- Go and have a glorious time celebrating your half-brother-in-law's milestones.
- Forget about the slight that you feel was made toward your son and his wife. If they weren't invited, they weren't invited.
- They're adults and can handle it.
- You would be making a nuisance of yourself if you made a fuss.
- Be a fence mender.
- By not attending the fête you will only be widening the gap.
In packing my bag to spend ten days in Newport visiting friends, I’m wondering about resort fashion, evening wear as well as daywear, and what resort fashion actually is. Can you give me examples of how women in their 20s and 30s will be dressed.
My question is about what to do when you’ve witnessed a fender bender and your friend drives away.
As I was getting into my car in the parking lot of our country club after a festive lunch, I heard a crash. Looking over my shoulder I could see a well established and respected member of the elder set pulling away from the car directly in back of the parking space he had just backed out of. He stopped and asked if I thought it a problem. He said it was nothing. There was a smudge of beige paint on the rear of the scraped black car left by the rear end of his beige car, but there didn’t appear to be an actual dent to the fender. I didn’t give an opinion either way. As the only witness, was I responsible for telling the owner that his car had been slightly damaged? Or should I have encouraged the driver to report the incident to the owner, whom we both know?
–JS, Watch Hill, RI
Our friend owns a popular upmarket restaurant where we dine frequently. The food is as excellent as one can expect in a resort town. The restaurant service is over the top. When I say over the top, I mean the service is too intense. I know that sounds utterly amazing for a resort restaurant, but hovering service can be extremely annoying. Every time we dine there, with friends or without, the waiter or busboy tries to remove our plates before everyone has finished eating.
Much to my husband’s amusement, I speak up and say, “No, go away” before rushing to explain: no plate should be removed before the last diner has stopped eating. It is rude of the waitstaff to pressure diners to hurry through an expensive meal and puts a damper on what should be an utterly pleasurable experience.
When we signal that we are now through eating, the waiter stacks three or four plates, which is also tacky! Any suggestions?
–MV, Newport, RI
- Ask him how you should signal your waiter that you don't want the plates removed from the table until the last person has laid down his/her fork.
- A good restaurateur will see to it that a notation of your requirements are made on the computer.
- On your own, in the future tell the waiter in advance that you do not want any plates removed until the last person is through eating.
- Let your waiter tell the busperson.
My boyfriend and I have been dating for the past six months and recently he asked me for a loan. As much as I love him, it only makes me think that loaning him money will complicate our relationship. What advice can you give me?
–LC, Providence, RI
- Be sure of the specifics and know exactly why your boyfriend needs money.
- Only lend money for paying rent, buying food, and paying bills, including money owed for child support.
- Never lend money for luxuries, vacations, and vanities such as plastic surgery.
- If you don't agree with the reason, don't give him a loan..
- If you argue about money now, then loaning him money will only increase the stress.
- If he is starting a business and you loan him money, be sure to put the terms of the loan in a formal agreement or contract, and have your signature witnessed by a friend of yours, or a lawyer.
- Be sure to include a repayment schedule and be wary if he doesn't make payments on time.
- Keep in mind of the fact that all texts and emails are legally binding.
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My questions is about doggy bag etiquette in restaurants.
My wife and I recently visited an old friend in Northeast Harbor, Maine, for a long weekend. One night we took him out to dine at a restaurant of his choice. When the bill came, I paid it and I asked for our leftovers to be packaged up to take back to his house. The portions had been huge and as a European, in good conscience, I could not bear to think of good food going to waste. Our friend, however, was mortified. He said I had embarrassed him because asking for a “doggy bag” was bad etiquette.
What’s your opinion, Didi? Do I need to apologize for supposedly embarrassing our host?
–Name Withheld, Far Hills, NJ
- In your thank-you note to your host for the marvelous weekend, say, "As a European, I cannot get used to the huge American portions and I cannot abide seeing good food go to waste."
- In France, for instance, the home of gourmet cuisine, it isn't the sophisticated thing to do.
- Interestingly enough, Gen Y is less apt to ask for a doggy bag. A fourth of 18-26-year-olds in a recent survey answered that even if they wanted to ask for one, they wouldn't.
- We're seeing a trend in restaurants refusing point-blank, or simply telling diners to bring their own containers and pack them themselves. Some restaurants will even ask you to sign an indemnity form.
- On the other hand, consumer food waste is a bigger pollutant than cars and industry.
- Doggy bags are inappropriate to ask for at business meals and social events where you are a guest (such as at a wedding or dinner party). On the other hand, if the hostess offers you the rest of the Key Lime Pie, let her wrap it up for you.
