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Annie 10.1.07

Annie 10.1.07
Dear Annie: How do you tell your brother that his daughter is turning into a nightmare? “Cindy” is an adorable 9-year-old and runs the house. I don’t see my brother as much as I’d like because they live three hours away, but when I do, it’s becoming harder and harder to bite my tongue.
Cindy constantly interrupts the adult conversations, asking all kinds of questions about what she overhears. Much to everyone’s horror, each time it happens, the conversation ends until she has extracted all the information she wants and added her two cents. Then we are allowed to continue talking. She is never told not to interrupt. (There is very little discipline of any kind.)
As for her table manners, there is a lot of lip smacking and loud nasal snorting. I have never witnessed this child using a tissue or being told to get one. This is particularly embarrassing at a restaurant. Cindy orders the waitress around and is never corrected. And I’ve yet to hear “please” or “thank you” from her lips.
My sister-in-law is extremely well put together, attractive and has excellent manners. How she ignores this behavior is beyond me. My brother is very sensitive, so I always stay silent. What can I say that will be helpful and not sound judgmental? — Frustrated in North Carolina
Dear Frustrated: Are you friendly enough with Cindy to address her directly? (“Cindy, honey, please get a tissue.”) Could you pull it off with humor? (“I’ll bet Cindy runs the show at school.”) If not, your brother is likely to interpret everything you say as criticism. Since you see him rarely, tolerate what you can, make your interactions with Cindy short, and let her be his headache.
Dear Annie: I have just become engaged to a wonderful man. While I am looking forward to the wedding, we have come across a snag in our planning.
“Jake’s” extended family, though wonderful, isn’t very accepting of homosexuals. The problem is, two of my uncles (including the man who is designing my dress) and one aunt are gay. I refuse to not invite them.
Financially, we could throw two separate receptions, but how would we even address that? I’m almost to the point of eloping, but I want this day to be about our families joining. What should I do? — Desperate in Southern California
Dear Desperate: Are you making an announcement that these relatives are gay? If not, there’s no reason to believe Jake’s family will notice, let alone comment. Invite whomever you wish, say nothing about your guests’ sexual orientation and remember to have a wonderful day.
Dear Annie: I was disappointed in your response to “Helpless Wife,” whose husband has let himself go. You suggested healthy meals and exercise and then told her, “He expects you to love him regardless and we hope you will.”
My husband is 80 pounds overweight. While I can’t force him to eat right, I still prepare healthful meals. But I have no control over the junk he puts into his stomach during his workday. Ask him to walk with me? You bet. But he’d rather sit and finish off a bag of peanut M&Ms. I’ve been married for a long time, but I think partners who want an active sex life have an inherent responsibility to maintain a degree of physical attractiveness.
I guarantee you if I weighed 80 pounds more than I do, my husband would not “love me regardless.” He’d be looking elsewhere. — Live There, Know That
Dear Live There: We are not miracle workers. If Hubby doesn’t want to lose weight, he won’t. Is this a good reason to divorce after many years of marriage to an otherwise wonderful man? We don’t believe so. If you love your husband, the best advice we can give is to find a way to accept what cannot be changed. It will lower your blood pressure considerably.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at
Published in The Messenger on 10.01.07

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