Dear Amy: My husband and I are having a hot tub delivered soon.
We plan to use it during daylight hours without wearing swimwear. Yes, nude! Yes, we have neighbors, about 40 feet away, who could see us if they choose to – in the tub or hopping from our patio door 20 feet to the tub.
We’re not shy and don’t plan to cover up. And no, we’re not going to “exhibit” ourselves.
We just want to enjoy our tub in our birthday suits.
Some non-neighbor friends are appalled.
– Bare as God Intended, EH
Dear Bare: You will be romping only on your own property, and I can’t imagine that your nudity would be breaking any laws (you should check your local statutes).
However, are you perhaps reveling in the prospect of alarming your neighbors? Just a little bit?
And yes – of course – despite what you claim, you do seem to be planning to “exhibit” yourselves.
It would be easy for you to drape a towel around yourselves for that 20-foot journey from your house to the hot tub (don’t you need a towel, anyway?).
You might have neighbors who would choose to pull their shades, build a tall (or taller) fence, or simply stop using their own backyard – or you might have neighbors who would welcome your hot tubbing by training binoculars in your direction or photographing you from their property and posting photos or video on social media.
It is something of a tricky legal issue, but if neighbors can freely see you from their own property without peering through a window or a fence, your own right to privacy is less assured.
Dear Amy: My wife and I are close friends with a married couple we have both known since we were all kids growing up together.
However, my wife and her best friend have not spoken in six years.
While we all agree that the friend had been quite “over the top” in many instances, she did apologize twice – but my wife just can’t forgive her.
Her husband and I have still managed to maintain our close friendship, keeping in touch by phone and email (since we live in different states).
My problem is that their granddaughter is about to be married, and we have been invited to the wedding.
My wife refuses to go, saying that her friend hurt her very badly and that I would be disloyal if I go.
I want to be there for my friend, but don’t know if that would be disloyal to my wife.
This wedding is in another state and would require two overnight stays.
My friend would completely understand if I don’t go, but I worry that I shouldn’t allow my wife to dictate my actions this way.
– Wedding Wondering
Dear Wondering: Your wife has the personal right to continue her estrangement from her former best friend, but she does not have the right to insist that you maintain an estrangement from your own close friend.
Your wife’s ex-friend has made a number of bids to win your wife’s attention, and inviting you both to this important family celebration is a major effort on their part (how many grandparents have the license to invite their own friends to a grandchild’s wedding?). Attending would obviously also be a major effort on your part.
In my opinion, attending this wedding would not demonstrate disloyalty to your wife, but in your household my opinion will not matter all that much.
Dear Amy: I applaud your response to J in NY, the uncle who feels a child should hug an adult even when uncomfortable.
I was raised in the generation who believed children should make other people happy and allow unwanted touching, even when uncomfortable.
When I was touched inappropriately, I kept quiet. When I was sexually harassed, I kept quiet. I had been taught to ignore my own discomfort.
I am determined that my young daughter will have autonomy over who is allowed to touch her. She is the child, and she is not responsible for adult feelings.
We have already had issues with family members, and even strangers, trying to invade her space.
Other loving adults in a child’s life should not take it personally. Instead, they should try to understand that we all need to protect our children from the dangerous people lurking in the shadows.
– Mama Bear
Dear Mama Bear: Tragically, predators are most often not “dangerous people lurking in the shadows,” but family members or friends.
You can email Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.