Ask Amy: Should Dad Tell His Daughter Crop Tops Are Unflattering?


Dear Amy: I am the proud father of a beautiful and bright 18 year old daughter. She thrives as a freshman in college.

She came home recently for Thanksgiving wearing a “crop top”, exposing her belly (we live in a very hot climate).

She is 20 pounds overweight. I know she doesn’t need to be reminded of that, as she is conscious and working diligently in the gym.

She walks everywhere she needs to go, and we bought a bike for her to use at school, so she uses it too.

How can I (or should I) tell my daughter that crop tops just aren’t the best look for her?

I was going to say something while she was with us, but I chickened out and decided to write you instead.

Father: You might think you “chickened off,” but I think your gut kicked in, telling you how much your remarks could have hurt your daughter’s self-esteem.

She is already conscious and managing her weight in a healthy way. It may seem insignificant to you, but one critical remark, especially from her father, could derail her progress or (much worse) inspire eating disorders.

Your daughter, like all girls, is literally surrounded by clues and images of what her body should look like.

The last thing she needs is her father joining her, scrutinizing and criticizing her body. (Make no mistake, if you were criticizing what she was wearing, she would have immediately drawn a straight line between the words you said and what she believed you really meant.)

Even a slight teasing (or well-meaning) remark about your daughter’s weight or appearance can backfire.

The reason your attitude matters so much is because you’re the beloved “daddy” of your bright, gorgeous daughter. You are, literally, “the man”.

Limit any constructive criticism to his grades in school, his driving skills, or his work at home.

Keep your opinion of her crop top to yourself.

Dear Amy: Is it unethical to use things that have been mailed to me in the hope that I will donate money to the organization, when I am not responding with a donation?

(I’m talking about Christmas cards and address labels.)

Some of the organizations from which I have received these items are those to which I have donated in the past.

But I didn’t want and didn’t ask for these cards.

Can I still send them to my family and friends without paying for them?

I feel funny doing this, especially when it’s a religious organization.

Applications have tripled this year. It is obvious that my contact details have been shared with many organisations.

I will often request that my name be removed from these mailing lists, asking them not to share it. I’ve only had one organization contact me to do this.

— Fear of being a freeloader

To fear: You have the right to use these things that are sent to you by organizations hoping to solicit a donation.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, these items are literally (and redundantly) “gifts.” Even if you did not solicit or order these gifts, when they are sent to you, they belong to you.

Your guilt for using them “without paying for them” means that these campaigns work! But understand that if you use them (without making a donation), any recipient you send them to may also notice which organization generates these address cards and labels, essentially increasing their marketing reach.

I donate all unsolicited cards to my local library’s book sale, which sells them to raise money for literacy in my community. Senior care facilities will also take these donated cards for residents to use.

To eliminate these solicitations, contact individual charities, asking to be removed from their list and/or requesting that they not share your information.

You can also use the online registration form at to reduce the amount of direct mail you receive. There is a $2 processing fee.

Dear Amy:Deflated after the weddingdescribed her disappointment when her daughter did not personally greet her aunt and uncle at her wedding. He had planned to tell her that his brother was offended and disappointed that he was not welcomed.

Amy, you ruined everything. You should have told this father that his brother should have expressed his disappointment directly to the bride, without going through the father.

These adults should not use it as an intermediary.

©2021 by Amy Dickinson distributed by Tribune Content Agency