Ask Amy: Paying good deeds forward

August 25, 2013

DEAR AMY: The letter from “Grandma,” (whose grandson blamed the umpire when he struck out) reminded me of the days I was an umpire.

As a female umpire, I took a lot of grief — from the parents! I also heard many parents tell their children that it wasn’t their fault, it was the umpire who made a bad call.

My parents taught me that I might not agree with the umpire, but I could never blame the umpire. That was never more apparent than when I was 7 years old and was called out on strikes on a ball that bounced twice before it made it to the plate.

I remember crying to my daddy that the umpire made a bad call. He told me that everyone makes mistakes at times and I needed to quit crying, get my glove and go to my position — or I wouldn’t play softball again.

I played for 25 more years. I never forgot my dad’s advice, and he’s the reason I chose to umpire kids, men’s and women’s ball games for over 20 years. -- Lady Ump

DEAR UMP: Parents need to remember that they model behavior — good and bad — that their children are sure to copy. Your father hit a home run.

DEAR AMY: I have to offer a comment about who picks up the check at a first meeting/date.

I have been meeting women online for over two years and have probably had about 20-25 “first meetings.” One time the woman insisted on paying for lunch because I had driven a good distance to accommodate her schedule.

Three times the woman has insisted on splitting the tab. Every other time the woman has allowed me to pay with little or usually no comment (other than thank you).

So while the online dating sites urge the same thing you do in regard to payment, the reality is that old habits die hard. I am in my mid 50s so I attribute some of that to the ingrained message from when we were young: The guy pays.

For the record, I always offer to pay and see what the reaction is. I am always pleased/impressed if they offer to split the check. -- Learning the Ropes

DEAR LEARNING: I hope the women in my audience are paying attention.

DEAR AMY: Thank you for the letter from “Reluctant Wig Wearer,” whose therapist questioned her choice to wear a wig to cover her thinning hair.

It sounds as if your reader has found a positive option for her situation, and I’m appalled that her therapist made any statement about it.

As a therapist, I cringe at the type of person who would put her opinion on her client. Therapists obviously have personal opinions, but sharing these views isn’t our job. Worse yet, this therapist used her advanced vocabulary to hide her opinion in words making it appear to be factual or a reflection of a medical statement.

It is important for therapists to leave their baggage at the door and to see each client as an individual. Maybe this therapist has hair issues? We don’t really know why she chose to force her opinion on a client, but I praise you for recognizing it for what it was — an opinion. -- Didi

DEAR DIDI: A therapist’s job is to urge her client to explore her own motivations, without offering a personal opinion or judgment about a particular choice. Therapists are people and (like all of us) make mistakes. This judgment had a negative consequence for the client, and was not a good move.

DEAR AMY: Thank you for your compassionate response to “Asexual,” a 40-year-old man who was struggling with his asexuality.

At 27, I have accepted that I’m asexual and that my approach to relationships will continue to differ from the norm. It’s important that we learn to acknowledge that people of all sexualities can live a fulfilling life. Hearing that affirmation from non-asexual people is a welcome relief, and it’s especially important coming from a nationally syndicated advice columnist.

I read your column every day. Usually I agree, sometimes I don’t. This time, I think you nailed it. -- E

DEAR E: Thank you.

Amy’s column appears seven days a week at www.washingtonpost.com/advice. Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

by the Chicago Tribune

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