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Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
What do you do when you have dinner guests due to arrive in fifteen minutes and you discover a red wine stain on your white linen tablecloth?

How best to recover from your daughter giving her grandmother an embarassingly large marital aid for Christmas?

How much should one tip one's pedicurist?

In this age of ever-increasing complexity of our relationships with each other and with our homes, our jobs and our world at large, the potential for social disaster looms higher and higher.

Sine Nomine stands apart from the noisome hoi polloi as The Man Who Knows™. Thus, this thread. While Sine cannot offer legal or medical advice, he can answer those burning questions about Life Domestic.

How many of us know how to correctly cut up a raw chicken for deep frying? How many here know how to match a man's socks to his belt to his tie? Who among us has the facts about ice cream forks at his fingertips?

Sine knows. Just ask him.

I'll ask the first question just to get things rolling.

Sine, I'm having a dinner party in three weeks. I've invited fellow writers and also some attorneys. How do I offer drinks to my guests without the well-known alcoholic predations of the writers and lawyers completely draining my bar before the other guests have even nibbled their cocktail olive?

[ 05. February 2006, 07:52: Message edited by: Alan Cresswell ]
 
Posted by Celsti (# 4523) on :
 
Although I am not the etiquette expert around here, I would suggest that you invite the writers and such to show up about half an hour after everyone else.
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
I'm having a dinner party in three weeks. I've invited fellow writers and also some attorneys. How do I offer drinks to my guests without the well-known alcoholic predations of the writers and lawyers completely draining my bar before the other guests have even nibbled their cocktail olive?

Well, if it was me, it can't be done. And I'm having the olive as well.

But for some (lesser) lawyers the following might work. You need, depending on how much you like your fellow guests, either a thick-skinned accomplice, or a pompous and verbose victim. Get him to arrive first. When the lawyers turn up, introduce your mark, who you've primed with such opening lines as:

"Wouldn't it be a good idea if all attornies where paid on a fixed fee scale linked to the national average wage?"

"Don't you think that the lawyers must bear most of the responsibility for the Terri Schiavo case?"

"Isn't it disgraceful that it needs more intellectual ability to qualify as a New York cab driver than pass the New York Bar exams?"

Keep the drinks at the far end of the room. And bring over just enough to keep the conversation from flagging.
 
Posted by Vikki Pollard (# 5548) on :
 
I'm ordering 200 WWSD? bracelets. PM me if you want one. [Devil]
 
Posted by Off Centre View (# 4254) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Vikki Pollard:
I'm ordering 200 WWSD? bracelets. PM me if you want one. [Devil]

What Would Sine Do?

For someone without a name he's very well-known!
 
Posted by Vikki Pollard (# 5548) on :
 
Go...to...your...room...
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
Sine, I'm having a dinner party in three weeks. I've invited fellow writers and also some attorneys. How do I offer drinks to my guests without the well-known alcoholic predations of the writers and lawyers completely draining my bar before the other guests have even nibbled their cocktail olive?

You need help. No, I mean really, you need help. You pay one of your kids fifteen bucks to be a waiter for the evening. You don't have an open bar. The kid asks each guest "Martini? Sherry? Mineral water?" and then goes off to get it...and takes a looong time coming back.

Then of course you can look back at the great hostesses of history and see how they handled the situation. There is either the Mrs. Hamilton Twombly school of drink serving or the Jackie Kennedy school.

Mrs. Twombly was a very progessive hostess in the 1900s. She was one of the first in New York to serve "cocktails". Unfortunately she lived an immensely long time (until 1950 or so) and never changed her method of serving. Her guests were never allowed more than two and they weren't allowed to take them into her drawing room but had to drink them standing up in the entrance hall.

Jackie Kennedy instructed her waiters to pick up any half finished cocktails, wipe off any lipstick, top them up and re-serve to another guest, hoping nobody had hepatitis.

Either method should help keep you bar bill under control.

Note: For fifteen bucks the kid is also obligated to clear the table between courses.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
What do you do when you have dinner guests due to arrive in fifteen minutes and you discover a red wine stain on your white linen tablecloth?

BTW...the answer to this is "get out your liquid white shoe polish".
 
Posted by Twilight (# 2832) on :
 
Dear Sine,

I have friends coming from West Virginia. What should I do?

Sincerely,
Twilight
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
Make sure the front porch is reinforced so's when yer sittin a spell to visit it don't collapse and kill all the dawgs.
 
Posted by Twilight (# 2832) on :
 
Thank you Sine, that's a marvelous tip.

Now here's some more details of the (real) problem.

They are my girlfriends from childhood days - sort of my own ya-ya sisterhood. It's a rare moment in time when they are all free to drive three hours to spend a night out - so I wasn't about to say no when they called. The trouble is, that particular week is when we plan to move from this house to a new one.

Here's the real question: Should I entertain this wild bunch with their unruly wine glasses and dodgy dip trays in my brand new house on my brand new suede sofas, or can I call it a "slumber party" and set up in the half empty old house?

Yours in trepidation,
Twilight
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
Oh dear. You do have a problem.

Unfortunately, we need to remember that our friends are more important than our material possessions. If these suede sofas are going to be a source of tension for you when people come over you might just as well go ahead and return them now and get something else you'll be more comfortable having your guests sit on.

Or cover them with clear vinyl slipcovers. Since your friends are from West Virginia they won't think a thing about it.
 
Posted by jlg (# 98) on :
 
Slumber party, most definitely!

To cover up the fact that you're entertaining in a living room with nothing in it but the stuff you're leaving behind (so the new owners will have to haul it to the dump, thus saving you the trouble), you'll announce it with glee as "It'll be just like when we were kids and Suzie's mom made us have the sleepover in the basement!"
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
Of course the problem with a slumber party is that Twilight is a self-professed "old biddy" so one assumes her childhood friends are old biddies also.

Entertaining in a half-empty house could produce a rash of "I've fallen and I can't get up." incidents once they get down to floor level after swilling all that wine.
 
Posted by Twilight (# 2832) on :
 
Well, Sine is exactly right and made me feel sorely ashamed of myself. [Hot and Hormonal] [Frown]

But Jennifer thinks just like I do! [Big Grin]

So I may have a nice dinner for them at the new house and then we'll all retire to the old house where we can have our slumber party and "be more private." [Biased]

Thanks, both of you!
 
Posted by Twilight (# 2832) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
Of course the problem with a slumber party is that Twilight is a self-professed "old biddy" so one assumes her childhood friends are old biddies also.


That's all quite true, Sine, but part of the joy of a group like this is that we all still see each other as the foxy Charlie's Angels look-alikes we once were.

Now hush up.
 
Posted by Not Too Bad (# 8770) on :
 
My question to Dear Sine...

quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:

How best to recover from your daughter giving her grandmother an embarassingly large marital aid for Christmas?


 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Not Too Bad:
My question to Dear Sine...

quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:

How best to recover from your daughter giving her grandmother an embarassingly large marital aid for Christmas?


If grandmother's eyesight isn't too keen, cry out in a delighted voice "Oh! A portable blender! Let me see if I can find a battery for it." and quickly remove the package.

If granny's too quick for that, create a diversion by drop-kicking her Chihuahua into the next room. That should distract her.
 
Posted by Not Too Bad (# 8770) on :
 
Ah! Such wisdom! Consider that Chihuahua kicked!
 
Posted by Tortuf (# 3784) on :
 
Dear Sine,

What should one do when a dinner guest shows up wearing clothes that are simply out of date? I mean, those "Passing Gas" T shirts are sooo last year. Everybody knows that you wear Che T shirts now. Should I tell him to save him from embarrassment, or should I ignore the gaffe?
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
Neither.

You "accidentally" spill your Bud Lite all over him and give him one of your "Old Fisherman never die, they just smell that way!" T-shirts to wear for the rest of the evening.

Always in style. At your house at least.
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
Dear Sine,

I bought myself a houseplant a couple of weeks ago and plonked it on the bedside table, where it looks rather nice. Also, it's eco-friendly and recycles the carbon dioxide during the night, or something.

Unfortunately, I watered it a bit carelessly one night by generously giving it half a glass of water before I went to bed. In the morning, I discovered that the water had pretty much missed the pot and soaked into my table instead, leaving some alarming water stains.

This table belongs to the landlord, and his agent is coming round in a fortnight to inspect the place.

I've spoken severely to the houseplant (it's a fern, by the way) which has gone very quiet ever since, but now I'm wondering what is the best way to disguise the damage, at least until the day of reckoning when I move out. Someone suggested a doily, but I thought these might be a bit passe. I was considering a small natural fibre mat, but that might be a bit sort of whole-earth and Sixties-ish. What would you suggest?

Or should I just spill water over the whole of the rest of the table to ensure it all matches?
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
If you can even see the top of your bedside table you obviously have too much time on your hands for housecleaning and need to get out more.

The more important question therefore is "why is your life so dull?" I thought you were going to take classes or something.

However, getting back to your original question: Pile library books on the waterstain. That looks real cultured and refined.
 
Posted by hedonism_bot (# 5027) on :
 
Dear Sine,

An acquaintance of mine was recently staying overnight with friends. After washing in the morning he noticed that no guest towels were provided, and that the towels in the bathroom had clearly recently been used to dry a wet body. Being a fastidious fellow he declined to use these, and not wishing to embarrass his hosts by asking for clean towels he reluctantly used his spare boxer shorts to dry himself. However, for reasons that he cannot explain, he absent-mindedly placed these in the bathroom cabinet and left them there. The friends in question have now not been in touch with him for some weeks.

So, Sine - how would you explain away the leaving of wet underwear in a host's medicine chest?

[ 30. May 2005, 13:45: Message edited by: hedonism_bot ]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
Ah! The old "an acquaintance of mine" ploy. So you've been down to just one pair of boxer shorts for a couple of weeks now and need to get the other pair back, do you? I agree this is an emergency.

Sometimes (not often) honesty is the best policy. Just explain you were looking for suppositories and forgot where you placed your shorts during your search. No need to mention they were dripping wet. I'm sure your friends will understand.
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
This actually happened, and it's my favorite social disaster (of biblical proportions).

The Smiths are having a dinner party one night. Unbeknownst to them, a plumbing problem over the years has been allowing raw sewage to build up in the wall space. So of course on the dinner party night of all nights the pressure in the wall reaches the breaking point and said wall bursts open, showering everyone with sewage. (Incidentally, also ruining the dinner party.)

(Sidebar: The family decided to send apology notes to their guests, and actually held a contest (through a magazine, IIRC) to find the best worded note.)

Sine, if you were Mr. Smith, how would you handle such a situation, and if you were to send an apology note, how would you phrase it?
 
Posted by hedonism_bot (# 5027) on :
 
Thank you, but I'm not convinced that's the best advice ever proffered. What, BTW, would be your advice to someone who had left their shorts in a host's medicine cabinet during a frantic search for suppositories?

And it really was a friend and not me. The person who urinated into a host's en-suite sink only to find out that it wasn't plumbed in yet - that was me...
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by hedonism_bot:
Thank you, but I'm not convinced that's the best advice ever proffered.

It was pretty darn good considering what you paid for it though. Sheesh. Everybody's a critic.
 
Posted by hedonism_bot (# 5027) on :
 
Ah, I understand. Is there a premium-rate telephone number I can call for the really hot advice then?

I ask because the more I scrub the more it's spreading, and the Deacon is going to step back into the room at any minute...
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
Sine, if you were Mr. Smith, how would you handle such a situation, and if you were to send an apology note, how would you phrase it?

"I am terribly sorry about the little mishap the other evening. Please send me your dry-cleaning bill and the bill for the hepatitis shots."

Ken, are you nuts? Some things in life are just plain awful and aren't fixable. I'd say that's one of them. Of course I don't believe it actually happened because the smell would have been a giveaway and the drywall would have gotten soaked through and began to bulge outward. Moreover it would be a very strange floorplan that would have the bathroom pipes running through the dining room walls.

But there are occasions when you just have to start over with new friends. That's why it's better to have a yacht than a villa. You can always sail away.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by hedonism_bot:
Ah, I understand. Is there a premium-rate telephone number I can call for the really hot advice then?

Yes, I have some really hot phone numbers but they may not be exactly what you had in mind.

However I am becoming a bit concerned. Your friend goes around leaving his underwear in medicine cabinets and you go around pissing in sinks. I think perhaps you're not ready for the finer points of social interaction yet but need some rather more basic training first before we get to the "which fork to use" level. Let's start with "what is a fork and why it's better than your fingers for eating."
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
Sine, I need your help. For so many years, I've been a working-class sort and now have an ingrained self image that is limited to denim and cotton T-shirts when it comes to a fashion sense.

I appreciate the good looks of a coordinated fashionable outfit on a man but when I try on things in nice shops, I look at myself and can't get past the "pretentious" aspect.

How can I break out of this dressed-down habit I'm stuck in?
 
Posted by jprainbow (# 8813) on :
 
I haven't got a question (at the moment). I just wanted to say I'm having a whale of a time reading this thread! I'm in stitches here! Thank you, everyone, especially Sine! [Big Grin]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gort:
How can I break out of this dressed-down habit I'm stuck in?

Go to a thrift store or consignment shop and find one classic looking jacket you really like. Take it to a tailor and have it properly fitted. It won't cost you that much.

It will be already broken in and won't look "newish" so you'll be comfortable wearing it with your jeans. Get some prewashed oxford cloth shirts to go with it. They won't look new either.

Once you're OK going around like that you can work up a bit. Start watching for other men your age and build you think are nicely dressed and see what they're wearing. (Do not be too obvious about this unless you're looking for a date or a punch in the nose.)

We can't all be on the cutting edge of fashion - there are plenty of things I myself won't wear - but we can all look suitably and nicely put together.

Here's the pay-off: women really go for that. I had a totally unknown but attractive woman come up to me at a party last night and say "Excuse me, but I've been dying to come over and feel your pants." Didn't do much for me, but some guys would have enjoyed it I'm told.

...and you're ever so much more likely to get dates if you look employed.
 
Posted by hedonism_bot (# 5027) on :
 
O.P. by S.N.

quote:
However I am becoming a bit concerned. Your friend goes around leaving his underwear in medicine cabinets and you go around pissing in sinks.


In my defence, I am English - over here it's considered crashingly bourgeois and nouvey not to widdle in the sink. I don't know how Nancy Mitford never got round to mentioning it.
 
Posted by Real Ale Methodist (# 7390) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
Neither.

You "accidentally" spill your Bud Lite all over him and give him one of your "Old Fisherman never die, they just smell that way!" T-shirts to wear for the rest of the evening.

Always in style. At your house at least.

This is an interesting one; I've been brought up in the finger bowl school of etiquette. If one of your guests is wearing an outdated T-Shirt; dig out one of your own sartorial monstrosities to stop him feeling out of place. Your more sensitive guests will recognise what you are doing and approve. His blushes will be avoided.

My question is a simple one; what is the socially acceptable way of laying down rules to flatmates concerning acceptable levels of kitchen decorum. Are there any easily memorable rules? I ask because I don't want to endure a second year of putting up with unhygenic kitchen conditions. (I'm a student and my current flatmate see nothing wrong with leaving chicken fat on the chopping boards and allowing baked beans to dry to all their pans - occasioning the use of mine)
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Real Ale Methodist:
what is the socially acceptable way of laying down rules to flatmates concerning acceptable levels of kitchen decorum.

You need to separate social issues from health issues here. And subtlety doesn't work with student types as best I remember. Still, one wants to avoid angry confrontation.

I suggest taking the pot with the drying baked beans in it and gently laying it in the middle of the offending party's bed. If he/she asks why you did such a thing, say "I assumed you hadn't finished eating them or you would have washed the pan."

Of course in America that's why we have handguns. A few random shots through the ceiling tends to get your point across also.
 
Posted by J. J. Ramsey (# 1174) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
A few random shots through the ceiling tends to get your point across also.

Yeah, but it can really piss off the neighbors upstairs.
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
This one is from a few minutes ago as I was folding laundry:

How do I fold a fitted sheet so it doesn't look like I wadded it up into a giant ball? I've tried everything I can think of, and ever afterward I end up with this grossly misshapen lumpy thing that looks like crap and doesn't stack well in the linen closet.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
In this case they're probably students too. If they've got their music turned up I doubt they'd even notice. Unless you wing one of course. Pity.
 
Posted by Grits (# 4169) on :
 
quote:
"Excuse me, but I've been dying to come over and feel your pants."
Yeah, I use that line all the time.

Sine is right, Gort. Women almost always go for the "dressed up casual" look -- well-fitting jeans (and dark, please), a button-up shirt (oxford IS best, but it can work with a polo shirt, too), a nice sportcoat (corduroy in winter is good, too). It's a look that can go almost anywhere.
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
The more important question therefore is "why is your life so dull?" I thought you were going to take classes or something.

I have. I just signed myself up for The Art Of French Polishing, and Renovating Household Furniture.

quote:
However, getting back to your original question: Pile library books on the waterstain. That looks real cultured and refined.
You're so right! I piled some romantic novels on top of it. Then I thought, to make it look a bit elegant and sophisticated, I should add a few sex and shopping novels. And then to make it look a bit respectable as well, I've put a Bible on top. To round it off nicely, I might just add a telephone directory, to make it look like I have lots of friends and an active social life. Either way, I don't think my landlord will be looking too closely at the surface of the table! Problem solved! Thanks again for the tip! [Yipee]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
How do I fold a fitted sheet so it doesn't look like I wadded it up into a giant ball?

You're trying to fold it standing up, aren't you? That won't work. You have to spread it out on the bed to fold it properly.

Fold over all the curvy bits until you've got a nice rectangle. Then fold that.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
Problem solved!

I would suggest you start sleeping wearing a motorcycle crash helmet. Just in case.
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
I have no problem with that. I just need to know if the colour of the helmet should match the sheets, the pyjamas, or the walls. Life really is a minefield, isn't it?
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
The pyjamas. In case they have to take you to the emergency room during the night.
 
Posted by snowgoose (# 4394) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
This one is from a few minutes ago as I was folding laundry:

How do I fold a fitted sheet so it doesn't look like I wadded it up into a giant ball? I've tried everything I can think of, and ever afterward I end up with this grossly misshapen lumpy thing that looks like crap and doesn't stack well in the linen closet.

Here are instructions (with pictures). Basically, you tuck the corners into each other first (by bringing your hands together and folding one corner over another), then do as Sine said (folding into a rectangle). Actually, once you get the hang of it, it's easier (IMHO) than folding flat sheets.
 
Posted by The Prophetess (# 1439) on :
 
Dear Sine,

I am a writer, as is my best friend. Her career has been going better than mine. Every time she comes out with the announcement that some new work has been published, I attempt an enthusiastic response, but something tells me I'm not quite succeeding. Must I go into spiritual direction, or is there an easier way out?
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Prophetess:
is there an easier way out?

Anonymous accusations of plagiarism work well these days.

Although with any luck your friend is unmarried. Is she? If so, next time she announces a new sale you can sympathetically murmur "that must be a great comfort to you" while gathering your son in your arms like Cornelia with the Gracchi.

If, however, she is not only a successful writer but also happily married with perfect children, you'll just need to resign yourself to a life of bitter, impotent envy. Or rustle up a friend who's less successful than you are. Although it sounds like you'll have to check the cemetery for that.

As the saying goes "It's not enough that I succeed. My friends must also fail."
 
Posted by Mamacita (# 3659) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by snowgoose:
quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
This one is from a few minutes ago as I was folding laundry:

How do I fold a fitted sheet so it doesn't look like I wadded it up into a giant ball? I've tried everything I can think of, and ever afterward I end up with this grossly misshapen lumpy thing that looks like crap and doesn't stack well in the linen closet.

Here are instructions (with pictures). Basically, you tuck the corners into each other first (by bringing your hands together and folding one corner over another), then do as Sine said (folding into a rectangle). Actually, once you get the hang of it, it's easier (IMHO) than folding flat sheets.
Or, own just one set of sheets, so you have to put them right back on the bed when they come out of the dryer.
 
Posted by rugasaw (# 7315) on :
 
Dear Sine,

I was at my parent’s house the same time as my brother’s family. I went fishing during the night and caught three big catfish (one 20 lb and two 30 lb) not wishing to clean them in the night I stored them in the shower until morning. Unfortunately my brother’s urbanite wife woke up before me and was met with a sight that, according to her scream, did not agree with her. Seeing as how I will have to see her at family reunions and when ever I go to my brothers house what should I do?
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by rugasaw:
Seeing as how I will have to see her at family reunions and when ever I go to my brothers house what should I do?

Make sure you go before leaving your house. She's not going to want you anywhere near her bathroom.

Although you could try to teach her to enjoy catfish grappling. That way she could fill up her own shower with fresh catch.
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
...Once you're OK going around like that you can work up a bit...

Thanks, Sine and Grits, for the advice and encouragement!
 
Posted by The Prophetess (# 1439) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
If, however, she is not only a successful writer but also happily married with perfect children, you'll just need to resign yourself to a life of bitter, impotent envy. Or rustle up a friend who's less successful than you are. Although it sounds like you'll have to check the cemetery for that.

Sine, you backstabbing you-know-what.

"Happily married with perfect children" describes her to a T.

Somebody bring me a chair. Or at least a GIN and tonic. I feel faint...
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Prophetess:
"Happily married with perfect children" describes her to a T.

Cheer up. Those things can come crashing down when you least expect it. I know you'll be there for her if that happens.
 
Posted by Miffy (# 1438) on :
 
Dear Sine,

Picture the scene: A bright May Bank holiday morning in England's Green and Pleasant Land. The Angel of the Hearth staggers out of the bedroom, deftly avoiding tripping over the cat. Her heart sings at the prospect of coffee, croissants and a day of freedom ahead.

But then she stops, horror stricken (her halo tarnishing before our very eyes) as, out of the corner of her eye she glimpses outside her teen's room, an overflowing hamper. Yes indeed; in her hedonistic whirl of frivolity Ms Slob (Class I) has committed a cardinal sin - she has let her son run out of clean boxer shorts!! [Disappointed] [Hot and Hormonal]

As the rest of the household slumbers on, mercifully oblivious of the drama being played out, Ms Slob acts quickly. Diving to the bottom of the hamper, she retrieves a pair of grubby Calvin Kleins, runs downstairs, plugs in the iron, and presses the offending items before quirting them with summer breezes fabric freshner. [Big Grin] [Paranoid]

The Angel of the Hearth has saved the day! [Angel] Breathing a sigh of relief, she adjusts her halo and reaches for the coffee pot...


But tell me, Sine, what should I do another time?
 
Posted by xSx (# 7210) on :
 
Dear Sine,

I am a poor student, and have just finished my bottle of gin. I need to get some more, particularly as I have lots of friends who like Gin and Tonics. However, I'm not sure what is the best type of Gin to get - should I splash out on the most expensive bottle I can find, or is there a good name that I should look out for?
Also, is serving it with tonic passe, and if so what should I do instead.

Thank you for your help
S
 
Posted by chive (# 208) on :
 
Dear Sine,

When I want to impress people that I've met for a meal I invariably tend to dribble food onto whatever 'please like me' top I'm wearing. This is a nervous thing as I don't tend to dribble the rest of the time. Is there some solution to this that doesn't involve the utilisation of a pelican bib because breasts covered with dribbled food don't fall into the win friends and influence people bracket?
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Miffy:
she has let her son run out of clean boxer shorts!!

Miffy, is your son older than 8? If so, do you also spoonfeed him when he eats and dress him every morning in his little sailor suit? If he's at least semi-functional, he's perfectly capable of washing his own choneys! Why are you the Laundry Slave? If he complains, hand him a box of detergent, point him to the washer, and kick him in the butt.
 
Posted by Jeremiah Gutzywuk (# 8783) on :
 
A donut shop opened recently in the plaza across the street from our church.
Two or three times per week, I like to purchase one dozen large, cream-filled donuts to eat at my desk while I write my sermon.
However, one of the young ladies who teaches in the nursery school in our church basement often comes into my office to use the photocopier or paper shredder.
Must I offer her a donut if she comes in while there is a large carton of them on my desk?
If so, must I offer her a choice of any of them, or can I say something like, "Have a donut, just be sure to leave the chocolate-caramel creame ones for me, please"?

I really want to be nice to her; she often kills very large spiders for me, and once she called emergency services when it looked as if I might be having a heart attack. How do I demonstrate etiquette & consideration without losing my favorite treats?

[ 30. May 2005, 20:37: Message edited by: Jeremiah Gutzywuk ]
 
Posted by Campbellite (# 1202) on :
 
Jeremiah, What part of "doughnuts"and "heart attack" are you missing? [Paranoid]
 
Posted by Twilight (# 2832) on :
 
quote:
I like to purchase one dozen large, cream-filled donuts to eat at my desk while I write my sermon.
Host! Host! Jeremiah's posting porn in the Heaven section again!
 
Posted by Jeremiah Gutzywuk (# 8783) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Campbellite:
Jeremiah, What part of "doughnuts"and "heart attack" are you missing? [Paranoid]

I'm afraid I don't understand your question.
I did not eat donuts on the way to the hospital; the ambulance attendant insisted on "nothing by mouth."
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jeremiah Gutzywuk:
I did not eat donuts on the way to the hospital; the ambulance attendant insisted on "nothing by mouth."

You mean they were - oh, never mind.
 
Posted by ACOL-ite (# 4991) on :
 
I, too, have a quandry. You see, normally, politeness would dictate that if I were to walk into some-one's office and have a conversation that began:

quote:

Me: Could you tell me X's Y, please?
Them: Yes, it's Z.

It really should end:

quote:

Me: Thankyou very much.
Them: You're quite welcome.

However, if this conversation occurs via email it would seem to me to be rather a waste of network space (or something) to have two emails corresponding to the lower two utterances. Need I include an email to the effect of the third? And, when roles are reversed, if I receive one should I reply?
 
Posted by HopPik (# 8510) on :
 
Oh Auntie Sine, such a tide of human pain welling up while you're offline, how will you cope?

I'm sure you will. And how about this? Happened just this Sunday, we're out with friends of 18 years, godparents to their children. The sort of friends you think you know all about. Including the bad bits, like they've snapped and snarled at each other in our company often enough, and we in theirs.

So there we are in a seafront cafe, watching the windsurfers and the powerboats and the military jets practising their low-level stuff along the shoreline or whatever they were doing splitting our eardrums. And then suddenly world war III breaks out between our friends. I didn't actually catch the comment from one of them that set it off but instantly it's blood on the walls, heavy resentments going back decades, accusations and denials, all mixed up with the usual couples illogic (miniquote... "I don't blame you but I'll never forgive you"). One of them clearly wanting to get stuff off her chest in front of us, the other equally clearly resenting that and each of them eyeballing one or the other of US while they slag each other off. All of this in front of the kids, theirs and ours, though they were so busy plugging their ipods into each others' ears I don't know how much they noticed. Maybe they were busy trying not to.

Then, just as suddenly, it all stopped... a minute or two's silence while spouse and I look at each other thinking "What????" And then it's as though nothing ever happened, and clear that they want it to be that nothing happened, as clearly as they were trying to involve us before.

Maybe no answers Sine. Just one for the archive.
 
Posted by dolphy (# 862) on :
 
Dear Sine,

I have a dreadful addiction and I am not sure how to cure it. I have tried sex, wine, brandy, food and posting waffle on an internet site but nothing seems to be able to cure me of my new addiction.

I confess I have become addicted to powerpoint. It started with one presentation and it has led me to more, more, more... my life is one slideshow. What should I do?

Yours *clicking on next slide*
dolphy.
 
Posted by hedonism_bot (# 5027) on :
 
Dear Sine,

I have a friend whose brother - let us call him Piers - is seeking nomination as the Conservative party candidate for a parliamentary seat representing a fashionable resort town. To improve his chances Piers has hit upon the idea of claiming to have "experimented with a same-sex relationship" whilst at university. This would normally be a splendid wheeze guaranteeing popularity with the wing of the party dominant in that area, but unfortunately Piers is a beefy extrovert with about the same aura of ambivalent sexuality as John Wayne and making any such claim would quickly lead to exposure and ridicule. How can we talk him out of this disastrous course of action?
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
Miffy, is your son older than 8?...If he's at least semi-functional, he's perfectly capable of washing his own choneys! Why are you the Laundry Slave? If he complains, hand him a box of detergent, point him to the washer, and kick him in the butt.

