New York state trooper. In this state, it is illegal for a newly licensed 17-year-old to drive younger children without a parent in the car. Many states now have a type of "graduated licensing," whereby as teens age and gain experience, they are allowed to have more people in the car.
Sure -- many. Mine does, and I have a newly minted 17 YO driver.

Still, NOT all states have this requirement, and since neighbor had SAID, "Well it wasn't illegall" -- it probably was not illegal in this case. Poor judgment, yes.

Good neighbors are hard to come by. Rather than tamp down his own temper and turn the inident into a teachable moment -- treating the neighbor and the sitter with basic respect -- he chose to go petulant and destroy a relationship. I sure hope he doesn't use the same strategy with his own kids.
Comment: #12
Posted by: hedgehog
Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:08 AM
LW1: You've voiced your concerns -- and yes, they're valid ones.

But your daughter's an adult, and doesn't have to listen to them. So your choices are to keep harping and have her tune you out, to wash your hands of the whole issue, or to work with your daughter so she doesn't feel pushed to defend her choice every time you open your mouth. That last choice is the superior one, IMO, and it offers a chance for EITHER of you to change your minds as you both get more info. (Because it's also possible, you know, that he may be a fine young man who treats her well.)

The Annies offered a great idea for going that third route.
Comment: #13
Posted by: hedgehog
Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:19 AM
LW1: Well, your concerns are valid, and hopefully your daughter will meet him for an extended engagement. However, she is 30 years old and there isn't much you can do to force her to take your perspective on this. And let's not forget that up until fairly recently arranged marriages were a regular part of many cultures (still are in some places!). Heck, my great grandmother was promised to my great grandfather when she was 2 and he was 9, and apparently they had a long and reasonably happy marriage.

So, yes, be cautious, be concerned, but don't be so overbearing that you alienate her, because if this is some sort of scam, or he is trouble, then she'll need to know you're there when she needs you.

LW2: Frankly, I'm offended when people send me thank you notes written with pen on paper... because everyone knows the traditional way is written with stylus on clay tablets in cuneiform. And delivered on a chariot. And read by torchlight.

*THAT* is what should not be a dying art. I'm still not sure about this newfangled liquid ink and pulped wood technology. Something unseemly about it.
Comment: #14
Posted by: Mike H
Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:30 AM
Re: Chris
I understand what you're saying but, for a 30 year-old, the woman is being remarkably and dangerously foolish. I can't blame the mother for being very concerned. I suggest you read "Not without my daughter", and keep in mind that this is not fiction.

Mind you, I do suggest she keep it zipped also, to the point of a grand Academy awards performance, but not for the same reasons. Hedgehog said it very well about the third option.

Comment: #15
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:11 AM
Huh? Where's Ms. Pasko when you need her? I am pretty sure that in the original letter, the babysitter not only failed to tell the kids' parents about taking their car and kids without permission, but told the kids NOT to tell their parents. So sorry, Annies, the sitter WAS CLEARLY being devious, otherwise she would not have tried to get the kids to cover up what she did.
And hedgehog, you may have missed this, but the original letter writer was from New York as was this state trooper, so yes, it was illegal for the 17-year-old to take kids in the car, because NY does have graduated licensing that disallows that, and the sitter clearly would have known that with the license she had. At 17, she could not possibly yet have the less restricted license. We have graduated licensing too, and it says right on the license what the restrictions are. The sitter's mom clearly didn't read the restricitions on her daughter's graduated licensing there if she thinks what her daughter did wasn't illegal.
Comment: #16
Posted by: Jane
Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:12 AM
LW3, Putting aside for a moment whether it was against the graduated licensing restrictions for the girl to take the kids out in her car - yes she was wrong to do so without asking the parents, but I still think the parents overreacted. Firing her on the spot and not paying her for a misjudgement when nothing bad happened? I can see very firmly telling her that it wasn't to happen again, or even giving a second thought about asking her to sit again (not the same as an on-the-spot blow up and firing).

An accident or tragedy can happen just as easily if a 40 year old babysitter is driving the car, or even if the parents themselves were. The accident that the state trooper gives in his letter doesn't sound like the young driver was being negligent or goofing around and yakking away on her phone or anything. The same thing could have easily happened to an older driver.

