05/21/2008 01:10 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

What To Do When No One Has A Clue

How can you tell what's expected of you today when the private is now public; there are few - if any - boundaries and brilliant new technology has led to everything from selling your kidney on Ebay to issuing restraining orders on Facebook.

Today's very contemporary situations have no precedent. And until now, no creative solutions to situations no one saw coming.

In the divorce, it used to be, who gets the child? Now, it's who gets the dog...Daddy's ashes...the Kaballah coach? Your partner insists if you really love him, you'll give him your password. Should you? The woman in the next stall is yakking on her cell phone - is it okay for her to talk? Is it okay for you to flush? Your teenage daughter's boyfriend compliments you by saying your back yard is so soothing it reminds him of a detox center. Your response? A major hospital near you wants to know if you want to speak to their "orthopedic concierge." Wouldn't you rather speak to a doctor? You get your latest match from eHarmony and it's your ex.

Help is on the way. Two insightful, inventive, unshockable women (us) have - with the help of some very wise friends - come up with eminently sane solutions for an increasingly mad world.

Situation #1:

You're watching TV when a Viagra commercial comes on, ending with a long list of side effects. Your seven year old daughter turns to you and asks, "What's a 4-hour erection?"


Keep it simple and factual.
"I believe in explaining what an erection is in very simple terms - when a boy's penis stands up straight," says Dr. Leona Jaglom, a clinical child psychologist in Brooklyn, New York. "All little boys have experienced this and it's okay for girls to hear this happens, too. And then I would emphasize that the 4-hour version only happens when certain medicines are taken."

Match your answer to their age.
Debra Fried, the mother of 7-year-old twins, would say, "It's just not something you're old enough to understand yet but I promise I'll tell you when you're a bit older." She adds, "If that doesn't work change the channel quickly to Sponge Bob. And if all else fails, there's the ever-useful 'ask your father.'"

And if the question arises at school? "Viagra is a medicine for grownups, I'd say if pressed," says Gerri Goldstein, an elementary school teacher in Westchester, New York. "Ask your mom or dad if you have any more questions. I tell kids their parents are their best teachers. Then, I might consider calling the parents to give them a 'heads up.'"

Situation #2:

Is it okay to text in church? During a business lunch? In Pilates class?


There are some rules. Elaine Whitmire, Senior Vice President of a major New York auction house says: "It's never okay to text, look at or even put the Blackberry on the table during a business lunch with a client or an associate that is discussing their problem or their future. Being attentive is paramount. In church, God certainly needs all your attention."

There are no rules. Natalie Baumgartner, a 30-something consulting business psychologist suggests: "It's fine to text anywhere. Hey, it's your life. Just use your own judgment."

Humans come first. "If there's a human being nearby who deserves your attention, put away the handheld device," says Mark Hurst, founder of Creative Good and author of Bit Literacy: Productivity in the Age of Information and E-mail Overload. "Same goes for driving, or operating heavy equipment (presumably that doesn't apply to Pilates class.) Otherwise, text away."

Consider your priorities. "Definitely not during Pilates class. If it's your own private training session, it's your dollar and your time. But it sends a strong message to your trainer as to your priorities," says Melanie Melillo, Fitness Director at Women For Fitness.