Dear Judy,

I’ve been noticing lately that when men walk their dogs it’s rare that they carry along a plastic bag to clean up the poop. The women always do. Why is that?

 – Curious about the clean up in Canton, OH

   Dear Curious,
Men just don’t care…No just kidding. I think the reason for the lack of poop clean up on the men’s part is easily due to the humiliation inherent in picking up poop in a plastic bag and then having to carry it around. Think about it. It’s ridiculous. What person forget men or women really wants to do this. We have become a society of political correctness and don’t want to offend anyone or make a mess. Historically women have been the sex who tends to care more what others thinks. Being more considerate, in this case can mean looking stupid. Men are much more likely to avoid doing something which compromises their manliness. I would say cleaning up poop is right up there. Carrying around a plastic bag with the stuff in it? Are you kidding? I’m not saying it’s right or wrong. Until there’s a law saying you have to do this, or public rest rooms for dogs, it’s more likely you’ll see the fairer sex making this sacrifice.


Dear Judy,
   When I took my son to his freshman orientation at college, he saw a falcon eating a baby rabbit. He wanted us to stop the car and look. I was horrified but it seemed to be so important to him. I felt like an evil voyeur even though it was fascinating from a scientific point of view. My son said we would unlikely see something like this ever unless it was on TV or in a documentary. Was I wrong to watch?
 – Voyeuristic in Vernon


Dear Voyeuristic,
   I understand your conflicts in this area. You were probably programmed to think “evil predator” in terms of the falcon and “defenseless victim” in terms of the rabbit. In fact what you were watching was truly “The Trials of Life”. You were witness to the food chain in action. If you had say, scared the bird away it would’ve come back anyway. Sometimes it is hard to be detached.We have so many preconceived notions about nature.

   What do you think happens when you go to the supermarket to buy steak? Are you evil and is the cow a victim? We are lucky not to have to see the animal killed or have to kill it ourself. In the end it’s a cruel world out there. The falcon wasn’t evil, it was just hungry. The rabbit wasn’t innocent. It was just food. In the end it’s survival of the fittest and it is fascinating.


Dear Judy,
   My wife gets up at the crack of dawn and always wakes me up. I’m exhausted. I work all week and the weekend is my only time to sleep in. My wife likes to get up, have coffee, and go for a walk. Often she brings me the coffee and breakfast in bed to get me up, and I’m still asleep while she is doing this. While I appreciate the gesture as a loving one, I need to SLEEP!!!!! Help.
 – Sleepy and Stressed in Storrs


Dear Sleepy,
   Your wife is obviously good intentioned. She wants to share her morning with you, but it seems like she is intentionally or not putting her needs for company ahead of your needs for sleep. Have you let her know this or are you suffering in silence? Tell her you need a good morning to sleep in and that you are happy to take one of the weekend mornings to be with her. That way she won’t feel rejected entirely and you are compromising.

   If she is upset by this, then she really isn’t being a full partner, and she is truly selfish. That is a deeper and far more complicated issue. Good working marriages take into account the needs of both partners, not just one.


   Dear Judy,
My husband has recently injured his back but won’t tell anyone. He just stays inside and watches TV. He suffers in silence at work and I can see him wince in pain when he has to change positions. I think it would be so much easier if he could talk about it. He says talking about it especially in the workplace is sign of weakness. I think this is silly.
    – Hurting for Hubby in Hartford

    Dear Hurting,
It may seem silly to you, but on the most basic level being injured and in pain at least for a man, and particularly in corporate business, IS in fact perceived as a sign of weakness.Like the playing field in sports the weak player can easily be replaced and or taken advantage of… and so this model translates into the workplace.

   Though it may seem antiquated, men..directly correlate their potency to their strength, No one who is injured is at full capacity. Being vulnerable is a scary feeling for men. Revealing it is even scarier. Help your husband by understanding this fact. Maybe he could take some time off and heal before heading back to battle. Maybe it would help him to at least talk to friends some. Often other men who can relate can be a great support.


Dear Judy,
   Sometimes I like to watch TV when I’m working out and sometimes I like to watch in my room alone when my husband is not home. He has an irritating habit of turning the TV off whenever he walks into the room once he’s home. I’m not sure why he does this, but I’ve been married to him 24 years and it’s really starting to get on my nerves. What should I do?
Irritated in Indianapolis

Dear Irritated,
   You have a reason to be annoyed. That behavior isn’t just rude it’s inconsiderate. How would your husband feel if you did that to him? He’ probably be quite angry. My guess is he’s turning the TV off so he can have your undivided attention; to ask first would be the polite thing to do.

   If he’s unwilling to grant you that simple consideration then there’s something else going on, and he’s trying to engage you in conflict. Do you have a good relationship otherwise? Does he care what you watch? I’d say this is just brutish, impulsive behavior that hasn’t been curbed. Address it and see what happens. He might be surprised there is even anything wrong. You’ve waited a long time to say anything. Does he have a temper? Is he uncooperative? I’d be interested in knowing why you haven’t said anything until now.


Dear Judy,
   My ten-year-old son has a habit of biting his toenails and eating them. My husband and I find this behavior disgusting but whenever we criticize him for it, he will just continue to pick and chew in secret. I don’t want him to continue this habit into adulthood and be looked down upon by a future spouse. What should we do??
 –Pick and Swallow in Lexington


Dear Pick,
   Somewhere out there is another connoisseur of talons, but seriously the habit was probably initially developed as a reaction to some stressor, and became a comfort. This kind of habit is difficult to break because once the stressor is gone the habit remains. There may be triggers you and your husband can watch for. Are there certain times of the day or places when he particularly likes to chew?

   Shaming him will not help and will probably exacerbate the behavior. Let him know there is a variety of snacks out there, Granola bites, marshmallow treats, gummy bears etc. Maybe you could reward him for a day of not chewing for example with a special gift or treat. Of course if he’s chewing because he really likes the flavor, then there’s no accounting for taste.


Dear Judy,
   My daughter’s best friend has recently dropped out of school and become pregnant. She is only 20 years old. Her parents are acting as if they are proud of her. I worry that she thinks getting pregnant is as much of an accomplishment as getting a college degree (her original plan). I know my daughter would never follow in her friend’s footsteps, but how do I explain to her that this is not the best course of action for someone her age, when her peer’s parents are expressing such delight?
Not Wanting To Judge in Jersey


Dear Not,
   This is a tough one. As different people have quite different sets of values, I think the majority of us would agree that an education first and children second is overall a better strategy. However, even the best-laid plans can go awry. Did your daughter’s friend want to go to college? Or was it someone else’s agenda? Was she happy to get pregnant?   
Sometimes getting pregnant can be an instant answer to the very important question of what should I do with my life.

   Unfortunately, once the child is here opportunities may not be as abundant. Children are not only a commitment, but also a full time job. Often, young mothers don’t realize the impact of their decisions and may regret it later. Give your daughter the facts; let her know how you feel about her friend’s parents’ reaction. It’s okay to have a strong opinion when you care about your daughter. It may be that unconsciously your daughter’s friend is fulfilling her parents’ wish to be successful in the only way she feels capable of.