Personally I think the graduated licensing system has gotten out of hand in some places. Here in Ontario we've had graduating licensing for a long time, but when I was getting my license (started with the first step back in 2003), it was far less restrictive, and I think was good enough. It was and still is a three step process. Step one, basically a learner's permit, you must drive with a licensed driver in the car, not on highways, not between the hours of I think 12 -5 a.m. Step two was you can drive on your own on any roads, with any passengers, but absolutely no alcohol must be in your system - 0.00 BAL. Now, step two has become awfully restrictive - you can't drive after certain hours, no minors in the car other than family members, etc. etc. What the heck is the point of teenagers starting to drive if they still can't drive themselves and a couple of friends to the movies? If I were the parent of a teen, I'd be kind of annoyed that I still have to go and pick up my kid and their friends from somewhere when probably one or more of them are able to drive. They might as well make it so you can't drive until you're older than 18 if they're going to do that. But, whatever - they didn't start that nonsense until I and most of my friends were fully licensed, so not my problem).
Comment: #17
Posted by: Alexandra
Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:43 AM
@ Lise Brouillette

The mother isn't asking whether or not she should be concerned. What she asked was how to deal with it appropriately, which is not her place or her job. I do not dispute that the daughter's “in love” and therefore by virtue of her rosy colored glasses, is not giving the situation the serious consideration it warrants. Nobody disputes that things COULD become precarious for the daughter if she proceeds with marrying a man from another country whom she's never met. The daughter COULD get struck by the cross-town bus in two weeks too, so should the mother tie her daughter up in the attic to protect her? On the other hand, for all we know maybe the LW's daughter has met her Prince Charming and they'll live happily ever after in a land far away. This scenario isn't fiction either. The bottom line is that this is a 30 year old woman and she's entitled to make her own decisions for better or for worse.

P.S. I read ‘Not Without my Daughter' years ago – it was a heart wrenching albeit excellent read.
Comment: #18
Posted by: Chris
Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:05 AM
Re: hedgehog

I'd rather lose aneighbor than a kid.
Comment: #19
Posted by: farrar sanchez
Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:11 AM
LW3 - Pepper Spray Cop, is that you?
Comment: #20
Posted by: Zoe
Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:25 AM
Michelle is soooo on target.

A major key is to "follow the money". If the "groom" finds a way to somehow, someway, always ask for money or deposits or the like then you have a scammer. Get a internet program to verify where, in fact, his emails come from or some verification as to who he says he is. And, be very careful of the "verification" documents or evidence.

The bigger problem, unfortunately, seems to be the starry eyed bride who won't listen to reason. Most people don't do stupid things like she is planning.
Comment: #21
Posted by: Patrick Turner
Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:02 AM
Re: Mike H: Those modern cuneiform notes are all well and good, young man, but nothing beats a good old-fashioned thank-you note written in charcoal on the cave wall, with a nice picture of a bison in red and yellow ochre.

Hey, re the arranged marriage.... what country did your great-grandparents come from?
Comment: #22
Posted by: Van Wickle
Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:51 AM
Patrick and Michelle are dead on with their responses to LW1.

A few years ago, a friend of mine went through a horrific divorce (wife was caught abusing their young children on nannycam: it was nasty). A month after the divorce, he signed up at one of the dating sites and fell in "love" with a young woman from Russia through emails, etc. We were in class together and one of the other girls in the class said "You think she's in love with you? I predict the next time she contacts you, she will ask you for your credit card number so she can buy a ticket to come here to see you." My friend was a bit taken aback, after all, he was such a catch of COURSE Ms. Russia was in love with him for his soul and not his money! Sure enough, a day later, he read her email to us, asking for his credit card information. He cut all contact with her

