DR. WALLACE: I'm 20 and dating a super nice guy. I work for an attorney and the guy I'm seeing is an attorney for another firm. The only major flaw this guy has is his vulgar language. I have never been around someone who has such a foul mouth. It wouldn't be so bad if he used his "off-color" adjectives when we are alone, but he uses them in mixed company.
I've told him many, many times that I don't appreciate his "salty" language. He agrees that he should stop using terrible language, but he continues swearing. Sometimes when I'm with him he "cuts loose" so other people can hear him, and this causes me much embarrassment.
Some of my close friends don't like to be around him and my parents also loathe him. What should I do? Other than his bad language, he's great. He can speak properly because I've heard him defend a client in court. — Nameless, Brooklyn, N.Y.
NAMELESS: There are two main reasons people use profane language. First, they are uneducated and do not have a good vocabulary; therefore they substitute "unacceptable" adjectives to relay their message.
Next, the user of profane language can speak the "Queen's English," but uses profanity as a shock method to drive home a point. The guy you are seeing has been using profanity for a long time and it has become an important (to him) part of his vocabulary.
Even though he is a "super nice guy," his vocabulary is so bothersome to you that you found it necessary to contact me for advice. Tell the guy that his "salty" language has become your problem and that you no longer care to see him. Dropping him now will spare you much future embarrassment.
YOU MUST PUT OUT THAT LAST CIGARETTE
DR. WALLACE: My husband and I are both 20. We have been married for over two years and are the parents of a one-year-old daughter. Both my husband and I have been smoking for over 4 years and are totally addicted. But we are aware of the dangers of secondhand smoke so we keep our house smoke-free.
We both would like to quit smoking for a number of reasons. First we don't want our daughter (and any other children we might have) to smoke. Next, we want to be around to see our grandchildren and don't want to leave this earth early because of tobacco-related illnesses. And, finally, we would like to stop spending quite a bit of money on something that is going up in smoke.
We have talked about quitting tobacco, but have not yet put out that last cigarette. If by chance we don't quit smoking, is it possible that this will encourage our children to "light up," or even if we do smoke, but encourage our children to never start smoking, will it be the same as if we were not smoking? — Mom, St. Louis, Mo.
MOM: The best way to insure that your children will not become addicted smokers is for your husband and you to stop smoking and to encourage your children to never start. No one influences a child more than a parent.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. E-mail him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.