My dear Ken, you seem to be unaware that there are strict licensing requirements for the doing of laundry (and, for that matter, the loading and unloading of dishwashers). In my household, I am the only one licensed for dishwasher handling, and the only one with a full license for laundry. (My Senior Child has a learner's permit for the laundry; this allows her to turn her own underwear grey, but puts serious limits on her ability to ruin anyone else's wardrobe.)

This is, at any rate, the only theory that seems to account for my family's inability to deal with such things as detergent and lint screens.
 
Posted by HopPik (# 8510) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
Miffy, is your son older than 8?...If he's at least semi-functional, he's perfectly capable of washing his own choneys! Why are you the Laundry Slave? If he complains, hand him a box of detergent, point him to the washer, and kick him in the butt.

My dear Ken, you seem to be unaware that there are strict licensing requirements for the doing of laundry (and, for that matter, the loading and unloading of dishwashers). In my household, I am the only one licensed for dishwasher handling, and the only one with a full license for laundry. (My Senior Child has a learner's permit for the laundry; this allows her to turn her own underwear grey, but puts serious limits on her ability to ruin anyone else's wardrobe.)

This is, at any rate, the only theory that seems to account for my family's inability to deal with such things as detergent and lint screens.

Hmmm... I would gladly hand out laundry licences to my family but nobody wants 'em!
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by HopPik:
Hmmm... I would gladly hand out laundry licences to my family but nobody wants 'em!

Exactamundo.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Miffy:
Ms Slob (Class I) has committed a cardinal sin - she has let her son run out of clean boxer shorts!!

she retrieves a pair of grubby Calvin Kleins, runs downstairs, plugs in the iron, and presses the offending items before quirting them with summer breezes fabric freshner.

But tell me, Sine, what should I do another time?

I'm sorry. I got a little distracted by the image of retrieving a strapping young lad's Calvin's. What was your question again?
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by xSx:
I'm not sure what is the best type of Gin to get - should I splash out on the most expensive bottle I can find, or is there a good name that I should look out for?
Also, is serving it with tonic passe, and if so what should I do instead.

Poor students have no business drinking gin. Gin is for grownups. Poor students should be drinking beer or cheap wine, otherwise they'll have no incentive to improve their lot in life.

Which makes your second question redundant.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chive:
When I want to impress people that I've met for a meal I invariably tend to dribble food onto whatever 'please like me' top I'm wearing.

I had a very similar problem on Sunday. I ate lunch at an Italian restaurant while wearing a very expensive Salvatore Ferragamo tie and was fearful of dribbling. Nor did I want to use a bib, knowing it would destroy the beauty of my outfit. And make me look like a dork.

Having learned from experience, I offer you this advice: always order thin crust Pizza Margarita. It's not drippy and is generally one of the cheaper things on the menu...which will impress your date just as much as your breasts. If not more.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jeremiah Gutzywuk:
Must I offer her a donut if she comes in while there is a large carton of them on my desk?
If so, must I offer her a choice of any of them, or can I say something like, "Have a donut, just be sure to leave the chocolate-caramel creame ones for me, please"?

How do I demonstrate etiquette & consideration without losing my favorite treats?

Simple. You're getting a dozen donuts, right? Get two half-dozens.

Have the donut lady put your favorites in one box, the rest in the other. Make sure the other box is closest to the edge of the desk. The young lady is most likely to reach for the nearest box. If there is danger of her going for the second box say "You might want that other box. I haven't sneezed on it."

If they only have boxes of a dozen, remove your favorites right away and pile them greedily on a paper towel next to your keyboard. It will look childlike, but she's probably used to that.

You might want to munch on them as you write your next sermon on the text "sharing is caring".
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ACOL-ite:
if this conversation occurs via email it would seem to me to be rather a waste of network space (or something) to have two emails corresponding to the lower two utterances. Need I include an email to the effect of the third? And, when roles are reversed, if I receive one should I reply?

I agree. I've often thought that's a waste. I can however think of two points in its favor.

One - it saves you from some moron further wasting your time by then calling you to say "Did you get my email? Do you understand it?" These are the same people who will call to say "I'm getting ready to send you a fax." or "You'll get a package from me tomorrow. Just wanted to give you a heads up."

Two - you can seem to be polite and energetic (if such is your wish) by immediately emailing back a terse one word "Thanks!" - always include the exclamation mark. That's the energetic part.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by HopPik:
Oh Auntie Sine, such a tide of human pain welling up while you're offline, how will you cope?

Nobody has a unique problem. I have a card file.
quote:
Maybe no answers Sine. Just one for the archive.
My, what an interesting afternoon by the seaside. And in front of the children too. Must be the salt air.

What they did of course was extremely rude, but looks like they've got bigger problems than that. You shouldn't have ignored it. I hope you didn't. I would have been tempted to say something along the lines of "I hope you two feel better, because I sure don't. We need to leave now." And then leave and also leave the ball in their court to call and apologize.

No one should drag others, particularly close friends, into their domestic disputes. Or in front of the children. You need to let them know what they did was inexcusable and will not be tolerated. 18 year's friendship or no.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by dolphy:
I confess I have become addicted to powerpoint.

Call Father Cosmo. He'll come over and smash it with his thurible.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by hedonism_bot:
unfortunately Piers is a beefy extrovert with about the same aura of ambivalent sexuality as John Wayne and making any such claim would quickly lead to exposure and ridicule. How can we talk him out of this disastrous course of action?

You certainly have a lot of friends who do peculiar things. These aren't the same folks down whose sink you pee'd are they?

In any case why talk "Piers" out of it? If he's that beefy and manly dress him in leather and watch him be a shoe in for the seat. I mean no one can really prove he didn't have the affair, now can they?
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
Whew! [Help]
 
Posted by The Prophetess (# 1439) on :
 
We've got him using smilies, folks. Any minute now and he'll be dripping ice cream on the Ferragamo tie.

[ 31. May 2005, 01:40: Message edited by: The Prophetess ]
 
Posted by The Broad (# 9285) on :
 
Dear Sine,

I'm sure you have had a busy day. Would you mind terriby one more burning question? In The North (Delaware) where I grew up The Rule was no patent leather shoes, no white shoes, no linen, no "summery" clothes between Labor Day and Memorial Day. When I lived in The South, the summer clothing Rules did not seem to be followed. People wore linen as early as March (and claimed overall to be better versed in the vagueries of etiquette than any damnyankee could possibly be). So, what is the Real Answer?

Yours sincerely,

Gentle Reader (oops, that's Judith Martin's line)
 
Posted by Lillian (# 6158) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
Make sure the front porch is reinforced so's when yer sittin a spell to visit it don't collapse and kill all the dawgs.

Sorry to quibble, but as a West Virginia girl I really must object. Honestly, do people believe everything about us they see in the movies?

Under the porch is where the pigs go. You tie the dogs up out back.
 
Posted by Chapelhead (# 1143) on :
 
Dear Sine

As I get older I find that I am more frequently distressed by the sight of orchestra conductors wearing dinner-suit trousers with tail-coats.

Do you think I should stay in more?


With thanks in anticipation,

Chapelhead

[ 31. May 2005, 07:11: Message edited by: Chapelhead ]
 
Posted by Duo Seraphim (# 3251) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chapelhead:
Dear Sine

As I get older I find that I am more frequently distressed by the sight of orchestra conductors wearing dinner-suit trousers with tail-coats.

Do you think I should stay in more?


With thanks in anticipation,

Chapelhead

Well, from my point of view, there is nothing better than a sharp-dressed man - so we can all look forward to Uncle Sine's answer.

My question: Asparagus - fingers or forks? Au beurre, hollandaise or vinaigrette?
 
Posted by The Coot (# 220) on :
 
I think that last post from CH was a subtle 'I buy seats in the Dress Circle' one. (How else can he see the 1 stripe instead of 2 down the side?) [Paranoid]

Now to my pressing problem.

I have joined a choir. I am inexperienced, but I do know what part I *should* be singing. My problem is that next to me is a gentleman with a lovely voice (strong, melodious and on pitch), except that he is given to singing the melody instead of the tenor part about 80-90% of the time.

What can I do? Being neither a strong nor confident singer I often get thrown off course and find it very difficult to pick my part out again. It's all rather trepid and embarrassing, especially when our next best tenor loses the plot, in the absence of our perfect-pitch, sight-singing lead tenor. I do bravely try to pull us out of a death spiral, but alas, invariably I lose it too.

So that you can gauge the level of insight of the above-mentioned gentleman: (who has just sung the entire melody line at rehearsal) replies cheerily: "Yep, pretty right" when the choirmaster enquires if everything is alright with the tenors.

Your advice and encouragement will be, as always, warmly regarded.

C.
 
Posted by anglicanrascal (# 3412) on :
 
I also have a musical question that is of some importance. I have a friend who went to an Eisteddfod and discovered that he had left his fly open. How does one recover from such a situation with the charm, grace and aplomb required if one is to make it in society? The difficulty seems to lie in getting trembling fingers which have naturally become damp with perspiration (on realising the delicacy of the situation) to grasp a tiny piece of metal and get the gap shut with the minimum amount of effort and attention.

Maestro, please inform us how it is to be done.

Pax,
ar
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Broad:
In The North (Delaware) where I grew up The Rule was no patent leather shoes, no white shoes, no linen, no "summery" clothes between Labor Day and Memorial Day.

When I lived in The South, the summer clothing Rules did not seem to be followed. People wore linen as early as March So, what is the Real Answer?

Goodness. They certainly have a lot of rules in Delaware for such a small state. Nearly as many as Rhode Island. Either that or you weren't listening properly and have run several different rules together.

My understanding is:

1) No white shoes before Memorial Day or after Labor Day.

2) No patent leather shoes if you're a Catholic school girl.

3) No linen if you have to scrape ice off the windshield of your car.

Rules 1 & 2 are absolute and to break them would indicate you're trailer trash and/or a slut.

Rule 3 is more flexible. You can wear linen at Easter even if it's cold and damp but then you have to put it away again until it warms up. In that awkward fashion period between Easter and Memorial Day you follow common sense and the weather report.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chapelhead:
As I get older I find that I am more frequently distressed by the sight of orchestra conductors wearing dinner-suit trousers with tail-coats.

Do you think I should stay in more?

This is obviously a trick question since it's perfectly acceptable to wear dinner-suit trousers with white tie (in the US at least). The stripe is a holdover from military uniforms and is only there to hide the seam. Personally, I worry more about conductor's hair.

As to whether you should stay in more, that is a legal question you'll need to discuss with your parole officer.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Duo Seraphim:
My question: Asparagus - fingers or forks? Au beurre, hollandaise or vinaigrette?

Life, in my experience, is not all black and white. Not to be too PoMo about it, it all depends.

If you're serving asparagus vinaigrette with grilled steak on the terrace in the summer, fingers are fine.

If you're serving it in the winter with hollandaise in the dining room, definitely forks. Unless of course it's an intime dinner for two and you think there will be an advantage to slowly licking the hollandaise off your fingers while staring smouldering into your dinner partner's eyes.

Of course you may also have to lick hollandaise off the table cloth which might be counter-productive.

Au beurre is always appropriate. Just be sure to also sprinkle it with sea salt too.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Coot:
My problem is that next to me is a gentleman with a lovely voice (strong, melodious and on pitch), except that he is given to singing the melody instead of the tenor part about 80-90% of the time.

I do bravely try to pull us out of a death spiral, but alas, invariably I lose it too.

So that you can gauge the level of insight of the above-mentioned gentleman: (who has just sung the entire melody line at rehearsal) replies cheerily: "Yep, pretty right" when the choirmaster enquires if everything is alright with the tenors.

Coot, I really feel your pain on this one, having been in exactly the same situation myself. Your best bet is to start an affair with the other tenor and when the time seems right in the sweet after-glow of passion whisper "Dear, there's something I've been meaning to tell you...you're screwing up the whole section. If you want to sing the melody so damn badly why don't you let me cut your balls off and you can join the sopranos."

In my experience tenors are very open to criticism if you approach it in a kind and loving way.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by anglicanrascal:
Maestro, please inform us how it is to be done.

One should never be too proud to ask for help. Just be careful who you ask. Don't ask the Coot.
 
Posted by luvanddaisies (# 5761) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Coot:
I think that last post from CH was a subtle 'I buy seats in the Dress Circle' one. (How else can he see the 1 stripe instead of 2 down the side?) [Paranoid]

Now to my pressing problem.

I have joined a choir. I am inexperienced, but I do know what part I *should* be singing. My problem is that next to me is a gentleman with a lovely voice (strong, melodious and on pitch), except that he is given to singing the melody instead of the tenor part about 80-90% of the time.

What can I do? Being neither a strong nor confident singer I often get thrown off course and find it very difficult to pick my part out again. It's all rather trepid and embarrassing, especially when our next best tenor loses the plot, in the absence of our perfect-pitch, sight-singing lead tenor. I do bravely try to pull us out of a death spiral, but alas, invariably I lose it too.

So that you can gauge the level of insight of the above-mentioned gentleman: (who has just sung the entire melody line at rehearsal) replies cheerily: "Yep, pretty right" when the choirmaster enquires if everything is alright with the tenors.

Your advice and encouragement will be, as always, warmly regarded.

C.

if the loving moment fails to transpire in a timely manner, try the ol' tried & tested "Could you sing me / hum me / play me this bit" [select bit where your would-be-lover persists in melody singing] and let realisation dawn.
If this strategy fails, find an accomplice in the tenor section, arrange for one or other of you to 'forget' your music & agree to share because you both mark up your part in a similar way. Ensure said accomplice is some distance from mr. melody man.

[ 31. May 2005, 11:13: Message edited by: luvanddaisies ]
 
Posted by Firenze (# 619) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by anglicanrascal:
I have a friend who went to an Eisteddfod and discovered that he had left his fly open.

Those robes have flies? Couldn't he just have covered it with his clarsach?
 
Posted by Twilight (# 2832) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lillian:

Under the porch is where the pigs go. You tie the [hound] dogs up out back.

Quite right, Lillian! Recently, however, I have observed some slight, evolutionary change -- now the side yard often contains a penfull of pitbulls. One can never have too much protection on the estate.
-----

Dear Sine,
A few months ago I removed all my husbands clothes from his closet, washed them, washed the walls, and put them back; all in an attempt to get rid of a pervasive scent, I tactfully referred to as "unfresh." A more accurate description would have been "wet dog on a hot hamper of dirty socks". Now it must all be done again lest a prospective homebuyer receive a nasty shock -- we're rather far from the hospital.

Sine, how do I bring up this sensitve subject again, so soon? The last time he spent the entire day, shuffling around the halls muttering, "Nobody likes to be called high-smellin' and low down."
 
Posted by Archimandrite (# 3997) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chapelhead:
Dear Sine

As I get older I find that I am more frequently distressed by the sight of orchestra conductors wearing dinner-suit trousers with tail-coats.

Do you think I should stay in more?


With thanks in anticipation,

Chapelhead

I'll warrant the chap's waistcoat is too long, and that he's wearing an attached collar. Dear God! The depravity of the modern world! At least some of us keep the flame burning. And how many men still wear proper shoes at Balls?
 
Posted by HopPik (# 8510) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
quote:
Originally posted by HopPik:
Oh Auntie Sine, such a tide of human pain welling up while you're offline, how will you cope?

Nobody has a unique problem. I have a card file.
quote:
Maybe no answers Sine. Just one for the archive.
My, what an interesting afternoon by the seaside. And in front of the children too. Must be the salt air.

What they did of course was extremely rude, but looks like they've got bigger problems than that. You shouldn't have ignored it. I hope you didn't. I would have been tempted to say something along the lines of "I hope you two feel better, because I sure don't. We need to leave now." And then leave and also leave the ball in their court to call and apologize.

No one should drag others, particularly close friends, into their domestic disputes. Or in front of the children. You need to let them know what they did was inexcusable and will not be tolerated. 18 year's friendship or no.

You are right of course. We said nowt at the time for the childrens' sake but must grasp the nettle.
 
Posted by mdijon (# 8520) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
Coot, I really feel your pain on this one, having been in exactly the same situation myself. Your best bet is to start an affair with the other tenor and when the time seems right in the sweet after-glow of passion whisper "Dear, there's something I've been meaning to tell you...you're screwing up the whole section. If you want to sing the melody so damn badly why don't you let me cut your balls off and you can join the sopranos."

In my experience tenors are very open to criticism if you approach it in a kind and loving way.

Methinks thou describeth this scenario sore vividly for mere fancy.....

[ 31. May 2005, 12:29: Message edited by: mdijon ]
 
Posted by Henry Troup (# 3722) on :
 
I sometimes wear a bow tie to the office on Fridays. My defense of this is that it's "casual Friday", and any bow tie that is neither black nor white is casual.

Is this a valid syllogism?
 
Posted by duchess (# 2764) on :
 
Dear Sine,

This Mormon guy in the cube next to me at work, keeps complaining about me being too loud when I kvetch after calls letting off steam. He himself thinks nothing however of slamming down his hands on his desk and smashing it, making loud jarring noises. That is not fair! He is unaware he is loud himself too.

He is supposed to be friendshipping me. Where is the love? He even hates Steve Young. I thought I might score brownie points with him by mentioning the article with Steve Young I saw, but his wife worked for Steve Young...and...

I just can't win with this guy. Perhaps I should just tease him secretly on purpose instead and have fun watching him explode...give up trying to be a team player.

What do you think Uncle Sign? Should I try to bible bang stealthily...using the converting technique to drive him up the wall since I am anyway?

My work would be more productive if he did not seem to loathe me, since I want everybody to love me...but if he can't love me...I want to needle him to death. I live to serve.

Sincerely,

duchess

[Angel]

[ 31. May 2005, 13:21: Message edited by: duchess ]
 
Posted by Corpus cani (# 1663) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Archimandrite:
And how many men still wear proper shoes at Balls? [/QB]

Depends what you mean by "proper."

If it's evening tails with a long trouser, then my shoes are black patent lace-ups of a low cut - but not as low as a court shoe obviously.

If, OTOH, it's tails, britches and stockings, then it's a black patent court shoe, preferably with a silver buckle.

In either case, naturally, it has a suede soul. One can't seriously hope properly to take the corners in the quickstep without suede souls.

Corpus.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
Sine, how do I bring up this sensitve subject again, so soon? The last time he spent the entire day, shuffling around the halls muttering, "Nobody likes to be called high-smellin' and low down."

Obviously you haven't done a very good job tending your man's laundry. I suggest you add 20 Mule Team Borax to the wash water and use the "second rinse" feature. Also, dry his clothes outside on a clothes line. You can do this inbetween boiling the hominy and shoeing the mare.

That however doesn't solve your current problem. I suggest buying a bug bomb, setting it off in the closet and then quickly slamming the door shut and locking it. The bug bomb smell should cover up the dirty sock smell.

You could get a little added bang for your buck if you wait until your husband has stepped into the closet before doing this.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
Methinks thou describeth this scenario sore vividly for mere fancy.....

We can only help others out of our own experience. Now, whether I was the "sayer" or the "sayee" is none of your business.
 
Posted by Rat (# 3373) on :
 
You people have closets big enough to store a husband in? You Americans are just so spoiled!

Twilight, I would just set fire to the whole lot by accident if I were you. But then I don't have Sine's finesse.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Henry Troup:
I sometimes wear a bow tie to the office on Fridays. My defense of this is that it's "casual Friday", and any bow tie that is neither black nor white is casual.

Is this a valid syllogism?

I don't think it's that black or white. It depends.
 
Posted by Chapelhead (# 1143) on :
 
Dear Sine

I’ve consulted my parole officer, who expressed surprise at American attitudes to tail-coat trousers, and wondered where you stand on cummerbunds with double-breasted jackets.

Do Episcopalians adopt the “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach?


With kind regards


Chapelhead
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
Dear Sine,

How would you convince a houseguest that it is OK to use the empty bureau and clothes closet in the guestroom instead of their suitcase?

...or could this be a strategy for quick escape?

Many thanks.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by duchess:
This Mormon guy in the cube next to me at work, keeps complaining about me being too loud...

My work would be more productive if he did not seem to loathe me, since I want everybody to love me...but if he can't love me...I want to needle him to death.

I am curious as to how that would be different from the way you treat people you do love, but you didn't really ask that question.

The Christian thing to do, of course, would be to overlook his loudness and cut down on your own shrieking and moaning. But the way of the cross is hard. Many who cry "Lord, Lord" etc. etc.

So, getting back into the real world I suggest you email him a link showing the sacred Mormon underwear with an attatched note that reads "Is this what you're wearing right now? It makes me hot."

I suspect you won't hear a peep out of him for quite some time after that.
 
Posted by Curiosus (# 4808) on :
 
Dear Uncle Sine,

I'm planning a small dinner for my closest friends from church. My table seats six maximum. The group I am intending to invite used to be just five people, plus me. However, one chap has most inconveniently acquired a girlfriend recently and she has become part of our 'set'. Whilst she's absolutely charming I simply don't have room for her at the table.

So do I invite him without her? This would no doubt cause some offense as she's supposed to be 'one of us' now. Or, do I dump my friend from the guest list for being so inconsiderate? After all, his actions have not only messed up my table plan but have also left me (the only single) as the sole target for all sorts of meddling from smug marrieds.

Of course, the alternative would be to acquire a boyfriend and host a dinner a deux instead. However, as there isn't a squadron of pigs flying over this part of London today, shall I include my awkward friend on the guest list or not?

C
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gort:
How would you convince a houseguest that it is OK to use the empty bureau and clothes closet in the guestroom instead of their suitcase?

In any well-run household the upstairs maid or the footman would have unpacked your guest's clothes upon his/her arrival so this question would not have arisen.

Having no familiarity with ill-run households I'm not in a position to advise you. I'll have to turn this one over to the rest of the shipmates. Perhaps Twilight can help you.

(My best guess, however, would be along the lines of "Why don't you put your clothes in the closet? That's why I cleaned it out." but perhaps you had something more byzantine in mind.)

(And really, I wouldn't complain if I were you. Based on some other posts on this thread you're damn lucky your guest isn't peeing in your sink.)
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chapelhead:
where you stand on cummerbunds with double-breasted jackets.

The same place I stand on a notched lapel on a dinner jacket.
 
Posted by Chapelhead (# 1143) on :
 
You're so wild. [Biased]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Curiosus:
I'm planning a small dinner for my closest friends from church. My table seats six maximum...

So do I invite him without her?

You don't want to look et up with envy and jealousy, do you? Of course not, regardless of how you really feel.

Not inviting the couple, or even worse, not inviting just the girlfriend would expose you to all sorts of uncharitable comment. And a single girl can't be too careful of her reputation, now can she?

What you must do is not invite one of your other friends, or if worse comes to worse one of the other couples. You must explain to them exactly why you are doing it and make arrangements to have dinner with them within a couple of days of your dinner.

If someone asks about the missing friends at your dinner explain "the group has grown but my table hasn't so I can't have everybody all at once anymore." This will give you an out for when you don't invite the bitch next time.

...of course I assume there's a very good reason you can't serve buffet style and just let everyone find a perch.
 
Posted by Firenze (# 619) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Corpus cani:
it has a suede soul.

I didn't realise incorporeal entities came in different finishes. I see mine as more leather-bound - but no decorative finish. I am free of gilt.

(Unless you mean crepe soles, of course...)
 
Posted by Leetle Masha (# 8209) on :
 
quote:
perhaps you had something more byzantine in mind
Don't tempt me, Sine....

Leetle M.
 
Posted by Curiosus (# 4808) on :
 
Sine, you are a saint. You've understand all the nuances of my dilemma - a single girl has to be so careful with her reputation [Big Grin]

I hadn't even thought of not inviting one of the other couples to the main dinner but it's the perfect solution. I can host two dinners - two excuses to get out the china and crystal [Yipee] What more could a girl possibly want? (Apart from antique linen napkins, but I should be able to fix that this weekend........)
 
Posted by mdijon (# 8520) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
.... whether I was the "sayer" or the "sayee" is none of your business.

Surely not. One cannot possibly imagine, dear sir, that your insight let you down so far as to lead you into the position of the sayee. Far be it.

On the other hand, there may have been compensations I suppose.......
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
Sine, I apologize for asking this twice, you answered me last year but I've misplaced the information.

I want to use a nicer stationery than printer paper or what's from the Mega Office Supply Store or the Paper'n'Things Emporium. Something that indicates I'm old enough not to need to write on cartoon character paper. You had mentioned something about a certain size and weight of paper engraved with my return address, and what color(s) would be best. (I prefer a slightly eggshell or cream color as such is easier on my eyes than a brilliantly-reflecting pure white.)

Where should the return address be printed? (Top, bottom, left, right?) Should the state be spelled out or are abbreviations okay? Include my name or not? Any recommendations for a typeface? Graphics? Watermarks? Lined or unlined? Bordered or not?

Do you have any recommendations for a pen? Is blue ink okay? I can't afford a $120+ Mont Blanc, but I'd like a nice, well-weighted fountain pen with a comfortable barrel and smooth ink flow.

Thanks for the help.
 
Posted by chukovsky (# 116) on :
 
Not Sine, but a devotee of Miss Manners: I cannot necessarily advise as to the weight (except to say, the heavier the better) but in these quarters, the return address goes on the top right of the note paper (and not on a sticky label on the envelope [Roll Eyes] ), and Parker is a very good but affordable make of pen.

Spelling out the state will be helpful to your non-US acquaintances (who would otherwise in fact be just plain confused) but will get you laughed at by your US acquaintances. I speak from experience of having tried it both ways in change-of address notifications.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
I wouldn't fool around with any paper except Crane's myself. And I'd call it "writing paper" not "stationary" if I were you. (Actually I'd call it that if I were me. Crane & Co. calls it "stationary" but what do they know.)

Depends how much you want to invest, but once you've got your plate engraved the paper itself isn't that much, comparatively speaking.

Now this is just me, but I prefer a san-serif typeface in caps/small caps with my full name and address (state spelled out) on both the paper and the envelope. Centered on the back flap of the envelope. On the paper it's obviously centered at the top. You can have them wax off the address and just have your name on the paper.

Just for fun (or as much fun as I allow myself with writing paper) my full sheets are cream with with burgundy engraving. My small sheets (6-3/8 x 8-1/2) are pearl white with dark grey engraving.

What you don't want to do is express your individuality or creativity with your paper. Let what you write on the paper do that.

...and people do so love to get "real" letters.
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
Why use full and small sheets? Why not use one size?
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
Oops.

Pens: Cross or Parker. (But ya know, some of those new gel pens in the grocery store write just fine, IMO.)

Ink: Blue-Black or Dark Blue.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
Why use full and small sheets? Why not use one size?

You could. In which case get the full size sheets. I use them for letters. I use the smaller sheets for sympathy and thank-you type correspondence where I don't really have a lot to say but don't want to leave a lot of empty paper.
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
Pens: Cross or Parker. (But ya know, some of those new gel pens in the grocery store write just fine, IMO.)

Yup. The scented ones are really good. But I've noticed that the orange one doesn't come out too well on envelopes. You can't really see the colour too well, and the scent wears off after a couple of minutes. The mint one is a lot better altogether.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
Just out of curiousity, Ariel, to whom do you write in scented orange ink? It sounds quite exotic. If you prefer not to say I understand completely.
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
I sent someone a birthday card with a scented orange greeting on it last year. I haven't heard from her since.
 
Posted by duchess (# 2764) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Uncle Sign:
...
So, getting back into the real world I suggest you email him a link showing the sacred Mormon underwear with an attatched note that reads "Is this what you're wearing right now? It makes me hot."

I suspect you won't hear a peep out of him for quite some time after that.

Ah, no. I am though aiming to kill him...right now...he just said "Sick of work, huh?" When I told people a co-worker went home sick. I answered "Oh, my sarcasm meter is not working right now...I need more caffine". He is not my neighbor, Sine. I would leave him on that road without assistance if I was the samaritan. Evil dutchie Samaritan.

