There are too many excellent advice columns to keep up with, so we're committed to bringing you links to the best advice column questions and answers every week. Here's a roundup of the most interesting, thought-provoking and surprising questions that our favorite columnists (and subreddits) addressed in recent days.
Is It Unethical To Have Sex With Someone Under The Age Of 25?
I am a 22-year-old autistic queer woman who has never been sexually active, more because of a long-distance (and theoretically open) relationship and a belief that navigating sensory issues with a one-night stand sounds more like work than fun... I keep getting in arguments with people, friends — even progressive, feminist friends — who are older than me and try to take on a bit of a "mom friend" vibe, about whether women and gay men under 25 are able to consent to sex. I am told, at least once every couple weeks, that if you're under 25, you're incapable of consent because your "frontal lobes are still developing." …
If these were people who weren't generally progressive, I would not even be asking, because I would just assume it was more conservative puritanism nonsense like what I grew up with, but since they're almost always staunch feminists it has me a bit confused… I did Google it myself and found zero things about adults under 25 being unable to consent… Is there real, actual, verified, and peer-reviewed scientific data that says people under 25 are unable to consent, or are people selling me bad information in the guise of concern?
Stoya and Rich Juzwiak consult a few experts and conclude that there is no empirical evidence that people under 25 are unable to consent to sex. "[H]aving checked my gut, these people are overstepping," writes Stoya. "Our writer seems very thoughtful and in touch with what she needs — specifically when she points out that navigating sensory stuff with a one-night-stand sounds trying." Read the rest of their answer.
Am I A Jerk For Accidentally Taking The Last Lasagna My Wife's Grandmother Ever Made To A Work Event?
I had a work party today and we were all suppose to bring a dish. I asked my wife to make dish for me. She told me she will but she didn't because our kid got in trouble for kicking another student so she had to see the principal and deal with the parents. No big deal. Before you ask, I couldn't go to the principal meeting because this party is mandatory. My wife told me that I could just grab any of the premade dinner in the freezer upstairs. I took a frozen lasagna from the basement instead because I didn't think it would be any different than the one upstairs and the fridge upstairs had a lot of crap in it and I wasn't going to play tetris. I brought it to work and brought home half of it. My wife was furious. Turns out, the lasagna was made by her grandma who just passed six months ago and she was saving it for her grandma's birthday for her and her mom. She's been crying for hours and insisted that I sleep elsewhere tonight. I told her that she's overreacting. She yelled at me for an hour before she got her stuff, our son and left. She's sleeping at her moms now, who also yelled at me. AITA? It's just a fucking lasagna.
The commenters on the r/AmItheAsshole subreddit almost unanimously agree that the letter writer is the asshole. "Obviously food is symbolic for many of us," one of them writes. "You are being absolutely dismissive and I think that's why she's reacting the way she is." Read the rest of their answers.
Is It My Fault My In-Laws Asked Me To Keep My Demanding Job So I Could Keep Bankrolling Their Vacations?
I am a litigation attorney at a great firm and feel lucky for a job I love (most of the time) that pays extremely well. It is also incredibly demanding, and will remain that way.
With the help of my supportive husband, I decided to take a different, less demanding job so I could spend more time with family.
When we started telling family members, my in-laws' first question was whether I would be taking a pay cut. Since I earned so much, we had paid for several vacations for my in-laws over the years, as well as car repairs and rent when they were low on money, and we helped pay for preschool for our nieces. When we told them I would probably be taking a large pay cut, my mother-in-law asked whether we'd still be able to pay for vacations, and my brother-in-law said his daughters were counting on their "rich aunt" to pay for college.
My husband and I were both stunned. He made a comment that having me around more was worth more than the money to him, and his mom actually said, "Not to us." She later apologized and said she was only worried about the financial implications of my decision, but I'm still incredibly hurt.
Also, I'm torn about my decision now. Did we inadvertently create the impression that I would always be able to help out financially? If so, is there a way to extricate ourselves from that expectation? Finally, any suggestions for getting over my hurt feelings?
Carolyn Hax urges the letter writer not to feel bad about making a career change that's right for her and her family. "The way past your hurt feelings is to recognize that your in-laws took your money and couldn't even summon the courtesy to pretend they care about you as a person," she writes. Read the rest of her answer.
How Can I Get The Receptionist In My Office To Stop Playing Right-Wing Talk Radio At Increasingly Loud Volumes?
Our receptionist has been with us for over a decade. She's relatively good at her job but has one issue she pushes everyone's buttons on. She listens to right wing radio talk shows all day and keeps the radio just loud enough so others (clients, etc.) who come in can hear it.
We've asked her at least twice to keep the radio off, or so low that nobody coming in can hear it, but it keeps getting louder and louder. Now we're presented with the issue of either following up with some kind of reprimand or just pulling the radio out of the office all together (we really don't want to aggravate the situation, but she's decided to push this issue by continuing to ignore our requests).
What can we ask her to do or not do? What can we do to reprimand her without creating a problem for ourselves? By the way, the radio is not her personal property — it belongs to the office. And everyone else in the office is irritated at having to listen to people screaming on the radio when they walk into the reception area.
Alison Green says it's fine to require the receptionist to lower the volume or to remove the radio from the reception area entirely. "There's no free speech issue here or anything like that," she writes; "you're allowed to set rules for your reception area, and even if she weren't in reception, you'd be allowed to ban radios or require that they be kept at low volume." Read the rest of her answer.
Should We Be Concerned Because Our Son's New In-Laws Live In A Nudist Colony?
Our 47-year-old son remarried two years ago. We have a 15-year-old grandson from his previous marriage who lives with his mom and who visits his dad every other weekend. We are not close with our new in-laws, who live out of state. We recently found out that they have purchased a second home very close to our son. The problem is, the home is located within a nudist colony and, therefore, we assume they are in fact nudists. Should this be a problem for us (we are both 70), or should we not be concerned?
Abigail Van Buren advises the letter writers not to be concerned. "If you are concerned that your grandson will 'see' something shocking, please know that he can find whatever he is curious about on his computer or cellphone," she writes. Read the rest of her answer.
Was My Server Overstepping When She Gave Me Salt After I Said My Dish Was Undersalted?
I went to dinner with my girlfriend last week, and I thought one of our apps was underseasoned. It was fine otherwise (we had eaten most of it at this point), but I told her under my breath that I thought it could have used a little salt. About a minute later our server delivered a salt shaker to our table unbidden, and without a word! There was only a couple bites left to use it on anyway… but what's worse, I felt eavesdropped on. I think if I really wanted some salt to be brought, I would have asked. And I didn't like the notion that the waitress was listening, especially when I purposely tried to lower my voice. Am I wrong to think this was a bit of an overstep?
The Salty Waitress tells the letter writer that they should have no expectation of privacy in a restaurant and that their waitress likely had good intentions. "[W]hen your server brought you the salt, she was trying to discreetly enhance your meal by providing exactly what you said the food lacked, no more and no less," she writes. Read the rest of her answer.