Q. Am I crazy to actually go through with this?
A longtime Instagram follower of mine sent me a PM the other day complimenting me on my photography skills.
We got to talking and he then admitted that he also likes me.
Since then, we text, video chat, and share our respective lives through the powers of social media.
He lives in Brazil, I in the US. I am 15 years older than he — I am about to be 46. We hit it off really well, and he has not done what many guys interested in me have done. He has not asked for — or sent — nude photos.
He claims to be single and not looking for marriage. He wants to come to the US to see if he wants to live here permanently.
I have thought about opening my home for a few weeks with him paying for lodging. That could help me, as I am between jobs, and he could save on hotel costs.
He will be applying for a travel visa. Do you think I should do this?
A. Let’s recap: THE OTHER DAY, you two met over social media.
So far, he has demonstrated his princely qualities by not asking for — or sending — nude photos.
And now — mere days after virtually meeting him, you have somehow unearthed a scheme to bring him into your home for several weeks.
The first thing you need to do is to raise your standard of what you have the right to expect from other people.
You also need to tap into your own common sense regarding your personal security.
If you want to make money from renting out a room, register on a room rental site and go through the appropriate process of vetting renters.
If he wants to visit the States, he should locate a nearby room rental where he will have to submit a credit card, be vetted, and pay for his lodging.
If you are determined to rent to him specifically, then do so through a legitimate rental site, and not through a casual arrangement from someone you don’t actually know and who may have deliberately sought you out as a way out of Brazil. Imagine an open-ended stay in your home with someone you end up detesting? Once in, it could be very challenging to get him out.
If you are unemployed, you would serve yourself better by marketing your skills and lining up your next job.
Q. I always read your column the first thing in the morning, along with having my coffee.
My wonderful husband passed away a few weeks ago. He had been a robust man one year before his diagnosis of heart valve disease and needed a replacement, but at age 85, he refused.
This took him from using a cane, to a walker, to (finally) a wheelchair.
I tried to keep up our activities by helping him to get around.
Just weeks before his passing we were able to spend our 45th wedding anniversary in the beautiful place where we had honeymooned.
Just lifting the chair in and out of the car was hard for me at age 76, but he was happy and even offered to try to help me.
Many times and many places we went, I had trouble navigating.
I just want to thank all of those people of all ages who stepped up to give me a hand when I needed it.
This meant so much to both of us because having a little help meant that we could get out and about.
So — to all of you unknown heroes, thank you so much.
I like to think of you as my guardian angels showing up just when we needed you.
Anonymous in California
A. I’m happy to publish your lovely thank you note to all of the strangers who did you a kindness when you needed it.
This is a reminder of the importance of life’s tenderest mercies. It is kind of you to focus on this, even as you have experienced such a huge loss.
Q. As a transgender woman, I was flabbergasted (if not entirely surprised), by the insensitive remarks of “Ease My Mind.” I’m glad you pointed out that sexual orientation “chooses us.”
I also believe that gender identity and expression are equally intrinsic characteristics. Ultimately, the decision to live life authentically, and without bias, is the choice we make.
A. Amen, sister.