Abby: Grandma sees son-in-law wearing skivvies

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: After my future son-in-law moved in with our daughter, my husband and I stopped by unannounced to visit. He answered the door in his underwear and never bothered to go put on a pair of shorts. We didn’t say anything and, of course, didn’t stay long.

It was close to Christmas, so we bought him a robe and my husband jokingly told him, “We figured you didn’t have one since you stay in your underwear when we’re here.” Even after that, he still does it.

I finally told my daughter, “Since he can’t take a hint, please tell him to put on clothes when I’m coming over.” Since then, when we’ve stopped by (dropping off the grandbabies) he still doesn’t put shorts on.

It happened again today. I asked him to please throw on some shorts, and his response was, “You’re killing me in my own house,” but he did do it. They rely on us to help with our granddaughters, but I’m fed up with having to see him in his underwear. I also don’t think he should go around that way around his 6-year-old stepdaughter and his 2-month-old daughter. What are your thoughts on this?

Hurting Eyes in Florida

Dear Hurting Eyes: Because you are doing your daughter and her husband the favor of looking after the grandkids, and you have let them know you prefer not seeing your son-in-law in his undies, your wishes should be respected. However, different families have different standards regarding attire around the house, and you shouldn’t judge him for what he chooses to wear in the privacy of his home when you are not around.

Dear Abby: My daughter, 8, keeps asking for a smartphone. I’m at a loss about who she would call besides me and her dad. She says different kids her age have phones. They are the same kids I view as ones who will have no curfew, boyfriends at 12 and parents who aren’t as involved as we are. At what age do you feel kids should have smartphones?

Involved Parent

Dear Involved Parent: I don’t think there is a magic number, but your daughter is definitely too young to have one. Smartphones can be dangerous when they are used irresponsibly. A flip phone, perhaps, for her to contact you in case of emergencies, might be appropriate.

Because her friends have smartphones is not a valid reason for her to have one. Before that happens, you must be confident that it will be used responsibly, and that you and her father will be able to review its history.

Dear Abby: Could you help all of us guys named Shelby spread the word that Shelby is not just for the female gender? Many boys and men like me have the handle and are proud of it.

Shelby From Texas

Dear Shelby: So do some automobiles! I’m glad to relay your message. Today many women have names that were once associated only with the masculine gender — Cameron, Bailey, Logan, Morgan, to name a few — and turnabout is fair play. I’m reminded of the song “A Boy Named Sue.”

Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.