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Rudest Date Ever

Dear Didi,

Having dinner at a popular Italian bistro-style restaurant in my neighborhood, I was shocked by my friend's behavior. When he picked me up at my apartment he used the bathroom. After ordering our dinner in the restaurant he used the restroom and then after the main course he returned to the restroom again. Needless to say, he didn't make me feel special. I assumed the second and third time when he disappeared to relieve himself that he was checking his messages. Three times all in the course of a three hour span. This is not the first time he has left me seated a couple of times during a meal. How do I handle his bad manners? No, he is not a medical doctor checking for updates about patients.

-Betsy, Providence

Dear Betsy,

At the end of the next date when he's exhibited the same behavior, take his hand cupped in yours and say, "I'm worried about you, Charlie. Do you have some sort of urinary track infection or do you just need an excuse to check your messages in private?" Confront him head on.

~Didi

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Trick or Treat Manners

Dear Didi,

My family is new to the neighborhood and to this country. It is the first time our children 5, 11, and 13 have had the chance to trick or treat and we want them to be safe and do it correctly. How do we prepare them for Halloween?

-A.T., Seattle

Dear A.T.,

Of all the holidays, Halloween is the most perfect for teaching 'trick or treaters' good manners. Once your children have their costumes, rehearse a script of what they should do and say, and how to express their appreciation. Safety should be the first concern, but reinforced manners will stick forever. Have them go outside, ring your bell and ask, "Trick or Treat?" Houses welcoming 'trick or treaters' will have a pumpkin or other Halloween decoration to signal to the 'trick or treaters' that the inhabitants have prepared treats. Your children would not knock on the door of a home that was not lit and did not have a Halloween decoration. When taking their treat, they should not be fussy. Even if they do not like the treat, they shouldn't walk away without taking one. Once back at home, you would go through their Halloween bag or bucket with them to discard any treat that is not in its original wrapping; if they are allergic to nuts, read the labels carefully.  In your role as the chaperon, you would hold back by staying on the sideline watching, listening, and try not to interfere. The resident of the house might ask each child about their costume, so you would role play and do the same, but you don't want them to linger and become engaged in a lengthly conversation. Unless they are encouraged to take more than one treat, they would only take one. Two or three if they are very small. Remind children that they are are not allowed to enter the doorway into any house or apartment. Before closing your door at the end of the rehearsal, they should say, 'Thank you, Happy Halloween," and you would say, "Happy Halloween, you're welcome." The golden rule is: Treat others the way you want to be treated.

~Didi

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How to Get Out of A Social Obligation

Dear Didi,

My husband and I look forward to attending an annual black-tie charity dinner dance that raises funds for our favorite non-profit. A couple we're acquainted with, but don't really like, attend every year, too. That's the problem. A few months ago the wife asked if we would sit with them, and not knowing how to politely get out of being stuck with them, I told her we would. Even though the tables seat twelve, we would be sitting next to them the whole evening. Not our idea of a fun night out on the town. What we love about the event is meeting new people. The husband dances like a gorilla and lands on my feet and the wife gossips about people we like better than we like her. Well, she called to say she was going to request that we be seated together. How do we get out of spending the evening with them?

-L.E., New York, New York

Dear L.E.,

Color me shocked. You mean you don't want to spend a night with people you said you would sit with? Next time, tell the person that you have to check with either your husband, another friend or  couple, before committing. Then be sure to say, "I'll call you, if we can join your table." Should she be so cheeky as to not get the hint and call you after you've essentially said, "I'll call you, don't call us." say, "Oh, dear, I thought I said I would call you, if we were planning on being seated with you." If she pushes, tell her you're sitting with people who had already organized a table. What about now that you're stuck?  You have three options. Call the event person who organizes the sitting and say you do not want to sit with Mr. and Mrs. So-and-So, and to please not tell them. Professional event organizers deal with such requests more than you could imagine. Second, grin and bear it, but when she asks you about next year, tell her you will let her know, if you need a table. Lastly, be honest and say, "Thanks for calling, but we actually have great fun taking our chances by being seated with people we don't know. That's how we make new friends." Your brutal honesty might sting, but she'll get it.  

~Didi

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Fall Mountain Country Western Wedding

Dear Didi,

We are invited to a very casual western cowboy hat dinner on the groom evening outdoors before the wedding in late October, where it is 50 degrees in the mountains in AZ. What can I wear to be warm enough outside with heaters for cocktails, the ceremony, and reception with dinner and dancing?

-M.Y., AZ

Dear M.Y.,

As you say, it is a casual mountain country dinner the night before the wedding, which makes the dress code about dressing the location and climate in a casual style. It is more about the quality than the dressiness of the outfit. Wear any kind of suede, leather, or animal print article of clothing or boots to the wedding and to the dinner the night before. Make that your statement and add a suede hat.

~Didi

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