Dear Margo: From the Mailbag

Margo Howard breaks her own rule and shares some of your responses

From the Mailbag

I do not print follow-up feedback to letters; it’s just something I choose not to do. I’m making an exception today because the volume of response was so enormous to a particular letter that I realized many people might be interested. (The only other time I got such a torrent of mail about a letter was when I was Dear Prudence at Slate and ran a letter about handicapped toilets.) I didn’t think the letter writer’s problem we are talking about today was all that common, but apparently I was wrong.

The letter that brought the deluge was from a man who had a job requiring him to be on his feet all day, which was hell on his legs. He got the idea that pantyhose might help and wondered what brands would be the best fit for his waist and groin. He also didn’t know how to prevent them from “making noise.” Previously, I had imagined that the only men who wore pantyhose were transvestites. Wrong. Here’s a sample of the mail I received.

“I have a friend who, as a Marine, spent a great deal of time in Panama and such places where mosquitoes are everywhere. Marines, he tells me, wear pantyhose because the mosquitoes can’t bite through them.”

“The best support — even better than pantyhose — is tights! Capezio makes a line called Hold and Stretch, and — big bonus — dance tights come in men’s sizes, too!”

“Margo, your suggestion for better shoes was right on. And there is another solution to leg support that does not require a man to wear pantyhose: compression stockings or socks. The kind my husband uses are made by Jobst and are available at medical supply stores and many drugstores. They are knee-high and therefore wouldn’t make any strange noises. P.S.: These are also good for air travel or long car trips, as they prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT).”

“Though I’m no medical professional, I wonder if doing various leg and foot exercises during his working day would help.”

“Walgreen’s carries a good selection of support hose especially for men. They’re in the health section. They are thicker than regular hose and offer much better support. Walmart carries some support hose, but not a large selection. They have what I want, luckily, and at a much cheaper price.”

And while we’re at it, I might as well throw in one wonderful response to the letter from a man who had to take time off from his job to do a turn in a psychiatric hospital. Before he returned to work, he was wondering how to deal with his temporary residence. (His co-workers knew of his whereabouts.) I suggested that the light touch with perhaps a dash of humor would serve him well. I got this wonderful note from someone who had been in this situation and handled it with humor: “I had a similar experience where my cheese slipped off the cracker and I spent some time at the funny farm. Actually, it wasn’t that bad, pretty peaceful. This vacation was well known by the people I worked with. After getting better, I returned to work, and on my first day back, I walked into the office carrying a butterfly net.”

Now that’s my kind of guy.

* * *

Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.


Every Thursday and Friday, you can find “Dear Margo” and her latest words of wisdom on wowOwow

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17 Responses so far.

  1. avatar D C says:

    Awwww POOEY! That’s my reaction upon see today’s topic after having misread my clock and gotten up out of bed, showered, washed, dried and poufed my hair thoroughly, put on makeup and gotten read to dash out to get dressed, whereupon seeing the clock again, realize I got up at 3:25 instead of 5:25. I knew I needed to get up a little early today, but not quite THAT early.

    Here I was all ready to solve the problems of the world, and you’ve printed solutions to previous problems. All this superhero, ready-for-action buzz going, and nowhere to park it.

  2. avatar tbp says:

    I remember that football players from my high school were known to wear pantyhose for particularly chilly games.

  3. avatar Eileen Heath says:

    “Marines, he tells me, wear pantyhose because the mosquitoes can’t bite through them.”
    Mosquitos bite through MY pantyhose! What brand are the Marine’s wearing?!

    …. never thought I’d ever say that.

  4. avatar Debbie Ciaravino says:

    I must have missed the original letter. Too bad Abbey is a read on column today as well. Since I am dying to give my 2 cents worth to someone, here it goes…

    Pantyhose under pants do not make noise and mosquitos are very capable of biting through them.

    Did anyone orignially suggest he talk to his doctor or a podiatrist about the problem? Prescriptions for support wear are often covered by insurance. My mom get special shoes due to the neuropathy in her feet because of diabetes and Medicare pays for one new pair a year.

    Another less sensitive and politically incorrect option would be for the man to recognize he is incapable of doing the job, either due to age or ability, and he should quit for sake of his health.

    • avatar Anais P says:

      I believe I did suggest he speak with his doctor, as my late father had medical problems that required him to wear the very expensive support hose. He had a prescription for them.

  5. avatar Rita@ Goldivas says:

    Pantyhose under pants can make noise, or cause the pants fabric to cling. The solution in both cases is to apply body lotion to the pantyhose after you put them on.
    Retail workers who have to stand all day often keep a couple extra pairs of shoes in their lockers, then change once or twice during the day.

  6. avatar R Scott says:

    Margo – Don’t do this again. Tomorrow I want a bridezilla or The Other Woman’s side of the story. Give us something to work with. Men in panty hose. Pfff……

  7. avatar David Bolton says:

    Well FINE (tapping long red fingernail disapprovingly on counter)… I guess I’ll just have to make up my own letter and advice today.

    LW1: I agree with Margo 100%—you ARE a sociopath and a narcissist.

    LW2: Just make sure you have an escape plan—say, like a convenient hole to go hide in. They’ll never think of looking for you there. Good luck.

  8. avatar TheTexasMom says:

    Is this vacation week?

  9. avatar normadesmond says:

    maybe you should break your rules more often? those were good!