[brick wall]

[eta: I won't be posting in here anymore, the material will not be fit for heaven in a minute when I lose it.]
[eta again: GRITS suggested me to cook up some cookies. I may try doing that but give them to everyone in case he thinks I fancy his underwear. NOT.]

[ 31. May 2005, 18:46: Message edited by: duchess ]
 
Posted by Curiosus (# 4808) on :
 
For the true lady or gentleman, the only place for writing paper is Smythson of Bond Street. Simply divine. I justify my occasional purchases of correspondence cards on the grounds that a box of 10 impressively thick cards with tissue lined envelopes is only £29, or £2.90 per card & envelope. One could easily spend more than that on a very ordinary card from WH Smith's. Besides, the staff wrap up my purchases in darling little blue bags with ribbon and cord. The packaging is oh-so-important when shopping [Devil]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by duchess:
He is not my neighbor, Sine. I would leave him on that road without assistance if I was the samaritan.

Oh duchess, such callousness breaks my heart. I shall pray for you.

BTW, when you're Left Behind, will you check on my cats?
 
Posted by Papa Smurf (# 1654) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
I wouldn't fool around with any paper except Crane's myself. And I'd call it "writing paper" not "stationary" if I were you. (Actually I'd call it that if I were me. Crane & Co. calls it "stationary" but what do they know.)


Dear Sine
what's the best way of telling someone of apparently impeccable taste and decency, that they have made an all too common spelling mistake worthy of an 8-year old, in that the word used to describe writing supplies and such is
Stationery ??
 
Posted by Corpus cani (# 1663) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Firenze:
quote:
Originally posted by Corpus cani:
it has a suede soul.

I didn't realise incorporeal entities came in different finishes. I see mine as more leather-bound - but no decorative finish. I am free of gilt.

(Unless you mean crepe soles, of course...)

Oh, how horribly blush-making. I meant, of course, soles. [Hot and Hormonal]

And NO ! I do NOT mean "crepe" soles, ever, under any circumstances, whatsoever.*Shudders with horror at the mere prospect.*

Corpus
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Papa Smurf:
Dear Sine
what's the best way of telling someone of apparently impeccable taste and decency, that they have made an all too common spelling mistake worthy of an 8-year old

Actually, you're too late.

But to answer your question, the tasteful, kind way is by private message.

Sort of like taking someone quietly aside to tell them they've got spinach in their teeth or their fly is open. But, for what it's worth, you don't tell them if there's nothing they can do about it. "You've got a run in you hose" or "Your last facelift sucks" for instance.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
...and that's why I call it "writing paper". Easier to spell.
 
Posted by Miffy (# 1438) on :
 
Dear Sine,

Having disposed of my son's Calvin Kleins, I find other problems pressing ever urgently on whatever problems are supposed to press. Namely:

- With the final arrival of Summer, follows that peculiarly British ecclesiastical (?) fashion phenomenon of pale, hairy male legs emerging from baggy shorts. As a result, I'm experiencing difficulty in keeping custody of my eyes during divine service. What would you advise me do?

- I'm shortly due to attend a conference at a certain well known London church. Knowing that you are an expert on such things, what advice would you offer on how to comport myself as befits a sensible, middle-aged Anglican matron during the proceedings. I experience particular problems with hairy legs emerging from baggy shorts, and enthusiastic speakers posing in front of flower arrangements. (Arietty, if you're reading this thread...not a word!! Or else! [Biased] )
 
Posted by Twilight (# 2832) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
quote:
Originally posted by Gort:
How would you convince a houseguest that it is OK to use the empty bureau and clothes closet in the guestroom instead of their suitcase?

Having no familiarity with ill-run households I'm not in a position to advise you. I'll have to turn this one over to the rest of the shipmates. Perhaps Twilight can help you


No doubt Uncle See-nay imagines I'll suggest something along the lines of "pound some more nails in the wall to hook them duds on" but I have far too much sympathy for poor Gort to make jokes. My guests do much the same thing. They don't use the spaces I've provided for their belongings but seem to prefer strewing their clothes and toiletries around the bedroom and bath. Similarly, they return from sight- seeing trips with souvenirs and brochures, they like to spread around the living room for all of us to admire and remark upon.

All this may serve to make them feel more at home, rather like an animal spreading his scent. In fact we may have hit on an explanation for my husband's detergent resistant emissions! What do you say Gort? Let us both bug-bomb our entire house and see who's left when the smoke dies down.
 
Posted by hedonism_bot (# 5027) on :
 
Dear Sine,

A friend of mine (not one that I have mentioned before) has recently returned from a stint working in Australian academia. Despite the rarified nature of his scholarly pursuits he has returned under the impression that he is a native Australian, to the extent that he walks around wearing a sleeveless T-shirt, inflects the end of every sentence up as though asking a question and uses hair-raisingly colourful euphemisms for the sexual act, of which "spear the bearded" and "taking the pink motorcycle for a spin" are two of the cleaner.

While such conduct may be perfectly normal in Wogga Wogga or Swagman's Gulch, how can we persuade him that it is less than appropriate in this foggy island's ivory towers?
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Miffy:
what advice would you offer on how to comport myself as befits a sensible, middle-aged Anglican matron during the proceedings.

Sometimes we have to do creative play. I suggest you pretend you are Her Majesty watching a particularly ludicrous tribal dance. Pretend that they're paying you big bucks to watch this dance. Lean slightly forward with a serious, yet pleasant expression on your face, eyes focused slightly over the heads of those you are watching. Keep remembering how much better you are than they are. Keep remembering your job depends on this.

If this doesn't work, ask your lady-in-waiting to get the barf bag out of your purse.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by hedonism_bot:
While such conduct may be perfectly normal in Wogga Wogga or Swagman's Gulch, how can we persuade him that it is less than appropriate in this foggy island's ivory towers?

I assume you've tried ridicule and laughter, merciless mocking, etc. and that hasn't worked. He may have been permanently changed by the warmth, sunshine, and beautiful near-naked women on the beaches. He may never go back into his reserved, effete, proper English academic shell.

In that case I suggest you type this out, put it in your wallet and refer to it as necessary:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can. And the wisdom to know the difference.
 
Posted by Kelly Alves (# 2522) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:


No doubt Uncle See-nay imagines I'll suggest something along the lines of "pound some more nails in the wall to hook them duds on" but I have far too much sympathy for poor Gort to make jokes. My guests do much the same thing. They don't use the spaces I've provided for their belongings but seem to prefer strewing their clothes and toiletries around the bedroom and bath. Similarly, they return from sight- seeing trips with souvenirs and brochures, they like to spread around the living room for all of us to admire and remark upon.

Not that I am certain of the particulars in this situation, but you will note that Gort does not use the words "strewn" or ""spread" in his remarks; indeed, my guest is that as the impeccable host he is (so I hear) he is merely painstakingly concerned about the comfort of his guest.

Again venturing a wild, imaginative guess, mightn't a guest's practice of neatly returning clothing to a closable suitcase in the dressing area have something to do with the respective proximity of the suitcase and bureau to the area that is most used for dressing/ undressing? Theoretically?

So to do away with some more speculative minutae,Sine, would an acceptable compromise be to hang/ stash some of the lesser-used items (dresses, evening wear) in the space graciously provided, while keeping more immediate clothing items (casual daywear, unmentionables) on an unused shelf in the guest bathroom, which ahs been theoreticall reserved for the exclusive use of said guest?

Many thanks for indulging my curiosity.

Kel

( [Biased] )

[Code]

[ 01. June 2005, 01:11: Message edited by: KenWritez ]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
Holy Moly! Land mines ahead.

I ain't touching that one with a ten-foot pole.

Next question, please.
 
Posted by GloriaGloriaGloria (# 8017) on :
 
Dear Sine,

Over a year ago, an acquiantance of mine (from my church fellowship group) got married. She and her husband have still not sent thank-you notes for any gifts they received at the bridal shower, engagement party, or the wedding.

In fact, I did inquire whether or not they had received my gift, and was laughingly told, "Oh, no one sends thank you notes anymore. Why, the ettiquette books even tell you that they're outdated and not required." [Mad]

This couple is expecting their first child this August, and as I have the reputation among our circle of friends for being the hostess, they have been hinting rather heavily that I should arrange a baby shower.

Any suggestions on how to handle this situation? I have zero interest in inventing the time, money, or energy to arrange another party for them, given the past history. The rest of our circle of friends feel the same way.

This is getting urgent, they even sent me an email this morning asking when their baby shower is.

Gratefully,

Gloria x3


P.S. - Bless those of you who provide empty dressers, closets and wardrobes for your houseguests. Last time I went visiting, I tried to unpack and discovered the dresser in the guest room was stuffed full of unidentifiable crap and there was no room in the closet, either.
 
Posted by corvette (# 9436) on :
 
i suppose you could try, "Oh, No-one has baby-showers any more" and don't wait for an answer...

Depends how mean you want to be, and how thick they are. You could just be doing something fun (and not compatible with babies) yourself that weekend and not be available. I don't see it has to be your responsibility, especially if your help has been abused in the past.
 
Posted by hedonism_bot (# 5027) on :
 
Dear Sine,

An ecclesiastical chum of mine has a recurring nightmare in which Mr Elton John, the popular pianist, attends a funeral at his church. This neurosis began at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, during which Mr John was allowed to attend (and indeed participate in) an Anglican funeral service in an Abbey Church while wearing a hairpiece so unrealistic that it was to all intents and purposes a hat. My friend fears that Mr John may attempt to enter his church sporting the same garment, and is in sore need of a polite form of words with which he could insist on it's removal. Can you advise?
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by GloriaGloriaGloria:
Any suggestions on how to handle this situation? I have zero interest in inventing the time, money, or energy to arrange another party for them, given the past history. The rest of our circle of friends feel the same way.

This is getting urgent, they even sent me an email this morning asking when their baby shower is.

Oh God. I know exactly what you mean and I hate it. I've stopped giving my godson and his parents presents because I've never gotten a note from them. Not even a phone call after the fact. But I admit I've never really told them why.

But do NOT be guilted into giving a party you don't want to give. How incredibly rude and self-centered of them to even ask. I would be sorely tempted to email back "I don't know. I haven't received an invitation yet. Who's giving it?"

What I'd be more likely to do is play dumb. Email back, very honestly "Are you asking me if I'm throwing a baby shower for you?" If they answer "yes", respond "I'm sorry, I'm just not able to right now, but I'll help with the food if someone else gives it." (Half a loaf being better than none in this case.)

If they still have the nerve to ask why you're not able, repeat "I'm just not able to." as many times as necessary until they stop asking. You're not obligated to give a reason.

Now of course someone really needs to tell them what the problem is, but gosh, that's hard unless you've got a rock-solid relationship with them. If it's a fairly casual church friendship, no reason you have to be the one to bell the cat.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by hedonism_bot:
My friend fears that Mr John may attempt to enter his church sporting the same garment, and is in sore need of a polite form of words with which he could insist on it's removal. Can you advise?

That's easy. Your friend needs to work 103 into his dream. Young Henry will be more than happy to go up to Sir Elton and hiss "REMOVE IT NOW!" That way your friend won't be implicated, even in his dreams.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gort:
Dear Sine,

How would you convince a houseguest that it is OK to use the empty bureau and clothes closet in the guestroom instead of their suitcase?

With a wedding ring.

(Don't toy with Uncle Sine. You will pay.)
 
Posted by Grits (# 4169) on :
 
quote:
Originally by duchess:
[eta again: GRITS suggested me to cook up some cookies. I may try doing that but give them to everyone in case he thinks I fancy his underwear. NOT.]

I think Miffy is handling the underwear questions on this thread.

I offered up the "make nice" advice, based on what I would do. However, duchess informed me that, in LaLaLand, making nice would only be interpreted as "hot for your bod".
 
Posted by Corpus cani (# 1663) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
That's easy. Your friend needs to work 103 into his dream.

[Eek!]

[Code]

[ 01. June 2005, 01:15: Message edited by: KenWritez ]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
Now, now. None of that here. This is a family thread.
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
...underwear...wedding ring...family thread...dreams of 103.

I thought this was Hints from Heloise.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gort:
...underwear...wedding ring...family thread...dreams of 103.

I thought this was Hints from Heloise.

quote:
How do you take crayon off painted walls or washable wallpaper?

Spray with multipurpose lubricating oil (dont let it drip on the floor). Then gently wipe, using a paper towel or clean white cloth. If mark is stubborn, sprinkle a little baking soda on a damp sponge and gently rub in a circular motion. If lubricants residue remains, dampen a sponge with a solution of one or two drops of mild dish-washing liquid to one cup water. Squeeze out sponge and gently rub in a circular motion. Rinse sponge; lightly moisten with water to go over area; dry with a clean cloth

Feel better?
 
Posted by Left at the Altar (# 5077) on :
 
Dear Uncle Sine

My friend's husband is one of those insufferable "I'm a better Christian than you are, nah-nee-nah-nee-nah-nah" types. He continually sniggers and snorts when others around discuss their church and their faith, whatever the setting.

Next week, my husband and I are invited to dinner with my friend, her husband and other persons we know. Apart from Mr A and I, (who are a lapsed Catholic and shocking heathen, respectively), the rest are churchgoers and, if past dinners are anything to go by, church and religion will be a topic of discussion, particularly after the third glass of wine.

I suppose one solution would be to simply invoke the No Politics, Sex or Religion To Be Discussed at the Dinner Table rule, but since it's not my dinner party, I might be considered a bit over-bearing were I to do so.

However, I simply cannot take another evening of listening to his rudeness with polite resignation.

What should I do? Do I steer the conversation to sex and politics? Do I just walk out?

Please advise.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Left at the Altar:
I simply cannot take another evening of listening to his rudeness with polite resignation.

Please advise.

Sit yourself down right next to him. Say something like "Of course I'm not a Christian, but I'm interested in religion. I've even been hanging out a on Christian discussion board trying to learn a little more about it."

What you want to do is be a shit-bestirrer in an ever-so-polite and interested way. Let the other guests do your dirty work for you. That way you can't be blamed.

If he says "Catholics worship the Virgin Mary" say "Really? How interesting. I didn't know that." Then turn to a Catholic in the room and say "Tell me more about that."

If he snorts about something someone else says ask "Why are you snorting? You obviously disagree. What's your take on it?" When he explains his POV ask the other person for clarification.

You get the idea. Between what you've picked up on the ship and your legal talents you ought to be able to turn the whole room against him while just sitting there smiling and being interested.
 
Posted by Duo Seraphim (# 3251) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by hedonism_bot:
Dear Sine,

An ecclesiastical chum of mine has a recurring nightmare in which Mr Elton John, the popular pianist, attends a funeral at his church. This neurosis began at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, during which Mr John was allowed to attend (and indeed participate in) an Anglican funeral service in an Abbey Church while wearing a hairpiece so unrealistic that it was to all intents and purposes a hat. My friend fears that Mr John may attempt to enter his church sporting the same garment, and is in sore need of a polite form of words with which he could insist on it's removal. Can you advise?

Fishing line strung in the church door at scalp height would be my suggestion. Or a prominent notice discouraging musicians from wearing their pets on their heads.
 
Posted by Chapelhead (# 1143) on :
 
Dear Sine

It’s so good to find a source of reliable advice – thank you so much for your help here.

Now a little question with which I’m sure a person of your experience will be able to assist.

You may be aware that in December this year it will become possible to register a “civil partnership” over here, including one between two people of the same gender. Shortly after the legislation come into effect two friends of mine (both male) intend to get registered, certified, confirmed, whatever-the-word-is. Until now I have always arranged dinner parties where they have been present on the usual boy-girl-boy-girl basis, considering that their domestic arrangements are not my concern (I’m reminded of the delightful story of the scurrilous journalist, making enquiries of Benjamin Britten and Peter Piers’ neighbours).

Although the powers that be have said that these registration do not equate to marriage, it’s clear that for some, including my friends, they will be significant events(although they have indicated that they will not be leading the dancing with the first waltz – I think there may be some dispute over who would lead).

Should my seating arrangements for dinner parties change in light of this event? Should I treat is in a similar manner to a couple getting married, putting them next to each other at first and then apart after the first year – on the grounds that no married couple can possibly have anything left to say to each other after a year?

Yours


Chapelhead
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chapelhead:
Should my seating arrangements for dinner parties change in light of this event?

You know, life only gets more complicated and people just walk around looking for something to be offended about. And they'll probably be wanting some sort of civil-partnership present and be expecting their friends to throw them a shower as well. We shall all have to go to the outlet mall and buy masses of discounted blenders to give as gifts. It's bad enough as it is with one's straight friends.

But that's not really what you were asking. Sorry. Pushed a button.

Of course the real problem is why one has to invite one's friends as pairs anyway. It's not as though one likes them both the same or they're equally interesting. Yet the dull one or the drunken one always expects to be invited out too. Pity you can't have two tables and put all the dull ones back in the library and just have the fun ones in the dining room.

In any case, you're stuck with both of them. But one assumes they've already been cohabitating for at least a year so I'd count that retroactively and separate them. Straight or gay, nothing kills the conversation at dinner like having couples sitting next to each other.

But why do you insist on boy-girl-boy-girl anyway? To paraphrase Miss Manners, you've invited them for conversation, not mating. I do think it's time we moved beyond thinking the table must represent some sort of sexual symmetry. But yes, I know. It just looks so odd somehow and it's hard to be a revolutionary.
 
Posted by Chapelhead (# 1143) on :
 
As ever, valuable advice. Thank you.

quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
one assumes they've already been cohabitating for at least a year so I'd count that retroactively and separate them.

Indeed so, in my circle of friends of a similar age they are the couple who have been together the longest. Occasionally I’ll look at some old group photo (a wedding or suchlike) and realise that of all the “couples” present (including the married ones) they are the only pair still together.

As for gifts and so on, I don’t think they are expecting anything (but perhaps they would say that) but everyone seems unsure about the “form” (all a bit new, this side of the pond). Discussions have revealed that intend to have some sort of “reception”, but don’t particularly want dancing – partly because it seems compulsory for the DJ to play “Lady in Red” on such occasions, and that won’t be quite appropriate.
 
Posted by luvanddaisies (# 5761) on :
 
Dear Uncle Sine;

a short question for your definitive pronouncement, yet one which may, I fear, provoke a more complex answer than first appears apparent.

Public nose-blowing, sufferable or insufferable?

yours sincere(ish)ly,
Mrs. Trellis from North Wales
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by luvanddaisies:
Public nose-blowing, sufferable or insufferable?

I think you have to consider what the alternatives are. One good blow, as it were, up against a long period of snuffling, snorting, and noisily swallowing big wads of snot?

No contest in my mind, especially assuming you've got a tissue or hankerchief handy.

...just don't examine the outcome like precious jewels. OK?
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
Sine, unusually, is so wrong here.

Nose-blowing, like farting, or spitting, should be done in privacy whenever possible. You don't need to suffer in silence - but you do need to withdraw out of sight, out of earshot, and above all out of aerosol range. I don't care whether you snort, wipe, or blow - just do it far enough away that I don't have to notice which.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
you do need to withdraw out of sight, out of earshot, and above all out of aerosol range.

I agree. If possible.

But if you're, say, riding in my car with me I'd much rather you went ahead and gave one good blow than sit there and snort and swallow the whole time.
 
Posted by Belisarius (# 32) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
...don't examine the outcome like precious jewels.

An ettiquette manual from the 1500s includes that advice, as well as "it is rude to address someone while they are urinating or defecating."

Speaking of sneezing--if someone has a (not medically alarming) sneezing fit, how many times should a polite response (bless you, etc.) be made? Is twice sufficient?
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Belisarius:
Is twice sufficient?

Personally, I go with twice. By the third time I think "Geez, Mary, what's your problem?" is appropriate.
 
Posted by Kelly Alves (# 2522) on :
 
My mom's method is to bless twice, then snip, "That's it, I blessed you twice, that should be enough."

My friend has a more gentile approach. She blesses twice, then cheerfully says on the third sneeze, "Do you need me to call a priest?"
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
I almost always sneeze in threes. My friends know this and wait for the third sneeze before they say "Bless you."

What I would like to know from Sine, though, is if it's rude not to say "Bless you" when someone sneezes. As we have long since let go of the idea that sneezing has something to do with evil spirits, I wish we could get rid of this custom. I particularly dislike the hearty "Bless you!" some people give that is louder than the sneeze itself. Any chance this whole thing will just eventually go away? Is it awful of me to ignore someone's sneeze and not say "Bless you"?
 
Posted by Campbellite (# 1202) on :
 
I think the whole idea of saying, "bless you" is an effort to help the offender recover from the embarrassment of involuntarily sharing germs.

As "bless you" has become rather old fashioned in any other context (outside of church, anyway) it seems a more encouraging and comforting thing to say would be, "Good catch!"
 
Posted by Goodric (# 8001) on :
 
Dear Uncle Sine,

Can you please help me with this genuine dilemma. There are occasions when visiting some houses on social occasions that one has to use the facilities.

Sometimes, sadly, the facilities can't cope with - er shall we say "solids" as well as they ought to in a civilised country like ours. (If it were a Mediterranean W/C I wouldn't be at all surprised). So one is left with the initial dilemma. Does one wait and attempt to flush again (and if so how many times should one attempt to flush), does one attempt to poke the miscreant menace round the bend or does one just walk away and pretend it was there when you came to use it? Should one also discreetly advise the host that their facility isn't "up to it" and that they need a new loo?

This has happened to me and I do find it rather a stiff problem.

Yours, on Andrex.

Goodric
 
Posted by The Geezer (# 5521) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Belisarius:
An ettiquette manual from the 1500s includes that advice, as well as "it is rude to address someone while they are urinating or defecating."

True also today, I think. I hate being acknowledged by co-workers in the office men's room.
 
Posted by Mamacita (# 3659) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kelly Alves:
My mom's method is to bless twice, then snip, "That's it, I blessed you twice, that should be enough."

My friend has a more gentile approach. She blesses twice, then cheerfully says on the third sneeze, "Do you need me to call a priest?"

If that's the gentile approach, I guess the Jewish approach would be to ask "Do you need me to call a rabbi?". [Big Grin]
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Goodric:
Sometimes, sadly, the facilities can't cope with - er shall we say "solids" as well as they ought to in a civilised country like ours.

This has happened to me as well and I've found one method seems to work more times than not. When flushing, hold the flush lever down until everything in the bowl has drained away.

Odds are pretty good your host already knows the toilet doesn't flush as it should, so he shouldn't be surprised if you tell him.

However, I defer to Sine on informing the host.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
I defer to Sine on informing the host.

I 'specs there's no reason to mention it, unless you need to stick your head out the door and request a plunger.

As KenWritez said, they already know it.
 
Posted by Fool of a Took (# 7412) on :
 
Sine,

Out here in the colonies, we do tend to get excited about royal visits. Or at least, we who were influenced by my grandmother as small children do.

I will be attending a service of worship with HRH the Earl of Wessex. And lots of excited-about-royalty types, who I tend to think of as resembling my Grandmother in other ways, such as their attention to detail of comportment of which I know just enough to know I do not know enough.

Does this occasion merit the acquisition of a hat?
(I assume, if the answer is 'yes', a very different hat from the one pictured is in order)
 
Posted by Real Ale Methodist (# 7390) on :
 
I'll defer on the specifics of deportment; however I do know in the presence of the Queen hats are usual; but (apart from very formal day occasions like weddings etc) but not compulsory by any means. For the Earl I suspect the same would apply; most of those there will have hats - but noone (noone in the know ie the Vistors) will look askance if you are hatless.

Owen who is trying to remember if Earls are "Your Graces" or not.
 
Posted by Left at the Altar (# 5077) on :
 
Dear Uncle Sine

Why can't people just be nice to each other? What advice can you give to promote good manners, tolerance, love and understanding among ship folk?

Thanks, in anticipation.

LATA
 
Posted by mdijon (# 8520) on :
 
I have a quandry requiring a solution of the utmost dimensions in delicacy and propriety.

I lead a modest church choir; nevertheless respectable in it's own way.

We have been requested by a good friend (young and in love) to provide a recital midway through the service. I was just wondering whether to go with something run of the mill and safe......perhaps Love Divine All Loves Excelling. He has just dropped off "the music" by which he means a tape; containing some sort of modern gospel music........ I recently passed his bride to be in a walkway (note careful phrasing) who was "really looking forward to the music."

Apparently this song has great significance to them as couple.

I would shudder at any service; more so a wedding. I don't know if I can go through with it. Oh rash promise, to regret at leisure.
 
Posted by Corpus cani (# 1663) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Real Ale Methodist:
...trying to remember if Earls are "Your Graces" or not.

Earls are not - Dukes are. Wessex, however, is a Prince of the Blood Royal and is, therefore, a "Your Royal Highness."

Corpus
 
Posted by luvanddaisies (# 5761) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Real Ale Methodist:

Owen who is trying to remember if Earls are "Your Graces" or not.

fret no more - simply carry this little list around, and you'll know how to address (correctly, of course) everyone you might meet. Of course, Sine has no need of such memoranda.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Left at the Altar:
What advice can you give to promote good manners, tolerance, love and understanding among ship folk?

Just remember everybody else has as much right to be on this planet (or ship) as you do. Supposedly God doesn't make mistakes, as difficult as it can be to wrap one's mind around that concept upon occasion.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
I have a quandry requiring a solution of the utmost dimensions in delicacy and propriety.

We have been requested by a good friend (young and in love) to provide a recital midway through the service.

I don't know if I can go through with it.

I'm not sure I've got enough info here. A church wedding right? At your church? I assume there is a priest or minister involved who has final say over what's appropriate musically. Can't he or she nix it so you don't have to be the bad guy?

Or is just a question of "not to your taste"? In which case you have to grin and bear it. Looking on the bright side, when they get divorced in six months you can always say "What did anyone expect, considering the tacky music they picked for their wedding."
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Corpus cani:
Wessex, however, is a Prince of the Blood Royal and is, therefore, a "Your Royal Highness."

Yes, but don't call him that unless you're a servant. Call him "sir". Or "girlfriend", depending.
 
Posted by Custard. (# 5402) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by luvanddaisies:
fret no more - simply carry this little list around, and you'll know how to address (correctly, of course) everyone you might meet. Of course, Sine has no need of such memoranda.

I know it's Debrett's, but I'm pretty sure it's wrong on the issue of the use of "Lord Bishop". IIRC, the most senior (by length of service as bishop) N diocesan bishops are "Lord Bishop", the rest aren't. The value of N means it works out that you become a "Lord Bishop" after about 5 years.

If anyone knows better, please correct me.
 
Posted by chive (# 208) on :
 
Dear Sine,

I have a visitor coming for the weekend. I'm working loads of hours between now and then. My house is a mess. Which room is it most important to tidy for said guest - my bedroom, the kitchen or the living room. I don't have time to do all three properly but I don't want said guest to be disgusted at my lack of tidyness.

So which do I tidy and clean properly and which do I hope said guest ignores?
 
Posted by chive (# 208) on :
 
Dear Sine,

Sorry to post twice on your wonderfully useful thread but I have another dilemma.

My mother has had some children's books published. She thinks they're wonderful. They're not. They're cunningly disguised, vomit inducing morality tales where everyone loves Jesus and says a prayer on the last page and everything is shiny lovely. What do I say when she asks my opinion?

As a good Christian girl am I required to be honest and tell her I'd rather read Alisteir Crowley to any passing child or do I simper in an encouraging manner?
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chive:
Which room is it most important to tidy for said guest - my bedroom, the kitchen or the living room.

I notice you don't say anything about the guest room, which leads to some interesting speculation. So I'd say forget the kitchen and the living room. Put clean sheets on your bed and get the bathroom sanitized. Anyone can forgive a messy living room or kitchen, but a dirty bathroom is kinda gross. As for dirty sheets...let's not even go there.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chive:
My mother has had some children's books published. She thinks they're wonderful. They're not. They're cunningly disguised, vomit inducing morality tales where everyone loves Jesus and says a prayer on the last page and everything is shiny lovely. What do I say when she asks my opinion?

As a good Christian girl am I required to be honest and tell her I'd rather read Alisteir Crowley to any passing child or do I simper in an encouraging manner?