I think in my friend's case, he was open to listening to us because we were/are peers that really didn't have an agenda other than to point it out to him that these types of scams are rampant. In the LW's case, I don't think a mother should be the one to point this out to her daughter. My suggestion to the LW would be to loop in a friend of her daughter's to get that message across. The LW's approach to support her daughter is great, a friend could help get the serious message across.
Comment: #23
Posted by: nanchan
Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:55 AM
I am not quite sure how they can say the girl wasn't being devious. She instructed the kids to not tell their parents. That is devious and an admission that she knew what she was doing was wrong.
Comment: #24
Posted by: Cathy
Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:21 AM

I'd rather lose aneighbor than a kid.
Well, sure. But point was, he didn't have to lose either of them. The kids were fine. LW could've impressed on neighbor and the sitter his concerns in a respectful manner (and even quietly found a different sitter.) But instead, his tantrum and subsequent sulk were worthy of a 2-year-old.

The sitter is more than the this mistake. She's a kid he hired, knowing that he was paying less for a kid than he would for a credentialed nanny with references. She's also the daughter of someone he and his wife were friends with. You can be angry and disagree with someone in a mature way. He didn't do it.
Comment: #25
Posted by: hedgehog
Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:31 AM
Re: Chris
No, I don't suggest she tie her up in the attic - of course not. I just think the "third route" is the preferable option here, compared to just washing her hands off the problem. Which, I assure you, is not even feasible for any mother in her circumstances who has a heart at all . Even the grand Academy awards performance necessary for the third route is gonna be tough enough.

@Michelle & Patrick Turner
Following the money is a very good suggestion, although it is possible that the man truly wants to come to America and is looking for an easy way in, in which case there may never be a request for money - if what the man is looking for is a shortcut to citizenship, then he'll not want to spook her off by asking for money. That scenario happens quite a lot also.

And Patrick, any suggestions regarding the names of those programs? Or key words to Google? I would also like it to be a way for her to verify if the man is already married. The taboo against marrying a woman older than the man is still very strong even here. With men from countries "where the customs are vastly different from ours", it's a lot worse. If he finds a 30 year-old woman of marriageable age, chances are very high that he's old enough to already have a wife (or two) there.

The suggestion by another poster that someone else besides the mother try to talk sense to her is a good one also. If she is to listen to anyone at all (not certain), it's not likely to be her mother. And it shouldn't happen before there is a huge red flag in place, like a request for money. Otherwise, Miss love-struck will only dismiss it as people being prejudiced, xenophobic and racist.
Comment: #26
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:41 AM
Re: Chris
"What she asked was how to deal with it appropriately, which is not her place or her job."
I that portion of the letter to mean that the mother was asking what was an appropriate way for her to act/handle this. - as in not overstep her boundaries. Not only is that a valid question, but it shows she is attempting to let her daughter manage her life as an adult, but still be her mother (who will always be concerned about her.) Heck of a lot better than having a mother that doesn't care.
I think it's interesting that when it comes to running their lives, people are considered adults at 18. Yet many of these 18 year olds these days are still lving with and being supported by their parents years after the age of reaching adulthood. Adulthood isn't just a numerical age, but also the ability to fend for and take care of yourself.
Comment: #27
Posted by: kristen
Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:45 AM
Re: hedgehog #25

Thank you for being a voice of reason re: LW3. This situation is not as black and white as some would have it be. "She lied, therefore she's a devious potential child murderer!"

What, none of you made any mistakes as teens? Told stupid lies? Did something knowing you would get in shit if someone found out, but did anyway because it wasn't a big deal, or it didn't seem that way at the time?

LW3's story ("Several years ago, a young babysitter and her boyfriend loaded two young children into her car without the mother's permission....") is especially stupid. Several DAYS ago, somewhere, some parents got in their car with their kids and got into an accident and everyone was killed. And the road gave way? Come on. That had NOTHING to do with who was driving the car, how old they were, or where they were going.

The babysitter in the original letter did something wrong. I bet you she knows it now and would never do it again. Live and learn, to err is human, and all that. There is a difference between doing bad things and being a bad person.

The reality of this is situation is that nothing happened. No one was hurt. A 17 year old girl made a bad call. LIKE OMG U GUYS. Sit her down, tell her how you feel, pay her what you owe, and re-hire her, or don't, as you see fit. She should not be branded as "devious" her whole for the rest of her life, just as a one-time teenage shoplifter should not be referred to as a thief forever.
Comment: #28
Posted by: Zoe
Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:54 AM
Jane, I did miss that, thank you. I really don't think the illegality is what upset LW, though.

