Short Answers: No accounting for rudeness


Dear Short Answers >> Over the past several years, I have had some serious skin issues and stay out of the sun as much as I possibly can. People have started to "comment" on how pale I am. I just say I am sensitive to the sun or I don't want my skin to age prematurely, but some people are relentless.

Yesterday, a woman at work kept badgering me, telling me that I looked sickly and pale and asking me what was wrong? I finally blurted out that I have skin cancer and can't go out in the sun and that shut her up. I guess my question is this: What makes someone feel that they have the right (especially in front of other people) to comment on another person's appearance in a negative way?

— Hypersensitive

DEAR HYPER >> You're right, she is wrong. You can say "I don't wish to discuss it" to just about anyone about anything.

Out with it

Dear Short Answers >> I recently discovered my girlfriend has started to see a psychologist. I'm not exactly sure why or why she hasn't told me about it. We've been living together for over five years and are thinking about getting married, so I would think we should be able to be completely honest with each other. But since she has decided to keep this a secret, I don't know whether I should tell her I know or not (I found out completely accidentally). Should I let her know that I know or wait until she feels comfortable enough to tell me herself? Although I have to admit that every day she doesn't tell me makes me mistrust her more and more.

— Disconcerted

DEAR DIS >> Tell her that you know and that her secrecy upsets you. What she discusses with her doctor is none of your business and you should make it clear that you do not expect her to discuss the content of her visits — but the secret is a problem for you.

Forever fit

Dear Short Answers >> I'm a 51-year old male in a healthy relationship. (Is it relevant that it is with a man?) I've done triathlons for about 15 years. My body looks 30-something, but the laugh lines don't lie. Most of my core group of friends are runners between 5 and 20 years my junior. Lately, they've been upping the miles and I just don't enjoy it liked I used to.

We socialize after our runs usually over breakfast. I don't want to feel like a tired old man and just meet them after their runs for a bagel and coffee. But, I don't want to lose my friends either. My heart and bones are telling me to trade in my running shoes for weight gloves. What should I do?

— Ironman

DEAR IRONMAN >> Not only are you strong, you are wise. Your heart and bones are giving you good advice. Don't think of this as a physical failure. It's an opportunity to explore new activities like tai chi, yoga, or Pilates — all good for the long haul. No doubt you are inspirational and aspirational to the younger folks. Perhaps some would like to join you.

No guarantee

Dear Short Answers >> Is it bad luck to throw away a fortune cookie without opening it?

— Unlucky 7

DEAR 7 >> Yes!

Life is complicated. Short Answers isn't. Submit your questions anonymously on our website,, or email them to


If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions