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Dear VK - No. 4

As readers of my blog already know, I've recently begun home-schooling my son which means that life has taken quite a hectic -- but happy -- turn in the Venomous Household. I suppose it's no surprise, then, that this week's mail bag was full of child-related questions... as if warping my own off-spring's mind isn't enough! Well, you asked for it... just remember that any advice is worth precisely what you paid for it.

Dear VK,

I think my 13-year-old son is becoming a clean freak. I used to have to beg him to take a bath twice a week, and you can't imagine the fights we had over how many times he'd wear the same pair of underwear before putting them in the laundry. Now, all of the sudden, he's showering every day -- sometimes for 30 minutes at a time! And don't get me started on the bulging laundry hamper. It seems like the instant I finish one load of wash, he's already bringing down another. What gives?

Wash and Wear

While it's entirely possible your son is channeling the ghost of Howard Hughes, his adolescent hormones may also be to blame. Could it be that your little boy worries what girls think of him? That would certainly explain his about-face on the hygiene front. Then again, you may want to ask your husband to see if any of his copies of Playboy are missing... and lower the setting on your water heater. A good blast of cold water might be just what's called for.

Dear VK,

I'm 14 years old and a girl. I get good grades, do my chores on time and haven't been in trouble at school this year, so I think my parents should respect my privacy and stop snooping through my room. I've asked them to stay out, but my mom always finds some excuse to go through my dresser when I'm at school. How can I get her to stop?

Keep Out

I know where you're coming from. My mother used to go through my things, too, and even went so far as to read my diary (which she'd given me for Christmas) when I was your age. Although she tried hiding her tracks, I realized what was going on and decided to teach her a lesson by making up things and writing about them in my diary. Unless you're curious about what it's like being in a school for juvenile delinquents, I would strongly advise you not to do this.

Instead, recognize your mother's behavior for what it is: parental concern. Yes, it's invasive but if you've got nothing to hide (and if asking her to keep out doesn't work) then there's really nothing you can do. Meanwhile, start saving your allowance and baby-sitting money for your first apartment. And plan on never giving Mom a copy of your key.

Dear VK,

I've been dating my boyfriend for five years now, and we've been exclusive for the past three of those years. We're both in our mid-20s, have finished college and have jobs making pretty decent money. I'm ready for our relationship to move to the next step -- marriage -- but he doesn't seem to be in any particular hurry. Whenever we talk about our future, he says he wants to have a wife and two or three kids someday. He even says he thinks we'll get married eventually, but for some reason he hasn't proposed!

I've been thinking about getting pregnant to give him a reason to get off the fence. His parents got married when his mom got pregnant with him, so I'm guessing he'd want to do the same thing. What do you think?

I'd Wear White Anyway

Pardon me while I go check my calendar.... Yep, just as I thought: it's not 1950. So why would a girl in this day and age even think she could "trap" a guy by getting knocked up so he'd marry her?

Just imagine what would happen if you got pregnant and told him, prompting him to propose at long last. You would always, always wonder whether he'd have really chosen to marry you had you not "tricked" him into it. Even if he swore he would've married you regardless of your pregnancy, you'd never quite be able to believe it. Why burden a life-time commitment with that kind of baggage?

Frankly, the fact you'd even consider such an immature, selfish act makes me question whether you're mature enough to be a parent, anyway. If that sounds harsh, tough. Someone has to think about your potential child's mental well-being and feelings of worthiness, and evidently you're too preoccupied thinking about your own needs right now.

So my advice is: wait for your boyfriend to reach the decision on his own, and consider the intervening time a chance for you to grow the hell up.

Note: Confidential to Sweetcheeks who didn't want his question posted online: use a little talcum powder next time and those rubber pants won't chafe nearly as much.

That's it for this week's issue of Dear VK. Remember: I can only work with whatever you send in. Got a question? Disagree with something I said? Send me an email for next week's column.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Dear VK - No. 4:

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Comments (17)

Dear Wash & Wear,D... (Below threshold)

Dear Wash & Wear,

Drugs are usually the culprit for that sort of behavior change. Start the random testing NOW.

