DEAR ABBY: I am sick to death of hearing about people who have too many kids and the hardship it imposes. Common sense for the women is to use birth control, but why don't men step up to the plate and have a vasectomy? I had one years ago and it has worked well for me.
I never hear it mentioned on talk shows or read it in any advice columns, including yours. Men of America, wake up! -- JOSEPH IN LAS VEGAS
DEAR JOSEPH: I'm sure the word "vasectomy" has been used in previous Dear Abby columns, but I'm glad to remind my male readers. While I have never taken a poll on this subject, I'll hazard a guess or two about why men are reluctant to have them:
One, they equate it with castration; two, they think at some point they might change their mind or their partner; and three, they're afraid it will be painful. Drumroll: For any men out there who are worried that some tragedy might wipe out your family and you will have to start over, sperm can be banked for up to 20 years and used should the need arise.
P.S. There are also more options open to women than the pill. These include IUDs and, if they're sure they want to be finished with childbearing, tubal ligation.
DEAR ABBY: I raised three kids in a normal household, putting them to bed between two sheets. Now my two younger ones no longer sleep between sheets, but wrapped up in a blanket on a sheetless mattress. One of them has children, and is passing the habit on to them.
The only thing I can conclude is that it's laziness, and I'm wondering where I went wrong. Has anyone else encountered this? -- TAKEN ABACK IN MISSOURI
DEAR TAKEN ABACK: People have varying sleep "styles." If, when your children lived with you, you taught them to launder their sheets and make their beds, then you didn't go wrong. (One can only hope they wash those blankets regularly.)
If possible, invite your grandchildren for sleepovers so they can experience how the "other half" lives. You would be doing them a favor because children can't learn what a parent hasn't taught them.
DEAR ABBY: I'm a 25-year-old woman and lonely. I'm interested in a guy I have known for years. He's my older brother's friend, and we're only six years apart. When I expressed my interest in him, he politely let me know that he would not date me because of my brother.
Is there a secret code that I'm missing? Is it taboo for a man who is your older brother's friend to date the younger sibling? I am confused as to why it would matter since we are both adults. -- LONELY IN WISCONSIN
DEAR LONELY: While it isn't "taboo" to date the sibling of a close friend, it can lead to complications if the relationship doesn't work out. Friendships have become strained or ended because of it.
Not knowing the man you have your sights set on, I can't speculate whether the reason he gave you was the truth. It could also be that the feelings you have for him are not reciprocated, but regardless -- now that you know he isn't interested, it's time to look elsewhere for someone to assuage your loneliness.
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