Dear Amy: I am 25 years old, and my mother constantly buys me clothes. She buys me clothes on eBay, from catalogs and online stores. She lives a state away from me, where she has no friends except her boyfriend, and she works out of her home, so I assume she does it because she's bored and because she feels guilty about not being closer to her grandchildren and me.
I've told her politely that she doesn't need to buy me stuff and that she should just save it for Christmas, but she won't listen.
I don't want to hurt her feelings, but I don't want her to waste her money (she is not wealthy) on stuff I really don't like or need. It's starting to make me uncomfortable.
Amy says: Your assessment of your mother's motivations is probably correct. People who shop too much don't do so because they need anything -- shopping is a placeholder for other activities and emotions.
Ask your mother one more time not to send you clothing. Tell her if she sees something she thinks you'll like to e-mail you a link to the item, and if you like it you'll buy it yourself or put it on your Christmas list.
The next time your mother sends you a package of clothing or has something shipped to you, you should send the item back to her with a note saying, "Mom, I really appreciate you and love you, but I can't accept these clothes. I hope you can return them. Instead of shopping, I hope you can use your money and time to help me plan our next visit."Bed or air mattress?
Dear Amy: I am a single girl living in a one-bedroom apartment.
I occasionally host out-of-town guests. I sleep on a queen-size bed and also have a queen-size air mattress.
Am I expected to relinquish my bed, or is it sufficient to offer guests the air mattress?
Amy says: You keep your bed, unless you are hosting your parents or anyone sufficiently older than you whose back would "go out" sleeping on an air mattress.
Most guests are uncomfortable at the thought of displacing their hostess from her bed and are happy to build a nest on the available floor space.Scanty dress draws letters
Dear Amy: Regarding skimpy attire being worn by young women in offices, in my heart I feel it is all good fun, but in my head I think some level of decorum is in order at a major accounting firm, a brokerage company or a law firm.
After all, we clients have a lot invested in these agents.
Mainly, I think we should all be thankful that it isn't the "mature" women baring it all.
OLD DOG ON THE LEFT COAST
Amy says: I've received a number of letters written by men saying that contemplating the skimpy outfits worn by the young women at their office is the only way they get through their workday.
However, many readers, such as you, also feel the need to express gratitude that older women aren't wearing these figure-hugging outfits.
Trust me -- we "mature" women know the disdain with which the world views us, but we don't always care.
I hope you "old dogs" who have written in to express your disgust at the thought of older bodies in body-hugging clothes will keep this in mind the next time you contemplate wearing your Speedo at the beach.
Send questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Av., Chicago, IL 60611.