Annie's Mailbox:

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Dear Annie: My husband and I are an interracial couple. My father totally disapproves of all interracial relationships, especially one involving his “baby girl.” Annie, I am 47 years old, and even after two years of being with the most wonderful man in the world, I still cannot take him to my parents’ house.

My mother really likes my husband, as do the rest of my family members who have met him. I feel so awkward going to family functions without my husband, but he insists that I go so I can spend time with my parents while they are still here on this earth.

My dad promised he would meet my husband once we’ve been married 10 years. My father will be 85 years old then. I hope he still is around, but that is a long time to wait. When I try to talk to Dad, he simply says, “I don’t want to discuss it.” How do I let my father know how much he means to me, and that he also means a great deal to my husband?

— Still Daddy’s Girl

Dear Still: You are fortunate to have a husband who understands the importance of family and is willing to sacrifice for your benefit. However, sometimes it helps to push just a little.

Your father sounds stubborn, but we sense a tiny bit of hope because he obviously loves you. At the next family gathering, tell Dad you are bringing your husband — it’s time they got to know one another, like it or not, and you insist he have more respect for your marriage. He’ll grouse and grumble, but if your husband handles him lightheartedly, we suspect Dad will put up with it, and that could be the start of something better, sooner.

Dear Annie: My cousin goes to a dermatologist’s office for his annual skin cancer checkup. The problem is, these checkups are conducted by the nurse practitioner. Unless surgery is scheduled, the doctor is not involved or present — although the bill to the insurance company does not reflect this.

Shouldn’t the specializing physician actually see the patient? I just moved to this area, and my cousin wants me to go to her dermatologist. This particular dermatologist has a large cosmetic dermatology practice, and I have heard others say it’s the doctor’s main interest.

When is seeing only a nurse practitioner appropriate for diagnosis, regardless of the level of experience?

— Raised in the Sun Belt

Dear Sun Belt: Nurse practitioners are trained and certified to be able to handle many routine examinations, including a skin cancer checkup. We are certain that if this NP found anything remotely worrisome, the dermatologist would be alerted immediately. The bottom line, of course, is your level of comfort. If you think this dermatologist will not give your skin the attention it deserves, find one who will.

Dear Annie: This is for “In Need of Altitude,” who wasn’t attracted to her shorter boyfriend. She said shorter men don’t seem “masculine.”

I am not sure what height has to do with masculinity. At just under 5-feet-11-inches in stocking feet, I am a tall woman. I’m in a relationship with a wonderful and charming man who is 5-foot-8-inches. “Charles” has more than enough personality to have a presence about him. He is confident enough in himself and who he is to cherish and respect all 71 inches of me. He is well-educated, affectionate, attentive, kind and a terrific conversationalist.

Last month while I was hospitalized, not only did Charles visit and dote on me, but he also complimented me about how good I looked in a hospital gown. Together, we share a passionate and loving intimate life. It sounds as if “In Need” is stuck in her own definition of appropriate. I hope she can expand her horizons.

— Finally a Good Man

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. 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.

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