Dear Annie: My husband, "Robert," and I moved back to our hometown several years ago to help with aging parents. I went back to work as a nurse, and he joined his father's law firm. Upon moving back, we struck up a friendship with an old acquaintance of Robert's. "Tim" and Robert went to high school together and a year of college.
We have invited Tim and his partner over several times for dinner. We have often gone to their house. And we have spent time together at parties and social gatherings of mutual friends.
Tim was recently diagnosed with an aggressive type of cancer and has begun the process of getting his affairs in order. Robert has been gracious in helping him with finances and household things that need to be taken care of. He's even stayed the night when needed.
Recently, Tim had a talk with Robert and told him that he was very infatuated with him when they were younger -- and one of his dying wishes is to see him naked. Robert came home all shaken up and upset and didn't know what to say. Now, I have to tell you that Robert is very fit for a 47-year-old man. He works out, runs marathons and is very charming. But he doesn't want to accommodate Tim's dying wish. I said, "Go for it. The man is dying. Let him enjoy his ending days -- even if it means you have to 'strip' for him." I'm perfectly fine with it; Robert is the one with the issue -- Open in Oregon
Dear Open: Well, Robert would be the one to take issue, wouldn't he? After all, it is his body -- not yours, not Tim's. Only Robert gets to say what he's comfortable with, and he's spoken on this subject. Now let it be. Surely, Tim can think of another last wish that doesn't involve making a friend feel violated and uncomfortable.
Dear Annie: I could be the person to whom "Loudness Sufferer" was referring in her letter. My voice gets very loud. After chastising and scolding me over the years, my friends now just use a hand gesture that tells me to lower my voice, and I do. However, it doesn't sound any different to me. I have had my hearing tested, and it's fine for my age.
It's not a habit I can break, as I don't hear it. So my friends help me keep it in check, and that's the best I can do. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one with this problem.
Just thought I would let you know that "Loudness Sufferer's" friend probably doesn't hear it, either. -- Barbara Bly
Dear Barbara: I love the idea of the hand signal. It's discreet but effective. Perhaps it's the quick fix that will save "Loudness Sufferer's" friendship. Thanks for the insightful tip.
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