Dear Annie: Have things changed since I was dating, which was a long time ago? Does the male still pick up the check, or is the female also paying sometimes? My grandson is starting to date, and my daughter has told him that the female should sometimes pay. I was brought up with the custom that the male should pay for everything, but after thinking about it, I guess it only seems fair for the girl to also pay sometimes. — Grandma
Dear Grandma: Your daughter is right. Today it's standard for women to pick up the check at least some of the time, if not half the time. I agree that it seems fair. It's also become acceptable for couples to go Dutch and split the bill 50-50. This is fine if it suits them, but I've always thought a more elegant approach is to just alternate who pays. And on first dates, the person who asked the other out should pay.
Dear Annie: I was raised in a home with strict values. I was to dress modestly and not have sex before marriage, etc. I married, raised a family and have been devoted to my religion, family and country. I am now 68 years old and find I enjoy something I never considered before. I now enjoy being without clothes for short periods of time in my house. It might be before a bath or after or just on the spur of the moment. I find it very relaxing and pleasant. I think I am normal but wonder why this would be something I find enjoyable later in life rather than something I discovered when I was younger. — Stripped
Dear Stripped: I can't know why you'd enjoy this now versus earlier in your life (though I'd guess that earlier in life, you never had the privacy or the time) — but really, the "why" seems unimportant. Retirement is about discovering new things, relaxing and delighting in the here and now. It sounds as though this hits all three marks for you. No need to overthink it.
Dear Annie: I read your column every day. You recently missed an opportunity to help a self-pitying letter writer see the light.
The person wrote, "In this country, how many young people ever ask for advice from older generations on anything? Almost none. ... The result is that millions of older folks feel invisible, isolated and depressed and that younger folks make some big mistakes."
The younger generations have a lot on their plates! Job prospects are limited. Wages have not kept pace with the economy. And the pressures of ever-changing technology weigh on them. Now they are also expected to keep the older generations happy and engaged? Seems to me it is the reverse. Older people, including me, have the time, knowledge and resources to help younger people. Young people need mentors. If you are elderly and want to be engaged, become a Big Brother or Big Sister, or mentor a new hire at work. There are many young people who need advice and mentoring. But let's not put the onus on them. — Your Avid Reader
Dear Avid Reader: I always appreciate it when readers put things into a more complete perspective. You're so right that it's a two-way street, and the older generations can also take the initiative to reach out — though I do think young people should make an effort. (If you're fortunate enough to still have grandparents in your life, give them a call right now.)
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]