Dear Annie: I am deeply involved with a wonderful man. I was charmed by the fact that “Arnie” remained undressed until it was time to leave the house. I soon joined him and enjoyed eating breakfast in the buff.
Arnie is Dutch and was raised in a house where nudity was the norm. His parents and siblings all slept in the nude, soaked in the family hot tub together and visited nude beaches.
We are planning a trip to Europe to do some touring and visit Arnie’s family. It will include nude hot-tubbing and beaches. Arnie assures me I can wear a bathing suit, but I will be self-conscious if I’m the only clothed person. But I’m not sure I’m ready to be naked in a group.
Also, we’d both like to have children, but he wants to raise them as he was raised and I am not so sure. Nudity didn’t harm Arnie, but is it OK for the kids? Arnie can’t understand why Americans are so hung up about this. He believes nudity is healthier, more comfortable and leads to higher self-esteem.
Should I do as the Europeans do when we visit his family? Should we raise our children to be nudists? Should I break it off because I am uncomfortable? — Chevy Chase, Md.
Dear Chevy Chase: This is a very personal choice. When it comes to raising children, it generally is best to be able to cover up when necessary by keeping robes handy. It becomes a bigger issue when the kids have friends over or when they reach puberty and are uncomfortably aware of their parents’ bodies. But take one thing at a time. For your upcoming visit, try the “when in Rome” approach and see how you feel about it. Bring a swimsuit just in case.
Dear Annie: My wife and I are expecting our first child, a boy, and she would like to name him after me (for which I am truly honored).
However, we both abhor the idea of “Jr.” Is it proper to use the Roman numeral “II” instead? I know strict etiquette demands it be used only for a child who bears the name of a family member other than the father (i.e., grandfather), but I’ve been told it is more socially acceptable now. What do you say? — Happy Father-to-Be in Sunny Florida
Dear Happy Father-to-Be: It still isn’t exactly cricket to use a “2” in any form if your child is named after you, although what is acceptable to you and your wife is what matters, and frankly, most people won’t notice or care. Of course, the baby only becomes “Junior” if he has your first, middle and last names. If you change his middle name, he no longer uses any suffix at all.
Dear Annie: Since there has been discussion in your column about bipolar illness, I would like to share what I have learned, being bipolar all my life.
I’ve been married five times, tried to kill myself five times and had to file for bankruptcy about 10 years ago. When I was on highs, I would buy things and have inappropriate relationships with men. I went through countless jobs because I quit or did unprofessional things. I had no impulse control. I refused to take medication because the side effects were hair loss, shaky hands and weight gain.
Luckily, after my fourth visit to a psychiatric ward, I got serious about my life. I found a wonderful psychiatrist, and now I take the correct medication. I want to tell other bipolar people to try again on the medication. There are new ones all the time. I feel like a different person, without all the anxiety and highs and lows. And I know I need to take the medication for the rest of my life. And that is OK. — Brighter Now in San Bernardino
Dear Brighter Now: Congratulations on being motivated enough to get help, and bless you for encouraging others.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 5.8.08