Q. I am grandfather to three precious girls, via my two wonderful kids. The granddaughters are ages 18, 15, and 11 — and they are all intelligent, hard-working, charismatic, and lovely.
Ours is a close family, even though we are bicoastal.
Recently my daughter informed me that the oldest granddaughter is talking about getting a tattoo. If she (the granddaughter) were to ask me my thoughts about this idea, I would tell her that I disapprove for the simple reason that body ink is for the most part permanent, extremely painful, and complicated to remove.
But she hasn’t asked my opinion. It is, after all, her body and therefore of no personal concern of mine.
Still, I honestly don’t want her to get a tattoo. Not now, not ever.
So, what do you think of the idea of bribing her (and her sister and cousin) not to get one?
I have in mind telling all three girls that if they will refrain from getting a tattoo until, say, age 30, I will provide a “bonus” to their inheritance (I’m thinking $10,000 each.)
I would be careful to explain that this has nothing to do with love — I will love them regardless, of course — nor is it “punishment.”
If they really want a tattoo, they should probably get one — but if they choose not to, or at least to wait until they are 30 (when I will most likely be dead), I will reward them for indulging me.
A. If you want to teach these lovely girls to tie the concept of accepting (extremely generous) bribes to making personal choices, then go for it, understanding that there are possible unintended consequences.
For instance, the next choices they could run past you might be: the decision to take up smoking, or engage in other risk-taking behavior they know you might be willing to pay them to avoid.
Bribing also might lead them to do what they want, but simply not tell you about it, in order to avoid disappointing both you and their bank account.
I need to add that technological advances have apparently hit the world of ink. There are now tattoo products that advertise as “ephemeral,” designed to fade over a series of months, until they have completely disappeared.
You might suggest this idea to your granddaughter.
Q. My girlfriend and I have lived together for 10 years.
Every Mother’s Day the same issue arises. My mom is 86 years old, and my girlfriend feels that because my mom and I live in the same town, I can see her any time, and that I should spend Mother’s Day with her and her (adult) kids.
My mom is in good health, but she won’t be around forever, and I feel that Mother’s Day should be spent with your mom.
My girlfriend’s mom lives in another part of the country, so it’s not feasible for her to spend Mother’s Day with her mom.
I asked her and her kids to join me, my brother, and our mom for dinner, but she’s not interested. Ideally, we could all have dinner together, but that’s not likely to happen.
Am I being selfish?
A. Using your girlfriend’s logic, you and she live together — and because you can see her any time, why should you make a special effort to see her on Mother’s Day?
In my opinion, any person who selfishly denies her guy’s desire to visit his elderly mother on Mother’s Day and who also refuses an invitation to join her, has her priorities completely backward.
Because you all live in the same town, if you are determined to please your girlfriend, the solution would be for you to split yourself down the middle (as many people do on Mother’s and Father’s Day) and spend time with your girlfriend and her children during the day, and then enjoy your dinner with your brother and mother later.
Q. I appreciate that you are running so many questions regarding the relationship consequences that can flow from DNA testing.
I would like to warn you and your readers that actual DNA testing is quite complex and the results from these various companies can be wrong!
A. I’m increasingly satisfied with my decision not to have my own DNA tested.
Any unknown half-siblings out there will just have to find me.
Amy Dickinson can be reached at email@example.com.