Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I'm ashamed and yet excited. I have feelings for a cousin of mine. I mean he's my first cousin -- my father's sister's son. I was not brought up with him -- I'm from Toronto (and) I moved here recently, so meeting him at 26 has been a shock. I find him absolutely perfect in every way and I know he's attracted to me. OK, I might as well confess the whole thing. At New Year's we went to a party, had a few drinks, and played "kissing cousins" in the bathroom. It was supposed to be a laugh, but I'm not laughing. I think about him day and night. I looked it up and I know it's legal to marry your first cousin here, but that doesn't mean people won't frown on it. I'd like to know what your readers think about this before I test it out on friends. Is it creepy or not? He told me to call him about going out "if and when I feel OK to" but he's not pushing anything. I care what you have to say but I really want to know how people would react to meeting two cousins who were dating. -- Crazy About Him, Winnipeg
Dear Crazy: Manitoba law states a person may not marry his or her grandparent, parent, child, grandchild or brother or sister. There is no prohibition against cousins. The question you're really asking is this: Will ordinary people see us dating as a couple, consider this incest and disapprove? That's a good question because the situation of first cousins dating isn't common. So, let's find out how people respond to your concern. I invite people to write in and we will publish their answers in an upcoming column. My personal opinion? If there are no health concerns in the family and you were not raised closely like brother and sister, it's not serious. Frankly, the more serious concerns I hear about are the teenage children of divorced parents who are attracted to one another. That can be a psychological mess for the whole blended family.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My neighbour hauled off and hit my child, who's 11, after he mouthed off and called her a very dirty name. He was running through her yard and she caught him by the arm. I really don't know what to do. What he called her was very bad -- a word no one says in our house. I would have canned him for a month for saying it to his mother. But how does she get off hitting my child? As his father, what do I owe him in terms of protection, and what do I owe her? -- Upset Father, West Kildonan
Dear Upset Father: In the old days, the kid would have gotten smacked by the neighbour lady and hit again when he got home and Mom or Dad got her phone call. He got clobbered once, in this instance. Let that go. Calling the police and charging the woman with assault would teach your mouthy son a lesson he shouldn't learn. You might quietly tell this lady to phone you if she has a problem with the kid and that she'll be charged if she ever hits your son again. Then you make sure, to the best to your ability, he stays out of her yard. If you can see right through to her yard from yours, and there's still tension going on in a few months, say nothing about it until next summer, and then build a fence.
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