Dear Margo: Same Time Next Year

Margo Howard’s advice

Same Time Next Year

Dear Margo: I visit my cousins in England every summer, and last summer the best friend of my cousin’s boyfriend was really into me. I never really got to know him, so nothing happened. This year he told his buddy he really wanted to be with me. The catch was that I only had a week in England. We went out every night with the two of them, and I started liking him. But nothing happened, and I was getting annoyed. He barely flirted and never texted or did anything to demonstrate interest. It was like he was 13 years old.

On my last night there, we went to a club where foam was coming out of vents, and we all went into the foam and danced. He started touching me, and we went to another section and hooked up. Then he said, “Can this be our little secret?” I asked why, and he said, “Well, because I have a girlfriend.”

I hate cheaters, and I told him that, but my heart was telling me to just go with it while my mind was like, no, this is awful. When we got back to our friends, I couldn’t even talk to him because no one was supposed to know we hooked up.

I returned to America and texted him, saying, “Sorry if I was unpleasant by the end of the night. I was just annoyed.” I expected him to answer, “What did you get annoyed about?” so I could explain, but instead I got, “It’s OK, it happens.” I hate the fact that there is this huge miscommunication, and that is what I really want to fix. What should I do to start feeling better? — Emma

Dear Em: I have a hunch you are in your late teens, which means your obsessing will be a thing of the past before you know it. Trust me. To feel better, I would suggest facing reality. As the Brits would say, you were the bit on the side. There was no miscommunication. He texted you the way he did so he could end the discussion.

Try to keep in mind your disdain for cheaters. And let’s face it: You live more than 3,000 miles apart, so stressing over one week a year doesn’t make a lot of sense. What you are doing is spinning your wheels, not moving on. If you want to hook up one week a year, I’m sure the young man would be agreeable. — Margo, maturely

Stop the Invitations to Burglars

Dear Margo: In your response to the woman who felt some of her guests were acting like paparazzi by taking pictures in her home and then posting them on Facebook, I did not see you mention the No. 1 reason for not allowing people to post photos taken on your property. Many recent Internet articles have warned us that newer digital cameras embed GPS coordinates of where the photo was taken. Ergo, enterprising burglars have seen valuables (e.g., paintings), downloaded the photo(s), imported the GPS coordinates to their own GPS device, and presto, they can be led directly to a potential burglary sight. Under these circumstances, I don’t think anyone need apologize for not allowing photos in their home. — Bob R.

Dear Bob: You saw no mention of this important information because I had no idea such a thing was possible. By no means am I a techie, so I happily share your valuable information with a wide audience. So: regarding the letter you refer to, in addition to being rude and presumptuous, such ad hoc pictures could be an invitation to burglars, complete with addresses. Many thanks. — Margo, knowledgably

* * *

Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at 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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47 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Katharine Gray says:

    LW#1:  I am not sure if I fully understand what the term *hooking up* means in your letter.  If it means you had sex then you were used (although with your permission).  While I do not doubt the guy found you attractive, he was looking for a one night fling with no strings attached and evidently desires no  further communication so there is no miscommunication for you to fix.  A clue to your head (as opposed to going with your heart) might have been that he showed no particular interest in you throughout your week’s stay and only sought to hook up when he knew you were on your way home and could not interfere with his real life.  Chalk it up to experience, lose his number, and on your return next year try to avoid further contact.  I see no particular reason you need to keep this event a secret from your cousin unless you want to and avoiding him on future trips may be easier if you explain to your cousin why you find this user’s company disagreeable. 

    LW#2:  I had no idea about the GPS imbedding and thank you for the information.    

  2. avatar David Bolton says:

    LW1: The only miscommunication is between the part of your brain that believes there’s a miscommunication, and the part that realizes you got used and allowed yourself to go along with it instead of following your own set of rules. Own up to it and move on, since there’s nothing else to do at this point.

    LW2: Oh for Christ’s sake. People broke into houses long before Facebook, and will continue to do so long after Facebook is gone. It is merely one of a bazillion ways to get the low-down on a potential target.

