Dear Annie: I have a problem I do not know what to do about. As I am getting old, I terribly dislike having my picture taken — especially when I am asked to pose. I get beet red from embarrassment and start feeling sick.
Last Sunday, my husband and I attended a religious ceremony for his granddaughter “Bridget” (my lovely step-granddaughter), and afterward my stepdaughter “Wendy” insisted we both pose with Bridget for a photo. I told Wendy, “Please, not me. I really hate having my picture taken.” Wendy kept insisting it was “for family use only” but eventually let it be. Later, while we were all together at a restaurant, I saw her using the camera, and I am pretty sure she took photos of me, as well. Because we were a relatively large group, it would probably have been difficult to avoid me, so I did not say anything. Besides, I love my husband’s children and grandchildren.
On the long drive home, I asked my husband what he thought, and he indicated he could see both sides. I think that as a good hostess, you should not insist on doing something that makes a guest uncomfortable. At the same time, I understand she tries to include me. Wendy takes selfies all the time, so I do not think she can relate to how I feel. What do you think? — Camera-Shy Grandma
Dear Camera-Shy Grandma: I agree that no one should insist on taking someone’s photo against his or her will. The problem is that to some people these days, the phrase “I don’t like having my picture taken” might as well be gibberish. They simply can’t comprehend it. Your stepdaughter seems to be in this camp. Maybe she mistook your request for polite modesty. In any case, spell it out for her. Say, “I really, truly am uncomfortable with having my photo taken, and it causes me anxiety.” Perhaps you could offer to take on the role of photographer so she’s less concerned with needing to document memories.
For what it’s worth, your attitude is refreshing in the age of the selfie stick. May we all live more for the present and less for the pictures.
Dear Annie: This is in response to the letter from “Help,” the owner of the elderly dog with incontinence issues. I also have elderly dogs, a pair of sibling Westies, who have issues in this regard. One has had sleep incontinence off and on for half her life. She takes an effective medication for this issue and wears stylish “just in case” pants, which don’t hinder her one bit. My male dog has been diabetic for three years, and this has made it harder for him to hold it at times.
“Help” needs to know about washable belly bands -- which provide complete protection, as long as the proper area is covered. I add a couple of human-style incontinence panty liners to amp up capacity. I can now leave my dogs for six to eight hours if necessary, without worrying about what I’ll find when I get home. Please let “Help” know that this option might be better for her than expensive disposable diapers, confinement or putting up with messes. She is doing laundry anyway, so washing reusable doggy pants or belly bands (after spraying them with urine-eliminating products) would be no big deal, as long as she has an adequate supply on hand. Her elderly dog could have the run of the house again (or at least a bigger room than the bathroom) once she sees how well these products work.
Any problem regarding our companion animals can be overcome with love, advice, patience and adaptability on the part of their human parents. — Janey
Dear Janey: Hear! Hear! Thanks for the additional tips.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.