Dear Annie: I am a woman in my mid-20s, and I have known I'm asexual for about five years. This fact doesn't play a major role in my day-to-day life, but it makes explaining my lack of romantic relationships to my family awkward. Every time I go home to visit, I get the usual questions of whether or not I've met anyone. My answer is always no. Though I don't feel my family members are overly pushy about my relationship status, I know it worries them, and I can see the confusion on their faces. It's clear they think that either there is something emotionally wrong with me or I'm a closet lesbian. Should I tell them I'm asexual? On one hand, it might help explain things to them and end the questions. On the other, it seems like an overshare of something that should be no one else's business. I also worry that if I were to disclose this information, I'd get the usual, unhelpful reaction of being told, "It's just a phase." "You haven't met the right man yet." "Have you talked with a doctor about your hormone levels?" I will soon be going home again and could use some outside perspective on how much of my personal life to disclose. — Not Interested
Dear Not Interested: Listen to your gut — which, based on your letter, seems to be telling you to come out to your family members. Yes, it's possible they'll brush it off as you fear. But that's their problem. All you can do is hope that in time they'll see you're serious about this and accept it. Right now, there seems to be a wall up that's preventing you from being close with them, and I get the feeling you won't feel fully yourself around them until that wall is down.
Dear Annie: Your recent column on the preferred way to wash dishes (the response to "Washing Well") prompts me to offer mine.
I use the biggest pot or bowl needing a wash. I put a little soap and a small amount of water in the bottom. I start with the silverware because it goes into your mouth and needs to be cleanest. I wash it in the soapy water and then rinse it with hot water that goes into the wash bowl. Next, I wash glasses and rinse into the bowl, which is filling up with water. Next, I do plates and other containers. I do the pots last. This way, I use only one bowl of water. And if the water gets too dirty at any point, I dump it and start clean — but it's rare that I need to do this.
This is a method I have used through 40 years of camping. It uses minimal water, which is good if you have to boil water on a camp stove. I encourage everyone to use minimal soap. Soap left on dishes does more harm to your stomach than the occasional food scrap does. If you do use more soap, be sure to rinse well.
I think this method uses the best parts of the methods of the mother and son who wrote to you. And in drought areas, such as the Southwest, it is especially friendly to the environment and the pocketbook. — Lynn in Moorhead, Minnesota
Dear Lynn: I love learning tips from crafty campers. Very resourceful. Thanks for sharing.
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