–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.
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
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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.
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.
My question is about male grooming and dyed hair.
Didi, how do I tell my man that he shouldn’t dye his hair? It looked OK up until a couple of years ago when a bald spot became very apparent on the top of his head. But now, really, who has dark brown hair hanging down from a big bald spot? He should wear his baldness as a crown and not be so vain. Anyone who looks at him knows his hair is colored to cover the grey.
- He cannot see the back and top of his head unless you show it to him. Give him a warm hug and tell him you love him and want him to stop dying his hair.
- His dyed hair has become a habit. He doesn't know how to stop coloring it.
- Propose that he go to a good barber and have it shorn way down and the hair will grow in the color of his remaining natural hair.
- Over time he'll get used to going au naturel when he's rid of the dyed hair look that makes wrinkled faces look even older.
- Mention that dying his hair is not healthy for his scalp. Suggest that his baldness may well have been advanced by the harmful toxins in the hair dye.
–E&WG, Newport, RI
- No riding clothing of any kind. Look like a guest and not a groomsman.
- Dress code is Smart Casual. Meaning your best relaxed clothing: White or colored trousers, blue blazer, sundress, beautiful hats and big sunglasses, shoes that won't sink into the turf and get caught in the divots at halftime.
- Take along plenty of sunscreen and wet wipes.
- A cotton blanket or French tablecloth and plenty of napkins, cloth or paper.
- No beach umbrella because you'll block someone else's view, but you can take folded lawn chairs.
- Lots to drink to keep throats from getting parched.
- Cheese and crackers, fruit, Champagne, Prosecco, and ingredients for Pimm's Cups.
- Prepare your picnic food ahead of time.
- Bring ice, utensils, paper plates, glasses.
- Pimm's Cups: Easy to prepare when you arrive at your tailgate destination. Use the English liquor Pimm's Cup No. 1 poured over ice in a tall glass (or paper cup) with a slice of lemon and cucumber peel topped off with a splash of a fruit flavored drink, such as Del's Lemonade or the unsweetened La Croix flavored soda water.
- Sandwiches on soft rolls or in wraps: tuna, chicken or egg salad, slicked turkey and cheese with bacon or avocado, along with chips.
- Desserts: brownies, chocolate chip cookies, lemon squares and fruit salad flavored with a splash of Pimm's.
- To the best of your ability, try to stay plastic free; plastic bags are increasingly frowned upon.
- Use a straw basket to carry in your food and take out your waste.
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What is your opinion of the takeout tipping dilemma?
What about tipping when you buy takeout from a proper restaurant and take it home to eat?
Here in Newport we have so many fantastic restaurants that we get spoiled off season.
During the Memorial Day Weekend, it seemed simpler to look at the menus and order online and then pick up the food and eat at home.
- No lines, no reservations, no long waiting between courses.
What I don’t understand is the tipping. Paying the requisite 20% for service doesn’t seem necessary. On the other hand, I don’t want to stiff the summer college workers and the year round waitstaff.
What percentage of the bill do I pay for the takeout tip?
–LB, Newport, RI
Didi, the number of people owning guns in our small community is scary. Our neighbors have guns in their home. I’ve seen the father walking to and from the car carrying a leather rifle case that looks as though its big enough for two rifles and one of the rifles was sticking out.
I don’t want our small children playing over there. How do I say, “No, my kids can’t spend time in your home?”
We have a wedding dilemma. The parents of our son’s fiancée don’t get along. When I say they don’t get along, I mean they can’t be in the same room at the same time. They had a very bitter divorce. His mother is happily remarried, but his father is a bitter lonely man.
As the groom’s parents, we are hosting the welcoming dinner, but the father of the bride has requested that he not be seated near his ex-wife and her husband. He can’t be too obstinate because he’s paying for the wedding reception. How do I seat the groom’s parents?
There will be somewhere between fifty and sixty close family and friends attending the seated Welcome Dinner, so we’ve got five or six tables of ten.
–MOG, Charlotte, NC
- Arrange the place cards yourself to be sure that the bride's parents are not in earshot or sight range.
- Assure the bride's father he is seated at "his own table." Include only close friends or relatives at "his table."
- As the hostess, he's your responsibility. Especially since he is hosting the wedding reception by generously footing the bill.
- Then you would seat the bride's mother at your husband's table, to his right.
- The step-father can probably be seated anywhere but at your table.
- This won't look awkward because the seats to the right of the host and hostess are the guest of honor seats.
- Also, by cleverly positioning the place cards so that the bride's parents are out of earshot and sightline, you've done your duty.
Can you get away with stealing a coat of arms? Isn’t that why they call a coat of arms a family crest?
Is it bad etiquette that Donald Trump uses another family’s coat-of-arms or crest without ever having asked the family’s permission?
At the Trump National Gold Club outside Washington, DC, which hosted the Senior P.G.A. Championships this past weekend, most of the jokes were about the different nefarious Trump coats of arms and newly acquired family crest.
Either the crest Trump stole or the one he plagiarized or made up appear everywhere on the Trump organization properties: on all signage for his real estate, inside Trump’s private helicopter and jet, and homes.
Including pro shops and exercise gyms.
On everything from throw pillows, cufflinks and clothing, to golf balls, golf clubs, and body lotions, as well as all promotional material.
According to The New York Times, the coat of arms Mr. Trump first tried to use was originally granted to Joseph Edward Davies in1939, says Joseph D.Tydings, a former senator from Maryland, who is the grandson of the owner of the coat of arms.
Mr. Trump uses it in the US without permission from the family, which Tydings witnessed while visiting Mar-a-Lago, his former family home.
The family was told that Mr. Trump’s lawyers would keep them in court for decades draining their finances for generations.
The only adjustment made was switching the motto from the latin word for Integrity, ‘Integritas,’ to the name ‘Trump.’
However, for his two golf properties in Scotland, Mr. Trump plagiarized the coat of arms he covets, but added a two-headed eagle.
–GP, Washington, D.C.
- The fact is that it is a criminal offense under the ancient Scottish law to use an authorized crest, but Mr. Trump was relentless and wore down the authorities.
- By adding the double-sided eagle representing the dual nature and nationality of Trump's heritage, American and German, he adapted a crest he admired.
- Also the eagles are clutching golf balls, making reference to the game of golf, and the Trump motto was added in Latin: "Numquam Concedere" for "Never Give Up."
The coat of arms on the left is the original family crest of Joseph Edward Davies, on the right is the Trump adaptation.
Comparison photo courtesy of The New York Times.
Accepting A Compliment