Dear Annie: This evening, I went to the local YMCA to swim. When I was through, I showered, as I always do, since I go back to work afterward. Near the end of the shower, I removed my swimsuit and found a boy of about 8 looking through the curtain at me. I yelled at him and he stopped, but a few seconds later, a woman (I think it was his grandmother) looked in, too. I told her I'd like just a few more minutes, and I'll admit, my tone wasn't that friendly. I got out of the shower and locker room as fast as I could.
Annie, that boy was too old to be in the women's locker room. My question is, was I out of line for showering in the nude in a public locker room? This particular shower had four nozzles, so I assume other people would feel free to share the space, even if the curtain was closed. But both the boy and the older woman were not showering. They were just peeking in. That strikes me as rude.
This has never come up before, because I usually have the locker room to myself at that hour. Now I don't know if I should go back. — Not an Exhibitionist
Dear Not: These "group showers" are intended for multiple people to use simultaneously in order to save time and money. However, no one should be peeking in just to see what's going on, and you are right that an 8-year-old boy is too old to be checking out the women's locker room. (We have no explanation for Grandma, other than perhaps responding to something her grandson said about the showers.)
You should register a complaint with the facility. There are likely rules regarding the age of opposite-sex children using the locker rooms, and you should ask that they be enforced. If they do not have any restrictions, you should find a place to swim that affords you the privacy you require.
Dear Annie: Your response to "Sad Nana" was spot on. She was upset that she couldn't send gifts home with her granddaughter because her more-neglected stepsister would feel left out.
Having grown up in a crazy family with full siblings, stepsiblings and half siblings, things like this were a challenge. My dad liked to spoil the three of us who were his biological kids, but my stepdad was more practical. He and my mother both tried hard to keep our household "equal," so my full siblings and I left some of our stuff at my father's. It was good for us, as it taught us to always be considerate of how others felt. My grandparents made all the siblings feel welcome in their homes.
I am thankful for all of my parents and grandparents, and blessed to be brought up in a loving family. Most people marvel at my parents' ability to get along and even socialize not only with each other, but also with my father's second wife, his current wife (married 30 years) and my stepdad (married 40 years).
We are all grown now, some of us with kids of our own, and we are all still part of one big messed up, crazy family. — Happy Child
Dear Happy: How wonderful that your parents, stepparents and grandparents made sure that all of you felt loved. This is how to do it right.
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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