Dear Annie: Um, excuse you
Dear Annie: I’m a woman in my mid-20s. About a month ago, I started seeing “Vern.” He was my first date through an online dating site, so I was nervous and then pleasantly surprised when he turned out to be charming, sincere, witty and just as good-looking in person. We share a lot of the same interests and even, it turns out, have some mutual acquaintances.
The issue I’m writing about also started on our first date. Vern and I were enjoying a nice stroll on our city’s riverwalk after dinner, when all of a sudden, he belched. One time and I wouldn’t have even thought anything of it, but a few minutes later, it happened again. For the rest of the night, he was belching once every five minutes. He didn’t say “excuse me” but just continued to talk as if nothing had happened.
We’ve been on a few dates since, and this has happened a few more times but not every time. How do I bring this up? Or do I even bring it up? I’m not trying to let this ruin a potentially great relationship, but still, I have to be honest: It grosses me out. — Unexcused
Dear Unexcused: If Vern’s been an otherwise polite person, I’m guessing he didn’t say “excuse me” because it’s become so commonplace he hardly notices it or because he was praying you didn’t. There’s most likely an underlying medical reason for the excessive belching. He may have acid reflux or stomach ulcers. Encourage him to talk to his doctor, more for his benefit than yours. Chronic acid exposure in the esophagus can cause serious health problems down the line.
Dear Annie: Recently, you printed a letter about a co-worker’s odor. In the last sentence of your reply, you said, “To anyone thinking of skipping that pre-work shower, please don’t.”
Our world faces serious problems from global warming. If Americans shower almost every day and do so in hot water, they give rise to significant amounts of carbon emissions. Although less harmful energy sources, such as wind and solar power, are becoming increasingly available, they may never be able to handle all our needs. As for nuclear power, it has disadvantages of a different kind.
I shower about twice a week and shower only in cold water during about half the weeks of the year.
Granted, I am retired and do not need to be very often with other people in close quarters. Another measure I take to limit my carbon footprint is to set my home thermostat at 62 degrees in winter and 76 degrees in summer. Also, because I live near virtually all my frequent destinations, I can reach them by bicycle or on foot most of the time.
I am hoping that before you suggest any particular routines or behaviors, you will pause to consider their implications with regard to global warming. — Cleaner Climate
Dear Cleaner Climate: You are right. My response was meant to be a general plea for personal hygiene, not a prescription for everyone to shower every day. By all means, folks should shower or bathe just as often as they need to in order to stay fresh. Thanks for raising the issue.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Go to http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.