Sensitive Issues (05/02/07)

Dear Zelda:

My boyfriend and I have been dating for a year and sometimes he doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut.  I'm a little overweight and am sensitive about it.  Actually I'm big boned, like you, but my boyfriend teases me about being a "little girl in a BIG GIRL's body."  He even gave me a pair of XXL jeans for my birthday as a joke.  To be honest this hurt my feelings and I have a hard time laughing at his humor.  How do I get him to be more sensitive, not just to me, but in general. 
Sensitive Soul-Mate
Dear Sensitive Soul-Mate,
As the old Scottish rhyme says…”Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.”  If only it were true. Words can and do hurt and can lead to lasting problems with self-esteem. It’s odd how sometimes the people closest to us can hurt us the most and it sounds like your boyfriend’s insensitive comments about your weight are hurting, not helping your relationship. Maybe it’s in his XXL genes to be so ‘uncool’ as to joke about you being a “little girl in a BIG GIRL’s body.”  Your boyfriend is sounding a lot like a very “little man in a BIG BOY’s body.”  Whatever the case, he is acting like an insensitive schmuck and should be ashamed.
However, hurt feelings are inevitable in relationships.  You can only imagine how many times people have made negative comments about my weight.  My response?  I’m happy and I’m healthy…clap your hands. Many of us are born big-boned and beautiful and I say, “if you’ve got it flaunt it girl.” So let me weigh in by saying that your boyfriend doesn’t sound like someone I’d like to be spending a lot of time with.  My advice to you?  Invite him over for a little cheese and ‘whine.’  Then sit him down and tell him just how bad you feel when he jokes about your weight.  Tell him it isn’t funny and then listen very carefully to his response.  The choice will be yours. If he apologizes and promises not to let weight get in the ‘weigh’ of your relationship, then give it a chance.  If, on the other hand, he says something to the effect that he really prefers ‘petite’…tell him to take a long walk…out of your life.
More often than not, people tend to hold their feelings in.  It’s time for you to focus, not on your boyfriend’s negative  input, but to find the confidence and courage to say what’s on your mind without the fear of losing his love.  You need to tell him “this is what I need from you for our relationship to work.” The right words at the right time can bind you together, or tell you both it’s time to move on.
XXL Licks and love to you.

Dear Zelda,
I love to travel.  I'd like to travel more.  I have two problems: they are my bulldogs.  I hate to leave them!  I have found that they are happiest when I leave them at home, and have my sister or a friend come and stay with them while I am gone.   Sometimes this is not possible.  In those cases what would you do?  One option that I will NOT consider is a kennel, there are too many germs, the dogs don't get enough attention, etc. Any ideas?
Wanting to Travel
Dear Wanting to Travel,

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One of the toughest things about being a good dog owner is the guilt you feel when you have to leave us canines in someone else’s care.  To be honest we don’t like it much either.
However my owner was lucky enough to happen upon a wonderful solution for temporary care for Zoe, ZeeZee and me.  One day she saw a group of mature, dare I say “women of a certain age” having lunch at an outdoor restaurant.  They were all wearing wild red hats and crazy purple dresses and having the time of their lives.  Good humor and laughter seemed to be their only agenda and my owner couldn’t resist introducing herself and asking them what they were doing.  Amidst the festivity and frivolity they told her about The Red Hat Society ( <> ), an organization whose members believe in fun after fifty.  Well that was just the beginning.  We got to know and love many of the members and in the process several of them volunteered to “house/dog sit” for yours truly.  The Red Hat women are fun, playful, intelligent AND sassy…just my kind of gals.  So when you’re looking for that someone special enough to stay in your home and care for your precious pooches, check into a Red Hat Society in your town or city.  Just go to their website and click on “Chapter Search.” There are over 40,000 Chapters in the USA and in thirty other countries, which all adds up to about one million enthusiastic and wonderful women. You can get in touch with them and see if, perhaps, one of their members might have an interest in staying in your home and caring for your pets while you are traveling.  It can be a win-win for everyone, your pets included.
You can also call your veterinarian or your local Humane Society and see if they know of house/dog sitters.  Trust me, there are many people out there who can’t own pets, but who love to take care of them for a temporary time. Your two bulldogs will encourage you to travel more when they know how much fun they’ll have in your absence. Remember those Red Hat ladies are proof that you’re never too old to play dress up and have tea parties!
Incidentally for  you dogs 7.5 years and older, you can purchase your own red hat at

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