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DEAR ABBY: I am the single dad of two teenage boys (17 and 18) who are both in high school. I am wondering about something they do with their friends. The boys take showers in large groups. When they come in from running or sports, or if a group is spending the night, they shower in groups of two, three or four. It's not like we have a huge shower - it's normal size.
I know there's nothing sexual going on because I can hear them talking and joking around. When I asked the boys about this, they looked at me like I had two heads. They said it was just a social thing and the same as showering together after football in the school gym.
They also "air dry" after showers by walking around in towels, sometimes watching TV or goofing off for hours while in their towels. When going out, they get naked in the bathroom, fixing their hair, shaving, brushing their teeth, etc. It's like a big "nude fest" with them and their friends.
While I'm glad they are comfortable with their bodies and who they are, it still bothers me somewhat. Am I being a prude in thinking this is unusual or inappropriate?
- Stumped in Kentucky
DEAR STUMPED: I see nothing inappropriate about what your sons and their friends are doing. Nor do I want to label you a prude. You are just not as comfortable in your skin as your sons and their "jock" friends are. Is it possible that they take after their mother?
DEAR ABBY: My best friend and I do everything together and I love her, so when she showed up at the gym in "booty shorts," I didn't say a word, even though they don't flatter her one bit. Heck, there's a mirror on every wall, so she must have liked what she saw, and it's none of my business.
When she wore them to a school sporting event, my husband accused me of being a "bad friend" for not telling her that her rear view was getting the wrong kind of attention. Some of the other parents in the bleachers were snickering.
I guess if the situation were reversed, I'd want my best friend to give me a hint, but I'm not exactly sure how to do it. Am I wrong to just keep my mouth shut and mind my own business?
- Anonymous in a small town
DEAR ANONYMOUS: Allow me to provide a couple of hints. First, tell your friend when you are alone and can't be overheard, which will spare her unnecessary embarrassment. Second, ask, "When you bought those shorts, did you get a look at yourself from the back?" If she says no, provide her with a mirror so she can look over her shoulder at herself. Then explain that at the school event, some of the other parents were staring, and not too kindly.
You will be doing her a favor to speak up. That is what friendship is all about. And if she's smart, she'll thank you.