Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: Wicked Stepmom

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: I have been a stepmom for seven years. My husband's youngest is 22 and still lives with us.

"Cara" is a hoarder. Her room is full of rotting garbage, soda cans with fruit flies coming out of them and half-eaten food left on piles of dirty clothes on the floor. There are dishes in there that I haven't seen in years. I've offered to help her clean up, but she doesn't want help. She likes her room the way it is.

Cara has a part-time job and her own car. We've asked her to pay rent, but have yet to see any money. She obviously doesn't help around the house. She has few friends and mostly sits in her room all day doing nothing.

Frankly, I want Cara out of here. I think my husband needs to handle this, but he won't. He refuses to kick her to the curb and says to just keep her bedroom door closed. This is causing many arguments. I cannot tolerate the thought of bugs infesting the rest of the house. The weather is hot, and I can smell her stinking room. I've considered cleaning it myself, but I know it will cause a huge fight. What can I do? I'm at my wits' end. -- Wicked Stepmom

Dear Stepmom: People who hoard are emotionally attached to their "collection," even if it includes old food and dirty dishes. These things make Cara feel safe. Unfortunately, if her hoarding isn't addressed, it is likely to get much worse, not to mention the health hazard it presents.

Cara needs professional help, and the sooner her father realizes it the better for everyone. He isn't helping his daughter by allowing this to continue. The International Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation has information on hoarding, as well as referrals. Please contact them at

Dear Annie: I recently met up with an old acquaintance and have fallen head over heels in love with him. We are both single and in our 50s. I believe he loves me, but I suspect he is impotent and too proud to admit it. I don't ask any questions, and it makes no difference to me. I love him no matter what.

My heart breaks for him. My question is: Can a man still feel love in his heart even though he cannot perform in bed? -- No Name, No State


Dear No Name: Of course, but for many men, the ability to show love is tied to the intimacy of sex. Some also feel that if they cannot perform, a woman will think them less of a man. There are treatments for impotence, and if this is the problem, he can speak to his doctor. We suggest you be careful not to turn your encounters into sexually charged events, which may make him feel obligated to take things further. Let him know that you love him as he is, without any additional expectation.

Dear Annie: I would like to respond to "Tired of Getting Bad Haircuts." I have tried every trick you suggested, but for every good haircut, I get 50 bad ones.

I'm always specific about what I want and go out of my way to communicate. Yet I've had dozens of uneven haircuts, bad color jobs, stylists who chat on the phone while cutting, and haircuts that look nothing like the one on the person whose hair you liked so you got their stylist's name. I've also been subjected to stylists talking about their sex lives, their exes and their drug habits. I tried one stylist three times, and on the fourth trip, she said, "You are so picky, I'd like to strangle you." I never went back.

There is only so much a client can do. "Tired" hit the nail on the head. Maybe some stylists out there will see themselves and try to do better. -- Also Tired of Bad Haircuts


"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




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