- Also, never ask for a doggy bag at a four- or five-star restaurant because they won't have a container and you wouldn't bring your own.
- Never take someone else's leftovers home.
- Even if you paid for your date's dinner, don't ask to take his or her leftovers home, as it will make you look like a cheapskate.
- Furthermore, if you take home a doggy bag and reheat it two days later, don't go whining on social media that the food from that restaurant made you sick, because it's unfair to the restaurant.
–Name Withheld, Eas Hampton, NY
- What happens if the bride doesn't believe you? It's probably a risk you shouldn't take. You and your wife couldn't go to the wedding. People would wonder why you weren't there.
- What if the bride already knows and says, "I love him and he loves me and we're getting married," and you hear Edith Piaf singing in the background, "Je ne regrette rien"?
- What if she acknowledges the situation? It will feel like a tragedy, and you will only come off badly.
- Or perhaps she is completely ignorant and you'll know you're part of a farce. Is she naive and too innocent to understand what she's getting into? Are you heroic enough to ask if they've made love?
- If you feel you really have to say something, ask your old friend the father-of-the-bride, if the bride and groom have a prenup. Leave it at that.
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My question is about unrequited love.
My boyfriend does not spend time with me because he says he loves his work too much. What should I do?
–ED, Harare, Zimbabwe
What about mens short-shorts? How to go short on a hot summer day without looking foolish wearing short-shorts? How do I accessorize: socks, no socks? Shoes, what kind? Tie, straight or bowtie?
–George, Brooklyn, NY
How do I reply to a formal wedding invitation RSVP when there wasn’t a response card included with the wedding invitation?
–Barbara, Torrance, CA
- As you can see from the above examples, there isn't much punctuation, which is why it is important to place the facts on six or seven different lines.
- When there is only the return address and no name with the return address, use the name of the host or hosts that appears on the wedding invitation on your reply envelope.
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My question is about being the third wife and how to improve family relationships.
As the third wife, even after ten years of marriage, I feel like the outsider. My husband had three children with his first wife, who unexpectedly died too young. As a widower with three children, he may have married his second wife out of loneliness, but his now adult children remain close to their first stepmother — to the extent that she might just as well be their mother. I can’t seem to break through into the family circle. When we get together for holidays, birthdays and graduations, it seems as though there are three people in my marriage.
Even though I know my husband favors me, his children favor her. Any suggestions?
–GB, Seattle, WA
- During that time, teach your step grandchildren how to muck out a stall, plant carrots, bake cupcakes, scramble eggs, wash a car, ride a bike, play chess or checkers, pingpong or croquet, draw or watercolor. You get the picture.
- During these times have each child keep an album of photos, drawings, and well-wishing messages that they can return to the next time they visit. A memory book.
- Display their artwork and be sure to have photos of each grandchild visible and laid out in frames around your home. It will make them feel welcome.
- Keep file cards of each child's likes, dislikes, and allergies. If one child doesn't like hot dogs, don't serve them; when a child is allergic to peanuts, don't even have a jar of peanut butter in the fridge.
- Find activities you can do together and have craft supplies and games in a bin that they can access easily filled with such items as: play dough, construction paper, watercolors and brushes, crayons, children's scissors, puzzles, board games, cards.
- Take out books from your public library ahead of time, so you'll always have stories to read aloud to them, and eventually they'll read to you.
My fiancée complains that I am not listening to her. When she talks, I stare into her eyes and listen to every word. Even if I’m really thinking about work or wondering when I’m going to get a chance to check for messages. I try very hard not to interrupt. Then when she’s through I feed her back what she just said so she knows I’ve been listening. Isn’t that enough?
–JR, Orlando, FL
- Forget about not speaking when others are talking.
- Forget about not interrupting.
- Forget about making strange sounds acknowledging that you are listening, such as, yeah, oh, ah, mmm, to make her think you're following her train of thought.
–Julia, Cohasset, MA
- Wear sensible shoes and I don’t mean flip-flops.
- Gladiator sandals, ballerina flats, and espadrilles are fine.
- But stiletto heels will sink into the grass and possibly catch the wearer off guard with a tumble.
- All headpieces are one-of-a-kind.
- Lisa’s specialties are her made-to-order original hats for that special occasion, as well as the simpler straw hats we wear everyday in the garden or at the beach.
- Ahead of time go online to look for the starting times of special events and lectures with a floral motif. No Newport Flower Show is the same.
- This June 23-25, the French garden theme prevails.
–EP, Newport, RI
- Dogs will step up their pace as they walk by in disgust. The scents of previous dogs will disperse.
- Look at the weather forecast before laying it down so that rain doesn't immediately wash the deterrent away.
Accepting A Compliment