Dear Ann: My daughter, "Flora," is getting married in a few months. My ex-wife and I divorced years ago, and we are both married to other people. Flora recently informed me that she wants both her stepfather and me to walk her down the aisle. I absolutely refuse to agree to this. She is MY daughter. Even though she has lived with her stepfather for the last six years, she lived with me for the first 17. That ought to count for something.
I have been a good father. I've dreamed of walking Flora down the aisle since she was a little girl. Why can't her stepfather have a different role in the wedding? I am her true father and should have the honor of giving her away. Please help me convince her. Humiliated in Florida
Dear Humiliated: I assume Flora wants her stepfather to share this role because she feels close to him. Brides are under enough pressure to please everyone. Please don't add to your daughter's stress. The decision must be Flora's. Accept it graciously. It would strengthen your relationship a real plus.
Dear Ann: I am a 68-year-old man, married for the last 18 years to "Julia," a wonderful woman. She has a grown son from her first marriage. "Buddy," now 26, was a drug user and an alcoholic. To his credit, he has given up drinking, but I'm not sure about the drugs. Buddy has his own apartment, but no job that I know of. He always has tons of money, and I can't figure out where it is coming from. I'm worried that he is dealing drugs, although I have found no evidence of it.
Buddy lives 300 miles away and visits every two months, staying several days at a time. He parks his car on our lawn, leaves his clothes on the floor, stays out all night and sleeps until noon. My wife still works, so I take care of the housework and cooking. I resent having to pick up after this slob, but Julia adores him and thinks everything he does is wonderful.
Every time Buddy visits, it causes trouble between Julia and me. How can I get her to see that he is hurting our marriage? Dilemma in South Carolina
Dear S. Carolina: You are between a rock and a hard place. Tell Julia how unhappy you are when Buddy is around. Ask if he can come less often or stay at a motel when he visits. If she says no, I suggest you find another place to stay when he drops by. It may be inconvenient, but it sure beats a divorce.
Dear Ann: "Clara" and I have been close friends for years, but she has one habit that is driving me crazy. Whenever she comes over for a casual picnic or cookout, she insists that her meal be served on my good china. Mind you, we are eating outside in the back yard by the pool. It is quite casual and relaxed. The rest of us use nice paper plates, which are quite attractive.
Clara refuses to eat off paper plates. If I serve her on paper, she will go into my house and take a china plate out of the cabinet. Naturally, she does not wash the dish when she is finished. The last time Clara came over, I took all the china plates out of the cabinet and hid them. Her solution was to scrape all the food off the serving platter onto a paper plate. She then ate off the serving platter. This drove me completely up the wall.
Clara is otherwise a wonderful woman, and I don't want to exclude her from our gatherings. Any suggestions? Georgia Peach
Dear Georgia: Obviously, Clara hates paper plates. Let her help herself to a porcelain plate. Make no mention of it to your other guests. They will notice, of course, and consider her a snob and extremely rude. P.S. I would agree with their assessment.