DEAR AMY: I'm really concerned my widower father is turning into something of a slut. My mother passed away seven years ago, and then my father had the very unfortunate luck of having a girlfriend who succumbed to cancer a few years later.
I understand that he's lonely, and needs affection that only a female companion would give, but he's currently courting three women, none of whom know about each other.
I know it is none of my business, but I am actually frightened that these women he met online who so easily jump into bed with him will leave him with an STD.
I've heard that the spread of STDs is actually more prevalent among the older generation these days. What you would suggest I do to convince him that these trysts may be more than he bargained for, without overstepping boundaries?
He's quite headstrong and rarely listens to me; what should I do? -- Concerned Daughter
DEAR CONCERNED: I shared your question with a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who responded: "While CDC continues to find that STDs disproportionately affect younger people in the U.S., it is important to understand that many older Americans face unique prevention challenges (e.g., discomfort in discussing sexual behaviours with physicians and partners and discomfort discussing condom use). It is also important for physicians to assess older patients' risk."
Older men may not have gotten the memo about wearing a condom. In their randy youth, condoms were used for birth control; now they are vital disease control devices. Your father could become infected and/or infect his partners.
Onto his sluttiness. There is not much you can (or should) do about his choice to sleep around. The women he is seeing may also be mutually consenting (slutty) elders, and while this prospect isn't quite what you want for your dear dad -- it is what it is and you may have to accept it and only remind him to speak to his doctor about his risks.
Sexual promiscuity can be a sign of depression, however. If you feel he is out of control, you must do your best to urge him toward a mental health evaluation.
DEAR AMY: I have been a creative needleworker all my adult life. I have earned a fair amount of income selling to others.
Recently a new member of our church who is also a needleworker (and also sells her work) gave me one of her pieces as a thank you for something I'd done for her.
It is beautifully made and I'm sure would sell for a substantial amount of money, and I greatly appreciated the gesture.
However, it is absolutely nothing I would ever wear, so I did something awful: I removed some of her embellishments and now I like it a lot better!
I don't know what to do besides not wearing it to church functions (which may prompt her to ask why I am not!) What if I do wear it somewhere else someday and unexpectedly run into her?
It was so sweet (and quite unnecessary) of her to do this, and I don't want to diminish her generosity of spirit, but what can I say to her without ruining a nice relationship? -- Haunted by my (mis)deed
DEAR HAUNTED: Because you are an expert needleworker, you are in a unique position to understand the impact of your choice on your friend's creative ego.
If someone altered one of your pieces, how would you feel?
Sometimes the best way to handle a sticky situation is to admit the truth and throw yourself on the mercy of the court: "I am so touched and grateful for your generosity! I absolutely love the sweater. But I also have a confession to make: I removed some embellishments, and I hope that's OK with you."
DEAR AMY: I enjoyed reading some of your "best of" columns during your week off. My favourite line: "They call it work for a reason. If jobs were more fun they'd be called 'Steve.'"
I got some ribbing about this at work. -- Steve
DEAR STEVE: I'm happy to say I still think of my work as the ultimate "Steve."