Dear Annie: I'm a 14-year-old girl who is having relationship problems. My new boyfriend and I just hooked up over the weekend. "Carter" and I go to church together, and he has always been my best friend. I was too shy to ask him out myself, so I had my friend "Justin" help me.
We got together while our youth group met at church. Everything was going perfectly. We were holding hands and cuddling. But on Sunday morning during greeting at church, Justin came up to me and said Carter told him I'm weird to be with and there's another girl he likes more.
Justin isn't very happy with Carter, and neither am I. We both talked to my mother, and she said I should back off and let Carter chase after me if he's interested. She says she doesn't want me to appear too easy. Is she right? What should I do?
- Perfect Relationship Gone Wrong
Dear Perfect: Listen to your mother. Spending a morning holding hands and cuddling does not constitute a relationship. Carter was interested enough to check you out, but apparently not enough to consider you his girlfriend. It's also possible Justin is giving you inaccurate information. Either way, it's best if you let Carter make the next move.
Dear Annie: I find trick-or-treating annoying. I was raised in a religious group that didn't celebrate Halloween. My mother hated having to answer the door constantly and took out her anger on me. I once suggested we stop opening the door or put up a sign saying, "No Trick-or-Treating here, please," but she wouldn't. I think she was afraid they'd throw eggs.
My brother and I still find it irritating. I don't want my doorbell ringing all night. I don't want to get up and open the door over and over. I'm sure I'm not the only one. Think of those who are disabled or have just brought home a new baby or are caring for a sick child. Answering the door all evening is an unwanted imposition. I also resent these kids coming onto my property asking for candy. I think it's just plain wrong.
What can I do to keep them away? I don't want them to graffiti my property or toilet paper my trees. I can grab them if they do, but if the police are busy, they might not come and then I'd be stuck with the kids indefinitely.
Could you put up some kind of warning in your column asking parents not to let their kids trick-or-treat unless they know the homeowner?
- Elizabeth, N.J.
Dear N.J.: It's too bad you can't enjoy greeting children with a smile and brightening their day once a year. Most parents supervise their kids and prefer they stay within familiar territory. And most kids will skip unwelcoming homes where the lights are off or the treat is a breath mint. But if you are concerned about becoming the neighborhood curmudgeon, put out a generous basket of candy on your front steps with a big sign saying, "Please don't ring bell. Take a piece of candy. Happy Halloween." Refill it once or twice at your leisure. When the basket is empty, the kids will know the cupboard is bare.
Dear Annie: I completely disagree with your response to "Just Wondering in Indiana," who was bothered by the tooth-brusher in the bowling alley restroom.
You never know someone's personal situation. What if that young girl recently underwent oral surgery and was required to keep her teeth brushed after eating?
"Indiana" should take a bottle of hand sanitizer with her and use that to cleanse her hands because brushing one's teeth is hardly the worst thing that happens in a public bathroom. -- Pennsylvania
Dear Pennsylvania: We were surprised by the number of people who like to brush in public places. As we said, if there is a good reason to be brushing in the restroom, fine, but in general, personal hygiene should be done at home, and we are sticking with that.
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.