Thursday, December 10, 2015

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy ,
My roommate has a huge cold sore on her face . I don't know much about cold sores , but when I looked them up , I read that they are contagious . We live in fairly close quarters and I am paranoid that I might catch this . My roommate has not mentioned anything to me about this being contagious . She says it's painful to talk , and I have found a note from the health center about the sore on her face . I want to disinfect everything , but I do not want to seem rude by protecting myself . Is there a tactful way to ask her about how contagious this is ? I feel like I deserve to know if there is a chance that I will catch this .
Suspicious Sores 
Dear Suspicious Sores,
Given that you live with this woman , you do have the right  to tell her that you read cold sores are contagious . Ask her what the doctor told her about her condition . Based on what you researched, tell her  that both of you need to be super  conscientious about cleanliness to reduce the risk of infection . Because, once you catch the herpes simplex virus -1 (HSV-1) (also called cold sores) you have it for life. There is no cure, although it will go through periods of dormancy. There are medicines, however, to relieve discomfort and shorten the outbreak.
A  person infected with HSV-1 is contagious, even if the  cold sores  aren't apparent . So practice a little caution.
 Do not  share beauty  products, especially lip balm  or lipstick . Do not share  anything  that goes in your mouth. It's too bad if you come across as a germaphobe, but you should not share eating utensils or food either . Also, be sure to thoroughly wash all dishes and cookware in scalding water or use an antiseptic dishwashing liquid. Sharing a phone is risky too. Take care,

Dear Maxy ,
I visited my friend's home today . We went out to eat with her family . My friend has a sister , Beth , who has Tourette's and mental disabilities . Beth's tics are frequent and I have noticed people looking over at us as she has them . This was my first experience being stared at in a restaurant , and I felt so sympathetic to my friend's family , who has learned to ignore the stares . During the meal , someone came up and asked what Beth was doing . The mother politely explained that Beth has uncontrollable tics . I always assumed it would never be the family's responsibility to explain a disability to a nosey stranger . Should the mother have told the stranger to get away from our table ?
None of Their Business 
Dear None of Their Business ,
Observing  your friend's mother was a good lesson for you because this family has learned how to navigate their everyday life with a child who has noticeable disabilities . The mom behaved appropriately, with understanding for others who notice her daughter's tics and are curious . Rather than being  offended, she takes the position that she can educate others .
This is probably the easiest and best way to manage the situation . Your  friend's mom knows that unless you have witnessed or had to deal with someone with tourettes, you likely have no idea why a person is behaving that way.
This doesn't mean that people in a restaurant or other establishment  have the right to ask what's wrong with a person in your party . People should mind their business. But if someone  approaches respectfully, and inquires, a little information about the disabled person's condition is the quickest way to end the conversation. For more information, anyone can contact 'The  Tourette Association Of America' - phone:718-224-2499 or website: (

Dear Maxy ,
My boyfriend has just confessed to me that his dad has been unfaithful to his mother for years . My boyfriend just found this out and he does not know if his parents will be getting a divorce . I have always made the decision to not tell my parents because I have heard their opinions about cheating . Now I do not know how to act when I see his dad ; I have lost respect for him . This cheating has been going on my boyfriend's whole life . I have never had to deal with something like this in my family . Do I pretend to not know about this when I speak to his father ?
Cheating Scum
Dear Cheating Scum ,
As hard as it may be to keep your mouth closed, you should. This is absolutely not your concern. What happens between your boyfriend's parents is their business .
Since you and your boyfriend are close and he just learned about his father, I understand why he confided in you . He needs sympathy and understanding to help him come to terms with the situation. He has a reason to be upset but you do not. There may be more to the story than you know. You are not in a position to judge this man. He is still the same man you always respected. Continue to treat him as you have always done.

Dear Maxy ,
While my mother was still alive, she gave a substantial amount of money to my oldest son "Rick." Everyone but Mother knew she was supporting his drug habit (which he since overcome) . When she died , her will gave equal amounts of money to both of my sons . 
My younger son , "Carl," was hurt by his grandmother's lopsided generosity to his brother , and it may be part of the reason my adults sons aren't close today .
Rick's father , my first husband, will be leaving him his entire estate , so he will be financially set . My current husband and I recently completed our will , leaving most of our assets to Carl.
Based upon what my mother did , I'm concerned that Rick will be hurt if he finds out what his stepfather and I didn't leave him an equal share . But I don't believe my husband is going to leave the same amount to his stepson as he does to his biological son . What do you think ?
Trying to Avoid Hurt Feeling 
Dear Trying ,
I commend you for trying to level the playing field and be fair to both sons. You can't compensate for the hurt your mother dealt Carl; she played favorites. The sad thing is that it came between your sons.
Did your present husband help raise Rick ? What is his opinion? Can your assets  be separated  from your husband's so that his entire  estate  goes to Carl , but yours is split in half ?
 If that is not a satisfactory answer, would Rick and Carl be understanding if you discussed these issues in advance and explained your reasoning?
The best thing to do is to involve an estate lawyer to act as mediator, and have your husband and both sons present and work out the fairest inheritance for each son together.
Once it is hashed out and on a legal document, there will be no repercussions or ill feelings between the brothers later....because they both took part in the discussion.
Unequal  bequests create problems because it appears that the parent favored one child over another. That is not a feeling you wish your sons to remember you by.

Dear Maxy ,
I am a successful woman in my early 30s. I am single and have been going on many dates , trying to find a husband . I am never sure about who should get the check from dinner , because I am not sure who makes more money of the pair . If it is me , should I be footing the bill ? I do not want to grab at the check , but I also do not want my date to think I am ungrateful or unwilling to contribute . Some of my girlfriends insist that I should let the man pay to preserve his ego and make it a "real" date , while others insist that in 2015 a woman should feel comfortable splitting the bill without losing the romance of the date . Am I ungrateful or traditional for allowing a man to pay ? Should I be grabbing for the first check more often ?
Blunder , Orlando
Dear first Date Blunder ,
Dating etiquette can seem impossible  to understand, let alone follow. Who should pay on the first date is at the top of the list of questions. The general rule of thumb is that the person who asks for the date pays, the first time out. Since it is nearly always the man who asks for the first
date, they generally pay. According to current research, over 75% of men report they still feel guilty accepting women's money.
The research indicated that the vast majority of heterosexual couples are not splitting the bill 50/50 on the first date. That holds true even when men and women identify as progressive or feminist.
If there is a second date and you feel it will lead to more, you could broach the subject with your date. Ask him how he feels on the subject of gender roles and sharing expenses. Let him know you are happy to pay your own share in order to spend time with him.
In the perfect scenario, you can both be flexible on the subject. There are always weeks when one partner is more flush than the other. Hopefully, you accommodate each other. A relationship is also a partnership, not a sexist sparring match.
Happy dating,

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