Since You Asked…

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Dear Caroline,

I am at my wit’s end. My son, who is 22, has a beautiful and very well-endowed French girlfriend. She is used to sunbathing topless. I have another son who is 13. My son’s girlfriend wants to visit us here in Mexico (she has been here before) and she wants to sunbathe topless. I said something about it to my older son. They think it is no big deal and that I am being old-fashioned. The last time she visited, all my youngest son could do was stare at her. She is a beautiful girl and gets a lot of attention, though much of it is in the form of catcalls. Do you have any solutions?

Mama for Modesty

Dear Mama,

You didn’t mention your location, but I’m going to assume you have a private pool, since topless bathing is against Mexican law, though that law isn’t always enforced.

I don’t think nudity is a moral issue, but it’s certainly a cultural one. Right or wrong, breasts are very much sexualized in our culture, and that creates an awkward situation concerning your 13 year-old son.

Fortunately, your problem offers two possible solutions. Choose one and stick to it.

Option 1: Set up a privacy screen in your pool area. Make it clear that all topless sunbathing must take place in that “ladies only” zone. That will allow your son’s girlfriend to return from vacation without tan lines, while the modesty standard in your home stays intact.

Option 2: Assert your matriarchal authority with cast-iron resolve and make your poolside dress code clear and on no uncertain terms, before your son and his girlfriend arrive. If they argue, give them the name and address of the nearest nude beach or “adults only” resort.

If I were in your shoes, I’d opt for Option 1. Up with creative hospitality, down with tan lines. But again, the choice is yours.

Wishing you a warm and sunny family gathering!


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