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  4. avatar wlaccma says:

    I have a neighbor who constantly takes photos of everyone and everything and posts them on Facebook. It is annoying since she takes photos of you when you are in restaurants eating, with a mouthful, biking, working in the yard or standing in line any where or any time she encounters you. I don’t want to be on Facebook, the photos are sometimes very unflattering and I consider them an invasion of privacy. I have put my hand up and asked her not to take my photo. However, other neighbors think I am wrong since they think it is harmless, she is a lonely widow and this is her hobby. It infuriates me and I don’t think it is harmless.

    • avatar dcarpend says:

      I’m with you. I deplore the current assumption that because everyone has a camera with them all the time now, we should all be just fine with constant candid shots. It’s annoying, intrusive, and rude.

      • avatar luna midden says:

        Because she is a ‘lonely widow’ does not excuse her from having MANNERS!!! AS A MATTER OF FACT if she is annoying a number of people , she is probably turning off potential friends or a new potential partner by her ‘new hobby’… Learning RESTRAIT and posting fewer and better pictures would help improve her ‘hobby’ and maybe give her more respect including moving her photo hobby from completely amateur to one more of respect.

  5. avatar Belinda Joy says:

    Letter #1 – ROFL! You know…..what I find so hilarious about this is I would bet all that I own if anyone were to tell this young woman she is behaving like a child, she would be insulted beyond words. And yet, that is EXACTLY how she is behaving. So childish and silly. We can only hope and pray that 20 years from now she will have learned from the many mistakes she is making in her early and formative years.

    This letter really tickles me……amazing!

    Letter #2 – Great point. We live in a day and age where people do indeed turn to the internet now to look for places to rob. Why help them? Better to err on the side of not posting photos.

    • avatar Sita says:

      Belinda, I’m laughing with you. But from what I understand “hooking up” means sex. So 20 years frm now she might find herself unable to conceive because of some STDs she caught during her “formative years”

      • avatar mmht says:

        I’m 31 so I know that by now I’m out of the loop on the terminology, but when I was in high school and college “hooking up” was really a wide range of things from fondling to sex. It was a term used when you wanted to divulge some info but not too much (we thought we were being so demure!). So there’s really no telling exactly what this girl did, but you are correct Sita when she should be worried about STDs.

        • avatar LisaB says:

          You’re correct…it still does mean a whole range of things, dependent on the individual. Based on this letter, there’s really no way to determine what she means by hooking up.

          And this letter kind of does sound like something my friends/peers/whatever would have been obsessing over sometime in the past 5 or so years (we’re all 23+ now, and have hopefully grown up a bit now).

        • avatar CanGal says:

          This letter kind of reminds me of the Yadda Yadda episode of Seinfeld.

    • avatar A R says:

      What I find humorous is that I’d bet $5 that the LW is NOT actually a teen. I betcha she’s in her early twenties. 🙂

  6. avatar Dani Smith says:

    What is the letter writer of #1, like 17 years old? Margo nailed it by guessing she was a teen. If she’s not, and is actually an adult then insert big ol’ face palm here. It’s mainly because of this part here: “I returned to America and texted him, saying, “Sorry if I was unpleasant by the end of the night. I was just annoyed.” I expected him to answer, “What did you get annoyed about?” so I could explain, but instead I got, “It’s OK, it happens.” Just the part about “I expected him to answer….” meaning, the initial comment was a set up, trying to coerce/manipulate a particular response, and when he didn’t give it to her she’s even more annoyed. So juvenile. Time to grow up and mature. Learn whatever lesson you need to about this whole thing (namely, don’t hook up with random strangers in back rooms, whether taken or single, being a total slut) and move on.

    Seriously though….hooking up with a guy you barely know in a back room, then *texting* each other afterwards? I weep for the future.

    • avatar Lila says:

      Dani, I suspect that you may get a ration o’ crap for criticizing this girl’s slutty behavior, but I totally agree with you. The mantra that “men have always done this” is no justification for women to be just as tawdry.

      I guess if this young woman, like many others, just wants to go to crowded clubs and have fun random sex with whoever looks good at the moment, hey, she’s free to do so. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that letting some guy bone you in a back room after your first dance is the start of a relationship.

      The current “hookup culture” is just a recipe for a lot of shallow using and being used. So you dive into a pool of horn-dogs, take a liking to one, and then are surprised when he turns out to be… a horn-dog? Got your feelings hurt, honey? That’s what happens.

