Dear Annie: Two years ago, my husband attended an out-of-town business convention. While he was away, I received a call from his cellphone. In the background, I could hear laughter and loud music, and the muffled voice of my husband saying, “My wife wouldn’t really approve of this.” My heart sank.
When I interrogated him for nearly two hours the next morning, my fears were confirmed. He said the company sponsored an excursion to a strip club.
I was home thousands of miles away caring for our five children, and he was off on “business” looking at naked women.
He denied receiving a lap dance, which was my initial suspicion, and insisted the comment was in reference to his smoking a cigarette.
Recently we were out with one of his co-workers, who brought up the hilarious time when “Bob’s” cellphone dialed me in the middle of a lap dance. I was furious. Now he says that yes, he did receive a lap dance paid for by the company. He claims he lied because he knew how angry I’d be.
I am not a prude by any means. I am a fun-loving, hardworking, adventurous wife. His needs at home have always been met with a smile.
To be disrespected in such a manner is beyond my understanding. This situation could be a marriage wrecker if I don’t figure out how to get past it. He refuses counselling. What should I do? – Mortified in the Midwest
Dear Mortified: Enlightened companies do not undermine their employees’ marriages by encouraging visits to strip clubs and paying for lap dances.
It is not only vulgar and juvenile, it can intimidate otherwise sensible men into participating in order to be part of the group (and can be viewed as sexual harassment toward female employees).
Your problem is compounded by the fact that your husband lied.
If this is the only instance where he has had a lapse in judgment, please try to forgive him.
You have five children, and a one-time idiocy should not break up your marriage. Since we understand how difficult this is, please get counselling on your own.
Dear Annie: I was married for 10 years, divorced for six, and am going to marry again soon. I have not used my maiden name in more than 15 years and don’t plan to, since I have children from my first marriage.
When I marry again, would it be OK to hyphenate my current name to my second husband’s name? I’ve been told it’s a good way for all my children (current and future) to share at least one of the same last names. Is this proper? Would people frown on it? My ex-husband and I have a good relationship for the kids’ sake, and I don’t think he would mind one way or the other. – Mrs. Smith-Thomas-Jones
Dear Mrs. STJ: The nice thing about names is you can use whatever you like, as long as it isn’t for fraudulent purposes. There is no “proper” thing to do. Use the name you prefer, hyphenated or not.
Dear Annie: I would like to respond to “Shorty’s Mom.” My 19-year-old daughter is not quite 4 feet 10 inches tall and weighs about 85 pounds.
We also have encountered the children’s menu situation with my daughter usually ending up in tears.
When she was a freshman in college, I took her to lunch at a nice restaurant and the hostess asked if my daughter would like the children’s menu.
I responded with a smile, “She’s in college, so we let her have the ‘big girl’ menu now.”
All of us laughed, the hostess apologized, and my daughter and I were able to enjoy our meal. Since then, she has used the same line. A little humour makes the point gracefully and helps avoid the tears. – S.C.
Dear S.C.: Bravo for teaching your daughter how to deal with this unpleasant situation in a mature, sensible manner.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.