Dear Abby: I'm writing about the letter you printed from "Right or Wrong in Wisconsin" (Nov. 9). My co-workers and I had a field day with the issue of the father shaving while his 12-year-old daughter takes her morning shower.
The women here were pretty much unanimous in agreeing with your response, while the men mostly thought there was nothing wrong. As a man writing to you, my opinion may seem a little biased, but please try to keep an open mind.
I assume that this gentleman has raised his daughter since birth, and that he changed "Lia's" diapers and bathed her when she was younger. It's ridiculous that at the young age of 12 it is suddenly inappropriate for her father to have a conversation with her (presumably) through a shower curtain.
I could understand the mother (whom he never referred to as his wife) being concerned if he was simply in the bathroom to dish about the day's issues. But that wasn't the case. He was shaving. We don't see a problem with that.
We men agree that if this wasn't an issue that Lia herself raised because she was uncomfortable, then it probably shouldn't be an issue at all.
— Disagrees in Topeka, Kan.
Dear Disagrees: I did not mean to start a war of the sexes in your workplace, so allow me to clarify the issue from my perspective. "Right or Wrong" appears to be a caring father, or he wouldn't have written me. He views his daughter as his "little girl." But at age 12, Lia is an emerging young woman both physically and emotionally. She is in transition, and her father may not recognize that fact. At 12, many girls start their periods and their breasts begin developing. Lia's mother may have noticed these changes in her daughter.
What this presents is a teachable moment — and an opportunity for a family discussion to talk about what's happening. Among the issues Lia will face in the next few years are decisions she'll have to make about drinking, drugs, sex, respect and modesty. While other cultures have a more liberal view regarding modesty, ours is less so.
And remember, it's not as though sharing the bathroom in that family is a necessity. There are two bathrooms in that house, and I think it's time one of them began using the one downstairs. If that makes me a fuddy-duddy, so be it. It's still my opinion.
Dear Abby: My friend recently committed suicide, and although I'm still mad at times, I'm no longer sad all the time. My problem is I'm having a hard time dealing with stress.
Before, when things got hard or my workload went up, I'd work harder to get it done. Now I just become overwhelmed and all I want to do is go to bed. Is this normal? I have never had a friend die before.
— Sad in San Diego
Dear Sad: Please accept my sympathy for your loss. When someone close to me suffers an emotional shock — and the death of a friend or loved one qualifies as one — I remind him or her that shock can affect not only the emotions but also the body. That's why it's important to get extra rest and eat properly.
When a person grieves, it's not unusual to be less resilient, so listen to your body. When you become overwhelmed, chicken soup and extra rest may be in order, and it's not a cliche. However, if these feelings persist for more than a few weeks, please discuss them with your doctor because they could be a symptom of a treatable form of depression.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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