I think he'd have done everyone a favor had he taken the time to calm down and handle this like the grownup he's supposed to be. Texting the girl and instructing her to call was inappropriate. Had he decided to go over to PAY her, he could've voiced his concerns, AND made the mom more aware that yeah, it WAS illegal -- so she could take steps to promote her daughter's future safety. And someday, if his kids make a stupid mistake and live to tell, it's my guess he's going to prefer any adults involved ACT like adults.
Comment: #29
Posted by: hedgehog
Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:59 AM
Like any parent, you never stop worrying about your children. However, your daughter is 30 years old, so give her some credit. Unless she is known for hebetude, be on her side through this. Be interested, friendly and helpful. Whether this turns out well or badly, you will all reap the benefits.
Comment: #30
Posted by: Word A Day Mate
Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:08 AM
@Zoe, I agree to a point -- the babysitter made a mistake in driving the kids for ice cream, and yeah, most teenagers have a few "bad calls" under their belts, and everyone is okay, so a tantrum is a bit too much.

But, if I remember correctly, she also told the kids "don't tell your parents" -- which I find the more egregious mistake, and I do think the parents should be rightly upset about *that* part of it -- at least to the point where they don't hire her to babysit again, and should feel no qualms about such a decision. But there's no need to do so in an overly dramatic and angry way, either.

Comment: #31
Posted by: Mike H
Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:11 AM
@Van Wickle, they were both from small rural villages in Poland. They came to the U.S. after about a decade of marriage, and half of their children were born in Poland, the other half in the U.S.
Comment: #32
Posted by: Mike H
Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:14 AM
Thanks, Mike! Just curious. Glad it worked out well for them. And for you!
Comment: #33
Posted by: Van Wickle
Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:20 AM
Re: Mike H

Agreed. I could totally understand if the OLW had said "here's your pay but because you lied to us we don't feel we can trust you, sorry." and got on with his life. But he and LW3 are taking this (and themselves, I reckon) WAY too seriously.

She should not have done that but I doubt she did it with the same malice and aforethought as, say, someone who was seen stealing jewelry by the kids, or even worse, a child molester. She probably didn't think it through and then realized "crap, I probably shouldn't have done that" and instead of taking the adult way out and fessing up with apologies, she took the teen way out (shocker) and told the kids not to tell.

Re: All

Does anyone think the title of today's column is completely ridiculous? I'm sure the Annies don't write them themselves but I have this mental image of them coming up with it. "Oh, yes, Chat! Great idea! The kids use that word all the time these days. Till Death Do We Chat. We're so funny."
Comment: #34
Posted by: Zoe
Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:25 AM
Re: Mike H & Van Wickle
Thanks for the MUCH needed laugh today!!!

Re: Chris
I had read "Not Without My Daughter" also and it was scary? A movie was made based on that book also, but I haven't seen that. A must read/see for any woman considering marriage to a man from a more restrictive culture. At least go in with your eyes open.
Comment: #35
Posted by: paize038
Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:37 AM
Ah..."it was scary!" not "it was scary?"

