Monday, April 22, 2013

What Dear Abby should have said

I don't often disagree with Dear Abby, but I think she missed a golden opportunity on this one.

This was in her April 20, 2013 column:

DEAR ABBY: I have been dating my boyfriend, "Adam," for three years. Although we are young, we are serious about our relationship. Not too long after we started dating, Adam began staying over at my house on most weekends. I live with my mom, who is 47.

For the past year when Adam comes to visit, my mom has been coming out of her bedroom in her bra and panties, for the most part exposed. She also makes flirtatious comments to Adam that I feel are completely inappropriate.

I have tried talking to her about it, letting her know how uncomfortable Adam and I and some of my friends are about it. I hoped she would understand, but she continues with the flirting and underdressing. What can I do about this? I'm desperate to try anything. -- DESPERATE IN MAINE

This was Dear Abby's response. She put the blame, rather unfairly, on the girl's mother.

DEAR DESPERATE: You may be desperate, but not as desperate as it appears your mother is for attention. Because talking to her hasn't helped, accept that she is not going to change her behavior. Have Adam stay over less often. When you meet with your friends, do it at someone else's house. And if you can afford to move elsewhere, you should consider it.

Here's what Dear Zyzmog would have written:

DEAR DESPERATE: Let's back up this train, all the way to the station. You say that your boyfriend comes over for sleepovers on the weekend. When you say you are "serious in your relationship," I assume that means he's not sleeping on the couch, and you two aren't keeping your foot jammies on all night long.

Then you say that you feel uncomfortable about your mother running around in her underwear while Adam is there, and that she makes "inappropriate" and flirtatious comments. 

Don't you see the (logical or moral) inconsistency here?

If you don't feel that it's "inappropriate" for your boyfriend to shack up with you on the weekends, in your mother's house, then you have no right to feel that it's "inappropriate" for your mother to run around in her own house in her skivvies. At least she's wearing skivvies. You two aren't.

You say that you are young, but your mother is 47. That makes you about 20, I would guess. Sweetie, where I come from, 20 isn't young; it's about two years past voting age and deep into "old enough to know better." And if you're old enough to sleep with Adam, then you're old enough to live on your own. 

Are you really desperate enough to try anything? Then try this.

Move out of your mother's house, so she can run around in her underwear all she wants. Get a place of your own, so she doesn't have to carry your freeloading weight anymore, and so your boyfriend won't see her when he comes over. You're a grown-up. Try acting like one.

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