A: If this were a Tyler Perry movie you'd bring your fiancé to meet racist granny and the shock would kill her on the spot. Both you and your fiancé have compelling points of view, and this kind of situation is where a marriage is tested. You're both right, there's no compromise position, and one person has to give. It can be a shocking thing for young people growing up to realize their lovable grandma or grandpa has a devastating flaw, be it racism or homophobia or whatever. While there will always be humans who mouth hateful things about members of other groups, the generation for whom these assumptions were the acceptable way to think is dying away. What could be better evidence of how things are changing than that the granddaughter of a racist is marrying a black man? I think you should tell your fiancé that everything he says is right and true, and that if the world were a fair place meeting him would cause a transformation in one old person. But having known your grandmother your whole life you don't think so, and you don't want to make a long trip in order to see him treated terribly by a woman who doesn't have long to live. Tell him that you recognize your grandmother's flaws and you love her in the way you can love such a person. But that you're glad your children will grow up in a world that has far fewer grannies to deal with.
Q. Re: Shower time: It's not clear whether or not she's actually in the shower while the water is running. Maybe she just likes the sound of the water? Perhaps a noise machine might work for her. After the drought we experienced this year, there'll be more water rationing on the way. I suggest they find a way to not use so much water. It's not just a matter of expense, it's a matter of saving a precious resource.
A: I think that's worth exploring. Even if she tries to make up for her habit by donating to water charities, she herself is wasting a ton of water. The boyfriend can *gently* suggest she explore ways to create the relaxing atmosphere she is seeking without draining the reservoir.
Q. Halloween: Halloween is coming and my neighborhood group is busy planning our annual Halloween party. We make sure to have activities to please all ages, and it is much looked forward to throughout the year. Costumes are not required, but strongly encouraged. We give out prizes for most original, most scary and funniest. It seems as if we may have to add a new category this year though: sleaziest. Kimmy and family moved into the neighborhood a few years ago. Jaws dropped their first Halloween when she took her children out trick-or-treating dressed as a Playboy bunny—complete with a tail. Even worse was her showing up at the Halloween party dressed that way. We couldn't get a single dad to run the apple-bobbing game because they were all standing around ogling Kimmy and drooling on their clown shoes. Last year she showed up as Little Bo Peep with a skirt so short her bloomers showed and her breasts were practically falling out of her corset top. That might be fine for an adults-only party, but there were children present! I overheard my 14-year-old son talking with some of his friends the other day, and it seems that an invitation to our neighborhood party is the hottest ticket among that age group, just because they all want to see what Kimmy will be wearing. I am thinking of paying a visit to Kimmy and kindly explaining to her that she needs to cover up for this year's party. My husband thinks I should just mind my own business (wonder why?). Would it be rude of me to talk to Kimmy? Rumor has it that this year she's "dressing" as Lady Godiva.
A: Don't just talk to Kimmy, be generous and go over there with the perfect costume sure to win all the prizes: Kimmy's very own burqa! Of course you couldn't get the dads to supervise apple-bobbing, what with all the melon-bobbing provided by Kimmy. Mom, lighten up. Kimmy and her costumes are the stuff of neighborhood legend. Even though you don't want to compete with her, the more amused you are by the whole situation, the better you will feel.
Q. Be Honest With My Aunt?: My aunt is currently in the process of a divorce after finding out her husband of 20 years had been sleeping around with escorts for the last several months. He has always played the ladies man—rubbing up against waitresses, making passes at his sisters-in-law (and me at times). For the sake of family peace nothing was ever said. Now that she is divorcing him, do I tell her that he molested me 10 years ago? Few people in the family know, and after it happened the family took cautionary measures to ensure he was never alone with me or any of the young kids again. Last summer, however, I mistakenly went to their house (I'm in my early 20s) and he arrived home before my aunt, and he used the opportunity to rehash the occasion on which he molested me and accuse me of being homosexual for not sleeping with him. Do I tell my aunt about all this, or do I just keep thanking my lucky stars this creep is out of my life?
A: I think you should consider telling the police. Sure, it might not be a prosecutable offense any more, but sometimes there are open files on ultracreeps like your former uncle. I continue to fail to understand how "family peace" leads people to turn a blind eye to sexual predators among them. Is saying, "Bill can you pass the gravy, please?" really more important than saying, "Bill, get your hands off her and the cops are on the way." Go ahead and tell your aunt, tell everyone. It could be that you shake out more stories the authorities might like to hear.
Q. Re: Halloween: Get over it. Your 14-year-old son and your husband like to look at breasts. This should not come as a surprise to you. This is one day a year and everybody would have more fun if you could relax.
A: Agreed. And as several readers pointed out, at least Kimmy is not dressing as part of the Honey Boo Boo clan.
Q. Relationships: I have been seeing Adam for about six weeks. I like him all right and he's attractive enough, but I don't find myself falling in love with him. He's a good friend and we enjoy a lot of the same things but I don't see this relationship as really going anywhere. I think Adam's feelings are stronger, but I am very careful not to lead him on or to let him think that I like him any more than I do. For instance: We have kissed a couple of times but we have not had sex, even though I suspect he would like to. My problem is this: I just met Adam's brother at a party Friday and wow! He is something else! He is like Adam only to the 10th power, and we hit it off big time. I would love to go out with him but isn't there some no-no about dating brothers? Half my friends say to go for it, the other half say no way, so I don't know what to do. I want to do the right thing, and do plan on breaking things off with Adam whether I date his brother or not.
A: If you two act on your attraction, the first letter from Monday illustrates it's better to do so before you find yourself married to the "wrong" sibling. End it with Adam now. What you are contemplating with Adam the 10th is terribly awkward and even if Adam's brother is interested in you, for the sake of solidarity he might take a pass on going out with someone his brother has kissed. Then get yourself back on the market and see who else turns up who is not related to Adam. if you continue to think Adam's brother is your garden of Eden, try to arrange to find yourself at another party he'll be attending and see if sparks fly. If they do, and he doesn't make a move, suggest getting together for coffee, and make it someplace you know where Adam is not a regular.
Emily Yoffe: Thanks, everyone. Talk to you next week.
In a new approach, we’re publishing the chat transcript in shorter, more digestible pieces. You will still be getting all the questions and answers, and we may even publish bonus letters Prudie didn’t get to address during the chat hour.
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