Oh my! I hate it when people try to fool Uncle SIne with trick questions. Quite obviously the books are only the current skirmish in an ongoing war with your mother. One daren't guess what the real issue is here. Well, actually one can guess.

Obviously you want to hurt your mother's feelings as some sort of payback. If that's what you want to do, go ahead and - I won't say "tell the truth" because the truth is totally subjective here - give her your honest opinion.

Now one could wonder why you'd want to do that since the books are already a done deal. Still, I understand your not wanting to lie. How about you avoid commenting on the books directly and when asked say something like "I'm really proud of you, Mom."? Or would that be outside the normal rules of mother/daughter warfare?
 
Posted by mdijon (# 8520) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
A church wedding right? At your church? I assume there is a priest or minister involved who has final say over what's appropriate musically. Can't he or she nix it so you don't have to be the bad guy?...............Looking on the bright side, when they get divorced in six months you can always say "What did anyone expect, considering the tacky music they picked for their wedding."

Yes, my church - Yes, the minister. The vicar will hate it. He'd never agree if he found out in time. I must let it slip somehow..... maybe we could be practicing the piece at just the time he passes the hall from his office for home......

I'll bear your second suggestion in mind.
 
Posted by Gill H (# 68) on :
 
The juxtaposition of the advice to mdjohn and chive reminds me of a friend's wedding.

She got married in a hotel (which was very unusual in the UK at the time) and the wedding was overall very beautiful. However, the string quartet she had hired to play during the ceremony were frequently out of tune and sounded, to me at least, like four cats.

Hugal and I decided that if anyone asked us what we thought of the music, we would say "What a lovely idea it was to have a string quartet!" Truthful yet diplomatic - it was indeed a lovely idea.

Sadly no-one asked. Oh well.
 
Posted by Real Ale Methodist (# 7390) on :
 
Highness and Majesty are early modern inventions anyway (especially majesty) a small part of me would want to call the Queen a grace anyway. If it was good enough for Henry VIII...
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
It suddenly occurred to me that the phrase Your Grace may have been originally a way of reminding a powerful figure that he should be benevolent in the use of his power.

Moo
 
Posted by luvanddaisies (# 5761) on :
 
err... it appears that my link to Debretts has snuffed it - I blame Custard's questioning its accuracy m'self [Biased] .

Could some very nice hostly personage maybe wave a magically magical magic wand over it and make it all better?
It may, of course, be nothing to do with the link, as I am unable to get the site to come up - tried pedestrianly typing in the URL, going to it through Google - all has failed.

Uncle Sine,
Could you advise me, please; is it necessary for me to atone for the devastating decease of my heretofore virile and vital link to
a) the hosts
or
b) the hoi polloi
or is my puzzled, yet sincere, grovelling apology all that is required?
yours in deepest distress
Mrs Trellis ,
North Wales


[edited to thank the shipmate who pm-ed me to alert me to the sad status of the link I posted earlier. Your attention to ettiquette here is muchly appreciated [Big Grin] ]

[ 03. June 2005, 00:16: Message edited by: luvanddaisies ]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by luvanddaisies:
Uncle Sine,
Could you advise me, please; is it necessary for me to atone for the devastating decease of my heretofore virile and vital link

Only if you killed it.

If you were an innocent bystander a mild expression of regret is more than adequate.
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Geezer:
quote:
Originally posted by Belisarius:
An ettiquette manual from the 1500s includes that advice, as well as "it is rude to address someone while they are urinating or defecating."

True also today, I think. I hate being acknowledged by co-workers in the office men's room.
Yeah, me too.
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
Now one could wonder why you'd want to do that since the books are already a done deal. Still, I understand your not wanting to lie. How about you avoid commenting on the books directly and when asked say something like "I'm really proud of you, Mom."? Or would that be outside the normal rules of mother/daughter warfare?

Totally within, I'd say. Just brace yourself for the response which might be something along the lines of:

"Since you like it, I'll give you some copies. You can give them to your friends. [Insert names of friends who are considered suitable recipients.]"

"Glad you like them so much. I'm writing another one, and I'm giving the heroine your name. It's based on you when you were a little girl, so I'm sure you'll enjoy it."

"I'm glad you've finally started seeing things my way. It'll make life much easier."

On the other hand, there are some mothers who'll say, "Thank you," and be genuinely pleased. Only Chive knows how her mother will react.
 
Posted by Duo Seraphim (# 3251) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chive:

My mother has had some children's books published. She thinks they're wonderful. They're not. They're cunningly disguised, vomit inducing morality tales where everyone loves Jesus and says a prayer on the last page and everything is shiny lovely. What do I say when she asks my opinion?

Not that I would pre-empt Uncle Sine's sage counsel - but your predicament does remind me of a television production agreement I was once called to advise on.

My client, an elderly and fastidious gentlemen, had written and illustrated some children's stories about two little teddy bears. The little bears lived in a dear little cottage in the sub-Toytown woods and had all sorts of adventures, where they were noble, caring and sharing and of course respectful to their elders.

You can well imagine that my client was completely unaware just how unselfconciously camp the little teddy bears were.

Privately, I did not hold out much hope for the concept. Nevertheless it was sent to an animation house for the animation concept to be worked up and a series treatment written. The animator was a brisk, no-nonsense Northerner, who thought the little bears showed promise but needed a some development work.

I still remember my client's shocked response when he saw the results. "But my little bears are wholesome little bears! They don't put their hats on backwards and say "Yo!"

It's so much easier to get third parties to do your hatchet work for you.
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by luvanddaisies:
err... it appears that my link to Debretts has snuffed it

HOST ON

Nope, LD, it still works.

HOST OFF

I'm glad you posted it, I've even bookmarked it so I know how to address the nobs when I'm finally presented at Court. None of this, "Hey, m'lud, what's shakin'?" or "Yo, Excellency!" stuff for me!

(I'll be sure to've cleared my wardrobe with Sine beforehand.)

No one's so keen on nobility as a (small 'r') republican, dontcha know. [Biased]

[ 03. June 2005, 06:12: Message edited by: KenWritez ]
 
Posted by Dormouse (# 5954) on :
 
Dear Sine,

As you might have picked up on from other threads Mr D and I are planning to move to foreign climes.

I wish to have a leaving party but have several questions:
1. Is it "done" to throw one's own leaving party, or should I suggest to my friends that they do...?
2. When should it be? - We don't have a clear leaving date yet, just a woolly "round about the end of July". But we'd need to book somewhere. Should I try for mid July? I wory that having had a leaving bash, turning up at work on Monday might seem odd.
3. The place we'd planned to use has a bar, but no food. Is it OK to ask people to bring food? Should we provide a cake?
4. Decorations? If we organise, we decorate - but then it seems odd to put up "You're Leaving" banners... Tasteful French flags? (Are they ever tasteful?!) No decorations? (The room has black curtains all round as it's used as a performance space - a little dreary without decorations..)

Of course, all this depends on whether the space is free for hire; but I would value the advice of Someone Who Knows. Mr D & I are not good party throwers - only ever done three & the only one that really worked was a shared party, at a friend's house.
 
Posted by Archimandrite (# 3997) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Custard.:
quote:
Originally posted by luvanddaisies:
fret no more - simply carry this little list around, and you'll know how to address (correctly, of course) everyone you might meet. Of course, Sine has no need of such memoranda.

I know it's Debrett's, but I'm pretty sure it's wrong on the issue of the use of "Lord Bishop". IIRC, the most senior (by length of service as bishop) N diocesan bishops are "Lord Bishop", the rest aren't. The value of N means it works out that you become a "Lord Bishop" after about 5 years.

If anyone knows better, please correct me.

All Church of England diocesan bishops are styled "Right Reverend Father in God, by Divine Permission, Lord Bishop of _____." This has nothing to do with whether they have a seat in the House of Lords. Cantuar and Ebor are also "By Divine Providence, Lord Bishop of X." I don't know what the rubric is for Suffragans and Winged Types, but I'm sure somebody else will.
 
Posted by Cosmo (# 117) on :
 
All diocesan and suffragan bishops are formally addressed as 'the Lord Bishop of X'. They can be spoken to as 'My Lord' also.

Assistant bishops do not get such excitement. Thus winged bishops are in a peculiar position as they are both bishops suffragan and, of ten, assistant bishops in various dioceses.

I would suggest that as they are bishops suffragan of the Archbishop of Canterbury or York then they are entitled to a 'Lord Bishop' and a 'My Lord' no matter in which diocese they happen to operating.

As Archimandrite so correctly points out, the styling of bishops as 'My Lord' has nothing to do with their taking up of a place in the Lords. It is arguable that they are all Lords Spiritual but as the number of places in the House for them is restricted in number not all of them get their Writ of Summons. The same is true of the hereditary Lords Temporal; as their number in the House is restricted to 92 (a grievous and barbaric act of course) then not of them, of course, receive a Writ of Summons. That doesn't stop them being peers or being addressed as such.

Cosmo
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dormouse:
I wish to have a leaving party but have several questions:

Is it "done" to throw one's own leaving party, or should I suggest to my friends that they do...?

You can't ever ask other people to entertain you. Ever! Ever!! Ever!!! (Unless you happen to be Queen Elizabeth I and wish to ruin them financially.) If anybody cared that much you were leaving they would have already planned a party for you. Since they haven't don't try and guilt them into it. What would be the fun of that?

But certainly you can throw your own party. However "Yea! We're leaving all you suckers to live in France" doesn't seem the best of party themes. Why don't you recast it as "We're sorry to be leaving all our dear friends and wish to see you one last time - before you moochers start showing up on our French doorstep as uninvited houseguests."
quote:

I wory that having had a leaving bash, turning up at work on Monday might seem odd.

Not if you don't have any big "Hurray! We're leaving." banners strewn about the party.
quote:
Is it OK to ask people to bring food? Should we provide a cake?
Erm...not really. I hate to say that, but not really. You're supposed to be entertaining them, not the other way round. So yes, you'd better provide food and a cake. Frankly it sounds like you just want a lot of hoopla and attention because you're leaving but don't want to go to any effort or expense yourself to provide it.
quote:

If we organise, we decorate - but then it seems odd to put up "You're Leaving" banners...

You're right. and "We're Leaving" banners would be even odder. How about "We'll Miss You" banners?
quote:
Mr D & I are not good party throwers - only ever done three & the only one that really worked was a shared party, at a friend's house.
You need to remember (or learn) that a party is more about your guests having a good time than the hosts having a good time. You get to have a good time at someone else's party.

(Actually, you'll have a good time if your guests are. But you need to think of them and their pleasure first. And if anybody says throwing a good party isn't a lot of work they're lying.)
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Janine:
quote:
Originally posted by The Geezer:
quote:
Originally posted by Belisarius:
An ettiquette manual from the 1500s includes that advice, as well as "it is rude to address someone while they are urinating or defecating."

True also today, I think. I hate being acknowledged by co-workers in the office men's room.
Yeah, me too.
One can be acknowledged in the men's room but only if you are both doing exactly the same thing. And not if you are occupying traps 1 and 2 either. Talking through walls is not done.

Janine is quite right. One should never acknowledge ladies in the men's room.
 
Posted by Belisarius (# 32) on :
 
I admit committing the gaffe a few days ago, as something fairly urgent had to be relayed to a co-worker, but I agree it's in the "should be taken for granted" category. Then again, bathrooms really didn't exist back then one was likely to encounter bodily functions in a hallway.
 
Posted by Corpus cani (# 1663) on :
 
I don't mind acknowledgements in the gents' - it's the sneer and/or snigger that usually go with them... [Tear]

Corpus
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Belisarius:
I admit committing the gaffe a few days ago, as something fairly urgent had to be relayed to a co-worker, but I agree it's in the "should be taken for granted" category.

Good grief, what would you have done if your co-worker had been female? [Eek!] [Biased]

quote:
Then again, bathrooms really didn't exist back then one was likely to encounter bodily functions in a hallway.
Another in the long list of reasons I'm glad I was born in the 20th century.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Belisarius:
I admit committing the gaffe a few days ago, as something fairly urgent had to be relayed to a co-worker

Like what? "There's a bomb threat. We have to evacuate (poor word choice) now!"?

Or is your co-worker so wired for sound he could do something about your emergency while standing at a urinal?

Having dealt with "fairly urgent somethings" for twenty-five years I find few of them to be so urgent that ten minutes or even half an hour makes much difference.

(That said, we did have comptroller who'd disappear into a stall with The Wall Street Journal for thirty minutes at a time, which could be annoying when one needed information fairly quickly.)
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
Or is your co-worker so wired for sound he could do something about your emergency while standing at a urinal?

Quite possibly. A colleague once told me that he'd seen someone at the urinals simultaneously dealing with a mobile phone call.

You aren't safe from mobiles anywhere.
 
Posted by Amos (# 44) on :
 
Wonder what his ringtone is.
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
Well, Handel's Water Music springs to mind. Then again it might have been something by the Toilet Boys.
 
Posted by Jeremiah Gutzywuk (# 8783) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
Or is your co-worker so wired for sound he could do something about your emergency while standing at a urinal?

Quite possibly. A colleague once told me that he'd seen someone at the urinals simultaneously dealing with a mobile phone call.

You aren't safe from mobiles anywhere.

Ummmm - how did he have a spare hand to do that?
One hand would be holding the telephone, the other hand would be - well - busy - so how could he push the buttons on the telephone? [Confused] [Confused] [Confused]
 
Posted by Flausa (# 3466) on :
 
Dear Uncle Sine,

I've benefitted greatly from your sage advice over the last few days, and I wanted to thank you for so graciously sharing your wisdom with us.

I now have a question for you. My husband and I will be crossing the Atlantic next week for two weeks. Along the way we will be depending upon the goodness of friends and acquaintances for various things, including housing us for a few days, taking us on sightseeing excursions, and giving us route tips and restaurant suggestions.

What would be some appropriate host/hostess gifts for those various occastions? Should we bring gifts from here or hope to find something in the US? What would be an appropriate amount of money to spend?

Thank you in advance for your consideration to this matter.

Yours faithfully,
Flausa
 
Posted by Belisarius (# 32) on :
 
In my defense, I happened to "run into" him in the Men's room after checking his cube and made a "while I'm thinking about it" blurt.
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jeremiah Gutzywuk:
quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
Or is your co-worker so wired for sound he could do something about your emergency while standing at a urinal?

Quite possibly. A colleague once told me that he'd seen someone at the urinals simultaneously dealing with a mobile phone call.

You aren't safe from mobiles anywhere.

Ummmm - how did he have a spare hand to do that?
One hand would be holding the telephone, the other hand would be - well - busy - so how could he push the buttons on the telephone? [Confused] [Confused] [Confused]

You can get a cell phone with an earpiece. I think you have to push a button to answer a call, but after that you're hands-free. People walk down the street looking like they're talking to themselves all the time now around here. Kind of makes the crazy homeless people look less crazy.

quote:
Originally posted by Belisarius:
In my defense, I happened to "run into" him in the Men's room after checking his cube and made a "while I'm thinking about it" blurt.

It's okay, we didn't actually think you'd done the girl thing of going to the bathroom as part of a pair!
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Flausa:
What would be some appropriate host/hostess gifts for those various occastions? Should we bring gifts from here or hope to find something in the US? What would be an appropriate amount of money to spend?

I can think of a couple of reasons for not bringing gifts with you, aside from not wanting to feel like you're weighted down with beads and trinkets for the Indians.

You might pick up appropriate gift ideas after you've stayed with these folks and seen their houses that you won't know of in advance. A gift arriving in the mail from "furrin parts" is always exciting to the recipient. I would suggest you wait until you get back home and then have an appropriate gift mail-ordered to your hosts. If no better inspiration strikes, nothing wrong with sending them local food specialities.

Now I'm open to correction here, but I think a gift is only called for to those who put you up for the night. Otherwise a charming short letter thanking them for the meal or such should be fine. Possibly with a couple of snap shots of your vacation fun included.

Cost for host/hostess gift: around $25.00

Do those who travel more than I agree? Disagree?
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jeremiah Gutzywuk:
Ummmm - how did he have a spare hand to do that?
One hand would be holding the telephone, the other hand would be - well - busy - so how could he push the buttons on the telephone? [Confused] [Confused] [Confused]

Depends on the size of your mobile. The smaller ones fit neatly into your palm and you use your thumb to press the buttons.

I still think anyone who uses a mobile in these circumstances is lacking in social graces though.
 
Posted by Jeremiah Gutzywuk (# 8783) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
quote:
Originally posted by Jeremiah Gutzywuk:
Ummmm - how did he have a spare hand to do that?
One hand would be holding the telephone, the other hand would be - well - busy - so how could he push the buttons on the telephone? [Confused] [Confused] [Confused]

Depends on the size of your mobile. The smaller ones fit neatly into your palm and you use your thumb to press the buttons.

I still think anyone who uses a mobile in these circumstances is lacking in social graces though.

It is also quite important, and far more sanitary, when greeted while standing at a urinal, to finish the - ahem - task at hand, before turning to the person to reply.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
Dear Uncle Sine,

As you well know I am ushering for the first time at the main service at the cathedral tomorrow.

I have a smart new outfit prepared as well as a stylish summer haircut that should make everyone else feel shabby and inferior. I have practiced my weak smile and my mumbled "good morning" for the hoi polloi and my dazzling grin and hearty handshake for any attractive hunks, as well as making sure they fill out visitor's cards with their names and phone numbers.

I am prepared to cruelly taunt and then eject any yucky homeless types who wander in during the service and to stuff newcomers into the pews of parishioners I don't like. I have praticed glaring at the parents of unruly children and crying infants, hoping to make them uncomfortable enough to leave.

Is there anything I'm forgetting? I do so want make a good impression on the head usher since he's recently sold his software company for ten million dollars and also is between boyfriends.

Anxiously,
Sine Nomine
 
Posted by Grits (# 4169) on :
 
Dear Sine Nomine,

Don't forget the young folks. Teens are generally always unhappy or, at least, uncomfortable, being at church, and there's bound to be some way to add to their displeasure.

I would recommend hugging, complimenting their outfits, and referring to them as "chicks" and "dudes".

With warmest regards,
Auntie Grits
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
Oh, thank-you, Auntie Grits. I had quite forgotten about making the youth uncomfortable. How remiss of me. And I must be sure to sound annoyed when I ask the lady in the wheelchair if the priest has to walk all the way to the back of the nave to give her communion.

There's more to ushering than first meets the eye.
 
Posted by Dee-nz (# 5681) on :
 
Dear Uncle Sine,

Don't forget to lock the doors to the bathrooms just before the service and forget to unlock them. That way everyone will need to go home quickly after the service leaving you easy access to after service coffee.

On second thoughts, only lock the ladies, that will clear of any women and men with female partners leaving the cost clearer for spotting any juicy morsels that may need a wee chat.

Yours

Aunty Dee
 
Posted by jlg (# 98) on :
 
*sigh*

Just when I had thought the Ship of Fools had a guaranteed money-maker publishing 'Dear Uncle Sine' - the new successor to 'Miss Manners' - the advice goes all southern inbred and questionable.
 
Posted by Peppone (# 3855) on :
 
Dear Sine,

Suppose I knew somebody who wanted to stop wearing his wedding ring: He's been thinking of taking it off when he makes the bread in the evening, and then just sort of not putting it back on. What do you think? My, uh, friend really wants to handle this stage correctly.
 
Posted by Firenze (# 619) on :
 
Stage? Stage? What process exactly are we talking about here?
 
Posted by Peppone (# 3855) on :
 
He's not sure. There are definitely stages (he says) but it's not easy (he reckons) to say what process they form a part of.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Peppone:
He's been thinking of taking it off when he makes the bread in the evening, and then just sort of not putting it back on. What do you think? My, uh, friend really wants to handle this stage correctly.

These things take time. Also, as the expression goes "it takes what it takes". Is he forcing himself to move on just because he thinks he should? Or is he really ready?

If he's ready my suggestion to him would be to buy himself a nice initialed signet ring for the index finger of the same hand and wear it instead. he is, after all, used to having a ring on that hand.

He should leave both rings in the tray on his dresser. That way in the morning he can make a conscious decision as to which one he feels better wearing that day. Hopefully over time he'll come to prefer wearing the signet ring.

Good luck to your friend.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by jlg:
the advice goes all southern inbred and questionable.

Inbred it may be. Questionable - never.
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
I thought one was not supposed to wear an signet ring, let alone an initialled one. At least, not on this side of the pond. I was told it is Not Considered The Done Thing.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
Quite nice people wear them all the time over here. They are considered fairly ordinary and unremarkable. In this case I liked a signet ring because of its resemblance to a wedding band. The same but not the same.

(I once canceled an order for a signet ring because upon reflection it did seem so ordinary considering the cost. I went for an estate gold and lapis ring instead. If I'm paying good money for jewelry I want it to be a litte flashy.)
 
Posted by The Prophetess (# 1439) on :
 
Dear Sine,

As the weather gets warmer, I have been taking my son to the playground more and more, where I often fall into conversation with the other parents. Inevitably I am asked whether the Prophetlet is our only child, and then---get this---whether we are "planning to have any more."

I really don't wish to answer the latter question for a number of reasons, none of which is any business of someone I've only just met. Can you provide me with a response that is both polite and effective?
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Prophetess:
Can you provide me with a response that is both polite and effective?

Until recently, I was often asked similar questions about whether and when I was planning to have a first child. Having experimented with a number of polite and impolite responses, the most effective reply I found to "When are you planning to have children?" was "nine months after we next have sex".

I'm sure it will work as well for child number two.
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
Dear Sine,

Like most creatures with a human digestive system, after a good meal I tend to belch. I'm not a barbarian. I do try to let out the wind as quietly and discreetly as possible.

However my wife insists (often vocally) that I should also say "pardon me" or some such excuse. I object to this on two grounds: firstly honesty - I didn't design my intestines and feel no need at all to ask pardon for their activity; and secondly, I feel it is somewhat impolite to draw public attention to my bodily functions.

Recently, matters have become worse, because we now have a young infant who Mrs Eliab not only actively encourages to burp after feeding but also profusely congratulates when he manages to do so. I, however, receive only filthy looks and sharp words. How can I cure my wife of this shocking double-standard?

[ 05. June 2005, 13:30: Message edited by: Eliab ]
 
Posted by The Wanderer (# 182) on :
 
Dear Sine,

What is the correct expletive to use when one has been away on holiday, and out of computer contact, for a week and then discovers that a really intersting new thread has started but one has to read five ******* pages to catch up with it?

(However, I have laughed out loud at every one of those pages I must admit.)
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
As I'm sure you are aware, the only correct expletive for anyone of a religious persuasion is "Deo Gratias!" to be uttered in a joyful tone with a smile on one's face.

(However, I'll await Sine's ruling on this one.)
 
Posted by St. Seraphim of Sarov (# 5452) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Prophetess:
Can you provide me with a response that is both polite and effective?

I always like using the statement: When God gives me one. Usually stops the questioning cold.
 
Posted by Corpus cani (# 1663) on :
 
Eliab - my advice is this:

After your next meal, give Mrs Eliab a big hug and when, as she surely will, she pats you on the back mid hug, belch and throw up on her shoulder. Then you too will be praised.

Now Sine - what's the goss on your first outing as Usher?

Corpus
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Prophetess:
Inevitably I am asked whether the Prophetlet is our only child, and then---get this---whether we are "planning to have any more."

Bless their hearts, they mean well and are only trying to make conversation, not realizing how personal such questions can be. The not-so-nice me would be tempted to respond "I don't know. What do you advise?" and watch them sputter. Then there's always (in a slightly incredulous tone) "I BEG your pardon??" followed immediately by "Lovely weather we're having, don't you think?" - that usually gets the point across, but maybe not as politely as you'd like, you being appallingly nice and all.

Sooo...I'd suggest a simple "We haven't decided yet. How about you?" That way you've immediately put the conversational focus back on them.

(Of course it would really be cool if you could convincingly burst into tears when they ask you such questions, but that might upset your son.)
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Corpus cani:
Eliab - my advice is this:

After your next meal, give Mrs Eliab a big hug and when, as she surely will, she pats you on the back mid hug, belch and throw up on her shoulder. Then you too will be praised.

I think that's hard advice to beat. But actually I'm with Mrs. Eliab. A quick "pardon me" won't kill you. (Married people pick the strangest things to fight about, don't they?)

quote:
Now Sine - what's the goss on your first outing as Usher?

How very kind of you to ask. The check is in the mail.

Had only someone told me just to pretend I was Vanna White it would have saved a lot of worry on my part. Piece-O-Cake. I was nice to everyone too, regardless of physical appearance or socio-economic status.

(My chief concern was dropping the offertory plate or having a bill fly off when we took them up to the altar, but neither of those fears came true, thankfully.)
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine
Bless their hearts, they mean well...

Your Southern roots are showing.

Moo
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
I have a feeling Sine is all Southern -- roots, trunk and leaf.
 
Posted by Grits (# 4169) on :
 
quote:
I was nice to everyone...
The truest mark of a Southerner. [Smile]
 
Posted by hedonism_bot (# 5027) on :
 
Dear Sine,

As you seem to be an authority on matters of fashion as well as etiquette, please answer this for me : when wearing morning dress is it acceptable, if one has misplaced one's socks, to paint one's ankles black to hide this fact?
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
Have you looked in the medicine cabinet?
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
Sorry. I get a little giddy sometimes.

To answer your question: In an emergency such as you describe, yes, it's OK to paint your legs black...however first you must shave your ankles and calves and moisturize them thoroughly so you appear to be wearing dress hose and not casual mohair socks. That would never do.
 
Posted by hedonism_bot (# 5027) on :
 
You are wise.
 
Posted by Corpus cani (# 1663) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
How very kind of you to ask. The check is in the mail.

Not at all - I was concerned and just had to enquire.

Now, about that cheQUE... Clearly "Pounds Sterling" - anything else would be simply too exquisitely vulgar...

Corpus
 
Posted by Archimandrite (# 3997) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Corpus cani:
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
How very kind of you to ask. The check is in the mail.

Not at all - I was concerned and just had to enquire.

Now, about that cheQUE... Clearly "Pounds Sterling" - anything else would be simply too exquisitely vulgar...

Corpus

On the contrary. Guineas.
 
Posted by Firenze (# 619) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Archimandrite:
quote:
Originally posted by Corpus cani:
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
How very kind of you to ask. The check is in the mail.

Not at all - I was concerned and just had to enquire.

Now, about that cheQUE... Clearly "Pounds Sterling" - anything else would be simply too exquisitely vulgar...

Corpus

On the contrary. Guineas.
Or, to adapt from Mrs General -

'I cannot object - though even that is disagreeable to me - to Mr Nomine's inquiring, in confidence of my friends here, what amount they have been accustomed, at quarterly intervals, to pay to my credit at my bankers'.

[ 07. June 2005, 07:42: Message edited by: Firenze ]
 
Posted by hedonism_bot (# 5027) on :
 
Dear Sine,

I am attending a wedding in France at the weekend. A friend who is also going has just announced his ensemble, which consists of a white unstructured linen jacket and (brace yourself) matching shorts. How can I dissuade himself from shaming our country thus?
 
Posted by Curiosus (# 4808) on :
 
I'm sure Uncle Sine will be along shortly with some excellent advice.

In the meantime, I am reminded of a character in one of Nancy Mitford's novels who greatly enjoyed watching his new wife making a rag rug but planned to have a fatal accident with a bottle of ink once the carpet was completed. If all else fails you might have to have a similar accident just before you set off for the wedding - a glass of red wine should do the trick nicely [Devil]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by hedonism_bot:
A friend who is also going has just announced his ensemble, which consists of a white unstructured linen jacket and (brace yourself) matching shorts. How can I dissuade himself from shaming our country thus?

Oh dear. Oh dear. Matching shorts, you say? One would like to suggest he put the outfit on and look in the mirror, but one presumes he's done this already and seen nothing wrong with it, so this is a tough nut to crack.

I can only assume this is an informal garden wedding in the south of France somewhere. If it's in a church your friend is beyond redemption and I'd just make sure I didn't sit too close to him.

Now I have an unstructured white linen jacket myself, and it's very difficult to wear without looking like a lab technician on the loose. But with shorts! Apparently he sees nothing wrong with his skinny white hairy legs being exposed to public view at what is supposed to be a joyous occasion.

