Ask Amy

Wednesday, October 7, 2009 at 11:45pm

DEAR AMY: I've just returned from a visit with my two kids to their dentist. My children are ages 5 and 2. I have noticed that in situations regarding my children, adults don't have any problem referring to me as "Mom."

The dental assistant and dentist (both women) called me Mom throughout the checkups.

I have found this to be increasingly annoying.

I remember being called Mom by a nurse while I was in labor with my son two years ago.

I realize that this is an easy way to communicate with me, but I find it to be condescending and just lazy.

Am I being uptight?

— Monica

DEAR MONICA: I completely agree with you that this is annoying.

Thinking about this, I realized that every technician and worker at my local veterinarian's office somehow manages to address me by name during animal examinations (where they also refer to my pets by their names).

If some health care workers can manage this, then why not others?

Granted, family practitioners and their staffs are very busy, and their attention is properly focused on the children when they come in for an exam.

It is also fair to assume that people don't know if they should address you as "Monica," "Mrs. Smith, "Ms. Smith," "Ms. Your-childhood-surname" or "Dr. Smith."

This is why health care professionals should ask you how you would like to be addressed, and then make a note on your or your child's chart.

You can help this cause along the next time you encounter it by saying, "Oh, please call me Monica. Usually only my kids call me Mom."


DEAR AMY: I read with interest the letter from the parents who think their son could be gay. They don't know how to approach him about his sexuality. I may be better qualified to advise them than you.

To the couple, I would say: Do nothing. Say nothing.

Your son is either gay or he is not gay. Eventually he will tell you in his own way, either by introducing a companion or in another manner.

A man who is young and gay has enough stress to deal with without added family disapproval. Keep in mind that he did not choose his sexuality, and you two did nothing to influence it — except that the genes you passed on to him dictated it.

Clasp him firmly in the family bosom and give him all the love you have; he will need it.

Extend that love to his companion, if he chooses one. Remember, they will be as dear to each other as you two are.

I speak from long experience. I am 85 years old and have been with my chosen companion for nearly 50 years.

I live in a community where there are many gay couples that have been together from 15 to 60 years. We lead fairly happy lives for people of our age. It is a good life.

— Been There

DEAR BEEN THERE: I often hear from people on both sides of this challenging issue. There is no one or easy way to make a disclosure about sexuality, and parents don't always know how to handle the news.

Your perspective is invaluable, and your advice is great. Thank you very much.


DEAR AMY: I agreed with your advice to "Disrupted Co-worker" to politely ask his food-chomping cubicle neighbor to eat quietly.

The direct approach is usually best, but I dealt with a similar situation in a little different way.

I had a cubicle neighbor who not only chomped loudly but also ate "fragrant" foods like corn nuts.

So, when the food came out I would say, "Hey, Dave, what are you eating over there?"

He'd tell me, and my reply was, "Sounds good. Can I have some?"

After having to share his stash a few times, Dave ate less-fragrant food more quietly!

— Happily Retired

DEAR RETIRED: This is an effective solution to a problem that drives cubicle-dwellers crazy. Thank you.

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Filed under: Lifestyles