Dear Amy:

I'm using my dad's laptop to check my e-mail while we're on vacation.

Today, as I was typing in a Web address, I noticed that among previous Web sites he's visited there was a porn Web site.

I'm very scared about what this means. Is it possible that he visited it by mistake? Should I tell my mom about this find?

I really don't know what to do. Please help!

Confused and Scared

You don't say how old you are, but I hope that you don't let this accidental find scare you too much.

Of course your father could have visited this site by mistake. He also could have visited it on purpose. Maybe your mom already knows about it and is fine with it. His friend, Mel, from work, could have used his laptop -- just as you did -- and checked out this site. Your mother also could have used his laptop and visited the site.

Some men do check out porn sites. Sometimes they're curious, and sometimes they're into porn. Men frequently tell me that porn is really no big deal to them, but it is a big deal to you. The person to talk to about this is your father -- not your mom. I know that this would be a hard conversation to have with him, but you should tell him exactly what happened and ask him whatever questions you need to ask.

I hope that your dad will be compassionate and kind to you and reassure you that everything is all right with him and with your family.

Dear Amy:

Is it ever okay to bring a friend to a surprise birthday party?

I'd like my out-of-town guest, who is an acquaintance of the birthday girl's, to join me at the party tonight.

Don't Want to Be Rude in D.C.

Well, it all depends. Obviously, you should do everything you can to contact the hosts of this affair to run this past them. If they have planned a small sit-down dinner in honor of the birthday girl, then you should leave your out-of-town guest home with the remote and the television schedule. If this is one of those huge and crowded affairs where people spill out of closets shouting "Surprise!" -- then it would most likely be fine to ask to bring your friend, especially because your friend and the honoree know each other.

Perhaps you can wrap your friend in a tasteful bow and pass your mutual pal off as a gift.

Dear Amy:

I have been divorced for about a year. My ex-husband was verbally and emotionally abusive to me. I am much happier and have moved on with my life. I have new and old friends.

Many times I am asked (very respectfully) what were the reasons for my divorce. The question does not bother me, but I'm struggling to find a way to respond to it without casting a gloomy climate. I don't really feel comfortable pointing fingers. On the other hand, I don't want to make it sound as if we got divorced on a whim either, because I feel I tried very hard to make it work before I needed to move on. What's a lighthearted yet truthful way to answer this question?

Newly Divorced

I can't think of a lighthearted way to answer such an intrusive, personal and painful question. You let your friends off so lightly here, but really -- would you ever ask someone (even respectfully) why they got divorced? The reasons behind a couple's divorce are often so complicated and painful. This is a conversation that only you should initiate. And surely people must realize that couples don't get divorced on a whim. People do get married on a whim, mind you, but divorce is an entirely different story, as you obviously know.

However, because you are determined to provide people with a response to a question, which they really shouldn't ask in the first place, how's this? "Well, it's really complicated and I don't want to point fingers, but my marriage just didn't work out."

Write to Amy Dickinson at or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

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