Ask Before Tossing

By Annie Lane

August 30, 2018 5 min read

Dear Annie: You recently wrote that an adult daughter was wrong to discard her mother's pantry food without asking her first — even food that had expired. What do you think about the current trend of girlfriends and wives discarding their boyfriends' and husbands' outdated clothes?

I read an article in a major newspaper by a fashionista advising women to throw or give away their male significant others' unfashionable clothes — without consulting them first. An example given was cargo shorts. Then I saw this happen on a popular television show. The wife attempted secretly to discard her husband's beloved but unfashionable shorts. It was meant to be funny.

What do you think of this practice, Annie? What if a boyfriend or husband did the same (to his girlfriend's or wife's clothes)? What if a fashion writer advocated such? I think there would be an outcry. Why is it OK for women then? Isn't this a double standard? You're an influential person; please speak to this trend. — Worried Cargo Shorts Owner

Dear Worried Cargo Shorts Owner: If this is indeed a trend, no one is wearing it well. Going through someone's closet and discarding his or her items without asking is wrong, plain and simple. It doesn't matter if that person is your husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend — or anyone else with whom you feel close enough to take such decisions into your own hands. In fact, respecting boundaries becomes more important the closer the relationship is.

We can try offering our significant others some fashion feedback, but that's about the extent of it. Loving someone means loving him or her as is, extra pockets and all. (By the way, according to Harper's Bazaar and several other fashion news outlets, cargo shorts are one of 2018's hottest fashion trends. Go figure.)

Dear Annie: I support "Oregon Reader," who takes offense to such words as elderly, senior and aging, which seem to be the favorite descriptions of many writers. Can't we just say "older" if anything has to be said? I cringe every time I see the word elderly. I despise it. It conjures up images of people who no longer take care of themselves. And that does not include me. I am 86, and anyone who knows me knows better than to describe me as elderly. Thank you, "Oregon Reader," for saying it much better than I could. I so agree with your feelings. — Florida Reader

Dear Florida Reader: That letter unleashed a dichotomous deluge in my inbox — letters from readers who concur with you and "Oregon Reader" and letters from others who don't. Here's the flip side from another Florida reader.

Dear Annie: I feel compelled to make a remark in response to "Oregon Reader," who, for some reason, feels that using the terms elderly, senior and aging is inappropriate and negative. I'm an active senior citizen living in a senior community, and I don't find these terms offensive at all. Nor do I find them hurtful or insulting. I endured a lifetime of adventures, good and bad, to reach this age and am proud of it. Maybe this person has a fear of getting older and is taking these terms too personally. I love living the senior lifestyle in this senior community. There is no need for you to apologize for using these terms to describe our golden years! — A Florida Villages Resident

Dear Florida Villages Resident: I've now heard from people on both sides of this issue, and the main takeaway for me is that there are plenty of people out there enjoying retirement and living with zest well into their 80s. It's inspiring to hear. Keep soaking up all the sunshine your retirement has to offer.

"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 for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]

Photo credit: at Pixabay

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