DEAR HARRIETTE: My sister and I have no interest in body piercings (except our ears). However, our 50-year-old mother recently got her nipples pierced and has started wearing jewelry there -- UGH! Our parents divorced five years ago, and my mother's not in a relationship right now, so it’s not to impress a man. She claims she did it to feel good about herself. She takes off her top to show her girlfriends when they come over, and we can see them roll their eyes, but she doesn’t seem to notice. Now she has started showing off her piercings to our girlfriends. We find this beyond embarrassing. Our friends are polite to her face, but they laugh behind her back, and word about it has spread, which we find embarrassing. If she wants to make a fool of herself in front of her friends, that’s one thing, but we don’t think she has the right to embarrass us in front of our friends. What can we do? -- Nipple Ring Embarrassment, Phoenix, Arizona
DEAR NIPPLE RING EMBARRASSMENT: Your mother is likely experiencing her version of a midlife crisis. For some people, it manifests as a fancy new car or an affair with a younger person. Hers seems to be her nipple rings. It is often embarrassing for onlookers, especially loved ones.
Draw the line. Tell her that you can see that she is going through something important to her. But express that flashing her nipple rings, particularly before your friends, is crossing the line. Be direct. Explain that you find it embarrassing and inappropriate for her to reveal her breasts to your friends. Ask her to stop, or you will have to stop bringing your friends around her.Read more in: Family & Parenting | Friends & Neighbors | Etiquette & Ethics