DEAR AMY: Why in your column is it acceptable to always critique men? We men work harder, die sooner, and register with Selective Service to be sent overseas to be killed at a higher rate than women do. An epidemic of suicide is going on, and women are worried about petty issues regarding men! Don't you women ever get tired of complaining? You are killing us!
DEAR FED UP: In attempting to rebut you on the facts, I did some research and learned a few things: Your factual assertions are mainly correct.
This is from the official website of the Selective Service (sss.gov):
"Virtually all male U.S. citizens, regardless of where they live, and male immigrants, whether documented or undocumented, residing in the United States, who are 18 through 25, are required to register with Selective Service."
This requirement for all males residing in this country to register for the potential to be drafted for military service quite obviously places an undue burden on males.
My ignorance of the legal obligation to register is perhaps a function of my own female privilege. I cop to that.
Yes, the suicide rate for males is higher than that for females, but that gender gap is rapidly closing, which is heartbreaking on every level.
Women fight and work and struggle and suffer, too. We make less money than our male counterparts for the same jobs. We are vulnerable to partner violence, sexual assault, degradation, street harassment, workplace harassment, humiliation, everyday petty sexism and ... mansplaining.
Sometimes just getting through the day — working and also taking care of children and elderly parents, while also trying to throw off the mantle of generations of oppression — is tiring and ... well, a person gets a little cranky.
And yes, complaining IS exhausting, as you no doubt know from your own statement, but sometimes the pettier complaints are placeholders for the big ones. Next time you hear a woman complain about something you consider small, understand that there is more to her — and her complaining — than meets your estimation.
DEAR AMY: My wife and I live in a suburban neighborhood comprised of both rental and privately-owned homes. We are both retired and so have more opportunity to see things during the day than some of our neighbors. Within the last year we have witnessed some unexplainable activity at a rental property near us. Basically, as far as we can tell, no one actually lives there full time, and yet cars periodically come and go at odd intervals. Sometimes, weeks will pass with no "visits," and then there will be a flurry of activity, with several vehicles all appearing at the same time, staying for a while, and then all departing. They always pull around the rear of the house upon arrival. There are motion-sensor lights and closed-circuit cameras, as well. We are wondering: What goes on there? Why would someone rent a house and not live in it? What can we do?
DEAR NEIGHBOR: It's not quite clear from your question whether these groups are staying in the house overnight. If they are, a likely (and logical) explanation is that the house's owners are renting it out to groups via a rental site such as Airbnb, HomeAway or VRBO. Do you live near a major city that draws tourists and out-of-town visitors? If so, groups may rent out this house as a less expensive and convenient alternative to hotels. It wouldn't be too hard to figure out if this house is listed as a per/day rental property. If so, this would also explain the security systems in place at the home.
I don't want to discount the possibility that there might be criminal activity happening at this house. Crimes do occur in peaceful suburban neighborhoods, and if you suspect this house is being used for human or other trafficking purposes, you should definitely notify the police, as well as your town's governing boards.
DEAR AMY: For "Wanting More," the mother who wants more children, I'll paraphrase JFK: Ask not what your family can do for you, but what you can do for your family. It is not the kids' job to complete the parents' life, but rather the other way around. It sounds like adding a third child would make it more challenging for her husband to continue being a wonderful dad. For the sake of her marriage, Wanting needs to learn how to love what she already has.
DEAR READER: Agreed.