Why don't women propose to ... (Below threshold)

Why don't women propose to men when they want to get married?

Dear White w/o Wedding:... (Below threshold)

Dear White w/o Wedding:

Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? As VK said, this ain't the 50s, honey.

Great post...... (Below threshold)

Great post...

Woody... seriously?... (Below threshold)

Woody... seriously?

I know this is not on topic... (Below threshold)

I know this is not on topic, but I wanted to thank you soooo much for your Trackback pinger. I use it often and it means a lot to me that you have this for us. Thank you!!

Dear Wash & Wear,A... (Below threshold)

Dear Wash & Wear,

As far as I can tell, this is normal. I've worked at an all boys camp, which has two main age divisions: 8-12, and 12-16, where the 12 year olds get to choose which group they will associate with. Something changes in boys around 11-13. This is a camp where there are no girls to worry about, but almost to a boy, you have to drag the younger group into the shower, and the older group will beg you to get them to the shower house. A few of the younger kids will ask you, and some of the older ones have to be dragged, but this is a normal thing.

I suspect (though I don't know) that boys start feeling dirtier around that 11-13 age group. I'm not sure if this is because they sweat more, or just start noticing their sweat at that age. I know that as a kid, I didn't ever FEEL dirty. Sure, I knew I was dirty, but I never felt dirty until around 12-13, when all of a sudden, I FELT dirty. The only time I have not struggled to get the younger kids to shower was this past summer, when it was REALLY hot, so the boys felt sweatier than normal.

"I've been dating my boyfri... (Below threshold)

"I've been dating my boyfriend for five years now, and we've been exclusive for the past three"

Am I the only one that finds this statement odd? What kind of arrangement is that for the first two years? Damn kids these days. It's that darn MTV.

Note to I'd Wear White Anyw... (Below threshold)

Note to I'd Wear White Anyway:

The sad fact that your boyfriend says "he wants to have a wife and two or three kids someday" and NOT that he wants to get married to YOU and have 2-3 kids with YOU some day is a GIGANTIC red flag, especially after 5 years together. He's used to you, he's comfortable with you, he likes the housekeeping and regular sex, but what's almost certain to happen is in a few years at most he'll fall madly in love with a new girl, dump you without hesitation, and be married to her within 6 months.

Dump him and move on, while you're still young and hot enough to have your pick of men.

(Click here if you dare)

I agree with Omni above. T... (Below threshold)
Mike in Austin:

I agree with Omni above. The woman with the 5-year boyfriend is not in a committed relationship, she is his sex toy and housecleaner, without the pay those jobs usually include. Tell the fool girl to make her guy pony up the ring or get the hell out.

Gotta agree with Omni and M... (Below threshold)

Gotta agree with Omni and Mike. Playing house is fun for a year or two, but five years? First, check with a girlfriend or family member and find out if they'd be willing to take you in at short notice. If they say yes, stop dancing around the issue, girlie-girl, and start talking marriage. If he balks AT ALL, walk out.

Dear "Where White, Anyway?"... (Below threshold)
Mark L:

Dear "Where White, Anyway?"

Omni, Bill, and Mike got it right. Selling out my gender, I have to tell you your "other" is either a loser or a user. He is either afraid of committment (loser) or simply looking for a cheap bedwarmer until "the right woman" comes into his life. MOVE ON.

If he is a loser, don't let him suck you under with him. If he is a user, you will get your revenge by proxy. Someone that would use another person in that manner lacks the empathy to make a good choice of mates -- or lacks the empathy to attract a woman that would be an ideal spouse.

I try real hard not to lect... (Below threshold)

I try real hard not to lecture my kids but try to get in it little dribbles here and there. *Even* when it comes to dating, the criteria for a "date" and a "husband" are entirely different in scope, if nothing else. Our standards are lower if it's just a question of who we enjoy to spend time with. And our standards are lower if it's just a question of who we enjoy to have sex with. And our standards are lower if it's just a question of cohabitation. Marriage is heavy duty stuff, or it should be.