Not knowing the exact details of the occasion, or how close you are to this "friend"(You really do have some weird friends, by the way.) it's difficult to give a "one size fits all" answer. But here are some suggestions:

"Where did you find white knee socks to go with that outfit?" - perhaps that will awaken him to the mistake he's about to make.

"It's the bride's special day, should you be drawing so much attention from her?" - maybe that will appeal to his vanity as well as reminding him that only the bride should wear white to a wedding.

But probably stronger measures are called for. How about "Oh what fun! That's what I'm wearing too! We must be sure to sit together so we'll look like the Doublemint Twins."

If he can imagine you in a white jacket with matching shorts maybe he can then make the mental leap to imagining himself in same. Hopefully that will do the trick.
 
Posted by Presleyterian (# 1915) on :
 
Lord have mercy, they're bringing back The Doublemint Twins.
 
Posted by Flausa (# 3466) on :
 
Dear Sine,

I admit to looking at the Doublemint Twin website as linked above - some sort of strange pull. Anyway, I was looking at a couple of the profiles, and I found this from twin brothers Gary and Mark:

quote:
We enjoy spending time with our beautiful nine-year old daughters, who are not only half-sisters and cousins but were also born only 5 days apart!
Hubby and I were trying to unravel the mystery of how there daughters can be half-sisters and cousins and only 5 days apart. In your wisdom, can you explain how this can be?

Sincerely,
Stumped in Scotland
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Flausa:
In your wisdom, can you explain how this can be?

They're from Kentucky.

OK, no I can't. I'm going to have to consult my panel of experts.
 
Posted by xSx (# 7210) on :
 
Perhaps the twins are married to identical twins, who would therefore share the same genetic material?
This would mean that, genetically speaking, the two children have the same mother.
Does that work?
S
 
Posted by St. Seraphim of Sarov (# 5452) on :
 
They are cousins because their fathers are brothers.

If one woman Um...Donated the eggs for the two fathers, and at least one used a surrogate mom, then they could be born 5 days apart.

However, it does sound like they are from Arkansas...
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Flausa:
I was looking at a couple of the profiles, and I found this from twin brothers Gary and Mark...

Who cares about Gary and Mark. I want to know more, lots more, about Billy and Jimmy.

(Talk about "double your pleasure".)
 
Posted by chukovsky (# 116) on :
 
They are cousins because their mothers are sisters, and half-sisters because they share the same father but not the same mother. And they were born five days apart because their mothers spend a lot of time together, so have synchronised menstrual cycles, but never talk to each other, so didn't realise that the same bloke was cheating on one of them with the other (or vice versa).

Or alternatively they are from Norfolk*, or are Mormons, so they just don't care about that part. Actually, considering their pride in the situation, I'd say it was one of the latter two. If they were sisters who hadn't realised the bloke of one of them was cheating on them with the other, at least one of them would have had their eyes poked out.

*Translation: Kentucky.
 
Posted by Custard. (# 5402) on :
 
If, for example, the fathers are genetically identical twins, then their children would be genetically half-siblings.

So if a pair of identical male twins married a pair of non-identical sisters, then their children would be genetically both cousins and half-sisters.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
Ok, that makes sense. Thank-you panel of expert.
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
Dear Sine;

An issue has been bubbling away between my blood family and my in-laws: Gift certificates.

My mom raised all us kids up with the idea that gift certificates were Tacky and Not the Done Thing. They indicated you were too lazy or didn't care enough to think of a gift so you fobbed off a certificate on the recipient. (My mother was also the woman who said, "A woman is never without her gloves save on two occasions: When she is nude and when she is wearing a swimsuit or lingerie.")

My in-laws love gift certificates, they give them as gifts frequently, and they do so from stores where they know the recipient enjoys shopping. They see nothing "thoughtless" about them and they feel the recipient will enjoy purchasing whatever he or she likes with them. The in-laws enjoy receiving them as much as giving them. (FYI: They usually don't give the certificates in place of all other gifts, merely as auxillary gifts.)

I've been agreeing more and more with my in-laws, thus my family now looks askance at me for giving gift certificates as gifts.
 
Posted by nicolemrw (# 28) on :
 
kenwritz, i don't knnow how sine feels about it, but my own feeling is that gift certificates are absolutely lovely presents, as long as you give something with them. for instance, i like to give a book that i think the recipient will like, with a gift certificate for the bookstore tucked inside. that way they know you shopped for them, but they have the fun of picking out their own things.

but a gift certificate by itself just seems a bit cold.
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
If I knew that someone looked askance at gift certificates, or indeed any particular gift, I wouldn't give it to them, even if I thought it would make a fine gift. The idea is to give something that will make them happy, not to give them something that would make me happy.
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
Nope, I take crap from my family for giving gift certificates to anyone that isn't in a service relationship to me.

However--I just remembered this--my sister emailed me an amazon.com gift certificate for my birthday. So, I think the wall is beginning to crumble. Or standards are falling, whichever.
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
Nope, I take crap from my family for giving gift certificates to anyone that isn't in a service relationship to me.

Sorry, I misunderstood you.

That's ridiculous. It's none of their business what you give other people. But you'll have to get Sine to tell you a polite way to convey this--I can't think of one.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
Mr. Writez, you have not been totally forthcoming in your query. Before I can answer it I need a very important piece of information: Is it your family who's been giving you grief or is it your mother?
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
Sorry I was unclear. [Hot and Hormonal] Mom instilled the rule in us and she continued in it until her death. My sibs, with the exception of my middle sister, give me grief for the certificates.

[ 09. June 2005, 05:00: Message edited by: KenWritez ]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
Oh, your siblings. Then you needn't be polite at all. Just remind them how difficult it is (as if they didn't know) to form a new family from the cultures of two different families. And that unlike the Writez Family, the Writez-Wench Family does give gift certificates as presents. You might possibly end the conversation with "Wanna make sumpin of it?" and a belligerent stare. Or possibly an invitation to drop by the trailer park any ol' time for a visit.
 
Posted by Boopy (# 4738) on :
 
Dear Uncle Sine

A social dilemma lies before me, so clearly you are the very person to advise me. This weekend, for complicated family reasons,at my mother's house I will be meeting her brother, a long-lost uncle I last saw over 35 years ago when I was six. I may also meet a long lost aunt I last saw when I was eight, and her son my (much older) cousin, who I've only previously met once when I was a small girl. There may be one or two other assorted elderly relatives who I haven't seen since childhood.

Last time I met any of these people I knew them as Uncle Bob, Aunty Jenny and so on. I'm not sure I'm quite ready as an adult to Uncle and Aunt people who are now essentially strangers; we will be meeting as fellow adults over a short weekend.

I'm inclined to 'Bob' and 'Jenny' them from the start. WWSND?
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
What exciting lives some of you lead, full of doubt and uncertainty. I especially like family-related questions because you all never tell me what's really going on. From your evident wish not to be associated with your mother's brother I can only assume he's just been released from prison after doing 35 years for God knows what terrible crime. And all these elderly relatives suddenly popping out of the woodwork. Is there a tontine involved?

So how should you address all these strangers? Well, like it or not your mother's brother is your uncle and your aunt is your aunt. I myself have an aunt whom I loathe, but I still address her as Auntie Bitch-from-Hell, because she is still my aunt. Can't choose your relatives and all that. Now here's what you didn't make clear - are there going to be any aunts and uncles there whom you will address as "aunt" and "uncle"? Because if there are it would be odd and hurtful to create two classes of relatives at the same gathering - those you are willing to acknowledge and those you aren't.

However, if only these long-lost relatives will be present you have my permission (which along with $1.85 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks) to address them only by their Christian names. In exchange for that, however, you have to tell us why they're suddenly showing up on your mother's doorstep.
 
Posted by Boopy (# 4738) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
I can only assume he's just been released from prison after doing 35 years for God knows what terrible crime. And all these elderly relatives suddenly popping out of the woodwork. Is there a tontine involved?

.....if only these long-lost relatives will be present you have my permission (which along with $1.85 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks) to address them only by their Christian names. In exchange for that, however, you have to tell us why they're suddenly showing up on your mother's doorstep.

How the Ship improves one's vocabulary; I have just had to go and look up 'tontine', but no, there isn't one.

No two-tier system of address for elderly relatives, so it's 'Bob' and 'Jenny' then.

Your finely tuned social antennae homed in very accurately on the idea of prison, though I believe it was a few months here and there for minor fraud, a good many years ago. After which, through a series of slight rifts, house moves, being out of touch, deceased parents and mislaid addresses, he and my mother did not know how to contact each other for 35 years until last year she finally thought to track him down via the internet and did so in about five minutes. Cue emotional sibling reunion last year, followed by this weekend's forthcoming festivity to reintroduce long-lost Bob to the rest of the family. It will either be great fun or completely ghastly.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
You know, after mulling over your last post a bit, it occurred to me how much this must mean to your mother - after 35 years she's trying to heal a wound, reach out, and put things right while there is still time.

She obviously wants her brother back in her life somewhat and to feel like he's part of her family. It would be kind to call him "Uncle Bob". Sometimes it's easy to overlook the obvious reason for doing something we don't particularly want to do.
 
Posted by Chocoholic (# 4655) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:

However, if only these long-lost relatives will be present you have my permission (which along with $1.85 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks) to address them only by their Christian names. In exchange for that, however, you have to tell us why they're suddenly showing up on your mother's doorstep.

Starbuck's coffee is only $1.85?! Why's it so much more expensive here?
[Waterworks]
 
Posted by Boopy (# 4738) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
It would be kind to call him "Uncle Bob". Sometimes it's easy to overlook the obvious reason for doing something we don't particularly want to do.

Point taken; it's an important occasion for Mum.

Think I will prepare two different forms of greeting and see how kind I feel on the day. Of course, maybe he'll introduce himself with 'and do call me Bob'; in which case, problem solved. In the photos I have seen he looks disconcertingly exactly like my grandfather, who died over 30 years ago; that in itself will be weird enough.
 
Posted by Papa Smurf (# 1654) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chocoholic:
Starbuck's coffee is only $1.85?! Why's it so much more expensive here?
[Waterworks]

you missed out the bit about having Sine's permission to go with it - having Permission from Sine has to be worth something....
 
Posted by Kelly Alves (# 2522) on :
 
Either that or he is talking drip rather than espresso.
 
Posted by duchess (# 2764) on :
 
Dear Uncle Sine,

My 13 year old nephew has long hair. It is beautiful, that is for sure...long golden locks. This kidlet is spoiled in my opinion that he got to not only pierce his ears but grow out the hair down to his waist. Auntie Duchess has dilegently tried to force issue of giving hair to locks of love but kidlet refuses. He did consent to getting a few inches cut off the other day, but hair is long.

Not only is it long, but untidy. I have combed hair more than one time, and lectured him about putting it in ponytail should he keep it long forever. My caring lectures go unheard.

Please advise me on a way to force issue of good grooming.

Sincerely,

Auntie Duchess [Waterworks]
 
Posted by The Wanderer (# 182) on :
 
Simple - wait till he's asleep and then cut it off. (He's 13, male and has waist length hair? Don't his schoolfellows make their views known? Physically as well as verbally?)
 
Posted by duchess (# 2764) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Wanderer:
Simple - wait till he's asleep and then cut it off. (He's 13, male and has waist length hair? Don't his schoolfellows make their views known? Physically as well as verbally?)

My dear fellow, this is Northern California...where self-expression is king. My brother and sister in law have bought this notion. He has Asperger Syndrome and goes to a special school for kidlets with learning disorders/problem children. Since everyone is on drugs (most of his classmates) from everything from hyperactivity to depression, nobody considers nephew to be freak. He is accepted finally in this school with his long girly goldy locks.

Even me making fun of his locks did not make him cut them albeit he did get very upset...so hence I do not try that approach anymore.

[eta: Auntie C told kidlet that I (Auntie Duchess) might cut off locks when he slept. He got very frightened [Eek!] . I don't have the heart to actually do this...but have killed that urge. [Angel] ]

[ 10. June 2005, 17:23: Message edited by: duchess ]
 
Posted by Light (# 4693) on :
 
Leave the poor kid's hair alone... If it had been a thirteen year old girl everyone would have ooh:ed and aah:ed over the beautiful locks. I presume he keeps it washed and somewhat untangled?
 
Posted by duchess (# 2764) on :
 
Nope! He does NOT wash enough...nor does he comb his girly goldy locks...hence my pain. [Waterworks]

Due to beautiful face, he is often mistaken for a girl which does not bother him it seems. He is just about to hit puberty and when he does, this may change.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
Dear Auntie Duchess,

Let me get this straight: Your nephew has long hair, but he's OK with that. His parents are OK with that. His classmates at school are OK with that. The only one who isn't OK with that is Auntie Duchess. What's wrong with this picture?

How about you get yourself a Schnauzer puppy? Then you can indulge both your control issues and your grooming instincts on a creature that belongs to you rather than to your brother and sister-in-law. You can also have him fixed which should make him more amenable to your control. You can name your Schnauzer "Tim-Tim" or something cute like that. "Come, Tim-Tim!" "Sit, boy!" "Beg!" "Roll over!" "Play dead!". Wouldn't that be more fun than nagging your nephew?

Just a thought.
 
Posted by Traveller (# 1943) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Flausa:
Dear Sine,

I admit to looking at the Doublemint Twin website as linked above - some sort of strange pull. Anyway, I was looking at a couple of the profiles, and I found this from twin brothers Gary and Mark:

quote:
We enjoy spending time with our beautiful nine-year old daughters, who are not only half-sisters and cousins but were also born only 5 days apart!
Hubby and I were trying to unravel the mystery of how there daughters can be half-sisters and cousins and only 5 days apart. In your wisdom, can you explain how this can be?

Sincerely,
Stumped in Scotland

Well, the only solution I can think of would involve unfaithfulness on the part of one woman (nearly said "a single mother" [Hot and Hormonal] ), and a big gap betweeen multiple births. It would take DNA testing to prove it, which you couldn't do if Gary and Mark were identical twins. [Ultra confused] Perhaps the reporter didn't quite understand the complexities of family relationships [Big Grin]
 
Posted by The Kat in the Hat (# 2557) on :
 
Surely its because the fathers are identical twins. The girls have the same genetic father, but different mothers, hence are half-sisters. They are cousins because their fathers are brothers.
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by St. Seraphim of Sarov:
quote:
Originally posted by The Prophetess:
Can you provide me with a response that is both polite and effective?

I always like using the statement: When God gives me one. Usually stops the questioning cold.
That always worked for me.
 
Posted by Left at the Altar (# 5077) on :
 
Dear Uncle Sine

I am too nice. I always have been. Do you have any tips for becoming more nasty? I try to backstab. I try to be a bastard, but all that comes out is nice.

Thanking you in advance.

LATA
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
Oh how embarrassing! [Hot and Hormonal]

LATA has stumped me. I haven't a clue and shall have to ask my panel of experts for suggestions. RooK? Sarky? Anyone?
 
Posted by Goodric (# 8001) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Left at the Altar:
Dear Uncle Sine

I am too nice. I always have been. Do you have any tips for becoming more nasty? I try to backstab. I try to be a bastard, but all that comes out is nice.

Thanking you in advance.

LATA

But you are a lawer!
 
Posted by Smudgie (# 2716) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Left at the Altar:
Dear Uncle Sine

I am too nice. I always have been. Do you have any tips for becoming more nasty? I try to backstab. I try to be a bastard, but all that comes out is nice.

Thanking you in advance.

LATA

I can see I am going to have to take you in training, LATA. Yours is a sad case but I am sure I can help.
 
Posted by Sarkycow (# 1012) on :
 
LATA, remember how at Christmas/birthdays/present-giving times, people always say "It's the thought that counts"? And remember all those boring sermons, in which the vicar drones on we cannot change ourselves, through our own actions; instead we need Christ to transform us from the inside, through our minds? And remember all the rubbish therapists/Californians spout about us being "human beings" not "human doings"?

Sadly it's all true.

You can try and change your words and actions, but that uses a lot of energy, you have to be constantly thinking about your goal, and it won't provide long-term change.

Instead, every morning, tell yourself that people are stupid, irrational, gullible little fuckers who will only piss off and stop annoying you if you squash them like the ants that they are. Remind yourself of this at regular intervals during the day.

When you have to interact with people, before saying/doing anything, try to take a deep breath, and think "What's the worst thing I can say/do to this person, to show them just how pointless, stupid and insignificant they are, and how much I dislike them - without getting myself sent to prison or fired from my job?" Then do or say it.

Change your way of thinking about the little bastards first, and a change in your ways of acting and speaking to the prats will naturally flow from there [Smile]

Sarkycow
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Left at the Altar:
...I try to be a bastard, but all that comes out is nice.

How odd. I'm still stinging from the verbal abuse you've heaped upon me.

What was that supposed to be? ...terms of endearment? [Waterworks]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
Once again, thank-you, panel of experts! [Overused]

(One should never be too proud to ask for help with a question outside of one's own experience.)
 
Posted by Left at the Altar (# 5077) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gort:
quote:
Originally posted by Left at the Altar:
...I try to be a bastard, but all that comes out is nice.

How odd. I'm still stinging from the verbal abuse you've heaped upon me.

What was that supposed to be? ...terms of endearment? [Waterworks]

Oh there, there, Gort. What I was doing was encouraging you to try harder. It was nice. I felt nice about it anyway.

Thanks panel.
 
Posted by Joyfulsoul (# 4652) on :
 
Dear Sine,

I have a friend who is suffering from a relationship that is just not meant to be. What is the best advice to help her get over the guy? Thank you.

P.S. the guy is not a jerk.
 
Posted by Scots lass (# 2699) on :
 
Dear Sine

I've been offered a job and I'm not sure if I'm going to take it. If I decide against it, what is the correct way to word my decline?
 
Posted by Real Ale Methodist (# 7390) on :
 
The best way to be nasty and callous is not to try and do it. Instead remind yourself of how foolish everyone else is and how right you are. Think how much they'll thank you when you correct their flaws. You were put on this earth to shape the world in the correct image YOUR image. With this in mind you can be a right bitch and still feel good about it. The key to cruelty is righteousness. For some reasons Christians are very good at that.

Oh and:

Useful stock phrases include; "Oh thats one way of doing it, but if you were a full christian/proper professional/a little more experienced you would do it my way" and "I'm really concerned about the choices your making with your life, you clearly hate yourself, how can I help?"
 
Posted by lazystudent (# 5172) on :
 
Flausa - perhaps they're cousins, just not cousins of each other. Men say the funniest things.

[ETA: I know I'm slow, but I don't think I've ever been five days behind a conversation before. Hmm.]

[ 13. June 2005, 16:38: Message edited by: lazystudent ]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Joyfulsoul:
I have a friend who is suffering from a relationship that is just not meant to be. What is the best advice to help her get over the guy?

P.S. the guy is not a jerk.

I can't tell here. Have they broken up or are you trying to break them up (for her own good of course.)?

My grandmother's stock answer was "there are plenty of fish in the sea" but I always found that remarkably unhelpful.

I could bare my soul here and remark on a similar problem that moi (Yes, even I have problems - that's why I'm qualified for this thread.) is having.

As you said, some things are just not meant to be. But we want what we want and try to fix things or manipulate things to make them turn out the way we want them to. Your friend has no control over this other person. She can't make him feel the way she wants him to. Ask her if she finds that she's adjusting herself, changing herself, or in some other way not being her true self around this guy in an effort to make it work.

If so, ask her if she would really want to go through life that way, and if she thinks her real self isn't wonderful and valuable and won't be truly appreciated by someone down the road.

Of course what will probably happen is that she'll bitch and moan to you about her unsatisfactory relationship for months and months until some other loser shows up. Then you can hear about him until you're ready to [Projectile] .
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Scots lass:
Dear Sine

I've been offered a job and I'm not sure if I'm going to take it. If I decide against it, what is the correct way to word my decline?

That would be:

Dear Sir or Madam,

Thank-you so much for offering me that exciting janitorial position at Acme Screw & Bolt. As it turns out I have already accepted another position, albeit not in the private sector. I enjoyed getting to learn about your company and greatly appreciate your confidence in my janitorial abilities.

Sincerely,
Tony Blair


...or something to that effect.
 
Posted by Scots lass (# 2699) on :
 
Thank you, but how did you guess what the job was?
 
Posted by Chapelhead (# 1143) on :
 
Dear Sine

I am intending to visit the United States of America this autumn (or “fall”, as you would so quaintly put it). More specifically I will be in New York, and there are a number of questions with which I’m sure you can assist me.


The first conundrum I have is this: I was brought up to understand that eating in public, especially in the street, and except at proper picnics, should not be undertaken (and on this side of the pond we are particularly aware of how adherence to this principle assisted in the downfall of Communism). However, I am led to believe that one of the great culinary delicacies to be had in New York is the hot-dog (or “dogs”, as I think they are sometimes known). As these seem to be sold by street vendors, is it permissible to eat them in the street without attracting opprobrium? Alternatively, could you suggest any suitable (types of) restaurant where I might enquire as to whether they serve dogs?

Secondly: Although I am not a great watcher of television, I have occasionally seen television programmes (or should that be “programs”?) set in New York, such as Friends and Will and Grace. I gather from these that it is customary when living in apartment blocks in “The big apple” (or am I thinking of “the top banana”?) to leave one’s front door unlocked so one’s friends and neighbours can enter without having the bother of knocking and being let in. Should I also adopt this practice with my hotel room?

Thirdly, I am told that Americans do not drink tea as God intended, but instead have it cold (possibly something to do with getting into a tizzy over the subject of tea some time ago). Also from television and films, I gather that New York is highly susceptible to unfortunate incidents, such as alien invasions, assault by master criminals and attack by Godzilla. In such circumstances having a really good cup of tea would seem most advisable. When visiting New York should I take my own teapot?


Any other advice you can suggest for a Briton visiting our former colony would be most appreciated.


With thanks


Chapelhead
 
Posted by Peronel (# 569) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chapelhead:
When visiting New York should I take my own teapot?

When I travel to the states I always take my own tea. Once I forgot, and spent several days scouring supermarket shelves for something that wasn't lipton or similar.
 
Posted by kinder (# 8886) on :
 
Although not Sine, I can add that there are plenty of shops in NY with excellent teas- some of them even containing tea (not some herbal replacement). The question, I believe, is whether or not to bring a teapot. As a habitual coffee drinker, I cannot speak to that.


Which brings up my question.

Dear Sine-
Is the correct wording
"an" habitual or "a" habitual?

Sincerely,
kinder
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by kinder:

Dear Sine-
Is the correct wording
"an" habitual or "a" habitual?

Sincerely,
kinder

"a habitual", unless of course you're in the 'abit of dropping your aitches.
 
Posted by kinder (# 8886) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
quote:
Originally posted by kinder:

Dear Sine-
Is the correct wording
"an" habitual or "a" habitual?

Sincerely,
kinder

"a habitual", unless of course you're in the 'abit of dropping your aitches.
Thank you. As a born and bred So. Californian, dropping my "h" would be a bit affected. However, for some reason "an" sounded better to my ear (but I used "a" anyway).
 
Posted by Campbellite (# 1202) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chapelhead:
Thirdly, I am told that Americans do not drink tea as God intended, but instead have it cold <snip> When visiting New York should I take my own teapot?

Any other advice you can suggest for a Briton visiting our former colony would be most appreciated.

With thanks

Chapelhead

While these united States began as British colonies, those days are long past. It would be helpful to note that while here, you are in a foreign land, oddly familiar and disturbingly strange at the same time. Resign yourself to the fact that Americans are incapable of making a decent cuppa.

Sample the exotic cuisine offered. Try not to compare us too harshly with the Mother Country. Two and a quarter centuries have elapsed, and subtle differences have emerged. Embrace the cultural variety. (We certainly have.)
 
Posted by Joyfulsoul (# 4652) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
quote:
Originally posted by Joyfulsoul:
I have a friend who is suffering from a relationship that is just not meant to be. What is the best advice to help her get over the guy?

P.S. the guy is not a jerk.

I can't tell here. Have they broken up or are you trying to break them up (for her own good of course.)?

My grandmother's stock answer was "there are plenty of fish in the sea" but I always found that remarkably unhelpful.

I could bare my soul here and remark on a similar problem that moi (Yes, even I have problems - that's why I'm qualified for this thread.) is having.

As you said, some things are just not meant to be. But we want what we want and try to fix things or manipulate things to make them turn out the way we want them to. Your friend has no control over this other person. She can't make him feel the way she wants him to. Ask her if she finds that she's adjusting herself, changing herself, or in some other way not being her true self around this guy in an effort to make it work.

If so, ask her if she would really want to go through life that way, and if she thinks her real self isn't wonderful and valuable and won't be truly appreciated by someone down the road.

Of course what will probably happen is that she'll bitch and moan to you about her unsatisfactory relationship for months and months until some other loser shows up. Then you can hear about him until you're ready to [Projectile] .

My friend has broken up (it was mutual) - but her heart has not recovered. Your sage advice was greatly appreciated. Thank you.

sincerely,
Joyfulsoul
 
Posted by share a ferret (# 8975) on :
 
Dear Sine
I am fortunate enough to be going to Africa this summer with Tearfund to do some aid work for three weeks. The business of one of my friend's parents kindly gave me £100 towards the cost of going. I have now managed to misplace this cheque and can't find it anywhere, I fear it has been chucked out by accident. Would it be ok to ask for another cheque because i lost the one he sent me, and if so, can i talk to his daughter or do i have to speak/write to him?
Yours in anticipation, Ferret.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chapelhead:
Dear Sine

I am intending to visit the United States of America this autumn (or “fall”, as you would so quaintly put it). More specifically I will be in New York, and there are a number of questions with which I’m sure you can assist me.


The first conundrum I have is this: I was brought up to understand that eating in public, especially in the street, and except at proper picnics, should not be undertaken (and on this side of the pond we are particularly aware of how adherence to this principle assisted in the downfall of Communism). However, I am led to believe that one of the great culinary delicacies to be had in New York is the hot-dog (or “dogs”, as I think they are sometimes known). As these seem to be sold by street vendors, is it permissible to eat them in the street without attracting opprobrium? Alternatively, could you suggest any suitable (types of) restaurant where I might enquire as to whether they serve dogs?

Secondly: Although I am not a great watcher of television, I have occasionally seen television programmes (or should that be “programs”?) set in New York, such as Friends and Will and Grace. I gather from these that it is customary when living in apartment blocks in “The big apple” (or am I thinking of “the top banana”?) to leave one’s front door unlocked so one’s friends and neighbours can enter without having the bother of knocking and being let in. Should I also adopt this practice with my hotel room?

Thirdly, I am told that Americans do not drink tea as God intended, but instead have it cold (possibly something to do with getting into a tizzy over the subject of tea some time ago). Also from television and films, I gather that New York is highly susceptible to unfortunate incidents, such as alien invasions, assault by master criminals and attack by Godzilla. In such circumstances having a really good cup of tea would seem most advisable. When visiting New York should I take my own teapot?


Any other advice you can suggest for a Briton visiting our former colony would be most appreciated.


With thanks


Chapelhead

My, aren't you the brave one. Gotham, as we all know, is Wicked™. It exists so those of us who live in decent, God-fearing sorts of towns have a place to go to do nasty things we wouldn't dream of doing back home...that, and to see Broadway shows, of course. Therefore normal standards of behavior do not apply. So live it up. Eat hot dogs on the street. Leave your door unlocked and try to make new friends (This works better if you're staying at the YMCA). Who's gonna know?

As for the tea, your best bet is to leave your paraphernalia at home and then complain loudly to the wait-person in a high-pitched, whiny, hoity-toity sort of English voice "I say, old chap, this tea is perfectly dreadful!" I'm sure he or she will jump to make it right and will be grateful for the correction.

I expect some of our NYC shipmates may be along shortly with a different point of view.
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
Chapelhead, you're going to hate the way hot tea is made here. Even in very good restaurants they will bring you a pot of water that's already starting to cool and a selection of teabags if you order hot tea; you then have to paw through the teabags to find the least objectionable and plunk it in the water way too late. If you're going to NY in the summer it's going to be hot anyway, so why not drink what the natives drink: iced tea, lemonade, soft drinks, or beer.
 
