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don't worry, dr. brady can help

By Zoe Tanenbaum

Dear Dr. Brady,

For the past four months I have been having a secret affair with my stepbrother. Our parents got married last month and have no idea about our special relationship. We met five months ago and were totally into each other from the start. He's 18 and I'm 15, well, almost 16. We just started having sex and I feel like it is wrong. I mean, we really love each other, but we are kind of related. Do we need to tell our parents? Are we committing incest? Please help. Sincerely,   Incesty from Poughkeepsie

Dear Incesty,

What you are doing is wrong, even though you don't have to worry about legal issues because it's not incest according to the medical definition. What I am most concerned about is the fact that you are having sex with this young man, and the possibility of pregnancy always looms. If, God forbid, anything happens, then you would have to tell your parents not only about your relationship, but also that you are carrying his baby! If you are sure that you love him (although I find that hard to believe considering you've only known each other for five months) then I think you both need to sit down and talk to your parents. I suggest getting an outside mediator because tempers may flare and objects may start getting thrown. Honestly, I really think that you should end your relationship with this guy and look for another. There are plenty of other fish in the sea and the inevitable pain you will experience because of him may not end up being worth it.

Dear Dr. Brady,

I am starting a new school next semester because my family just moved to Cambridge, MA. I'm really nervous because I am a proud Goth, but I fear that I won't make any friends in my new environment if I show up in my usual garb. Do I need to tone down my look for the first few weeks of school? Do you think people will give me a chance even though I wear dog collars and lots of black make-up?   Help!   Marilyn in Mass

Dear Marilyn,

Two words of advice: The Pit. Even if you are not respected and accepted in your new environment, you will definitely be loved by the kids that call the Pit home. So many of them roll in Gothic gear, they just love multiple pierciing and black. I'm sure these kids will be much more receptive to your style and attitude than the Abercrombie-clad kids of Cambridge high schools. Your parents may be a little nervous about your new batch of friends, but no worries: if they kick you out, you can probably go home to Newton with one of these Pit kids. Good luck in the coming weeks and let me know what happens!

Dear Dr. Brady,

My mom keeps telling me I need to get a nose job. I agree with her that my nose is rather large and disproportionate to the rest of my face, but God gave it to me and therefore I should love it. But, that gets hard to believe that when I am always the only one of my friends that isn't asked to school dances. I mean, I like dancing solo better, but I am beginning to feel like a social outcast. Part of me keeps reminding myself that I wouldn't want to go to the dance with a boy that didn't like me for who I am, but it gets kind of depressing staying home and dancing with my younger brother. Do you think I should just suck it up and get it? Does that mean I am superficial? Will I lose all my character? What do I do?   Love,   Shnoz from LA

Dear Shnoz,

Considering I've had eight nose jobs, three face-lifts and one liposuction I am all for plastic surgery. It is a (practically) painless procedure in exchange for years of beauty. I know that you want to believe that people should want YOU, not your physical appearance, but let's be realistic-the 1990s are all about looks and I think the next decade will be even worse. Just because you get a nose job does not mean that your personality will change--it just means that you will be more confident and popular. Everybody underestimates the importance of popularity. Trust me, I know but how cherished popularity is. I was you in high school and it killed me to be home every weekend watching M.A.S.H. But after all my surgeries I became the hottest thing since sliced bread. I never was home during the weekend after that and I've managed to have multiple, superficial and transient relationships. Don't worry what anyone thinks, do what you gotta do to get the lovin' that you deserve.

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