DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My 16-year-old son is a pig. His room scares me! Any right-thinking mother would have cleared it out by now, but I'm afraid of what I'll find there. He has magazines with who-knows-what in them, crammed under the bed. He has CDs with no pictures on them so he got them from friends. I told him, "Clean this mess out or I will go in one day when you're not at home and do it." He said, "You wouldn't want to scare yourself like that, Ma." He has a girlfriend and sometimes they go in there and shut the door. His room is in the basement and I can see it as I go by to the laundry. I don't know what is going on in there, but I can guess. This is his last year at home and his grades are good and he will be soon away in Ontario at university. Should I make good on my threat and clean that sty out now? Does he have any rights to privacy? I was thinking of renting it out after he leaves. -- Worried Mom, Tuxedo
Dear Worried: You're acting like a timid downstairs maid, not his parent. You own the property, so your kid does NOT have the right to complete privacy. He's already had your warning, so go into that space in a big way, under the guise of renovating and renting the place out once he's gone. Clean it and even replace walls if need be. He knows he hasn't shown any respect for the room or his property, so no apologies. If you find a stash of serious drugs or a lot of porn or a weapon, you need to get counselling help for him. Look, you're almost past the point where you can offer your kid some help and parental advice. Show him what a parent can do to help a kid with his life. Final point of concern here: making babies. If your kids is having sex with his girlfriend, he needs to know about using decent quality latex condoms and not using oil-based lubricants, which will eat holes in them. Start role-modelling to your kid by talking to him like he's an almost-adult. He's old enough to become an accidental father and he needs to prevent that and get off to school unencumbered.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I've been down to the lake twice without my girlfriend, who doesn't like the country much. I've spent time working on my boat, and the woman a couple doors down has been over to chat while I work. We drink coffee with her liqueurs together. It turns out her husband took off with her second cousin in February and now she is alone, and the owner of a beautiful cottage. He got the condo. I'm really liking this girl and wonder if it's time for me to say goodbye to my lukewarm relationship. The problem is this neighbour likes my girlfriend and keeps asking when she's going to come up so they can visit. -- Hots For Lake Friend, Lake Winnipeg
Dear Hots: The issue is really about your relationship at home. If you just can't repair it or simply don't want to, then it's over. No sense in dragging things out with summer coming. Chances are Lake Girl is still in tatters over her breakup and is just enjoying a platonic friendship with you. It seems like she's just waiting for your girlfriend to start coming to the lake so she can hang out with her. If you're really interested, play it cool for the next few months, as dumping your girlfriend and then chasing her will make it look like another jerk has crossed her path.
Questions or comments? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or send letters c/o Miss Lonelyhearts, 1355 Mountain Ave. Winnipeg R2X 3B6