Dear Starshine,

My parents don't allow me to wear immodest clothes. This includes bikinis, short shorts, short dresses, skirts, and tank tops. Recently, while shopping with a friend, I bought a bikini top to wear this summer at my friend's pool. The thing is, I feel really guilty for lying to my parents. I can usually tell them everything and I hate not being able to tell them this. Any ideas on how to broach the topic?

Don't you sometimes wish you could tell the angel on your shoulder to shut the hell up? IT'S ONLY A BIKINI TOP, for crying out loud!

Alas, that nagging guilt you're feeling is a critical conscience alarm reminding you that you have something even more valuable than a bitchin' new hush-hush hottie halter; you have your parents' trust. And you're jeopardizing it.

I'll bet most of your peers don't feel they can tell their parents everything, and many wouldn't think twice about lying this way. You're lucky — so don't blow it. But in order to feel good about this, you're going to have to first do something that feels bad: Say your piece.

Ask them why they made that rule in the first place, and really listen to the reason. Is it religious? Are they afraid for you? Do they disrespect your friends who dress that way? Then explain why you want a bikini so bad, and be honest — with them and with yourself. Are you embarrassed to dress differently than your friends? Do you truly feel like a young woman, rather than a little girl? Are you blessed with a rack so stunning that it's selfish to keep it to yourself? There's no wrong answer in the "tell them everything" game.

You can still decide to wear the thing later (a bikini top at a pool in the summer is not the road to hell, I assure you), but at least you'll feel better about your convictions.

By the way, this advice assumes that you're a teen. If you're younger, put the skimpy top in a drawer and save the conversation for a couple of years. If you're older, grow a pair and wear what you like.


Dear Starshine,

As a liberal Democrat and proud feminist, I'm in the minority of my large extended family. Mostly, that's OK. My siblings love me anyway; we rarely talk politics. But one of my mom's brothers is a total knee-jerk, well... opposite of me and my political/social beliefs. And his hobby is to send out jokes, quotes, and cartoons to a large email list. Sadly, I'm now on that list and I get four to eight emails A DAY! How do I "unsubscribe" from Uncle Tom's somewhat offensive and often inappropriate email list without offending him?

Oh, sweetie, we all have that uncle. He never bothered to learn (or ask) the rules of email etiquette, so he makes all of his recipients' addresses visible to all in the "cc" field and doesn't even bother deleting the original contact info and "Haha! That's to [sic] funny!!!" comments from the gal who sent it to him in the first place.

How nice of you to worry about offending him when he affords you no such consideration. But "nice" won't pretty up your inbox. So remind your uncle that you don't share his political views and let him know, with a wink, that his conservative yuks burn your poor, progressive eyeballs.

If he keeps sending them, try this:

1. Train your spam filter to gobble up Uncle Tom's emails and be sure to mention at the next family reunion how much you particularly loved that Dr. Seuss-parody poem about ObamaCare (what, it's a safe bet).

2. Explain that no one under 60 uses email to crack wise anymore, and invite him to join Facebook so he can connect with you there. Then you can hide his posts and he won't know it.

3. Tell your mom that if she doesn't intervene and call off her propaganda-belching brother (with the sort of frank talk that a niece really can't get away with, but a sister can), you're going to print and mail each one of his repugnant missives to her home.

4. Start spewing back. Every time you read a story about a Republican doing something stupid, send Uncle Tom the link with a note saying, "Thanks for educating me about your perspective. I thought you might want to understand mine, too. This is fun!" And if that doesn't do it … click "Reply all."

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