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May 17, 2017

I’m Proud of My Sibling, but When’s My Time?

Hey, Bonita…

Dear Bonita,

My folks came over the weekend to see my sibling graduate. It was really fun for them, and I'm glad, and we're all so proud, but I kinda felt left out of all the love. I went to school for a while, but I've seen much more success just working and living here, and I live a life to be proud of for sure. But this weekend, no one asked me anything about what I've been up to or any of my future plans (which are BIG!), and I didn't feel appropriate mentioning anything because, well, everyone was here to celebrate my sibling.

Should I feel silly or justified in my jealousy? I'm leaning more towards silly, but the pain feels more real than ever this time.

Sincerely,

Embarrassed but Left Out

Hi Embarrassed,

The exact same thing happened to me. It might have even been worse, because my parents brought extra family with them, and my sibling was getting a second master's degree. No one asked me what I had in the works. We spent the weekend eating and drinking and toasting to my sibling’s great achievements. I won't lie: There was a flash of jealousy for one quick second over Chinese food.

But then I remembered how hard my sibling has worked these past two years to see this day. I remembered that my parents are plenty proud of me and have always shown up to celebrate my successes—plus, they've been wonderfully supportive during leaner times in my life. That Friday was about my sibling, not me, but that didn't diminish the love my parents have for me or the pride they feel at being my parents. So, I got over it and talked chopstick technique with my aunt, who's always been impressed with my noodle-eating ability.

I'm sure you've been on the front line while your sibling has finished up their degree, and they must be incredibly thankful for your support. College is demanding, and sometimes it downright sucks. Be happy for them and celebrate with them now that they've graduated and can relax a bit before failing in the real world. (I kid.) When your come-up goes live, call the folks and get them to town, then have your celebration when the time is appropriate.

It's OK to get jealous, but don't lose the forest for the trees. Know that your time is coming.


Hairy legs on women? Yea or nay? It's almost summertime, and I'm not sure certain ladies around here realize it. Just saying!

Just saying what? That you're a chauvinist who thinks he can dictate the way women look? That you're some armchair feminist policing other women's bodies out of misguided concern for their pride? I thought the students were gone. Did you stick around for summer school or something?

You shouldn't have a single thing to say about another person's body, and specifically about women's bodies in this context. I like hairy legs, but I have no opinion on whether a woman should be clean-shaven. That's as personal a decision as picking an outfit for the day or styling one’s hair. I don't dictate anyone else's style, and I don't encourage others to.

Me? I haven't kept my legs shaved for over a decade. I shave them sometimes, when I'm going for a particular look, but I haven't felt beholden to that norm since high school—back when I still thought I was a heterosexual and hadn't heard punk music yet.

Sorry I got so angry at first, but your “concern” reminds me of way too many people who fake neutrality while actually trying to control others. Women can shave, or they can be natural. It's no one's choice but their own, and it's not a choice you can make for others.

Need advice? Email advice@flagpole.com, use our anonymous form, or find Bonita on Twitter: @flagpolebonita.

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