DEAR ABBY: I need an unbiased opinion. I am the father of a 12-year-old daughter, "Lia." She catches an early morning bus for school, and I leave for work at the same time her bus picks her up, so I'm in charge of getting her ready in the morning.
Although we have two bathrooms — one upstairs and one down — neither of us wants to use the downstairs bathroom to get ready. All our stuff is upstairs.
When I wake Lia up each morning, she heads into the shower and I go feed the dog. I then go into the bathroom and shave while she's in the shower. While I'm shaving we discuss sports and life in general. When I'm finished, I leave until she's done showering and goes back into her room. I then take my shower.
Is this wrong? Lia's mother thinks it's inappropriate for me to be in the bathroom at all while she's taking a shower. I think it is efficient because neither of us is willing to use the other bathroom, and I find it's a good time to find out what's going on in her life. Who's right?
— RIGHT OR WRONG IN WISCONSIN
DEAR RIGHT OR WRONG: Your wife is correct. It's not a matter of "right or wrong." It's a matter of what is appropriate.
At 12, your daughter is becoming a young woman. Either you or Lia needs to start using the downstairs bathroom. If you can't agree on who that will be, then draw straws. You can bond with her over breakfast.
DEAR ABBY: My old college roommate "Gina" and I live several states apart, but we have remained close over the years. Whenever I call her, her husband picks up an extension and listens in. We don't know he's listening until he says something. Other times, he'll stand next to her and constantly interrupt her while we're talking. He has his own friends and hobbies, and Gina does not know why he keeps butting in.
I have spoken to him when she is unavailable to make him feel involved, but this three-way conversation is bugging me. Since Gina appears to be unable to tell him to cut it out, what should I do?
— MIFFED IN MADISON
DEAR MIFFED: I see no reason why you shouldn't tell Gina — whether her husband is listening or not — how intrusive you feel her husband's eavesdropping is and that you would like your conversations to be private. After that, it will be up to her to decide where to draw the line.
DEAR ABBY: I am fortunate. I come from a close and loving family. Even though we have come through some difficult times recently, it has drawn us closer, strengthened our love and fueled our resolve to support each other no matter what.
So why am I writing? I am so full of love and emotion that it's not unusual for me to cry frequently. When we say goodbye after a visit, I cry more than anyone else. My daughter says it's a real downer — and others feel awkward. So how does one turn off the flow of tears?
— TEARY-EYED IN ALABAMA
DEAR TEARY-EYED: As long as a person understands the reason why she (or he) is crying — and it isn't because of displaced emotions — tears are nothing to be embarrassed about, and I see no reason to stifle them. However, it's one thing to shed a few tears and another to come completely unglued. Because your display of emotion makes "others feel awkward," and if this is new behavior, it may be time to consult your physician to determine what's triggering the waterworks.
Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.