      The “hookup culture” is not a recipe for respect, for sexual health, for finding a faithful, monogamous partner, and certainly not one for good family planning. As they say, “be careful who you have children with.” This is not even a moral issue for me: so long as women are the ones that babies come out of, and babies result from sex, a little sexual continence is advisable on purely practical grounds (keeping in mind that NO birth control method is 100% effective… not even sterilization).

      • avatar mayma says:

        Okay, I’ll go — can we please not call her slutty??

        That is not what is happening here. This is clearly a young girl who has not been taught to know herself or to like herself; my guess is an absent or uninterested father. There is no need to shame her because of her misguided attempts to get validation. I mean, it’s all there…. she “started liking him” even though he “never texted or did anything to demonstrate interest,” she contacts him to apologize, and in hope of some kindness, after their hook-up. She puts aside her values (i.e., forgets who she is) about cheating because she wants him to like her. She’s not doing any of that for sex; she’s doing it to try to be accepted/loved.

        Yeah, she could be young, but — believe me — this kind of behavior carries well into adulthood. I know many, many, many adult women who do the exact same things in pursuit of some recognition, some validation, some small affection. It’s not something one can just chalk up and move on from; it requires self-awareness, inner work and — above all — understanding and NOT shaming from others. This person needs help. She clearly has not gotten the proper foundation for self-esteem, and this pattern is going to continue until she wakes up. I mean, she is in denial obviously. There is no miscommunication; he is communicating LOUD and CLEAR. She doesn’t have a clue as to what is really going on within herself.

        I sincerely hope that she can find the right help before she wastes too much time on this pattern.

        • avatar begyourpardon says:

          WOW way to assume the crap out of this letter! Absentee father? Where did you get that? She needs help? For one hook up? She sounds like she’s fairly young (teenager), has probably no or limited experience withS other teenaged boys. Stop assuming stuff when there is nothing to back it up. She’ll get over it, she’s just being dramatic. It’s just one of those experiences a lot of people go through, especially when they’re young. I know I sure did.

        • avatar Lila says:

          I totally agree that this girl, and too many like her, are misusing sex to get some kind of acceptance or validation, or they have been raised to think this is how things are supposed to be – how THEY are supposed to be. This is the basis of today’s hookup culture, which I reject, because in that culture, females are expected to be easily available sex toys for males. Yes, I find that shameful.

          The girls are shameful for prostituting themselves for a little validation, the guys are shameful for using girls that way, and the whole Hollywood / marketing mega-machine is shameful for promoting this hypersexed culture for a few bucks. Well, a lotta bucks. I guess that makes them remote pimps, kind of. And parents? It’s shameful that they can’t instill a little more self-worth than THIS in their daughters. Instead, they run around buying them boob jobs as graduation gifts, so they can “feel good about themselves.” We have gone insane.

          Whatever her background, parenting, or motivations, the fact remains: the LW was kinda interested in a guy she barely knows, who only showed interest in her for a matter of hours, and who she knew she wasn’t going to see again for at least a year. So what does she do? She screws him in a tacky back room in a tacky club. What did she think would happen? That he would wait for her, pining away for a year and exchanging gooey texts until her return a year later? It was stupid all the way around, and she is not doing herself any favors.

          I have even less patience for adult women who behave this way. And then we sit around wondering why women are not really treated equally? It’s because an awful lot of us allow men to use us like their personal little blow-up dolls, thinking it will get us something. What it gets us is… treated like blow-up dolls.

        • avatar A R says:

          Why not call her actions “slutty”? I mean, really, they were if she went to bed with a stranger, so she might as well own it. At the end of the day, she can either be embarrassed or not. Doesn’t change the quality of the interaction. Of course, his actions were slutty too, so there’s that. 🙂

          • avatar judgingamy says:

            I don’t get the impression any sex was involved. It was a public place. Sure, it’s not unheard of for people to have sex in public places, but it’s not THAT common. Based on her age and maturity level, I am guessing by hooked up she means they made out. Maybe he did some over the clothes groping.