Posted by nicolemrw (# 28) on :
 
did someone mention new york shipmates? [Biased]

first on a serious note, chaplehead, you _will_ let us know when you'll be here, won't you? the new york shipmates may not be as organized as the californianians, or the nashville mafia, but we do like to have the excuse of a visiting shipmate for a meet.

secondly, street eating is not only appropriate, but one of the great joys of nyc. in fact, in certain areas, the only cheap, quickly available source for a worker to have breakfast or lunch is the traveling "roach-coach".

thirdly, it is only in the southern portions of the country that ordering "tea" will get you iced tea. in these parts, "tea" will get you the hot beverage. weather it will get you a teabag and a pot of water, or a cup brewed properly depends on where you are, but it will at least be hot.

leaving your door unlocked is not recomended.
 
Posted by nicolemrw (# 28) on :
 
oh, and lastly, although nyc has on occasion been devastated by giant lizards*, our usual monster du jour is giant apes.


*twice that i can think of, once by the beast from 20000 fathoms, and once by godzilla.
 
Posted by Miffy (# 1438) on :
 
Dear Sine,

I too intend to visit the United States of America this Summer. More specifically - Florida. Whilst I'm prepared for the inevitable hoots of laughter from Shipmates at my deplorable lack of good taste at choosing such a destination, I'm nevertheless alarmed at Mad Geo's advice in the 'Dress for Success' thread, to wit:
quote:
Florida - Disco clothes and mixes of colors and prints you wouldn't see in nature, nor would you want to.

This poses a sartorial dilemma for a Brit whose normal attire consists of Jumper Polo shirts, navy M and S jeans and woolly Burberry (pre 'Chav' era) cardigan. The words 'cheap' and 'mutton dressed as lamb' come to mind.

Tell me, Sine, what should I do? [Help]
 
Posted by Viola (# 20) on :
 
Dear Sine,

I have an event coming up this weekend, which I'm sure would benefit from your wisdom and input.

I am due to meet the parents of Fabulous New Boyfriend for Sunday Lunch - hosted by mother of FNB. Also present will be the brother and sister-in-law of FNB with their 2 year old son. The lunch is in honour of the birthday of FNB's brother, but it will also be the first opportunity that the parents have to check me out.

I think I can manage on the smart casual dress side of things, so my question really hinges on who should receive gifts.

I have met brother, sister-in-law and toddler very briefly. Toddler was frightened of me. Does he need a present in an 'oh yes you can buy love' kind of way? Should I buy a birthday gift for brother of FNB, or stick with a reasonably tasteful card? Should I take flowers for the mother of FNB? I think I'm excused from bringing a bottle to the table as the parents are strict and teetotal Methodists, and FNB is lapsed and knows far more about wine than I do anyway.

Yours - wishing to create good impression without appearing smarmy,

Viola.
 
Posted by jlg (# 98) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Viola:
Toddler was frightened of me. Does he need a present in an 'oh yes you can buy love' kind of way?

While we're waiting for Sine to share his wisdom on the overall situation, may I suggest that you plan to have a small trinket of some sort (feel free to consult with a knowledgable relative for suggestions) tucked away in your purse or pocket. Nothing fancy, nothing fancily-wrapped-up, and definitely not to be presented at first meeting. At some point in the middle or at the end of the lunch when you are already interacting with the toddler, you can suddenly say "Oh, I nearly forgot! You might like this". It helps if it is something which requires a bit of demonstration (a Jacob's Ladder or finger-puppet or whatever), but can then be handed over to the child without requiring further interaction unless the child seeks you out.

Toddlers are quite sensible little humans who look at you and think "Who are you and why are you talking to me?" when meeting strangers. It is best to make brief friendly overtures (including a present is fine) but then withdraw your attention and allow them to watch you interact with the adults they know and trust so they can check you out.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by share a ferret:
Dear Sine
I am fortunate enough to be going to Africa this summer with Tearfund to do some aid work for three weeks. The business of one of my friend's parents kindly gave me £100 towards the cost of going. I have now managed to misplace this cheque and can't find it anywhere, I fear it has been chucked out by accident. Would it be ok to ask for another cheque because i lost the one he sent me, and if so, can i talk to his daughter or do i have to speak/write to him?
Yours in anticipation, Ferret.

Oh dear. How embarrassing. Frankly, people who accidentally throw away £100 checks probably shouldn't be going to Africa. Probably shouldn't even attempt a weekend in Bognor Regis for that matter.

Well you can't go through the daughter. It wasn't her £100 check you lost, now was it? So you have to speak to her father. He needs to know why the check hasn't cleared. And you can't really ask for a replacement since it was charity after all. The best you can do, I think, it explain, in a manly forthright sort of way, that you have misplaced the check, are terribly sorry and wanted him to know so his accountant could stop payment on it and take it off the books.

Then shut up.

If God is on your side the father will then offer to replace it and with much hemming and hawing and extravagant expressions of gratitude you can accept it.

But how about you go straight to the bank this time?
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Miffy:
I'm nevertheless alarmed at Mad Geo's advice in the 'Dress for Success' thread, to wit:
quote:
Florida - Disco clothes and mixes of colors and prints you wouldn't see in nature, nor would you want to.

This poses a sartorial dilemma for a Brit whose normal attire consists of Jumper Polo shirts, navy M and S jeans and woolly Burberry (pre 'Chav' era) cardigan. The words 'cheap' and 'mutton dressed as lamb' come to mind.

Tell me, Sine, what should I do? [Help]

You're going to have to buy some vacation clothes anyway. Florida is damn hot and muggy in the summer so I doubt you've got much in your wardrobe that's appropriate. But people are going to know you're a furriner as soon as you open your mouth so their expectations will be low to begin with. Besides, they live off tourists down there and have seen far worse than you. You should see the Canadians.

So just buy the coolest, lightest things you can find locally. They will doubtlessly be in light summery colors. You will blend in better than if you were wearing loud print fabrics you weren't comfortable in.

You wouldn't look right dressed like a resident unless you already had a deep, dark tan like an expensive Italian shoe and your husband had his shirt unbuttoned to his navel and was wearing a zillion gold chains.
 
Posted by The Bede's American Successor (# 5042) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chapelhead:
Any other advice you can suggest for a Briton visiting our former colony would be most appreciated.


With thanks


Chapelhead

Are you making reference to what is a former Dutch colony? The same former Dutch colony with a gift from France in its harbor?

Advice: Try not to be too shocked when you arrive. (And try Uncle Sine's suggestion when staying at the YMCA.)
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Viola:
so my question really hinges on who should receive gifts.

I have met brother, sister-in-law and toddler very briefly. Toddler was frightened of me. Does he need a present in an 'oh yes you can buy love' kind of way? Should I buy a birthday gift for brother of FNB, or stick with a reasonably tasteful card? Should I take flowers for the mother of FNB?

So ostensibly you are your FNB's date at his brother's birthday lunch. But the reality is you're being checked out. How much simpler it would have been had they separated the two events, but they did not. Ah well. So you've got to deal with both the text and the subtext.

Being invited to a birthday celebration for someone you hardly know is awkward. Definitely no present for the brother. Even a card is a little iffy in my opinion. You don't know the man. Yet it is his birthday.

Do you bake? My suggestion would be to bake a batch of cookies and put them into two tins or baskets. Give one to the mother and the other to the brother. The cookies will excite the child and hopefully he will have good thoughts of you as the provider of such largesse. Moreover you have provided a gift that didn't "cost money", wasn't too personal, yet shows you are thoughtful, domestic, and good wife material.

Anyway, that's what I think. Good luck. You'll need it.
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
So just buy the coolest, lightest things you can find locally.

Alternatively, you can wait until you arrive in FL to buy your vacation duds. I've no idea what cost of clothes are here as compared to your neck o' Britain, so you might want to do some checking.

I guarantee you whatever you buy in FL won't be available in your home neighborhood, so, depending on your taste for spectacle, that might either be a very scary thing or a very good thing.
 
Posted by Chapelhead (# 1143) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Bede's American Successor:
quote:
Originally posted by Chapelhead:
Any other advice you can suggest for a Briton visiting our former colony would be most appreciated.Chapelhead

Are you making reference to what is a former Dutch colony? The same former Dutch colony with a gift from France in its harbor?
Ah, but everybody in Holland watches the BBC, so they practically count as British now. [Biased]
 
Posted by Peronel (# 569) on :
 
KenWritez, clothes in the US are very much cheaper than the UK (half the price or less) so, if you like shopping, then it's worth taking an empty suitcase and scheduling at least one day at the mall.

Actually, that's financially worth it if you don't like shopping. I do all my major clothes shopping once a year, off-season, in detroit. The amount I save more than covers the flight.

Peronel.
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Peronel:
I do all my major clothes shopping once a year, off-season, in detroit.

Yeah, but doesn't the fact of having to be in Detroit [Eek!] negate all the good? Why not go to the garment districts in NY or in L.A.? Infinitely less expensive there.
 
Posted by Grits (# 4169) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Peronel:
I do all my major clothes shopping once a year, off-season, in detroit. The amount I save more than covers the flight.

Good golly, girl. Is there another, more pressing reason you have to go to Detroit? Surely you could fly to Chicago just as cheaply, and I can guarantee the shopping advantages would be worth it. What's in Detroit? Besides, you can do off-season shopping cheaply just about anywhere.
 
Posted by Miffy (# 1438) on :
 
Ah well. [Roll Eyes] I'll take myself back off to the Summer Fashions thread.

(Miffy who really really wishes she hadn't started to read the Thunderstorms thread.) [Frown]

[ 15. June 2005, 18:51: Message edited by: Miffy ]
 
Posted by Peronel (# 569) on :
 
Detroit also contains my best friend and her wife, so it offers a chance to catch up and spend time together, as well as free accomodation.

There's also the most tacky catholic church in christendom, complete with light up phallic tower. What more could I want?
 
Posted by Papio. (# 4201) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Peronel:
There's also the most tacky catholic church in christendom, complete with light up phallic tower.

I now want to see it, so that I can ascertain exactly how tacky it is. [Big Grin]
 
Posted by Jeremiah Gutzywuk (# 8783) on :
 
Sine, I desperately need your advice.
Yesterday, I went to visit one of the seniors from our congregation. She was in a local intensive care/chronic care hospital, awaiting placement in a nursing home when a space becomes available.
Her 4 adult children, while not able to contribute a great deal financially, are all very hardworking, well liked members of our congregation. Two sing in the choir, one leads the youth group, one is our Sunday school superintendent.

Anyhow, because the dear old soul often spoke of the lovely peony garden she had when she still owned her home, I took her a large bouquet of peonies from our back garden. Unfortunately, they were infested with ants, which did not show themselves during the brief trip to the hospital.
Unfortuantely again, the woman who shared her hospital room is deathly alergic to fire ants.
When that woman's oldest daughter arrived for a visit and saw the ants (they were NOT fire ants!) she took it upon herself to smash the window in the hospital room, toss the flowers into the parking lot, scream at the hospital administrator, and launch a lawsuit against the hospital, the city, and the county.

Unfortunately yet again, a nursing home bed came available that same day in a community 60 KM away. Under normal circumstances, the woman probably would have been allowed to wait for one closer to her family. It seems, however, that they must now either agree to her placement, where her room would be covered under medicare, or begin paying $3500 per day for the "true cost" of her hospital bed. The family can't afford to make that choice, and she will be sent 60 KMs away tomorrow.
The family, it seems, is unable to make the commute to that community on anything approaching a regular basis, so, tragicly, the woman is destined to die alone, forgotten, far from home and family - all because of my peony bouquet.

What should I say to the family, Sine?
 
Posted by Peronel (# 569) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Papio.:
quote:
Originally posted by Peronel:
There's also the most tacky catholic church in christendom, complete with light up phallic tower.

I now want to see it, so that I can ascertain exactly how tacky it is. [Big Grin]
Try here. Click on virtual tour. THe angels on the tower, I'm told, have the face of the bishop responsible for its erection. It's not so bad in daylight but at night the Christ-on-erect-phallus tower is light up in the appropriate liturgical colour. Once I saw it purple. Very goth.

I've yet to discover if, twice a year, it actually goes pink. I do hope so.

Peronel.
 
Posted by birdie (# 2173) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Viola:
Toddler was frightened of me. Does he need a present in an 'oh yes you can buy love' kind of way?

Top tip regarding toddlers and all small children: They know when you are trying too hard.

A toddler can spot the type of adult who wants to be adored by small children at 100 paces and will avoid them like the plague. Say "hullo toddler" in a friendly but not gushy way, then get on with talking to the grown-ups. Mr birdie won the undying adoration of one of my nephews in this way, while people who try harder are more or less ignored.

jlg's suggestion of a small trinket to be casually produced without song-and-dance is a good one. A bottle of bubbles has always worked well for me in this type of situation, but be careful of blowing bubbles indoors - not that good for the furniture, perhaps.

All the best; they can't fail to like you!

b (still known as 'the bubble lady' by some of the small children in church)
 
Posted by welsh dragon (# 3249) on :
 
Haven't seen a Church of the Little Flower before. My late Dad had a strong devotion to St Therese of Lisieux and would have been in his element with this. Believe me, though, a church dedicated to this patron saint has a great deal more intrinsic potential for tacky-ness. Illuminated flying artificial roses & etc.

[ 15. June 2005, 19:50: Message edited by: welsh dragon ]
 
Posted by Peronel (# 569) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by welsh dragon:
Believe me, though, a church dedicated to this patron saint has a great deal more intrinsic potential for tacky-ness. Illuminated flying artificial roses & etc.

They have them. Not to mention a particularly cross-eyed statue of the saint in question.

It's not so much any particular item that's tacky, it's the overall effect. No surface that could be decorated has been left plain; there are enough side chapels for every day of the month and enough statues for every day of the year; and all of them are in exactly that sort of over-sentimental disney-coloured finish much loved of certain christian stores.

Plus the whole thing stands next to an IHOP. The contrast is too much.

[ 15. June 2005, 19:56: Message edited by: Peronel ]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jeremiah Gutzywuk:
Sine, I desperately need your advice.
Yesterday, I went to visit one of the seniors from our congregation. She was in a local intensive care/chronic care hospital, awaiting placement in a nursing home when a space becomes available.
Her 4 adult children, while not able to contribute a great deal financially, are all very hardworking, well liked members of our congregation. Two sing in the choir, one leads the youth group, one is our Sunday school superintendent.

Anyhow, because the dear old soul often spoke of the lovely peony garden she had when she still owned her home, I took her a large bouquet of peonies from our back garden. Unfortunately, they were infested with ants, which did not show themselves during the brief trip to the hospital.
Unfortuantely again, the woman who shared her hospital room is deathly alergic to fire ants.
When that woman's oldest daughter arrived for a visit and saw the ants (they were NOT fire ants!) she took it upon herself to smash the window in the hospital room, toss the flowers into the parking lot, scream at the hospital administrator, and launch a lawsuit against the hospital, the city, and the county.

Unfortunately yet again, a nursing home bed came available that same day in a community 60 KM away. Under normal circumstances, the woman probably would have been allowed to wait for one closer to her family. It seems, however, that they must now either agree to her placement, where her room would be covered under medicare, or begin paying $3500 per day for the "true cost" of her hospital bed. The family can't afford to make that choice, and she will be sent 60 KMs away tomorrow.
The family, it seems, is unable to make the commute to that community on anything approaching a regular basis, so, tragicly, the woman is destined to die alone, forgotten, far from home and family - all because of my peony bouquet.

What should I say to the family, Sine?

"Shit happens."

But smile gently in a warm, priestly sort of way when you say it. Sometimes it's not what we say, it's the way we say it.

(Actually, Mr. Gutzywuk, I think you've won the prize for Best Problem of the Week. Except that there isn't one.)
 
Posted by josephine (# 3899) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jeremiah Gutzywuk:
Unfortunately yet again, a nursing home bed came available that same day in a community 60 KM away. Under normal circumstances, the woman probably would have been allowed to wait for one closer to her family. It seems, however, that they must now either agree to her placement, where her room would be covered under medicare, or begin paying $3500 per day for the "true cost" of her hospital bed.

Can she accept the distant placement on a temporary basis, and ask the folks at that nursing home to help her get placed in one closer to her family? I would think that's something the social workers would be able to help make happen.

You could also use the Eldercare Locator service to find a longterm care ombudsman in your area, or other services that might be able to help. Your state probably has a department or office of senior services which might be able to provide referrals.

Another, somewhat drastic, option, if the woman and her family are all agreeable, is to contact the local newspaper and see if they are interested in doing a story about what happened. It could give them a nice personal hook into a story about eldercare issues. And it could shame the hospital into doing the right thing, or open up doors in other ways.

And, FWIW, Sine's answer isn't that far off base. When I once found myself in a terribly difficult situation, one dear friend responded by saying, "Oh, shit." Surprisingly, that was a tremendously comforting response -- far more comforting that the responses from people who were trying too hard to be encouraging and supportive. She understood. It helped.
 
Posted by John Holding (# 158) on :
 
Josephine --

What you suggest is probably good advice in the abstract, but reading between the lines and knowing a little bit about the situation in most provinces of Canada (I think Jerry is in Ontario or BC but I don't know), the poor woman's family probably doesn't have the options you suggest. Because her family has insufficient private resources, they are dependent on what is available that is subsidized. If they had the resources, they wouldn't have the problem. They've already been most of the places you suggest and done all they can do to get to their present place.

And I think Jerry's problem is that he realizes that although he acted with the best of intentions, he is the only reason the family is facing this situation. And that he can't fix it. And he wants to help the family, but can't see how anything he says or does will do anything but make them rememeber that he is the reason their mother is being shunted off to a place where they won't be able to see her much or help her.

(Of course, it is possible Jerry has not misunderstood the nature of this thread and is having a laugh at us taking an imaginary problem seriously. But the framework around the situation makes it plausible that it's real. I don't know that Sine is really in a position to help with the real world.)

John
 
Posted by Paige (# 2261) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by John Holding:
(Of course, it is possible Jerry has not misunderstood the nature of this thread and is having a laugh at us taking an imaginary problem seriously.

Ummm....given that Jerry is claiming that all of this happened in one day (from ants, to lawsuit, to granny being chucked out of the nursing home), I think you can assume he's taking the piss.

(I love using those British expressions... [Big Grin] )
 
Posted by rugasaw (# 7315) on :
 
Fire ants don't live in Canada. I think that either a leg is being pulled or some one should contact a newspaper like Josephine suggested.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
Would anybody like to buy a bridge? I believe Jere has one for sale.
 
Posted by Jeremiah Gutzywuk (# 8783) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
Would anybody like to buy a bridge? I believe Jere has one for sale.

O ye of little faith (and perhaps a little too much experience!)
I have no bridge for sale to any of you; however, I am taking bids on the Parliament buildings in Ottawa; they aren't being used for anything other than a circus now anyway.

The word Parliament, by the way, comes from the French word Parle, to speak, and the Latin Mente, the bull.
The word means to speak a load of bull. So perhaps it is working the way it should be, after all.
Anyway, the building is now listed by me for sale - check it out on E-Bay.
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
Dear Sine,

Another marital difficulty from the house of Eliab:

Mrs Eliab’s mother has come to stay for the weekend. In due course, she asked my dear wife when we last turned our mattress. I assumed this was some sort of obscure euphemism, but no, further enquiry reveals that Mrs E senior considers it necessary to flip mattresses over every two months. So the springs wear more evenly, apparently. A mattress will wear out in ten years (which is news to me) but if left unturned, might need replacing after a mere eight.

As I’d been at work all day, it’s currently bloody hot, and as I know very well which muggins in the Eliab household will now be told off to do this inconvenient and pointless thing, I did my best to convince her otherwise.

I tried reason (“If I don’t lug an awkward heavy object about every eight weeks for the rest of my life, and I live another seventy years, I’ll need to buy one extra mattress over all that time? I think I can live with that”). I tried rhetoric (“Here is sanity <extends left arm> here you are: <extends right arm> between them there is a great gulf fixed”). I even tried honestly expressing my feelings (“By all God’s holy saints in heaven, you’re bloody deranged!”).

It didn’t work. I got ordered to shift the bedding about. Now Mrs Eliab thinks I’m impolite. Her mum thinks I’m ignorant and impolite. I’m going to be asked about poxy mattresses every time I see her until the end of time. And then she’ll find even more pointless jobs to make Mrs Eliab feel guilty about until she gets me to do them. The atmosphere in the house has been lighter.

Sine, do you think I could have handled this better?


Eliab
 
Posted by Moth (# 2589) on :
 
Dear Eliab,

A suggestion from a mere amateur, whilst we await Sine.

Next time, go upstairs, sit on the bed for a few minutes, then jump up and down once or twice on the floor in a mattress-moving-simulating kind of way.

Then go downstairs, dusting off your hands and say "Job done!".
 
Posted by Miffy (# 1438) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Moth:
Dear Eliab,

A suggestion from a mere amateur, whilst we await Sine.

Next time, go upstairs, sit on the bed for a few minutes, then jump up and down once or twice on the floor in a mattress-moving-simulating kind of way.

Then go downstairs, dusting off your hands and say "Job done!".

Great idea, Moth. Unless Mrs E Snr decides to check for herself! [Snigger]
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
The problem with turning a mattress is that you have to strip the bed first.

Tell your MIL that you will turn the mattress next time the sheets are changed. With luck, she will leave before then.

Moo
 
Posted by Left at the Altar (# 5077) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
The problem with turning a mattress is that you have to strip the bed first.

Tell your MIL that you will turn the mattress next time the sheets are changed. With luck, she will leave before then.

Moo

And add that you change the sheets every six months, whether they need it or not.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
Sine,

I recently slightly singed my tie on a candle, leaving a small black mark on the edge of the wide bit. Normally I am quite good with stain removal but this one has defeated me. I know you'll probably just tell me to buy a new one, but this tie has sentimental value. It was my school tie from James Ruse Agricultural High School and we have a class reunion quite soon (although they overlooked my invitation to the last one, even though many people have my 'phone number; I know because I handwrite it on my business card when I meet old school acquaintances. They were lucky I got the details almost accidentally when I bumped into someone who was on the way there).

The tie has survived worse on the school farm, and I'm sure it has many years of wear and tear left in it—that's the beauty and durability of nylon for ya— if only this scorch mark can be dealt with. As the mark is quite high up I originally just tried a Windsor knot instead of the usual four-in-hand, but the proportions were all wrong.

Please help.

[ 25. June 2005, 05:59: Message edited by: Gordon Cheng ]
 
Posted by Left at the Altar (# 5077) on :
 
Dear Uncle Sine
What is the best way to go about choosing husbands for one's daughters?
My daughters are aged 12 and 10 and I am anxious not to leave this important process until too late.
What steps should I take to introduce them to the right sort of boys? Should I send them to finishing school in Switzerland? Should I encourage them to be clever, or is cleverness off-putting to chaps?
I would like gentlemen of good breeding and incredible wealth, but I understand that not many men fit both criteria. If I have to choose between the two, which is the more important?

Many thanks.
LATA

PS. A handy hint on how to keep the claws of females off my son would also be appreciated.

[ 25. June 2005, 06:54: Message edited by: Left at the Altar ]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
Mrs Eliab’s mother has come to stay for the weekend. In due course, she asked my dear wife when we last turned our mattress.

I tried reason...I tried rhetoric...I even tried honestly expressing my feelings

It didn’t work. I got ordered to shift the bedding about.

And then she’ll find even more pointless jobs to make Mrs Eliab feel guilty about until she gets me to do them.

Sine, do you think I could have handled this better?

You glossed over what's really going on here.

It's not about you. It's not about the mattress. It's about your mother-in-law trying to make her daughter feel like an incompetent housekeeper. I admire your mother-in-law's style. She managed to pick a housekeeping chore that everyone knows they should do but always put off. The woman is obviously an expert in the field of guilting.

How well I remember when my grandmother would come to visit and play my mother like a violin until mother snapped and started screaming at her. My grandmother's field of expertise was criticizing the cleanliness of the baseboards or the patina of the silver.

You, sir, were caught in the midst of the Sacred Mysteries and were merely the lamb being sacrificed on the altar of the Mother / Daughter power struggle. There is nothing you could have done other than go consenting to the knife. A wise man knows when protest is useless.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
I recently slightly singed my tie on a candle, leaving a small black mark on the edge of the wide bit...The tie has survived worse on the school farm, and I'm sure it has many years of wear and tear left in it—that's the beauty and durability of nylon for ya— if only this scorch mark can be dealt with.

Gordon, may I suggest you aren't being quite truthful here. You talk of a small black mark on the tie, but later reveal this tie is nylon. Nylon doesn't scorch. It melts. What you have actually done is melt your tie, isn't it? And you expect me to able to help?

Well, I can help. The fact your classmates are trying to keep the news of this reunion from you reveals you must have been one of the class geeks, which is quite an accomplishment at an agricultural school. But on the bright side their expectations of your behavior will be low.

You need to accessorize to hide the melted spot. I suggest you crash, I mean attend, the reunion clutching your latest Jesus book to your chest. In the unlikely event any of your former classmates come up and speak to you, your book will partially cover your tie during the no doubt brief conversation.

And there's always the possibility you might sell a couple.
 
Posted by babybear (# 34) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
Mrs Eliab’s mother has come to stay for the weekend. ...

You glossed over what's really going on here.

It's not about you. It's not about the mattress. It's about your mother-in-law trying to make her daughter feel like an incompetent housekeeper.

Dear Uncle Sine speaks the truth! Listen to him. You might like to print his reply and give it to your wife after your mother-in-law's visit has finished.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
Gordon, may I suggest you aren't being quite truthful here. You talk of a small black mark on the tie, but later reveal this tie is nylon. Nylon doesn't scorch. It melts.

I'm sorry Sine, you're quite right, it couldn't have been nylon. I am really quite ignorant in the faux fabrics department. I meant to say polyester-nylon of course. The nylon gives it that silky smooth feel that my former classmates comment on quite often. "Lovely old school tie, I can see why you'd wear it so often" etc.

quote:
You need to accessorize to hide the melted spot. I suggest you crash, I mean attend, the reunion clutching your latest Jesus book to your chest.
I don't know if I can do that without appearing presumptuous, but you've given me a wonderful idea. I have a series of 'illustrated bible scenes' ties my aunt gave me years ago for my confirmation. I haven't wanted to wear them as they are the clip-on sort, and I despise artificiality, but perhaps now is the time to dig them out and use one of them.

If anyone at the reunion asks about them I shall of course give full credit to you, Uncle Sine. Thanks ever so!

Gordon

[ 25. June 2005, 21:31: Message edited by: Gordon Cheng ]
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng
I have a series of 'illustrated bible scenes' ties my aunt gave me years ago for my confirmation.

Is there any chance you could show us a picture of these? My mind boggles.

Moo
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
Is there any chance you could show us a picture of these? My mind boggles.

Moo

Buckley's or none, I fear. But this is the sort of thing I had in mind, only the colours were not quite as subdued. I mean, when you've got a message to proclaim, proclaim it, I tells ya.
 
Posted by Firenze (# 619) on :
 
That's text, not illustration.

I think we're looking for Adam and Eve before the Fall, Sodom and Gomorrah, and Zorobabel begatting Abiud.
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
Gordon might like one of these. Some of them are illustrated. The one with the Last Supper on it could be a bit of a problem though, you'd have to wear it sideways to get the full effect.

There's all sorts out there, even a Catholic Vatican High Priest of Church Religion Necktie. Sadly, the name's a lot more interesting than the tie itself.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
Gordon might like one of these.

I am a man of few principles, but I assure you one of them is not wearing ties that cost eight dollars.

Gordon, however, may feel differently. (Ariel, you ain't right, girl.)
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Left at the Altar:
What is the best way to go about choosing husbands for one's daughters?

My daughters are aged 12 and 10 and I am anxious not to leave this important process until too late.

I would like gentlemen of good breeding and incredible wealth, but I understand that not many men fit both criteria. If I have to choose between the two, which is the more important?

Money. Money is always more important. You can buy the breeding later. And it's amazing the character flaws others will overlook if you have money.

