There’s new guy coming to my health club on the same days and times when I go. He’s a total gym rat—he leaves his sweat all over the equipment, grunts really loudly, and hogs time in the showers. Can I tell him off? Please.
My Dear Bensen,
There are certainly no rules that say you can’t tell this poor newcomer off, or at least remind him that lifting is not the male equivalent of childbirth and grunting is much more acceptable in private and between consenting adults. An alternative to telling the man off would be to politely ask him to join for you a Peppered-Saffron Water or Pimms Cup after your workouts and quietly explain club form to him. My guess is that he would be grateful. If you’d prefer to forgo this route, simply ask a staffer to speak with him.
Gym rats are the worst. My pet peeve is the member who keeps dirty socks in her locker for months. If I was interested in aversion aromatherapy, I would be consulting a specialist, thank you very much. Do try and be kind.
I have twin daughters who will be graduating from high school this year. I want to reward them with nice gifts in the spring but they are both insisting on breast implants, as are most of their friends. Many of the other parents are actually planning to indulge their daughters on this but I don’t think I can. How can I say no without breaking my girls’ hearts?
My Dear Ingrid,
I wish I were shocked by your predicament but, sadly, I am not. There is a disturbing trend among adolescent women to place a bulk of their self-esteem in the region around their rib cages and, of course, at their age everything is of the utmost urgency. Your duty as a parent, however, is to draw the line at such foolishness, especially when it poses a risk to your children’s health. Most implants result in a serious complication within three to five years, according to National Research Center for Women & Families.
Many parents who are unable to say no to their children are driven to very desperate measures. I have a friend who is working with authorities in Oslo on the recent heist of one of Edvard Munch’s The Scream paintings. The best intelligence to date is that the culprits were a couple of frantic fathers whose own daughters were demanding a boatload of expensive cosmetic surgery. Unable to come up with any other means to pay for this culturally promoted form of self-mutilation and fearing the rejection of their over-indulged children, these poor fellas felt they had no choice but attempt to be Pierce Brosnan and company in The Thomas Crown Affair. Oh dear. It was a movie, boys.
Try and explain to your girls that breast augmentation is really not the same thing as having one’s hair done or getting a pedicure. You could try the “beauty comes from within” talk, but at this stage of the game I doubt you’ll have much luck. Just tell them you love them, put your foot down, your credit card out of reach, and wait for the storm to pass. Learning to say no in a respectful way can be difficult for anyone, let alone a loving parent wanting to reward a much-loved child, but this is an important and well-mannered skill for us all to acquire at any age. You are doing the right thing, Ingrid, by being a positive role model.
Is it woefully unhip of me to suggest a couple of nice watches or a week or two abroad might still be acceptable graduation gifts? I wish you all the best on this. I hope you will keep me abreast (sorry, I couldn’t resist) of how things are going.