It was most definitely scary - no question!!!
Comment: #36
Posted by: paize038
Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:38 AM
LW1 - I know of a mother with a late 20's age daughter who met a man from a northern African country. After living with him for a while they went back to his homeland to visit his family. She was locked in a room for about 3 weeks until she agreed to marry his brother in order for the brother to get into the US. Once back, the "boyfriend" would physcially and verbally abuse her. Her mother, noticing a drastic difference in her daughter's demeanor when she visited asked what was wrong. Finally, the daughter revealed all, including her bruises. The mother contacted the local police who told them to leave the apartment and get a restraining order against the men. They had the marriage nullified and the daughter got away from the men. We gather the brothers are still in the US. This is a true story and the police stated not an uncommon occurence. Comment # 3 by Lisa B was right on the money. Not much the mother can do but make her daughter aware of what probably may be going on. Then maybe work on why her daughter is so desperate for a relationship and what she can do to help her daughter gain more confidence.
Comment: #37
Posted by: Mandy
Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:09 AM
@Van Wickle -- no problem, and I'm definitely glad it worked out. I also sent this message by grunting around the fire shaking my flint dagger, because there aren't any caves nearby.
Comment: #38
Posted by: Mike H
Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:47 AM
Mom asking about email thank you notes: Seriously? Who is the adult in this situation? I raised six children, all of whom hand wrote thank you notes throughout their childhood. Now that they are adults, they continue to do so. I don't believe there is ANY substitute for a thoughtful, handwritten note and if your children are too lazy to write them and you are too lazy to enforce it, that only offers an explanation for why young people of today seem to have no manners or grace. If someone is kind enough and thoughtful enough to send a gift, children should be taught that a hand written thank you is NOT an option.
Comment: #39
Posted by: Nan
Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:13 PM
Re: Nan

That's because you're old and stuck in "good old days".

Some kids these days have not ever written a letter on paper. Not once. I bet you scoffed reading that, thinking "kids these days!" but Nan, ask yourself just what *real* reason you could have for thinking that email is worthless and only hand written will do. Is the message different? Are the words or sentiments different? Does Arial make you feel nauseous for some reason? An e-mailed note that can be sent and received much more quickly; no paper is wasted; no stamps are purchased; no envelopes have to travel in trucks around the state, country and world.

Insisting that "kids these days" write hand written notes is, honestly, archaic. There's nothing wrong with it, of course, but it would be like your mother telling you that you can only go out wearing a hat because that's what SHE did in her day. Or that only hand-made clothes were nice enough for special occasions. Or whatever. The world didn't reach perfection in 1975 because that was your heyday. Things change, dude, and you have to change too or you end up sounding like a grumpy old coot.

Plus, is it really worth getting in a tizzy because someone sent you a thoughtful note typed on a computer instead of a those exact same words written on a piece of paper?
Comment: #40
Posted by: Zoe
Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:32 PM
OK, new to posting here...Can anyone tell me why, when I sign in, does Creators take me to the page where I can see the letters, but not the comments? When I'm responding to a specific comment, I'd like to have it in front of me. But when I sign in, I can no longer see the comments. Is that the way this site works?

Re: the thank-you note issue - in our family we try to provide timely thank-you notes in whatever form the recipient prefers. Therefore, I apologize to Mike H and Van Wickle that I posted "Thanks for making me laugh!" in the comments and not via smoke signal.
Comment: #41
Posted by: paize038
Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:39 PM
@paize038, if I login via that "Already have an account? Log in" link, most of the time I can still see the letters and the comments -- but maybe that differs depending on what web browser you use?

Although most of the time I just go down to the telegraph office and ask them to send the messages to everyone via morse code. And really, there's no substitute for a properly worded telegram.

Comment: #42
Posted by: Mike H
Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:58 PM
Re: paize038

Hi! Welcome!

When I am about to post, I right-click on the "Log in" link and choose "open in a new tab" (actually, I just click with the little roller wheel in my mouse which does that automatically). In the new window, I log in, and indeed the comments do not show up. But I still have the other window open with the letters and comments. I switch back and forth between the two windows as I type, so I can respond to letters and people.

Alternatively, try writing your response in a word processor like Notepad or MS Word while you have the comments displayed, then clicking "log in" and pasting your response in the text field. Bonus here is that if your browser crashes or your response never shows up (although it usually does, might just take a minute or two) you still have your text.
Comment: #43
Posted by: Zoe
Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:04 PM
@Mike H - What browser do you use? I use FireFox and it did it again. Plus, when I would comment then refresh, I'd have to log in again to make another comment. Weird...but I just opened two windows - one for the comments and one to MAKE comments. Ain't technology grand?

Speaking of technology, the criptic wording for telegrams was just a warm-up for the "text-speak" that my kids tell me I'm too old to use!

Anyway, thanks for the help. Enough off-topic - back to the regularly scheduled banter!
Comment: #44
Posted by: paize038
Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:09 PM
While it's possible (I'd say even likely) the guy on the other end of the computer line is simply a shy young man who is excited to meet someone new and move to the US, googling "Nathalie Morin" should be enough to scare anyone out of marrying someone from a vastly different culture, whether you meet them online or in person.