            So, LW gets an ego boost from hearing from her cousin how this guy likes her. She returns to England looking forward to getting to know this guy better. She is not looking for a quick hookup, she is under the impression he is interested in dating her (now how she thought the logistics of this would go is unclear). He waits until the last night to make a move, as someone else pointed out, because he knows she is on her way home and thus will avoid both the girlfriend finding out, or more likely, LW getting clingy. LW is expecting him to continue the communication once she’s home and is now pissed that it was just a moment’s fun for him and nothing else.

            That doesn’t make her slutty. Naive and immature, yes. Slutty, not necessarily. It usually takes one ill advised hook up for young girls to realize that guys wanting to have sex with them (or in some way hook up with them) does not equal guys wanting a relationship with them.

  7. avatar Cindy Marek says:

    L #1: It happened, move on with your life. I’m sort of wondering why you bothered having sex with him at all (am I one of the few people on the planet who can actually control her urges?), but … that’s in the past.

    L #2: Yep.

  8. avatar JCF4612 says:

    LW1: “A bit on the side”  — love it.

    LW2: Anyone who won’t respect your wishes in your home need not be asked to return. If all your friends are clods, then meet them at downscale bars.   

  9. avatar md2012 says:

    Margo, you do understand that ‘hooking up’ means they had sex?

  10. avatar CMc says:

    Call me crazy, but I find it slightly farfetched that this girl was ignored for a week by this guy, then got groped by said guy, went into a foam infested corner of a club and had sex with people slipping and sliding by, and then was “unpleasant” and “annoyed” when she found out he had a girlfriend. I mean, if I hooked up with a semi-random guy who I had my eye on and I did it in FOAM no less (which is super gross btw), found out that oops he had a girlfriend and that I had to keep this a secret, I would be PISSED. Not annoyed, not unpleasant, not texting trying to clear up “miscommunications,” I, WOULD, BE, PISSED. So I’m not convinced that they had sex. Who knows? Maybe they did and this girl’s situations that should be piss me off meter is broken.

    That being said, if you hate cheaters so much, then why care about having follow up conversations. Repeat after me, “I hate cheaters. I told him I hate cheaters. Therefore I was annoyed that he is a cheater.” There is nothing to clear up so get it together and keep on with that cheaters suck mentality! I get it that you’re upset because you feel used and dirty (literally). Chalk this up to a lesson learned and don’t hook up with guys you don’t know. And for goodness sakes, don’t hook up in a foam party. I mean it’s seriously nasty. Ugh.

  11. avatar Decora says:

    I think letter 1 is looking for absolution – she feels guilty that she “hooked up” with someone that had a girlfriend. She wants Margo to say “Its OK, dear, you didn’t know.” She is upset that he didn’t respond with “Why were you annoyed?” so that she could blast him for it and put all the blame on him.

    She hasn’t/doesn’t want to realize that even if he didn’t tell her he had a girlfriend, she didn’t ASK either. She slept with a guy she barely knew and didn’t bother to ask him any questions. I can bet that if she didn’t bother asking if he was in a relationship, she also didn’t ask if he had any STD’s or if he had gotten checked for anything recently.

  12. avatar Eazy Duzit says:

    I think everybody has assumed too much about LW1’s story and let their imaginations go too wild.  I’m 40 years old and back in my high school and college days, “hooking up” or if I said that I had “hooked up” with somebody just meant that there had been kissing/making out.  I remember being surprised though by my wife when I used that term telling a story about a friend and some girl he had met and she said “so you mean he had SEX with her!?!” and I was taken aback.  She explained that in the area of the country that she grew up in, hooking up meant full-on sex.  I explained to her that where I was from, it was much more innocent and nothing more than kissing.  At any rate, I’m willing to bet all my chips in this case that LW1 was using the term innocently and did not mean to imply that they had sex in the back room of a public bar, presumably in a public room, foam or not.  How would they have gotten away with that anyways?  Much more likely that they just snuck off for a bit to make out.

    • avatar md2012 says:

      Sorry, but for young folk ‘hooked up’ means they had sex.
      No offence but at 40 you’re way out of date on terms

      • avatar begyourpardon says:

        Um no, hate to let you continue thinking you are “young and hip” but hooking up can mean anything from kissing to sex. They could have just made out, fondled, or had sex.