A timely topic you have raised, LAtA. For me at least, for only yesterday I was thinking of the famous Gunning Sisters. Their beauty was such that although of extremely modest Irish origins they took the London of George II by storm. Helped by the machinations of their mother one married the Earl of Coventry and the other carried off the Duke of Hamilton. So it can be done.

Let us assume that your daughters, although quite attractive I'm sure, aren't fabulous beauties. Things become a bit more difficult in that case. If you don't have the means to send them to posh schools where they will meet and mingle with the sisters of rich young men, your best bet is to encourage them to pursue a career in private nursing. That will enable them to meet rich old men, which actually is preferable.

(Now I'm reminded of Mr. Cole Porter's quatrain "If you espouse an older man through girlish optimism, he'll always stay at home at night and make no criticism. Though you may call it love, the doctors call it rheumatism.")

Ahem…in any case even a girl of modest physical charms should be able to land herself a rich older man if he's bed-ridden and tied to an oxygen tank. Nor with any luck should she have to put up with him long. Just be sure to advise your daughters to always Get It in Writing. But being a lawyer you know this already.

quote:
PS. A handy hint on how to keep the claws of females off my son would also be appreciated.
As to saving your son from the clutches of designing young females, the same advice applies. Encourage him to pursue a career in nursing. Or hairdressing. Either should do it. And looking on the bright side, with three children who are healthcare professionals you and Mr. Altar can look forward to good medical care in your old age. It’s always best to plan ahead for retirement.
 
Posted by Left at the Altar (# 5077) on :
 
As usual, Uncle Sine delivers good advice. My thanks (as I bundle my girls off to nursing school and buy my son his first pair of clippers).

As for the ties, Ariel, the one of the Last Supper worries me. It looks as though Jesus and friends will slide quickly towards the wearer's nether regions, which can hardly be good for religion.
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
Um, yeah. I was going to try to find Sine some less expensive ties, but I got distracted by the Archangel Michael on a skateboard. I'm sure this design could be adapted for a tie, though.
 
Posted by The Coot (# 220) on :
 
Oh wow! Thanks, Ariel! I love the Last Supper, the BVM and the Noah's Ark with the bright green undergrowth. I am even thinking of ordering some!
 
Posted by The Coot (# 220) on :
 
(cof cof, as novelties of course. I thought they might go with my choir robe)
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
I am a man of few principles, but I assure you one of them is not wearing ties that cost eight dollars.

Gordon, however, may feel differently.

That is so unkind, Sine. Just because I think like a missionary doesn't mean I dress like one. I only wear my current tie because it was bought for me, and because it hasn't worn out yet. Or maybe it has, that is what my question was about really.

But I am going to spend up big when I buy the replacement; big I tell you. I even knocked back the offer of a free Foghorn Leghorn tie recently. In some strange twist of reasoning, the person who offered it to me said they thought it might suit me. Very droll indeed. It is to laugh, as Daffy Duck used to opine.

Anyway I apologise for taking up precious thread space, as I think I've received all the help I need here—unless someone other than Sine has a nice tie suggestion they wish to make.
 
Posted by Arleigh (# 5332) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
Gordon might like one of these.

I particularly liked the one, in the middle of a gazillion religious ties, which has Jake (or is it Elwood?) proclaiming, "I'm on a mission from God."

I dare ya, Gordon ...
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
But this is the sort of thing I had in mind, only the colours were not quite as subdued. I mean, when you've got a message to proclaim, proclaim it, I tells ya.

Campbellite should be pleased with that. [Big Grin] It's 100% pure silk

Moo
 
Posted by babybear (# 34) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Coot:
Noah's Ark with the bright green undergrowth. I am even thinking of ordering some!

It is quite stunning. I was thinking abou ordering one for my minister. [Big Grin]
 
Posted by Leetle Masha (# 8209) on :
 
A friend once bought, somewhere in England, the most beautiful neckties for the sidesmen at his church, dedicated to St. Mark. The ties were a deep burgundy with tiny lions woven in in gold thread.

Elegant.

LM
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
Actually, LM, the Metropolitan Opera used to sell ties like that, in one's choice of navy blue or burgundy, as a tie-in (as it were) to Verdi's "Otello." I bought my future husband one for our first Christmas together, and he wore it at our wedding the next summer. (In fact, our anniversary is tomorrow.)

Rossweisse // Eviva il leon di San Marco!
 
Posted by Leetle Masha (# 8209) on :
 
Happy Anniversary and Many Years, Ross! I hope your gondola always glides smoothly and that you will always be serenaded by a sweet voice singing of love and happiness!

Best wishes,

LM
 
Posted by Left at the Altar (# 5077) on :
 
This one of the ties found by Ariel could be misconstrued, because if you imagine it being worn, it would give the impression that Jesus is looking devotedly toward the head of the wearer.

Or is that intended?
 
Posted by Campbellite (# 1202) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
But this is the sort of thing I had in mind.

Campbellite should be pleased with that. [Big Grin] It's 100% pure silk

Moo

Oh dear!

I actually DO own (and wear!) that very same tie! [Hot and Hormonal]

Mrs. C. gave it to me.
 
Posted by Gordon Cheng (# 8895) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Campbellite:

I actually DO own (and wear!) that very same tie! [Hot and Hormonal]

And that is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, brother Campbellite.

Now if you want me to get back to that fellow who was offering me the Foghorn Leghorn number, just shoot me a PM. Ah say, ah say, ah don't know wah he offered it to me, ah tell ya, and will ya listen to me when ah'm talkin' to ya.

You and I, we seem to be kindred spirits. [Smile]

[ 27. June 2005, 10:16: Message edited by: Gordon Cheng ]
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
Hey Sine, question for you:

My middle brother, oldest brother, and sister are invited out to dinner by Middle's elderly neighbors.

Oldest Brother orders the most expensive entree, two expensive appetizers for everyone (which the neighbors did not eat), and two pricey glasses of wine. Middle brother and sister try giving him The Eye and The Cough to urge him to rein in his spending, but he is oblivious. Total dinner tab for the five of them is about $250.

Middle brother feels Oldest Brother took advantage of the situation, acted the heel, and should pay for his own expensive extras, which he did not do when settling the tab at the restaurant.

I suggested one option: Take the cash for Oldest's extras over to the neighbors and say Oldest "forgot" to give this to them the night of the dinner. Then, Middle and Oldest can come to whatever reckoning they like.

Is Middle over-reacting and was Oldest a mooch? If you are invited out to dinner, is it a license to order as you please or do you refrain from the orgy? IOTW, what's the best way to handle oneself as a guest in such a situation?
 
Posted by saysay (# 6645) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
If you are invited out to dinner, is it a license to order as you please or do you refrain from the orgy?

Uncle Sine is far more qualified to address your post than I am, but when my stepmother was trying to teach me how to behave as a Proper Young Lady, she told me that I should always order something less expensive than what my date had ordered.

I abandoned this principle as soon as it became clear that all Proper Young Gentlemen had been taught that they should allow their dates to order first.
 
Posted by Leetle Masha (# 8209) on :
 
My usual manner of avoiding the "price-crunch" when invited out to eat is to suggest to the one taking me out, "Why don't you order for both of us?", so as to allow my companion to choose the food and price-range.

Of course, if it's a seafood place and I see
Squid boiled in its own Ink on the menu, I advise my companion that I am allergic to squid.

LM
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
Hmmmmmm, that might work for you, but I wouldn't do it.

My usual tack in the above situation is to ask the host before the waitron arrives what he's ordering, and I'll use the price of his dinner as a guide for where mine should approximate. (I'll try to keep my order within $5 or so of his.) If he orders a $6 hamburger, I'll stay away from the full rack of babyback ribs at $25.

That being said, you as the host must face a certain obligation of generosity in such a situation, namely, when you ask someone to dinner, unless you ask your guest beforehand to order within a price range (dreadfully tacky, IMO), your guest has the freedom of the menu to order what he likes.

Likewise, AISI, the guest has an obligation not to exploit his host's generosity. If you invite me to stay for the weekend, I don't have the right to repaint the room I use nor sell your cat.

It's all kind of a dance, I think.
 
Posted by Telepath (# 3534) on :
 
Paying for your own extras wouldn't work, either, because of the "I Hope You Brought Enough For Everybody" principle. You don't buy yourself a special treat to consume at someone else's party, unless you're prepared to buy enough for all the guests. And if you do that, you're usurping the host's prerogative, innit.
 
Posted by josephine (# 3899) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
Is Middle over-reacting and was Oldest a mooch?

Quite possibly both. Or either one. Hard to say from your story.

It seems that Middle thinks that the host couple invited them to a restaurant that they really couldn't afford. That's possible, of course, but it seems a bit patronizing to me. Since they selected the restaurant (they did, didn't they?) it seems reasonable to assume they knew how expensive said restaurant was. They may have been genuinely delighted that all of their guests chose what they wanted, and would have been offended by any offer to pay for any portion of the meal.

If the host couple was giving out standard social cues about what price range to stay in ("We just love the sandwiches here" or that sort of thing), then perhaps Oldest was being boorish. In fact, even if they weren't giving out those sorts of cues, Oldest was overstepping his bounds as a guest by ordering appetizers for the table. The host should have done that, if it were to be done.

But why does Middle feel responsible for Oldest's behavior? Unless Middle was asked to make up the guest list for the outing, it seems to me that any problem that exists is between Oldest and the hosts, and Middle should stay out of it.
 
Posted by Rat (# 3373) on :
 
It is a dance. It would be rude of the hosts to restrict what their guests can order, it would be equally rude for a guest to take advantage by ordering lobsters and champagne for everyone.

Equally, it would be rude to embarrass the hosts now by awkwardly trying to give them extra money, which seems like the likely outcome if a retrospective attempt is made to fix things. (I have to wonder just a tiny bit whether Middle is as altruistic as he claims or whether he might be using the whole thing to get at Oldest).

I would leave well alone now - if the hosts didn't like Oldest's behaviour they won't invite him again.
 
Posted by Dee-nz (# 5681) on :
 
What Rat said.

[ 27. June 2005, 21:32: Message edited by: Dee-nz ]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
Don't you just really miss the days when only the host at the table got a menu with the prices on it and everybody else had to guess?

Of course there's absolutely nothing stopping you when entertaining a largish party at a restaurant from consulting with the management beforehand and choosing the dinner for your guests. It's kinda classy actually. Wouldn't do it for less than a party of eight though. A friend and I once entertained a dozen or so people that way and it was great fun.

But that really wasn't Mr. Writez' question. And I think you guys have pretty much answered it. Oldest brother was in fact rude. Middle brother needs to stay out of it. And in general, if the host won't say what he or she is getting to give you a price guide, go for the chicken.
 
Posted by Rossweisse (# 2349) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
...And in general, if the host won't say what he or she is getting to give you a price guide, go for the chicken.

...or the pasta.
 
Posted by The Coot (# 220) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Campbellite:
quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
But this is the sort of thing I had in mind.

Campbellite should be pleased with that. [Big Grin] It's 100% pure silk


Oh dear!

I actually DO own (and wear!) that very same tie! [Hot and Hormonal]

Mrs. C. gave it to me.

I think the worst thing about it is the hideous melange of fonts - god didn't all desktop publishers learn this is what you don't do? The text taking up the whole tie comes next.

An understated small modern font taking up not more than a 1 in by 2 1/2 in block somewhere near the bottom and offset to the right could have worked.
 
Posted by anglicanrascal (# 3412) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
Gordon might like one of these. Some of them are illustrated. The one with the Last Supper on it could be a bit of a problem though, you'd have to wear it sideways to get the full effect.

Oh.My.Goodness.

[ 28. June 2005, 06:35: Message edited by: anglicanrascal ]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
Dear SoF Panel of Experts,

My younger nephew's Welsh girlfriend has come to visit for the summer. She seems a charming girl but she has a thick foreign accent and I can hardly understand a word she says. I am speaking to her slowly and distinctly in a loud voice, as one appropriately speaks to foreigners so I know she can understand me. She however thinks she is speaking English or possibly Welsh - I really can't tell - but is unintelligible.

How many times should I say "I beg your pardon?" or "What did you say" before I give up and just smile and nod like I understand what she's saying?

I am also somewhat concerned she may be a drug addict because she gave my brother and sister-in-law a giant hand-carved coke spoon she claims is a Welsh handicraft called a "love spoon". Love spoon indeed. I know drug paraphernalia when I see it.
 
Posted by anglicanrascal (# 3412) on :
 
Dear Sine,

maybe when she visits you could leave some of your Metallica and Slayer LPs around the house and casually mention the "fun" you used to have in your younger days at such concerts. Such fun, of course, would be damaging your hearing (as well as ingesting certain chemicals that had been het up in large metal spoons) with a result that your ability to understand her might be reduced ... and would she please forgive you if you have to ask her a few times to repeat herself ... or maybe write things down. That way you could at least discover if what she is writing is English or not.

Yacchi-dar,
anglicanrascal
 
Posted by Custard. (# 5402) on :
 
It is definitely possible to get used to Welsh accents, though the speaking English with a strong Welsh accent and speaking Welsh aren't always totally different things - a lot of the newer words in Welsh are as they would be if in strongly accented English (e.g. ambiwlans / ambulance). But there are lots of Welsh shipmates rather than just ones who used to live very near Wales...

Oh, and Google is your friend.
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
Busy yourself with studious focus on your favorite Bible when they are visiting. Make sure to sit in a rocking chair with a shawl across your lap and engage her with cryptic questions regarding obscure passages. Ignore any attempts by your guests to change the subject. Interject with occasional phlegmy coughing and complaints about your painful bunions or arthritis. If their focus begins to slip, expound upon the wonders of modern medicine and how thankful you are for having that goiter removed last fall. Enhance with lurid detail.

When you see them eyeing the door, close with an acknowledgement that, "I'm sure you kids have better things to do than listen to an old man complain. Go on! Get outta here, you rascals!"

I guarantee your summer will have few embarrassing visits from nephew and friend.
 
Posted by The Wanderer (# 182) on :
 
Sine, this is wonderful! She is talking the language of heaven, and you are very lucky in being given a chance to get used to it early.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Wanderer:
She is talking the language of heaven

Ah! That makes sense since I frequently find God unintelligible also.
 
Posted by Firenze (# 619) on :
 
(They call Welsh the language of heaven because it takes all eternity to learn it)

In any gaps in the conversation which seem to require a response, just murmur 'Duw, Duw'. Or, if the expression before you indicates that something more is required: 'No baby? There's posh'.
 
Posted by Gill H (# 68) on :
 
Or, to express surprise 'NEH-vuh!'
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
Or the all-purpose exclamation, "Cow in hell!"
 
Posted by Jeremiah Gutzywuk (# 8783) on :
 
Maybe the reason you don't understand her when she asks you to pass the grits and cornpone is because she is actually asking if you have any strawberries and Devon custard?
 
Posted by saysay (# 6645) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
How many times should I say "I beg your pardon?" or "What did you say" before I give up and just smile and nod like I understand what she's saying?

Sine, dear, you really shouldn't worry your pretty little head over such matters. She's a girl, so she's probably used to people not paying any attention to what she says even if they can understand her. Give up trying to understand her whenever you feel like it. She'll think you capricious, but such is life.
 
Posted by dolphy (# 862) on :
 
Sine dear, the way to deal with this is simple. Just sing 'Bread of Heaven' whenever she says/asks you something and she will be so taken aback with your dulcet tones that she will never ask a question again. Spend your time carving wood (from a tree not the shipmate) and present her with one of these: http://www.carvingpatterns.com/spoons/spoons-1.htm
All will be well.
 
Posted by Flausa (# 3466) on :
 
Sine, I'd be worried about the spoon as well. My understanding is that male suitors provide their intendeds with a love spoon that they personally have carved as a symbol of their undying love. It seems a little bit odd that she has given a love spoon to your brother and sister-in-law. Perhaps she is trying to see if they are into the swinging thing.
 
Posted by Firenze (# 619) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jeremiah Gutzywuk:
Maybe the reason you don't understand her when she asks you to pass the grits and cornpone is because she is actually asking if you have any strawberries and Devon custard?

Why would she be asking for weird foreign muck like that? As a Welsh person, she will live off a diet of laver bread (a bread made of seaweed), bara brith (a bread made of, um, bread. And dried fruit), teisen lap (a bread made of cake), leeks and Caerphilly. And jam coch.
 
Posted by saysay (# 6645) on :
 
Dear Uncle Sine,

My father and stepmother, bless their hearts, are new-age freakazoids. In addition to the near-constant reminders that I am not the child they would have picked out at the daughter store, they fairly regularly slag off my religious beliefs.

Thankfully, they are Enlightened. They employ an argumentative technique I can only conclude they learned from A Feminine Force. They are far, far too concerned with the Higher Things to be concerned with anything so petty as, for example, what to eat for lunch. This means, of course, that they regularly employ a passive-aggressive manipulative means of getting what they want that drives me completely batty. I have, through the years, employed every manner of resistance at my disposal, but to no avail.

“I’m sorry, Say,” my stepmother said to me in one recent encounter. “Sometimes your father enjoys humiliating me in front of others.” “WTF am I supposed to say to that?” I asked my brother. “That’s when you simply smile and nod,” he replied.

I believe in honoring one’s parents, which is why our relationship continues, despite the fact that most of my friends say that, commandment or not, they would have dropped them ages ago. In recent years, I have enlisted the help of numerous friends who are able to intervene at the point at which I look like I am about to snap.

I feel the time has come for a change in our relationship. I can’t prove that my father has emotions just like the rest of us, but I strongly suspect that it is true, especially since ocassionally the facade cracks and he gets very angry. Is there a polite way to tell him that if he doesn’t start acting like a human being instead of pretending that everything is peachy keen all the time I am likely to snap and beat the living shit out of him? Or should I simply step back and let Boy and Father fight it out? I have to admit, the last time I went home, watching Father and Boy compete over who would cook me breakfast was deeply amusing. It would have been nice if either of them had asked me what I wanted, but I suppose we can’t have everything.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by saysay:
Is there a polite way to tell him that if he doesn’t start acting like a human being instead of pretending that everything is peachy keen all the time I am likely to snap and beat the living shit out of him?

Oh my! What a fascinating glimpse into another's family life. There is so much here I would like to comment on, but a) it is Heaven, and b) I'm just here to answer questions. So I guess I'll have to just answer the actual question. Pity.

If I read you correctly, you wish to change your father and step-mother's behavior. You can't. You can only change your own. (I do find it interesting that what really annoys you is that your father is cheerful. One would like to say that is an attitude to be encouraged in others, but apparently not.) At the risk of pointing out the obvious you have choices in how you react to them. You need to learn some detatchment, and possibly some forgiveness, if you wish to stay in a relationship with them. I also suggest you copy out the Serenity Prayer and stick it in your pocket when you go to see them. Refer to it as necessary.

You are presumably an adult. You are under no obligation to continue passively reacting (rather than acting) to them as if you were still a child. They can only jerk your chain if you let them.
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
Dear Sine,

Earlier this week my boss sent round an email saying we had been invited to visit a factory on an industrial estate near Swindon and when would we like to go, with a choice of dates.

My immediate reaction was "Never" but while I struggled to find a tactful and acceptable way of expresssing this, or of quickly booking myself a holiday on those dates within the next few minutes, the date was settled by email by the more enthusiastic members of the section and we are due to drive down and spend the day there in a couple of weeks.

I am still trying to find a tactful and acceptable way out of what I regard as a complete waste of time when I shall be given a day-long sales pitch as my colleagues and I inspect the factory and see how things are made. Frankly I don't care so long as the job is done OK, and we are not going to get a nice lunch out of it either. I asked the last people who went what they got, and was told "manky sandwiches."

Any suggestions on how to pull out of this? I just wish I could be honest and say the thought bores me to distraction and I'd rather stay at the office. I have successfully evaded a previous trip on the grounds that it would be difficult to get to but don't think I can get out of this one.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
Calling in sick the day of the excursion, which does indeed sound loathsome, would be too obvious. What you need here is the ever-popular Home Emergency.

My favorite Home Emergency is the busted water-heater. It's also better if you have your boss's home phone number so you can call him/her at the crack of dawn: "OMG! I hope I didn't wake you! I just got up and there's water everywhere! It must be the water-heater. Got to call the landlord. Looks like I'll be a little late. I'll keep you posted."

Then have some more tea and watch the morning news for a while. Call the office about twenty minutes after starting time and update them: "The plumber was supposed to be here a half hour ago, but still hasn't shown up. You guys may have to leave without me."

Show up at work about forty-five minutes after they've left for the factory tour with extravagant expressions of regret for having missed such an interesting and informative outing.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
By the way, be sure you show up at the office with stringy unwashed hair, looking generally disheveled*. That will add authenticity to your story. Details are important when lying...so I'm told.

(*Assuming this is not your normal appearance.)
 
Posted by Suze (# 5639) on :
 
Dear Uncle Sine,

I'm hoping you can help me with my dilema.

I have recently returned from a very sunny summer holiday having, unfortunately, overdone the "sunny" bit. As a result my shoulders, back, arms and, erm, decollete are a patchy mix of freckled, sun burnt and peeling skin. Ok, let's be frank, I look like I've survived an acid attack. Now normally I'd cover up, put loads of body cream on the affected areas and hide for a week or so. I am, unfortunately, due to attend a business function with my other half and have bought at no small expense, an off the shoulder, low back type dress to wear, complete with matching shoes, bag etc etc as we girlies tend to do.

So, do I wear the ensemble regardless of the fact I look like a leper, try to find something else to wear at additional expense (not to mention "discussion" with other half re wasting limited funds etc etc) or do I feign illness on the night and not go at all.

Yours hopefully


PS I hope you don't mind me addressing you as "uncle" being that we're not actually related and all but I've been reading your advice for ages now and I feel like I practically know you. Thanks awfully.
 
Posted by Rat (# 3373) on :
 
Without pre-empting Uncle Sine's doubtless excellent advice, I think the answer depends a lot on whether you are actively shedding skin, and whether it is likely to end up in other guests' drinks or dinners.

I'd suggest a cardigan.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
I think Rat is on the right track. Even if patches of skin aren't falling off into the soup you obviously look revolting, regardless of how much the chic little outfit cost. Is it possible to get an attractive jacket to wear with the dress? Perhaps something light and sparkly and summery? Or the cardigan suggested by Rat?

Another alternative, and one to which I have actually had recourse before is to get a massage the afternoon of the party and have the therapist rub off all the loose skin possible and oil you up well. Not much fun for him/her but that's what they're getting paid for, after all*. Then apply some self-tanning lotion to try to even out the skin tones a bit.

Of course you could just admit defeat and take one of those hand-carved backscratchers to the party and sit there absent-mindedly scratching the dead skin off as if it were perfectly normal behavior on your part, but I wouldn't really recommend it. As for staying home, if you do that the chic outfit is for naught anyway and who knows what your other half will be up to without your eagle eye upon him. Best not to risk it.

(*Probably better if you have a regular massage therapist here rather than just walking in off the street. Of course the stress of life being what it is, everyone should have a regular massage therapist anyway. I certainly do. Charming man. And those magic fingers. Bliss.)
 
Posted by Sarkycow (# 1012) on :
 
Suze, I recommend you get yourself a chic little bolero. I'd suggest a complementary colour, as that will break up your outfit, and make it look as if the jacket is part of the outfit, not a last minute add-on [Biased]

Or try a stole, for a similar effect. Problem with a stole is that you generally have to keep hold of them, or remove them...

Sarkycow
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
The Bovinator is of like mind with me. Get yourself a stole, shawl or some kind of largish but stylish wrap to cover your shoulders and back. (I vote for simple black.) Put it on and bolt it to your body if you must, but do not surrender it.
 
Posted by Sarkycow (# 1012) on :
 
Depends what colour the dress is. If the dress is pale, then black will over-balance you. If you dress is black, then a black top is too much of a good thing.

Pick an appropriate colour, that works well with the dress [Biased]
 
Posted by cocktailgirl (# 8684) on :
 
Yep. Get a pashmina or something. It worked for me when I had an amazing big bruise on my upper arm, not one of whose many hues matched my posh frock. A pashmina is big enough to stay in place while you're eating, and if there's dancing, you can tie it together at the back. Won't help much if your dress is low cut though. Maybe a burka? [Razz]
 
Posted by Suze (# 5639) on :
 
Thanks all for your invaluable advice - think I'm going to go for a combination of pashmina/wrap type thing - the dress is in shades of bluey/green so something in that scheme should be OK - and the whole massage/self tan thing, not least because it'll do my poor abused skin some good to get some TLC.

I did, briefly, consider the backscratcher but I couldn't use one of them and pick my toes at the same time (did I mention the athlete's foot problem I've be struggling with.....) [Two face]

I'm sure the night will be a great success, thanks to my shipmates timely advice.

[trying to spell is also a struggle just now - doh!)

[ 01. July 2005, 16:29: Message edited by: Suze ]
 
Posted by birdie (# 2173) on :
 
Those little shrug things seem to be all the rage at the moment too, although they might not cover up enough skin for your liking under the circumstances.

b

[cross-posted]

[ 01. July 2005, 16:33: Message edited by: birdie ]
 
Posted by cocktailgirl (# 8684) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Suze:
I did, briefly, consider the backscratcher but I couldn't use one of them and pick my toes at the same time (did I mention the athlete's foot problem I've be struggling with.....) [Two face]

Will there be any of you left by the time the big night happens?!
 
Posted by Ann (# 94) on :
 
You don't want anyone to ask why you're chanting, "He loves me, he loves me not ..."
 
Posted by Suze (# 5639) on :
 
[Killing me]
 
Posted by luvanddaisies (# 5761) on :
 
Dear Sine;

have you retired?
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
Apparently all problems were solved and we now live in the best of all possible worlds.
 
Posted by Grits (# 4169) on :
 
I like your new sig, but I think it's safe to say that none of us are as nasty as Goodric.
 
Posted by Tortuf (# 3784) on :
 
I have a question.

Is it better to wear green while fishing in the South Harpeth, or a khaki color? I'm going fishing tomorrow and I don't want to be outré.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
Just wear your usual camouflage outfit and you'll go with everything. Do not, however, wear your baseball cap backwards. That's so yesterday.
 
Posted by Goodric (# 8001) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Grits:
I like your new sig, but I think it's safe to say that none of us are as nasty as Goodric.

Dear Uncle Sine,

I seem to have unfortunately accrued a reputation for being really, really, really nasty. It is quite clear that everyone is scared out of their wits of me and I am hated by most Shipmates for my evil posts. Even YOU say you are not as nasty as I am and you are apparantly happy to be associated with any place in the world, save, dear olde Buxton Spa - a most beautiful and cultured place. A town "You all know anyway" I am somewhat associated with.

Therefore could you please, kindly advise, if there is anything I can do to remedy this situation. I have almost been a year on The Ship, a meagre passage of time for a tyrant and I hate to think how my world wide reputation will continue to decline. I fear my infamy for nastyness of a brutal and unsubtle nature may spread beyond the Ship so that I am held to be an even greater pariah than Saddam Hussain, Osama Bin-Laden, Joseph Stalin or Adolph Hitler.

Is there anything I can do?

Yours, in ever increasing circles of nastyness and tear sodden handkerchiefs.

Goodric.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
Dear Goodric,

It is obvious you suffer from that old-fashioned complaint an excess of bile. It is endemic among CofE clergy trapped in parishes that do not offer Alpha courses.

Old-fashioned complaints require old-fashioned cures. Eat more plums. That will clear out your system and get those bile ducts working properly again.

If this doesn't work you might petition the administrators for a name change and start over. Perhaps you could consider "Pyx_e_Jr".

[ 16. July 2005, 11:08: Message edited by: Sine Nomine ]
 
Posted by Corpus cani (# 1663) on :
 
Dear Uncle Sine,

Sadly, we all have the potential for evil - suggesting that Goodric attend an Alpha course strikes me as a good way of unleashing his true evil. Not wise. [Disappointed]

Goodric isn't really nasty - he's actually a real cutie but he thinks he's nasty and some people on board have seen fit to encourage this delusion.