The problem is that the time spent together, the sex, the cohabitation, builds up a sort of emotional investment and a person knows that if they break up that investment is *not* returned to them. So they don't break up.

A lot of people don't bother to get married until they decide to have kids. "We've decided to have a family so we're getting married and buying a house." I'm not going to say that the progression to cohabitation absolutely sticks you with someone you'd never have chosen to marry in the cold light of day. I've seen it happen, though. Lots of times.

"Marriage proposer"<p... (Below threshold)

"Marriage proposer"

I agree with JohnAnnArbor that I'd Wear White Anyway should propose marriage to her boyfriend. And why not?

Man, considering how ve... (Below threshold)

Man, considering how very few questions came in this week, I worried this column would be a drag. Instead, you're all right on the money. After all, there's a reason that book, "He's Just Not That Into You", flew to the top of the best-seller lists and stayed there so long: too many people ignore what's obvious to the rest of us.

However, I disagree about issuing ultimatums somewhat along the same lines I disagree with anyone trying to "trap" another into marriage: it's still a game, and even if it leads to the altar, it'll still leave Wear White wondering if her boyfriend would've ever proposed on his own initiative. I won't even go into the possibility that he might concede to her ultimatum and claim he's ready for marriage simply to avoid the angst of a breakup... in which case that marriage will last only her guy finds himself falling in "love at first sight." (Which, incidentally, I do believe in.)

But, really, I have to ask: what are you people doing leaving all these comments and yet not sending any questions? Do you really want next week's column to consist solely of sex advice for guys?

Mmmm. That was probably a stupid question, huh?

VK:How about love ... (Below threshold)
Mark L:


How about love before first sight?

When I was a teen I was in Civil Air Patrol. I was Public Information Officer for my unit, and in an attempt to drum up membership, I got a story about my unit in the local paper.

My brother-in-law to be was also a teen (my age) who was also into airplanes. His mother read the article when it appeared, trying to get him involved, but he wasn't a joiner (which is why his mom was trying to get him to join something). His kid sister listened to mom reading the piece, heard my name, and thought, "I am going to marry him someday." (I have a very distinctive name. There was only one person with that name in my home town of then 120K.)

She had never met me. I did not then know her brother. I met her brother when we both went to the same high school two years later. We got to be friends because of shared interests. After another year and a half I met his kid sister.

She got to hanging with the group that her brother and I were in when she started in high school -- and remembered me. But in high school, especially as a freshman, my someday-to-be wife was really shy, and would not push to be noticed by me. She did decide I was a really, really interesting guy, though.

I also noticed her. I liked her from the get-go (which is probably a better foundation for a relation than irresistable lust, anyway), thought she was smart, and saw that she both stuck to her guns and with her friends, even when they were not popular. In fact, I think I decided right then that this was the type of woman worth spending my life with -- which was a pretty heavy thought for a then high school senior.

Well, she was then a friend's fifteen-year-old kid sister, but I was a patient sort, and figured time would solve that problem. We kept in touch when I started college, until she started at the same college (having graduated from high schol a year early) when we became serious with each other.

We got married when she was 19 and I was 22 -- just as I was graduating. We are coming up on our 29th anniversary, and while the course of true love has not always been easy, we are still together.

She tld me about the newspaper article several years after we had married, asking me if I had ever been interviewed for a newspaper article about CAP. I had almost forgotten about the piece. So, there you have it -- love before first sight.

As to sending a question . . . it's like this. I've been around the block more than one time. I know most of the answers to my questions about life. I don't always *like* the answers, I don't always *do* what I know the answer to be. But over the years I have been smacked across the face with life's 2x4 answers to most of my problems. So, if I send you a question, it would only be to validate an answer I already have -- which is a waste of your time, and everyone else's.

So. Um. Expired domain? Am ... (Below threshold)

So. Um. Expired domain? Am I the only one who doesn't know where to look?






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