        • avatar emmy says:

          Yep. I’m 27, and “hooking up” can mean anything from kissing to sex. People my age, who are more sexually open? Generally means at least fingering. Highschool age kids (including myself at that age)? Meant kissing, maybe 2nd base.

  13. avatar Lady Jane13 says:

    Am I reading Margo’s answer wrong? It looks like she said it is okay to hook up with this cheater once a year. Please correct me Margo! She knew ahead of time he had a girlfriend, and did it anyway. That is why she feels so stupid! Girlfriend, you had sex with a cheater. Don’t do it again! DUH! Oh yeah, go to the doctor and get check for STD’s because I’m pretty sure it is hard (heh heh) to put on a condom in foam. Also, herpes do not show up right away AND you have them FOREVER!

    • avatar Lady Jane13 says:

      Sorry… get checked for STD’s.

    • avatar Sita says:

      I just checked on the internet what foam in a club is like and SUPER GROSS. I would imagine it’s impossible to put a condom while dancing in foam. Unlike the swimming pool you can’t really put bleach in foam and the floor must be really gross and sliperry. UGH!

      • avatar Lym BO says:

        Since we’ve gone down the foam road, I learned recently what “a hole in the wall” means & it’s not a run down place off the beaten track. I also learned what glitter of the floor refers to & it is not glitter as in sparkly stuff you put on paper with glue in Kindergarten.

  14. avatar bamabob says:

    LW2 yes, newer cameras embed GPS coordinates. They can be removed, btw. But to my knowledge, the GPS coordinates do not survive uploading to Facebook. If the photos are emailed or sent via instant chat then the coordinates (if not removed ahead of time) are there for the browsing, but I’d think the people you email know who and where you are anyway. When I look at my own photos I see the info–until i look at the same photos on my Facebook page. I could be wrong but I don’t think this is a legit concern as far as social media goes.

    • avatar duranimal says:

      I think you are correct and I’ve had the same experience- once you upload a picture to Facebook the original properties, including geotagging, disappear.

  15. avatar Lym BO says:

    Well crap!!!! I’ve recently used the term hooked up to mean we got together & not even in any sexual way. Not even necessarily with an opposite gender person. If I could remember who I said it to I would clarify. 42 year old memory sucks! I’ll bet I’m the talk of the town. I wondered why that gal at the meeting I went to today kept giving me some stupid smile.

    • avatar Lila says:

      I have an elderly German-born neighbor who uses “gay” to mean “cheerful.”

      Those dang generation gaps.


      • avatar Lym BO says:

        Of course, very common. Many of the advertisements from the 40-50s used gay. My grandmother’s middle name is Gay.

    • avatar CanGal says:

      My SO was raised in England. He said to a female friend “I’ll knock you up in the morning” Caused a few funny looks until I explained it means to visit you as in knock on your front door.

      So we really don’t know exactly what the LW meant by hooked up.

  16. avatar K Coldiron says:

    Can we get some proof on the GPS thing? For that to be true, the camera would have to have a GPS embedded, plus some kind of communication software to check in with a satellite and confirm where it (the camera) is on the earth. It would have to have enough battery power to be running this software continuously while the person is taking pictures and to place the “stamp” on every picture, along with all the data that the picture entails. I can’t believe this is standard on little point-and-shoots, and it sounds like an absurd conspiracy theory to me.

  17. avatar LovePacino says:

    Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised, but it appears that the readers of “Dear Margo” are quite the “fuddy duddies.” 🙂 At 42, I am far removed from the “hook up” culture, and I do have some concerns about teens becoming overly promiscuous at younger and younger ages. BUT this letter is mostly likely from a girl who is over 18, so those concerns do not apply here — though she DOES have a lot to learn about relationships! But just because she is naive and trusting is NO REASON to label her slutty. In fact, the concerns she expresses make her sound like a relatively nice girl who “hooked up” with the wrong guy. FURTHER, many of the readers are mistaken to assume “hooking up” necessarily means sex — if you look up slang dictionaries online, it states that it can mean anything from making out to sexual intercourse (or anything in between). ANOTHER thing, some readers DID NOT read the letter carefully — several of you believe that she met him for the first time during this last trip … BUT she actually met him the PREVIOUS SUMMER (“I never really got to know him, so nothing happened” she said of their prior interaction). IN ADDITION, someone even accused this girl of “hooking up” AFTER she learned of the guy’s girlfriend — WRONG, he told her about his girlfriend AFTER they hooked up. In a nutshell, READ the letters carefully people, and DON’T ASSUME ANYTHING. Lastly, when are we going to move past calling each other sluts??? Women are often each other’s worst enemies — why can’t we offer positive feedback instead, and tell our “little sister” what she might be doing wrong so that she can avoid making the same mistakes in the future. INSTEAD so many of you are LAUGHING at her!!! AND calling her names!!! Wow, that is so, SO sad. While you lament the “moral decline” of the current 20-something generation, I am saddened by the extreme sense of moral superiority expressed by WAY TOO MANY of you.