FTR I know plenty of couples who were pretty certain sight unseen that they were going to marry. Some turned out wonderful roses, some turned into total disasters, and some were cases where once they met there just wasn't a spark so nothing happened.

And I also know of plenty of women who got taken for a ticket to the US, including my own cousin. And a friend whose husband married her knowing her religious beliefs, refused to work or get a job, and when she became pregnant insisted she get an abortion (she didn't) and then accused her of faking her severe hypermesis because "Nigerian women don't get this kind of sickness, you are a liar" and then accused her of cheating and insisted it wasn't his baby, and finally admitted he just was using her for a US ticket and wasn't interested in parenting. I know another woman who became pregnant by her overseas lover, married him, brought him to Canada, and before they were home from the airport he informed her he had a gf in Canada and would be divorcing her shortly. All these men were met in person.

But what can mom actually "do"? Nothing. Just tell her daughter to be aware and careful, and let daughter know mom is always there.
Comment: #45
Posted by: wkh
Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:11 PM
Paize038, I stay logged in after posting a comment, but only as long as I keep the browser open. If I close out and go back in, I lose it. The commenting section certainly leaves a lot to be desired!

Opening two browsers is purely optional but I do it every time anyway. I guess it's just habit now. I also like being able to scroll through the comments without scrolling away from them to reply, then scroll back up to read the next comment.
Comment: #46
Posted by: Zoe
Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:25 PM
@Zoe - Thanks for your advice as well! I'm sure I'll get some system figured out!
Comment: #47
Posted by: paize038
Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:06 PM
@Zoe - Thanks for your advice as well! I'm sure I'll figure some system out!
Comment: #48
Posted by: paize038
Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:07 PM
LW1: One of the scary parts of Not Withouit My Daughter is that the Iranian husband was fine in the US; it was when he got back with his family in Iran that he reverted to old-country. I have a sister-in-;aw who married a cousin in the Middle East and found herself in the same scenario; she was trying to come back to the when her husband stopped the taxi on the way to the airport and dragged out two of their three kids, then 4 &6 yrs old, put them in a boarding school and told them to consider their mother dead. She went back, and about four years later was able to smuggle them all out. Her relationship with those kids was never right after that. And another in-law went back and married a daughter of people his dad knew but they didn't know that this guy was an alcoholic, ten years older than he claimed, and had an ex-wife, non-custodial child, and a mistress.
You can luck out (I did, but one of my relatives and a lot of his friends knew my in-laws and told me I had the "pick of the litter.) Seeing the guy in her environment is mandatory!
Comment: #49
Posted by: partsmom
Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:08 PM
Zoe @34 -- I did think the headline was stupid -- not the first time (and I especially hate when it's not geared to the first letter). But based on the wide-ranging differences in headline style you can see on all the advice columns via the advice column hub, I think it's quite possible that each columnist does write headlines here. Amy Alkon (Advice Goddess) are usually snarky-punny, Susan Dietz's (Single File) are often two or three word alliteration (and sometimes a little ditzy), Dr. Wallace's teen advice columns are often oversimplified. If someone at wrote 'em all, I'd think we'd see more similarity.
Comment: #50
Posted by: hedgehog
Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:39 PM
@paize038, as a Mac user I tend to use Safari for most things, Firefox for a few others.
Comment: #51
Posted by: Mike H
Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:44 PM
Re: Mandy
There is no way that man could possibly respect her if she lived with him without being married. The mentality is very different:

Women are property and not quite human - they have no needs, no wants, no opinions, only a useful function like a house appliance. Any woman who has specific needs or expectations is being selfish - and a whore. If you're not a virgin when you marry, you're a whore - unless you're a widow with impeccable reputation. If you cohabitate without marriage, you're a whore.

