The hills are alive: Son’s busty girlfriend eager to show all

By Emily Yoffe, Slate
Posted Aug. 03, 2013, at 4:40 p.m.

Dear Prudence,

My 20-year-old son “Ted” has a 19-year-old girlfriend named “Dahlia.” Dahlia is very well-endowed and rarely wears a bra. However, she does wear low-cut clothing and often looks like she’s about to fall out. The dress she was wearing last night was so small on her that it she couldn’t zip it up all the way and she was very close to a nip slip. When she walked in the door she looked at me, shrugged her shoulders and said, “I know this is a low-cut dress” as if she knew she was coming to my house, knew what my expectations are, but came looking like that anyway.

Here’s my problem: She’s going on vacation with us in a week. I don’t want to seem prudish but I do want to get through to her that this type of dress isn’t appropriate for the places we’ll be going and the people we’ll be seeing.

I’ll be asking her before we leave if she’s got bras in her suitcase, and I am ready to leave her behind if she doesn’t or make her go out and buy a few or buy them for her. What do I do? How do I handle this without alienating her but helping her to understand that something that is fine when you’re out clubbing is not fine when you’re trying to make a good impression with your boyfriend’s family?

— Appropriate Mom

Dear Mom,

You have time to have a friendly and helpful chat with Dahlia before you all go bouncing off on holiday. Take a supportive, not punitive approach. You can say something like, “Dahlia, dear, you’re young and beautiful, but the clothes you wear to go out in the evening aren’t going to be appropriate for family outings. I wanted to make sure you have things to wear, including bras, that will work for the trip. If not, let’s go to the department store and get you a few items.” If you have to put the underwire, nipple-concealing bra on your credit card, consider it an excellent investment.

Dear Prudence,

My mother was overbearing and manipulative. She expected me to talk on the phone an hour each day and to make trips at least once a week to her home over an hour away. I resolved not to be that kind of mother. But now I feel abandoned by my three grown children who are in their late 20s to early 30s. We are still semi-supporting one through a graduate degree and financially helping out another. The third is financially independent and lives far away.

I have friends who call and text with their children daily. I work with women in their 20s who do the same. But weeks will go by without one of my children calling me. If I do call and leave a message or a text, often it will be ignored. I don’t want to force them into contacting me but is it too much to ask for a 30-minute phone call once a week? Of maybe calling and asking me to go to a movie? What should a parent expect from a twenty-something in terms of contact?

-Abandoned

Dear Abandoned,

The cause of your current predicament might be contained in your first few sentences. You were bullied and browbeaten by your mother and it sounds as if instead of setting some limits, you gave in to her demands. So your children grew up seeing you resentful of all the time you spent attending to your mother. That may have conveyed to them the burdensomeness of the relationship between adult children and their parents. It’s also possible your vowing not to similarly afflict your children led to your being a somewhat distant mother.

So here you are with children who are taking your checks but aren’t interested in checking in with you. The increasing closeness you see between middle-aged parents and their grown children is not just anecdotal — it’s a documented trend, and I understand it hurts to feel cut out of it. It’s time you had a frank discussion with your kids.

Invite the two who are nearby over for a meal and afterward tell them you and their father — because I hope he backs you up — want to hear more from them. Be frank about your relationship with your mother and say that maybe your reaction to her had a negative effect on your own parenting. If you get emotional, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Say that you miss them and want to feel more a part of each others’ lives. Suggest establishing a short weekly phone conversation. (Do not ask for 30 minutes, which sounds like an eternity.) Add you’d also like to see them for a monthly brunch or a dinner.

Do not hold over them either finances or the example of closer families — you’re trying to connect without resorting to guilt. Seeing how this goes will help you refine your approach for when your fully fledged child comes for a visit.

— Prudie

Dear Prudie,

I have been at my organization for four years in what felt like a dead-end position. But recently I have had good news and have been told by key players that they have plans for me. Thinking my job was going nowhere, about a year ago I got involved on a side project in my free time. However, now that I’ve gotten some attention at work, I am worried that my side project will cause problems with my career aspirations. I’m a pro-choice activist and writer and my company is in a conservative, traditional community.

My question is should I wait for someone from my organization to confront me and actually say that my activism will interfere with my rise at work, or should I start scaling back this work and cleaning up my online presence? It seems unfair that I should have to worry about my personal beliefs interfering with my job performance, but I also live in reality.

— Conflicting Aspirations

Dear Conflicting,

Everyone should look at their online presence with an eye to its effect on their career, because when you post things you should assume that material is no longer in your control. I agree that unless there is a clear conflict between your personal activism and your job, what you do on your own time should be your own business. But as you say, you recognize that being a spokesperson in the pro-choice community could unfortunately have an adverse impact on your career. And it won’t necessarily be as clear to you as someone telling you to tone things down. It might just manifest itself by your finding at work that the promised plans don’t pan out.

So for now, be more circumspect with your advocacy. As you become more successful and secure, you will have a better sense of what form your support of the cause might take. Maybe it will be mostly financial, or maybe you can serve on some boards. The more prominent and respected you become in your profession, the more your voice will register.

- Prudie

Please send your questions for publication to prudence@slate.com. Questions may be edited.

 

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/08/03/living/the-hills-are-alive-sons-busty-girlfriend-eager-to-show-all/ printed on October 25, 2014