  18. avatar Janet66 says:

    LovePacino – you took the words right out of my mouth. People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.  While so many commentators have pointed shaming fingers at the LW, they are the ones whose behavior is shameful.

     It sickens me when I read cruel comments in response to someone genuinely reaching out for help.  Mocking and insulting the LW, knowing she’s likely young is beyond my comprehension. It’s cowardly, cruel, mob behavior. Studies show that people posting anonymously on the internet are many times more likely to be cruel than if they were to speak to the person face to face. I’m not sure what it is about human nature that generates this kind of response but you’re right that it’s very sad.

    And it’s nothing new. Circa 1982, Jennifer Jason Leigh’s character in Fast Times at Ridgemont High was doing the same thing as the LW, sleeping with guys on the first date and getting her heart broken.  The only difference is, the audience could plainly see, understand and sympathize with the young girl’s actions.  

    Are you seriously telling me that young women who “put out” too soon and get hurt deserved it? Mistakes are a part of life, we all make them and hopefully some of us learn from them. I feel for this girl.

  19. avatar Lila says:

    Pacino and Janet – there is a difference between speaking blunt, ugly truth and mocking. A naive, trusting girl who spreads her legs for a guy she barely knows in a slimy back room of a slimy foam-splashed nightclub is… what? Chaste? Innocent? She may be a very sweet girl, but she’s an easy lay, and that… as you so accurately illustrate with the Fast Times at Ridgemont High reference… is NOT the way to get what you want in either the short term or in the long term. It is the way to get labeled “slut” and treated as such.

    It’s not a matter of “deserving” to get hurt by your mistakes. It’s just a fact that you DO get hurt by your mistakes. If a sweet but airheaded person decided to jump into the tiger enclosure at the zoo to pet the tigers, does she “deserve” to be hurt or killed? Maybe not, but she’s going to. Tigers are tigers. Horny young guys looking for a quick lay are… you get the idea.

    I would be GLAD to tell the LW this in person. Someone needs to. I have had a very similar face-to-face discussion with a young friend who has had similar experiences as the LW. My young friend told me her father had admonished her, saying “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” She may have been seeking my sympathy, and yeah, I really hate that she got hurt and I think the guy was an ass, and I said so. But I also told her: “Your Dad is right. That is how a lot of guys think.” He wasn’t insulting her; he was informing her. She, like the LW, was in a pattern of setting herself up. These days she’s more careful to determine that her latest interest is not so likely to be such a jerk, before getting to that point in the relationship… and that takes… TIME.

  20. avatar redhead says:

    LW#1 – Check your expectation level,child. He spent every night with you while you were visiting, did not make any romantic gestures, and YOU were annoyed. On the last night, who really started the “hookup”? Sounds like it was YOU. And when you found out the real reason he was acting like a gentleman, instead of backing off, YOU still pursued it. And YOU were annoyed that he let you slip away, as if you were even in a relationship! What were you expecting after you returned home? That you would have a long distance romance until next year? Step back and realize he probably wasn’t a cheater until YOU forced the issue, and YOU are more upset because your own slutty behavior made you feel cheap.

  21. avatar cmn8 says:

    While I agree that LW1 messed up, I’m not sure why everyone is calling her a “slut” like it’s an insult. Obviously she isn’t the type to sleep around, or at least didn’t want to have only sex (if they did have sex) with this guy, but that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with sleeping around if that’s what you want to do. I would have thought this site was a little more progressive than to have all this slut shaming flying around.