Dear Annie: Yesterday, I tried to help my son do his third-grade homework. One question was: "If Sue runs around the track twice, and John runs around the track four times more than Sue, how many times does John run around the track?" My son submitted his answer as 8, but the teacher said the answer was 6.
Do I speak up? Should I simply assume the lesson here is a "life lesson" to respect the teacher's answer even if it's wrong, and explain to my 8-year-old son that there is sometime more than one right answer? — Perplexed Dad
Dear Perplexed: If the problem had read "four more times than Sue," it would be an addition problem, but "four times more" makes it a multiplication problem. The teacher made a mistake (she added instead of multiplied) and should be told. She may have been using an answer sheet that was incorrect, and she certainly wouldn't want to use it again with another class. Most teachers have email addresses. Write to her and say that your son cannot figure out how the answer could be 6, and neither can you, so perhaps there was an oversight when the paper was graded. Be nice. Tell her you know how easy it is for these things to happen and thought she'd want to know so she can correct the papers that were mismarked. The life lesson for your son is how to stand up for himself and register an objection without becoming objectionable.
Dear Annie: My husband passed away 10 years ago, when I was 57. After a year, I began dating again. I have met many nice gentlemen. Often, I am introduced by mutual friends, but I have also used online dating. Perhaps your readers would be interested in what I have learned about meeting dates online.
I quickly learned to weed out the ones who are just looking for money. Many of them are incarcerated. If they cannot meet in person within one week, I block them from contacting me. I never share my name, address or phone number. I will take their number and call after blocking my own number from displaying on their cellphones or through caller ID.
I am attractive, get my hair styled regularly, use makeup and take care of my body and my health. I wear a size 4. I watch my diet and go to the gym. I have a good income and insist on paying my own way.
My profiles say I am interested only in dating. But after a few dates, many men tell me that they want to marry me. They are hurt that I am not interested. If a man is looking at online sites and wants something long-term, he should not be contacting a woman whose profile clearly states that she wants only to date. I am upfront about this and always feel bad when I have to break it off because the man gets too serious. — Self-Sufficient Suzie
Dear Suzie: You seem to have a good handle on meeting men in a safe way. (We would add to meet them in public places for coffee, not dinner.) You also present yourself as an attractive, independent woman and we suspect your insouciance about marriage makes you quite appealing to men who are more accustomed to women who seem desperate or clingy.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie
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Photo credit: Jeremy Segrott