DEAR NATHAN: I am 7 years old and me and my parents can never agree on my bedtime. Do you think 7:30, 8, 8:30, 9, 9:30, 10, 11 or midnight? — BAD BEDTIME IN BOSTON
DEAR BAD BEDTIME: It’s a very simple answer. Go to bed when your parents say. They feed you and they can take that food away. I don’t think you can possibly figure out how to work a stove and, even if you did, you would probably receive several serious burns.
For the sake of your survival, I would just go to bed when your parents tell you to.
Happy obeying the people who are legally obligated to keep you alive,
DEAR NATHAN: One night I woke up to my cat scratching at my bedroom door to be let in. When I got up and opened the door, I heard my parents making love. They were so loud it grossed me out, because my little sister is 10 and we share a room right next to theirs. She still doesn’t know about this kind of stuff.
I want to tell them they don’t need to be doing that, because what if she got scared and woke up and tried to go in there? What should I do — tell them to go to a motel? — GROSSED OUT IN MADISON, MISS.
DEAR GROSSED OUT: This is the problem with cats. If you had no cat, you would not have opened the door and been forced to witness your parents “friendly time.” That and cats poop in a box. Nothing is good about an animal that poops in a box.
I think that telling your parents that they “don’t need to be doing that” is a tricky subject. Of course they know that they don’t need to be doing it. However, if they had refrained from this particular unnecessary activity, the chances of you existing would be much smaller.
From now on, I would suggest leaving your cat in the hall when it scratches. You will be saved the embarrassment plus you don’t have to worry about being one of the 25,000 people every year who receive bartonellosis from their cats scratching them.
Happy explaining to people that you got a bacterial infection from your pet,
DEAR NATHAN: What are you supposed to do when you are sitting in a salon having your hair cut and styled, and the next appointment shows up early and engages your stylist in nonstop conversation?
My wife says this happens often in beauty parlors and I should suck it up. I wanted the stylist’s full attention so I could get a good haircut. She’s not cheap. Am I right? What would you do? — PERPLEXED IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR PERPLEXED: I think we may be avoiding the real issue here. Chances are, you are a man. If you are a man you should not be seeing a “stylist” for your hair. I don’t care if you are metro sexual or not, men should not see “stylists” for any reason.
I would recommend full head shaving from now on. If you start to shave your head, you will no longer need to see a professional. You can do that on your own at home. There will be no next appointment to come talk to the stylist and you can concentrate all of your energy on making sure you look fantastic.
Or you could just punch the person who comes in and talks to your stylist. Make a great big scene and scream, “THIS IS MY HAIR’S TIME! YOUR HAIR CAN COME BACK AT A LATER DATE!” Then, for emphasis, flip over a table.
Flipping over a table is always a great way to end a conversation.
Happy finding a new stylist once the restraining order kicks in,
DEAR NATHAN: I am a frequent international traveler with a problem. I always pack food for myself to take onboard. My trips are often 20 hours or longer and involve several planes. I find many people neglect to pack any food and they wind up asking — or begging — me to give them some of mine. It’s very awkward for me.
On one flight, I overheard a woman tell her son, “Go ask that man for some cookies,” and the kid did come over. How do I handle this? There are times I have to spend five or seven hours in an airport after midnight waiting for the next flight, and that food is my reserve. — NOT STINGY IN FLORIDA
DEAR NOT STINGY: I completely understand what you’re talking about. This is like when you go out to eat with someone and they order the salad, then proceed to eat your French fries the whole meal. It’s not your fault they chose the pan seared salmon with avocado rémoulade instead of the hickory bacon cheeseburger. Yes, it is the more sensible healthy choice, but I ORDERED THE BURGER, DARN IT! I ORDERED IT FOR MYSELF AND I HAVE NO INTEREST IN SHARING!
I seem to have digressed.
The best way to handle your specific situation is simple. Simply explain to the child that if their parents loved him, they would have packed him food. Not only will you be left alone the rest of the flight, but you get to rest easy in the knowledge that this child will make his parent’s life a living nightmare and will no doubt become a rebellious teenager who listens to black metal and hangs out with friends that have nicknames like Mucus or Zerfnon the Barbarian King.
Happy ruining a person’s life while keeping your cookies to yourself,
DEAR NATHAN: What is proper when you’re talking with someone and you notice the person has food stuck in his or her teeth? What if the person is part of a group and someone you don’t know very well? — TOOTHFUL IN FLORIDA
DEAR TOOTHFUL: This can be a very delicate situation. You don’t want to embarrass the person with food in their teeth, but they need to know.
What I like to do is wait until no one is look, then reach into their mouth myself and pull it out. That way you save them the embarrassment of everyone knowing they have food in their teeth and you get that spinach out of their.
FYI, this is also a great way to end a bad date or a conversation with an annoying coworker.
Happy scaring people away, but making sure they have clean teeth before they leave,
DEAR NATHAN: I’m 13 and have a problem. My friends are jealous of me. They say I’m spoiled rotten. I honestly don’t think I am that spoiled, and I love my friends dearly. I am bothered by their rude comments. How do I ask them to stop or should I just ignore it? — UNSPOILED IN INDIANA
DEAR UNSPOILED: Your friends are probably right. Don’t hold it against them. Just remind them that when you turn 16, your parents will probably buy you a brand new Volkswagen Jetta and they will be stuck with some sort of hand-me-down station wagon that has a cassette deck and a broken windshield wiper.
They will not be calling you spoiled when they want a ride.
Happy rubbing it in to your friends,