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Readers’ turn to offer advice on bigotry and pregnancy weight gain


While I’m away, readers give the advice.

Carolyn Hax started her advice column in 1997, after five years as a copy editor and news editor in Style and none as a therapist. The column includes cartoons by "relationship cartoonist" Nick Galifianakis -- Carolyn's ex-husband -- and appears in over 200 newspapers. View Archive

On dating outside your race:

I never considered myself a racist, and I promise you many of my friends are of just about every race and color in the world.

Then one day my daughter introduced me to her new boyfriend.

(Nick Galifianakis)

He was about as nice a guy as you would ever hope your daughter would bring home. He was African American. It was then I found I indeed did have a problem.

I banned her from dating him. That is not a good thing to do with a 16-year-old, but I could not help it. I spent days meeting with my priest, discussing it with a counselor then went back and swallowed hard.

I told my daughter I would no longer prohibit their dating. I explained that I would never be able to fully accept it, but I would not forbid it.

I made this young man welcome in my home, we sat and talked about many things. I promise I was able to get him to feel comfortable around us. Time passed by and they stayed together.

One day, at his house, I was talking to his single mom. I could tell she was uncomfortable with me there. Finally I asked her how she felt about his dating a white girl, and she poured out to me that my daughter was the most wonderful person in the entire world, a real treasure . . . “but she is not black. I am sorry, I am old-fashioned, I guess, but I am not happy with my son dating a white girl.”

We both laughed when I told her I felt the same.

They went off to college, drifted apart and are now both dating someone of their own race.

The problem is not with the girl [in your column], nor was it with my daughter or her boyfriend; it is with a generation of us still holding on with all we have to what we were raised to believe. I hope they can forgive us.


On an expectant mother’s weight gain (not that it’s even remotely your business):

I’m a midwife, and it seems I spend all day talking people off ledges about their weight. We make people so self-conscious about it, having them weigh in at every prenatal visit. Volumes have been written on “appropriate weight gain in pregnancy.” So much of what goes on in that nine-month period is beyond the mom-to-be’s control.

Then add to that people at every turn saying things like, “You’re only sixmonths? Are you sure the doctor didn’t make a mistake with your due date?” Or, “Are you still pregnant?” And my personal favorite, “Are you sure it’s not twins?” It makes pregnant women dread leaving their homes.

Get a clue, people. You are not funny. Not at all, not even a little bit. If you can’t say “you look great,” don’t say anything at all.

Wanting to Throw the Scale Out in Illinois

On figuring out what to do with knowledge of someone’s infidelity:

My life works better when I don’t judge. Or gossip. I’m working on it.


Write to Carolyn Hax, Style, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, or Sign up for Carolyn Hax’s column, delivered to your inbox early each morning, at



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