The only women men talk to outsides of their sex objects are family or possibly co-workers. There is no platonic friendship possible between men and women because women are only good for one thing - whether or not they're "respectable", they're still nothing but a ****-hole. The proof of which, they're divided into two black & white categories: marriage material and f***able material. Clean holes, where you have babies, and dirty holes, where you have fun. "Marriage material" ideally comes from a reputable family, is 22 years old, a virgin, hijabed and preferably illiterate. The rest are all chermouhtas. Guess what category your friend's daughter fell in?

Nothing but a tool, to be used and abused as deemed fit - as illustrated by the part in Not Without my Daughter where one of the men whisking her out of Iran tries to rape her, because that's what a dirty hole is there for, right?

"Respecting" a woman in their book means they'll not pimp her off to one of their brothers like a piece of meat bought at the slave market. "Respected" women are not necessarily treated well. "Treated well" doesn't mean the same thing there as it does here. Over there, you're being treated well if you're being supported and not beaten black and blue.

Yeah, I know, some will say that I'm being necessarily crude again... Sorry, but not unnecessarily. Crude is how they see us. Sorry. I didn't make this reality. I'm only reporting it, and censoring it would only make it look much nicer than it really is.

And for those who think it can't be that bad and that I'm being negative, paranoid, bitter, crude, that I MUST be exaggerating, yadda, yadda, yadda... I wish. I really do. I did encounter it first-hand (the ex LOML). Thing is, I had already seen it second-hand several times with women of my entourage over the years. When I met him, I thought the LOML was an exception - there are exceptions to everything, right? Well, he wasn't one of them. I haven't stopped believing there are some...

I remember the nuns in boarding school bemoaning the advent of ball-point pens... It is true that you don't hold a ballpoint the same way you hold an ink pen, thus destroying penmanship... I wonder what our children's generation will bemoan in their own time!


Comment: #52
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:10 PM
Partsmom, your memory of Not Without My Daughter is a bit fuzzy. Dr. Mahmoody did not change when he arrived in Iran; his personality began to change while he was still living in the United States. After the 1979 seizure of the American Embassy in Tehran, he experienced anti-Iranian prejudice. Then he had some professional setbacks which led to a bout of clinical depression. He began to spend more time on the phone with his family in Iran, speaking in Farsi, which his American wife, Betty, did not understand. When they hosted visiting Iranian relatives at their home in Michigan, they again spoke in Farsi which Dr. Mahmoody did not translate for Betty.
When Betty contemplated divorce, every lawyer told her that there was no way she could keep Dr. Mahmoody from having visitation with their daughter, Mahtob, and he'd be within his rights as her father to take her to Iran. The only reason Betty did not divorce him in Michigan was her fear that he would retaliate by taking Mahtob out of the country.
Only after they were in Iran did Betty find out that Moody had planned all along to stay there after their "vacation" because he had lost his job in Michigan and felt as if he had nothing to return to the United States for.
Comment: #53
Posted by: Kimiko
Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:51 PM
Re: Mike H: I am doing a special dance under the full moon. Later tonight in your dreams a group of seven snow-white kangaroos will come hopping up to you and deliver a message of thanks.
Comment: #54
Posted by: Van Wickle
Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:23 PM
Re: paize038: Welcome! Glad to give you a laugh.
Comment: #55
Posted by: Van Wickle
Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:25 PM
Lw1-In Bill Cosby's "Pound Cake" speech, he says that kids don't get in trouble when they know the parents are watching. If this man is up to anything, he won't try if he knows YOU are watching. You're right to suggest he come and visit first. Get to know the guy, talk to him, etc. If he's only interested in marrying your daughter for the visa, you could introduce him to alternatives. You could also get in touch with a private investigator in his country and do a background check.
Comment: #56
Posted by: Don
Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:25 PM
Re: Don
"You could also get in touch with a private investigator in his country and do a background check."
That would be the best way to uncover if he's married there - which he probably is. Perhaps the embassy of that country can help her? If the mother does that on her own without informing the daughter, it leaves her free to stay mum about it on the off-chance it uncovers nothing bad. If she does find out that the man is married (or a criminal), she can then present it to the daughter. If the daughter is so infatuated that she refuses to listen and still wants to marry him, there is absolutely nothing she can do.

Comment: #57
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:32 AM
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