Hi Harlan,

My husband and I were invited to the wedding of lifelong family friends. Our son and daughter grew up with both the bride and groom. The wedding invitation we received came addressed on both the outside and inside envelope with just my name and my husband’s name on them. I thought perhaps my son and daughter were receiving their own invites — that was not the case. Other friends their age have received their own invitations. I was told by the groom’s mother that this was an error and yes, they certainly are invited. However, the after-the-fact verbal invite has left our children feeling awkward and out of place, especially knowing that other friends have received their own invites. They are thinking they don’t want to go. What are your thoughts?

Kind of Invited

Dear Kind of Invited,

It’s not like people are going to be wearing invitations around their necks. As long as they have a verbal invite and placecard, that’s enough. What do they gain by not going? If they want to go, they should absolutely go. You checked in and they are invited. You can check with the mom again when you RSVP, but they are invited. People make mistakes. Why turn this into something more? This isn’t about them. It’s about the bride and groom. If they like them, like appetizers and like eating dinner at 10:30, they should go.

Dear Harlan,


I usually like your column and feel the advice you give is well-rounded and appropriate. However, when I read your column “Straight-laced church girl talks dirty and regrets it,” I felt I had opened the wrong newspaper. Was this the National Enquirer? No, even they don’t stoop to such creepy articles. The advice you give reeks of pedophilic tendencies. You state: “Imperfect people are hot. Imperfect goodie-goodies who are comfortable expressing themselves sexually are even hotter.” In this article, you are expressing your own personal opinion and views, which I now wonder about. “Hot” is a word left open to interpretation, and as I read this, I look upon a grown man fantasizing about a girl having phone sex. This is a teenage girl having phone sex with a guy she met on a chat site! Don’t you have any better advice than telling her she’s hot? You ramble on later with some half-good advice, but revert back in your second-to-last paragraph with “share his kinks.” I’m afraid you lost me at “hot” and “hotter.” Come one, this is a family newspaper. Everyone likes good advice, a few problems and even gossip, but this crosses the line.


Hi Mary,

I respect your thoughts (that’s why I published this), but I have to disagree. A family paper is the perfect place for candid dialogue. A God-loving woman had phone sex and felt bad. She felt like NO ONE would want her now. I wanted to make sure she understood that it’s OK to be sexual and have sexual thoughts. I suggested instead of obsessing about what she did wrong, she should learn from her actions. She should embrace her sexuality and turn to a spirtual leader. As for the “hot” references, I never said I found her hot. I said some people will find her hot and want her. That’s a major distinction. Also, while the headline read “girl,” my interpretation was that a woman wrote this letter. My only intention was to help someone feeling shame feel better without passing judgment. If this got lost in translation, forgive me.

Harlan is the author of “The Happiest Kid On Campus: A Parent’s Guide to the Very Best College Experience (for You and Your Child)” (Sourcebooks). Write Harlan at [email protected] or visit online: www.helpmeharlan.com. All letters submitted become property of the author. Send paper to Help Me, Harlan! 2506 N. Clark St., Ste. 223, Chicago, IL 60614.

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