DEAR AMY: I am retired and live with my girlfriend, who still works full time. Financially, we're good, but problems arise when she gets home from work.
She seems to have this expectation that I should do all of the household chores: cleaning, shopping, errands, home maintenance, etc. It's not like I make a mess of the place — quite the contrary.
I usually leave for the day and do the things that retired people do — hang out at the coffee shop, bicycle, surf. I leave the place looking nice and am self-sufficient. Because of my choices I have arrived at a place where I can enjoy life, and I think it is unfair that I get grief for living as I wish to live.
Don't get me wrong, I don't expect anyone else to pull my weight, but explain to me why I must pull hers, too, as her choices have led her to this place.
— The Good Life
DEAR GOOD LIFE: The obvious solution is for you and your girlfriend to pool some of your money and hire a person to come in to do household chores. After that, you two can negotiate sharing the rest.
The other obvious solution is for you to enjoy your life as a solitary, self-sufficient retiree. On your own. Alone. In your own pad. If you want to live with another person, whether it's your girlfriend or a fellow retired surfing geezer, you should realize that even self-sufficient, tidy adults need to share the chores required to keep a home running — and it's not really that much work.
Additionally, it's not really all that tough to think of little ways to make someone else's life a little easier — certainly if you love that person and want her to be happy and feeling good about you. In return, your partner should ease up a little and be appreciative.
DEAR AMY: I'm worried about my friend, "Lori." We are both 16. She started drinking at parties when she was 12, and also smokes cigarettes and pot (as do I). If we go out she normally has already taken a couple of shots of vodka or some other hard liquor before we go. A few days ago, she told me that she had downed her breakfast with some tequila.
Amy, I'm really worried about her. I know her parents have healthy drinking habits. Lori has also mentioned her desire to experiment with heroin, cocaine and other hard drugs. I don't know what I can do to help her without seeming like I'm judging her for her choices or being prudish.
— Scared at 16
DEAR SCARED: Based on what you report it sounds as if your friend has a full-blown alcohol addiction, which, if she started drinking at 12, is not surprising (studies show that the earlier a person starts drinking, the quicker addiction can surface).
You should do everything you can think of to help: Express your concern to her, talk to a counselor at school and share your concerns with her parents and yours, though I wonder where all of your parents are because you seem to be raising yourselves. You do have to be brave enough not to worry about seeming judgmental.
But your biggest and most important job is to take care of yourself. I hope you will start to apply all of your ample intelligence and good judgment to your own life.
DEAR AMY: Responding to the letter from "Down and Out," who was dating a guy who loved being surrounded by women: So you think a guy who takes a woman on a date for dancing is just a "fun flirt" (as you call him) if he leaves his date sitting alone and dances with other single women? Sounds like he's more of an egoist cad and rude to leave his date alone, but a "fun flirt"? C'mon, Amy, have a little more respect for women.
DEAR DK: The man in question was a flirt when she met him, but now she wanted him to change. And yes, I will definitely try to have more respect for women. Thank you.
Send questions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Amy Dickinson's memoir, The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town that Raised Them (Hyperion), is available in bookstores.