Annie's Mailbox: Hidden Smile
Dear Annie: I am a white male and have fallen in love with an African-American woman who is 12 years older. I have never met such a wonderful, kind, sweet, caring and loving woman. She makes me laugh. She is my soul mate. I want to spend the rest of my life with her.
At the moment, we aren't dating. We are just friends, but I'd like more than that. The problem is my family. They don't approve of interracial relationships. My parents are old school. They believe you should stay with your own race. If I brought this woman home, my family would disown me. They are very difficult people.
My family is important to me. I don't make enough money to be on my own. My parents are getting older, and they need my help, and I need theirs. I don't know what to do. I don't want to lose my family or this wonderful woman. Forget about counseling. My family would never go for that. -- Interracial Couple
Dear Interracial: Relationships are difficult enough, and you have added two additional problems -- your family's bigotry and a large age difference. You haven't said whether this woman is romantically interested in you, has children or wants any, or whether you do. It also worries us that you seem to be financially dependent on your parents, an indication that you are quite young, don't have a stable job or expect to live off an inheritance, none of which demonstrates the level of maturity you will need to handle your family's reaction.
If you love this woman and she returns your feelings, you should have the courage to face your family and let the chips fall where they may.
Dear Annie: Last year, I was finally able to break free from a long-term abusive relationship. I now have both children in my care, a rewarding job and my own apartment. The problem is my smile.
During that relationship, I did not take care of myself, especially my dental hygiene. I felt I wasn't deserving. Now all my income goes toward housing, clothing and feeding my children. There's not much left over to repair my deteriorating mouth. My kids have dental coverage, thanks to their father, but I do not. I'd love to have a bright smile and beautiful teeth. Is there any way to get help? -- Hidden Smile
Dear Hidden: Your state or local health department may be able to direct you to resources. Also check the American Dental Association (ada.org) for information on your state dental association and a list of dental schools or dental hygiene schools in your area. They often offer free or low-cost help as a training tool for students. You might also find assistance through a community health center (call 1-888-ASK-HRSA) (1-888-275-4772) or United Way. Good luck.
Dear Annie: I chuckled when I read the letter from "Tatted," the young woman who didn't want to tell her father about her new tattoo. It reminded me of the time I pierced my ears at home one night. I told my mother and begged her not to tell Dad. I did everything I could to hide it until one night when my aunt and uncle came to visit from out of town. I was so excited, I forgot to pull the hair over my ears. Dad said, "Yeah, she'd pierce her nose, too, if we let her."
I found out 30 years later that my mom had told him the very day I did it. To think I lived with the guilt and anxiety for all that time is pretty funny to me now. Yes, a tattoo (or piercing) may not be his ideal for his daughter, but my father never stopped loving me because of it. -- South Dakota
"Annie's Mailbox" is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2017. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.