Witness his lovely PMs or the good, generous and kind defence he has attempted of 103 on these boards: he is sweet and holy man, brimming o'erful with charity and spiritual efficacy.

Let me know if you ever find yourself on the right side of the pond, dUS, and together we can Mystery Worship the church in a certain Midlands Spa town and see Goodric in the true light of his radiant holiness, for it will truly be the closest either of us gets to Jesus of Nazareth.

Corpus
 
Posted by Corpus cani (# 1663) on :
 
Dear Uncle Sine,

I think I've developed a teenage crush on a famously grumpy clergyman at a Midlands Spa town. It's disturbing since (a)I can't remember how long it is since I was a teenager and (b)the clergyman in question is one of the nastiest parsons in this fair realm (Grr) but I feel the need to defend him publicly.

What should I do?

Corpus
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
While there is nothing wrong with feelings per se, we should not necessarily act on all of them. That would make you a sociopath and mother wouldn't like that, now would she?
 
Posted by Goodric (# 8001) on :
 
Dear Uncle Sine

I'm afraid your last piece of advice may have been a little flawed. I have been running Alpha courses for about eight years now. Admittedly when I speak I'm not quite so smooth as Mr Gumbel on his videos and there seems to be a lack of nubile younbg women in the audience gazing in awe at me. (Perhaps Corpus could supply a few of those?) Nevertheless I run Alpha courses and our parish is now on its third series. Therefore would I be correct in assuming that because of this the "bile" is less of an issue than you might have thought at first.

I must admit I find it somewhat amusing that you could have thought I would not have run Alpha courses. I thought I was typical Alpha fodder - are not most Alphartised clergy like me?

I also have another problem that I wish to share with you. This is one that has just come to light. There is someone on the Ship who fancies me like mad. I don't know what to do about this bewcause even though he is clearly very "nice" and his judgements are usually perfect in everything, I am already a marred, sorry married man?

Furthermore I fear for his safety and mine. Should Mrs Goodric ever find out there was even a hint of scandal, my head would be found the next Sunday, by the congregation, impaled on the processional cross as an example to all and if she ever tracked down my admirer, his entrails would be employed as elastication in her not inconsiderable wardrobe of ladies bloomers.

To add to this is the strange issue is Callan, who I was absolutely convinced, from his posting style was female, but who recently revealed himself to us all as being a male, but also with a female Sex I D according to the BBC. (If the BBC say so, then it MUST be right). How am I supposed to know who tyo fancy in this place?

So Uncle Sine I still have this besetting problem of nastyness and my woes on the ship seem to be multiplying through having attracted someone through my subtle charms.

Yours with a finger firmly on the monitor switch and an ear to the door.

Goodric

[ 16. July 2005, 21:45: Message edited by: Goodric ]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
You boys need to get a room and thrash (as it were) things out for yourselves. There's nothing that good, open communication can't resolve as I'm sure you know from all your Alpha courses.

We certainly don't want a hostly reminder that the dating thread was closed for a reason.
 
Posted by Amos (# 44) on :
 
Do you think Corpus's signature might give us a hint of what's going on here?
 
Posted by Revelle (# 8554) on :
 
Dear Sine:

This may seem out of left field, but oh well. You see I have a rather close friend (female) who I am getting very attracted to. Now we are the best of friends, and i was wondering how one would go about this. I know you should tread carefully as the save the relationship...but I really do like her allot.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Revelle:
Now we are the best of friends, and i was wondering how one would go about this.

That's simple. You're honest with her about your feelings but don't try to control the outcome and accept her answer even if it's not what you wanted to hear.

Simple, but not easy. I've been there. Fairly recently in fact. I didn't get the answer I wanted but since I was honest we're still friends.

Try it.
 
Posted by tomb (# 174) on :
 
{sigh}

The last time we had an Agony Aunt on the Ship of Fools, it was Miss Monica, who was into solving Problems by tying them up and disciplining them with whips and chains.

And now we have... Sine.

Standards are slipping. Everyone is becoming so Republican.
 
Posted by Sir Kevin (# 3492) on :
 
Tell us more about Miss Monica... [Snigger]
 
Posted by Emma. (# 3571) on :
 
ohh i missed out on miss discipline?! shucks.
 
Posted by lazystudent (# 5172) on :
 
And Miss Demeanour. Now there was a lady to turn a Ship.
 
Posted by tomb (# 174) on :
 
All y'all have far too high SoF membership numbers to remember Miss Monica, and I'm not feeling anywhere grizzled enough to sit in the proverbial Ship's rocking chair and regale whippersnappers with "I remember when."
 
Posted by Emma. (# 3571) on :
 
awwwww......
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
Special to "Anonymous in Western State":

Ditch the tail. Young hair and old face don't work well in close proximity.
 
Posted by babybear (# 34) on :
 
Whippersnappers can go read for themselves.

Ask Miss Monica

Shipmates might like to read the answer to Wood's question on how to feed a moose.
 
Posted by Gill H (# 68) on :
 
Sven was never really the same after I baptised him in a mug of tea, was he?

(Wonders if there is any Sven/Miss Monica slash fiction out there, remembers this is Heaven and shuffles off shamefaced ...)
 
Posted by tomb (# 174) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by babybear:
Whippersnappers can go read for themselves.

Ask Miss Monica

Shipmates might like to read the answer to Wood's question on how to feed a moose.

Dammit, BB, I was waiting until people begged me for more information. Partypooper.
 
Posted by babybear (# 34) on :
 
Sorry honey. I mistook you for a man of integrity. I forgot your humble beginings with Miss Monica, the wrist restaints and the whips.
 
Posted by Grits (# 4169) on :
 
Dear Sine:

Well, I finally broke down and bought those linen pants you said I couldn't do without. And I finally wore them this weekend. I have to admit, I do love them.

Here's my question: Are they really dry clean only? I mean, I have no problem with dry cleaning, but I have found that some things actually do better (and get cleaner) if I wash them at home.

They are lined. What do you think?

Wrinkled but stylish,
Ms. Grits
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Grits:
Well, I finally broke down and bought those linen pants you said I couldn't do without.

Life is better with linen. It just is.
 
Posted by Corpus cani (# 1663) on :
 
Dear Uncle Sine,

I have climbed the greasy pole and spend much of my time as #2 in School dealing with the whims and caprices of the Headmaster, the Governors, m'colleagues and the parents. I like to think I handle them all with diplomacy and sapient skill.

It has recently come to my notice that, in a certain quarter of Trumptonshire society, I am popularly known (behind my back) as "Humphrey" (as in Sir Humphrey Appleby of Yes Minister fame. .)

Should I be touched and proud, or mortified and offended?

Corpus
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
Dogsbody, I'm a big fan of the show and IMHO it's a helluva compliment.

Even if it's not.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Grits:
Well, I finally broke down and bought those linen pants you said I couldn't do without.

Here's my question: Are they really dry clean only?

Do what you like, but I ain't putting my new lined linen Ralph Lauren blazer (1/3rd off at Dillards) in the Maytag. Not even on cold water wash.

In my experience only heartbreak comes to those who ignore those little care tags. I used to have a knit shirt that said "for best results, dry clean". It turned out it meant "you'll be really, really sorry if you put it in the washer."

But sometimes I think God gave us free will so He could snicker at some of our choices.

(I must say, lined linen slacks seem like something of an oxymoron.)

BTW, chocolate-brown is the must-have color for this coming fall - paired with navy blue.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Corpus cani:
Should I be touched and proud, or mortified and offended?

How about 'relieved and grateful' considering what else they could be calling you behind your back.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Corpus cani:
I have climbed the greasy pole

BTW, is this anything like 'spanking the monkey'? I try to keep my slang current.
 
Posted by Grits (# 4169) on :
 
I've missed the dry cleaning run for this morning, but I'll get them out tomorrow.
quote:
(I must say, lined linen slacks seem like something of an oxymoron.)
Well, they're that nice vanilla-y linen color and, with this weave, they'd be quite transparent without a lining.
 
Posted by Corpus cani (# 1663) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
quote:
Originally posted by Corpus cani:
I have climbed the greasy pole

BTW, is this anything like 'spanking the monkey'? I try to keep my slang current.
I don't think so, but simian-slapping is hardly my field. [Eek!]

Corpus
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
Sine, I have an important but not terribly urgent question for you.

Thanksgiving approaches and the Sturdy Wench and I will be having my family up for the day to our newly remodeled house.

One of my brothers is a nit-picker. "Why'd you do it that way?" or "You should have waited to do so-and-so." This, of course, all comes under the guise of offering "helpful advice."

I am tempted to rudely tell him where he can insert his "helpful advice" if he trots it out, but what would you suggest for a more socially acceptable form of dealing with this?
 
Posted by The Prophetess (# 1439) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
Thanksgiving approaches

[Eek!]

And I thought my brother made me crazy...
 
Posted by Rat (# 3373) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
I am tempted to rudely tell him where he can insert his "helpful advice" if he trots it out, but what would you suggest for a more socially acceptable form of dealing with this?

I find silent seething followed by talking maliciously about them once they've gone usually works for me.

But I'll await with interest Sine's better solution.
 
Posted by Belisarius (# 32) on :
 
Judith Martin mentions two tactics:


 
Posted by Grits (# 4169) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Prophetess:
quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
Thanksgiving approaches

[Eek!]
And I thought my brother made me crazy...

My thoughts exactly. What planet is he on? He's fastforwarded into the next entertaining season.
 
Posted by The Prophetess (# 1439) on :
 
Speaking of which, everybody should run right out and buy the new little book Punch by Colleen Mullaney. Just the thing for these dog days.
 
Posted by tomb (# 174) on :
 
Ken,

In re. your b.i.l., cook some of the stuffing in the cavity of the turkey and make sure the internal temperature doesn't rise above 160F.

Then prepare some stuffing for the rest of your family and cook it in the oven.

Give your b.i.l. the cavity stuffing and feed the rest of the family the properly cooked stuff.

After your b.i.l. gets out of the hospital and asks you, "Why'd you do it that way?" be honest and reply, "To poison you."

Then, if he doesn't get the message, the next time they come to eat, give him steak tartare or sushi or something else that looks like bait, only let it reach room temperature.

He'll get the message eventually.
 
Posted by saysay (# 6645) on :
 
a) "What's done is done. No point talking about it now." Shift conversation to other matters.

b) Start now. Call brother at times you know are inconvenient for him to ask his advice, since he obviously has strong opinions about the proper way to do things and you're not that picky. Whenever possible, suggest that (since you are obviously incompetent at home improvements) he should pop by to do it for you. Repeatedly call to remind him that you really do need to get this done, so he should be planning a trip to your area soon. Whine. Escalate to calling him for advice about mundane matters, such as what to cook for lunch and how best to cook it. Don't do anything about anything you've asked him to do for you and he hasn't done. When he visits, remind him that you thought he was going to take care of all that and hand him a tool box.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
Thanksgiving approaches

You need to learn to live in the present, Buckwheat, and not go borrowing trouble. Your brother could get run over by a bus on Labor Day. So could you. And then where was all that worry?

quote:
the Sturdy Wench and I will be having my family up for the day to our newly remodeled house.
Ah! The sin of pride has got you into trouble. You just had to have the family over to show off the palazzo, huh? Serves you right.

quote:
One of my brothers is a nit-picker.

I am tempted to rudely tell him where he can insert his "helpful advice" if he trots it out, but what would you suggest for a more socially acceptable form of dealing with this?

In a mild tone of voice you say "You could be right" and go on about your business.
 
Posted by Kelly Alves (# 2522) on :
 
Ooh, Ken, that's a good one! Will drive the guy nuts! [Snigger]
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
Dear Sine,

I’m sorry to ask for help once again, but this one has me stumped. And for once, it isn’t a problem with Mrs Eliab.

One of my very oldest friends has been living with his girlfriend for several years. Recently, they have started sharing their home with another female house-mate. In fact, she is the third member of what is a polyamorous triplet. My friend has told others about the true nature of the relationship only when absolutely necessary and in the very strictest confidence. So naturally it has become common knowledge.

The problem is, I haven’t officially been told, so I have maintained the polite fiction that the two ladies are one girlfriend and one housemate and nothing more.

In the next two months or so, the House of Eliab is celebrating the baptism of my son and nephew (nb. that is, my son and my nephew, being two distinct babies, not just one baby meriting both labels, which would be incestuous). I’m inviting my friends and family to celebrate with me. Obviously it is only polite to invite partners as well, and I’d certainly invite Girlfriend A because I am friends with her as well as her boyfriend. I wouldn’t ordinarily extend an invitation to this sort of family event to people who merely happen to share a house with friends of mine, and I do not know Girlfriend B well enough that she would expect any invitation from me in her own right. But I would certainly invite her if she was my friend’s only romantic attachment.

So is it polite to continue to pretend she is just a housemate and invite only my friend and Girlfriend A? Will it look like a snub to Girlfriend B? Will it look judgemental? Or would it be rude to invite her when ‘officially’ I don’t know about the relationship?

And in general terms, what is the modern etiquette for dealing with friends in polyamorous relationships? Is any stable co-habiting group entitled to be treated as a ‘couple’? Does ‘Mr Solomon and partner’ on an invitation mean just the one partner? And if so, is it polite for the inviter to specify which partner (to avoid putting additional strain on what must be a difficult set of household affairs to manage), or should the guest be put to election as to which of his partners to bring?

I’m sure there are rules about this sort of thing. I just can’t bring myself to Google for them. The thought of what sort of websites I’d turn up…

Sine, please help,


Eliab
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
What a delightful question! Socially people are either engaged, married, or single. Your friend Studly and Girlfriend A can be considered "engaged" since they have been living together several years. You are correct that Girlfriend B socially is a "roommate" since only a cad would be engaged to two girls at the same time.

That you haven’t been officially told is not "the problem". It’s a blessing. You invite Studly and Girlfriend A. Period. Now, if when you issue this invitation Studly would care to explain the exact nature of his domestic relationships, you get to say "How very interesting. I shall look forward to getting acquainted with her, but of course this is a baptism, not a cocktail party. We’re just having family and close friends naturally."

Now as to general rules, there really aren’t social rules regarding what unmarried people do in the bedroom. Partners in a ménage à trois don’t exist as a social unit. Indeed considering how much trouble just a two person couple can create when they get liquored up, one shudders to think about the scenes possible for a threesome.

Obviously since Studly is a close friend of yours you’ve got some hard decisions to make. I think you need to talk to him and find out what his expectations are. Then you need to take those expectations back to your wife and find out how she feels about them. Then abide by her decision. It’s quite possible you may have to start meeting your friend, just the two of you, for lunch or a drink.

When people make unconventional life-style choices they cannot expect others to necessarily cater to them. As you said, this is an inherently unstable relationship. It could implode at any time. You don’t want to be caught in the middle.

OK, those are my thoughts. I’ll now throw it open to the Panel of Experts. Anybody got any better ideas?
 
Posted by Dee-nz (# 5681) on :
 
Sine,

How could anyone improve on that perfect peice of advice [Overused]

Have you ever considered a career in the diplomatic service?
 
Posted by Ginga (# 1899) on :
 
How poly is it? Are the two ladies involved at all, or is it just him that's having all the fun? If it's triangular, you could invite him and partner, and then also invite Girlfriend A and partner, leaving her free to bring along Girlfriend B should she wish (following explanations because it's a secret, of course).
 
Posted by jlg (# 98) on :
 
Sound social advice, as always, Sine. But since you asked for outside opinions, this particular part of your answer struck me:

quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
Obviously since Studly is a close friend of yours you’ve got some hard decisions to make. I think you need to talk to him and find out what his expectations are. Then you need to take those expectations back to your wife and find out how she feels about them. Then abide by her decision.

You're assuming, Sine, that Mrs E is responsible for maintaining the Eliab social connections.

Whichever partner (Eliab or Mrs Eliab) takes that responsibility (or at least the deciding vote if the responsiblity is shared) needs to decide *before* the baptism just how this menage a trois is going to fit into the E-household's social sphere. Now (in response to the baptism situation) is the time to let the menage a trois know just how the Eliabs intend to deal with them socially: Mano a mano only, pseudo-engaged couple plus or minus "friend", or whatever variation the Eliabs are comfortable with.

The fact the Eliab "officially" doesn't know about the menage a trois only increases the options, but since it seems to be public knowledge, leaves the Eliabs free to arbitrarily (think *noblesse oblige*) and suddenly pretend that they had known and accepted the situation all along.
 
Posted by Presleyterian (# 1915) on :
 
Dear Sine:

I would appreciate your advice on how I can cultivate interesting and colorful friends like Eliab has.

Thanking you in advance for your cooperation in this regard.
 
Posted by Spiffy da Wonder Sheep (# 5267) on :
 
Dear Sine:

My cousin is marrying a lovely girl soon, in a traditional Lapsed-Roman-Catholic-Used-to-Be-Slavic-Baptist ceremony at the local Masonic Temple Hall. This is cousin 8 of 12 (I'm 4 of 12, yes, we use those designations, no, I'm not Borg on my father's side), and he is not the first one to get married. I didn't get presents for any of my other cousins who got married, but my mother has decreed I should buy him something, since I'm traveling a thousand miles for the wedding. She says it's tacky to show up empty-handed. I said I don't have a steady job and my rent due. She shrugged and gave me the gift registry. They have been living together for a year and own a house, and it's got better furnishing than my own (and I'm not just grumpy because they have a brand new California King sleigh bed and I am sleeping on an air mattress on the floor). Everything they're asking for is hideously expensive and, in my mind, useless (I kid you not, a grandfather clock is on the list).

Is it truly tacky to show up empty-handed? If so, are there any suggestions for gifts more in my price range?
 
Posted by Grits (# 4169) on :
 
Oooh! Oooh! Me! Me! (My best Horshack impersonation, I'm afraid.)

Spiffy, I think it would be nice and appropriate for you to take a gift, but it doesn't have to be expensive, and it doesn't have to be from the registry.

IMHO (and I defer to Dear Sine, of course), I think a picture frame is the perfect compromise. I would get something classic and tasteful, maybe glass or oak or silver, and in a size appropriate for the style (5x7 for more formal, 4x6 for a casual "photograph" style). Don't get one any larger than 5x7, though. You should be able to get a nice one for well under $20.00. Many department stores and home decor places run 50% off sales regularly on frames.
 
Posted by josephine (# 3899) on :
 
What about something "meaningful"? An icon of the Marriage at Cana perhaps? Or maybe a book such as Marriage and Family Life by St. John Chrysostom, or Marriage as a Path to Holiness by David and Mary Ford?

Or make up something meaningful -- make a little basket, with a jar of honey that their life together may be sweet, a candle that they may always be enlightened by their love for one another, that sort of thing. Write a sappy little guide to what's in the basket.

That shouldn't break your budget, and it would have the added benefit that anyone who dared criticize your choice of gift would risk appearing mercenary and crass.
 
Posted by Left at the Altar (# 5077) on :
 
Dear Sine

In our lunch room at work today, the woman sitting next to me (whom I know very well, having worked with her for some years now) farted. Just like that. While I was eating my sushi, she gave the slightest little grunt, leaned forward and let out a blurt.

I was lost for words. I pretended I had heard nothing and she just went right on doing what she'd been doing pre-fart.

Should I have said something?

LATA
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
I would have burst out laughing, pointed at her and exclaimed loudly, "Your voice has changed, but your breath STILL SMELLS THE SAME!" [slaps table, rattling silverware]
 
Posted by Ann (# 94) on :
 
I was taught that all signs of intestinal distress short of requiring immediate medical aid should be completely ignored by both parties; apologising is as much of a faux pas as laughing and pointing.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Presleyterian:
Dear Sine:

I would appreciate your advice on how I can cultivate interesting and colorful friends like Eliab has.

Place an ad in The Village Voice.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Spiffy da Wonder Sheep:
My cousin is marrying a lovely girl...

...my mother has decreed I should buy him something, since I'm traveling a thousand miles for the wedding. She says it's tacky to show up empty-handed...

...(and I'm not just grumpy because they have a brand new California King sleigh bed)...

Is it truly tacky to show up empty-handed? If so, are there any suggestions for gifts more in my price range?

First of all, there is nothing tackier than a California King sleigh bed. So they've beat you hands down there and have lost all right to any consideration from others. They are obviously trailer trash with a credit card and I don't know why you're even bothering to attend the ceremony.

Moving right along, "your mother has decreed", has she? Still in the midst of the mother/daughter power struggle are we, Spiffy? What else can she find to make you feel "less than" at this supposedly happy family occasion? Has she criticized your outfit yet? Maybe you can distract her with that to get her mind off the gift issue.

But as to your real question "Is is tacky to show up empty-handed": No, it is not. Presents are never obligatory. It's a religious ceremony, not a shake-down. (What is really, really, really tacky, however, and one of Sine's pet peeves, is people who bring gifts to the wedding reception itself rather than having them delivered before or after, but that's another story.)

All of that said, now that your mother has planted the seed of doubt in you mind (Probably along with a lifetime of seeds. You must have quite a garden of doubt by now.) you're not going to feel right showing up empty-handed. I refer you to Grits' and Josephine's excellent suggestions. Don't spend more than 25 bucks. You certainly don't have to get anything off their list. If your mother insists, give her your 25 bucks and tell her you'll go in with her on a gift. That should shut her up.

p.s.: Sometimes I'm glad my mother is dead.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Left at the Altar:
In our lunch room at work today, the woman sitting next to me...farted.

I was lost for words. I pretended I had heard nothing and she just went right on doing what she'd been doing pre-fart.

Should I have said something?

What Ann said. Although the really remarkable part of the story is that you were at a loss for words.
 
Posted by Campbellite (# 1202) on :
 
quote:
Good advice from josephine, followed by:
That shouldn't break your budget, and it would have the added benefit that anyone who dared criticize your choice of gift would risk appearing mercenary and crass.

You know, that's the thing about Southern Magnolias™, They appear to be so refined, gentile, delicate and fragile, just before they hit you with the zinger.
 
Posted by ferijen (# 4719) on :
 
Sine, "sign" or "See-nay".

I've always said the first, but thinking about it, it should be the second, shouldn't it.

Just checking. We comprehensive schoolers didn't get Latin...
 
Posted by Rat (# 3373) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ferijen:
Just checking. We comprehensive schoolers didn't get Latin...

Speak for yourself, I got Latin at my comprehensive. All the way to Higher.

I've always pronounced in "Si-nay" (in my head, obviously).
 
Posted by Belisarius (# 32) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
But as to your real question "Is is tacky to show up empty-handed": No, it is not. Presents are never obligatory.

Not to weddings; presents, however, are officially obligatory at children's birthday parties and showers.

[damn prepositions]

[ 11. August 2005, 15:24: Message edited by: Belisarius ]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Belisarius:
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
But as to your real question "Is it tacky to show up empty-handed": No, it is not. Presents are never obligatory.

Not to weddings; presents, however, are officially obligatory at children's birthday parties and showers.
True. But you can guess how many children's birthday parties and showers I attend. Besides, showers aren't parties any more than Tupperware "parties" are parties. They're shakedowns.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ferijen:
Sine, "sign" or "See-nay".

I've always said the first, but thinking about it, it should be the second, shouldn't it.

Just checking. We comprehensive schoolers didn't get Latin...

"See-nay" or more colloquially "Sinny". Although my close friends call me "Butch". But you probably don't want to get that close.
 
Posted by Grits (# 4169) on :
 
quote:
p.s.: Sometimes I'm glad my mother is dead.
I may be taking this to the "Confess here" thread, by saying sometimes I WISH my mother was dead (not really -- only deathly compliant, I suppose). That'd throw a bucket of water on the proceedings, I dare say.

I, too, find it curious that the usually ebullient LatA had nothing to say in response to her workmate's gastric distress. Perhaps there really is truth to the bipolar rumor about her.
 
Posted by Spiffy da Wonder Sheep (# 5267) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
Moving right along, "your mother has decreed", has she? Still in the midst of the mother/daughter power struggle are we, Spiffy? What else can she find to make you feel "less than" at this supposedly happy family occasion? Has she criticized your outfit yet?

She bought me an outfit to wear. Three sizes too big (which is impressive, given I'm already a big girl) and about as shapely as a potato sack. Needless to say, I'm not going to wear it.

Ah, the joys of coming from a matriarchial family and refusing to have daughters to perpetuate the cycle.
 
Posted by tomb (# 174) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:


p.s.: Sometimes I'm glad my mother is dead.

Ah yes. I know the feeling. Mine has been gone since 1973, though her ghost is still with me, and we converse frequently.

She always initiates the conversation with, "OH MY GOD!" as in, "OH MY GOD, you haven't written that thank-you note yet?" Or "OH MY GOD, didn't I teach you how to sort laundry?"

Which raises a question, Sign. How does one exorcise the ghost of one's mother?

[ 11. August 2005, 19:22: Message edited by: tomb ]
 
Posted by Dee-nz (# 5681) on :
 
quote:
Which raises a question, Sign. How does one exorcise the ghost of one's mother?

Frontal lobotomy.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by tomb:
Which raises a question, Sign. How does one exorcise the ghost of one's mother?

If the Osage medicine man failed, I'm sure I wouldn't know how.
 
Posted by Left at the Altar (# 5077) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
quote:
Originally posted by Left at the Altar:
In our lunch room at work today, the woman sitting next to me...farted.

I was lost for words. I pretended I had heard nothing and she just went right on doing what she'd been doing pre-fart.

Should I have said something?

What Ann said. Although the really remarkable part of the story is that you were at a loss for words.
Ha Ha. Actually, I am very shy in mentioning farty matters, but I wouldn't expect you to understand.

I need more information. What if, as a result of me saying nothing, this woman now thinks "Oh, good, I can just fart around LATA any old time", and just blurts away on a regular basis while I'm eating? Yesterday's fart was not smelly, but if she drops a real stinker, am I entitled to say something? If so, what?

Sushi is expensive. I don't want to be vomiting it back because I share a lunch room with a woman with loose bowels.
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ann:
I was taught that all signs of intestinal distress short of requiring immediate medical aid should be completely ignored by both parties; apologising is as much of a faux pas as laughing and pointing.

Oh, yes. One must maintain appearances by all means. Never let it be said that gaseous emissions at the dinner table, when helped along by a lifted cheek and grunt, are rude and anti-social.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Left at the Altar:
What if, as a result of me saying nothing, this woman now thinks "Oh, good, I can just fart around LATA any old time", and just blurts away on a regular basis while I'm eating? Yesterday's fart was not smelly, but if she drops a real stinker, am I entitled to say something? If so, what?

Sushi is expensive. I don't want to be vomiting it back because I share a lunch room with a woman with loose bowels.

You want me to give you permission to be rude, don't you? I assume this is a public lunch-room, open to all employees. Do you feel that your wishes are so important you're entitled to drive a fellow employee from the room, probably in tears, for your convenience? When I put this together with your admitted penchant for abusing nuns in grocery stores the picture isn't pretty.

If you have such a horror of the bodily functions of others, have you considered eating lunch at your desk while firing off angry emails or letters to those multitudes who annoy you? And if the cost of sushi worries you, you might try peanut-butter & jelly sandwiches. One would hate for the children to miss college because mother squandered their tuition on lunches she couldn't really afford.

However...I will allow you one out. If your co-worker does in the future cut a really smelly big one, I'm sure a woman of your theatrical ability can faint dead away in a convincing manner. That should do it. You'll get the point across without having blatantly hurt the woman's feelings. Plus you'll give the appearance of great delicacy and breeding. Try to clutch your pearls as you fall.
 
Posted by Grits (# 4169) on :
 
And, if you're afraid of hurting yourself in the fall, simply grasp your pearls (or something) and swoon big-time, dropping your head delicately on the table in front of you. (Watch out for the sushi.)
 
Posted by Left at the Altar (# 5077) on :
 
Thank you Sine, and Grits.

I must add, in complete honesty and without fibbing at all, that this woman is ... an ex nun. I kid you not.

Maybe she heard about my stalking the grey nun in Woolies and deliberately did it to warn me off.

I will, henceforth, be nice to nuns.

[ 12. August 2005, 00:01: Message edited by: Left at the Altar ]
 
Posted by jlg (# 98) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by tomb:
Which raises a question, Sign. How does one exorcise the ghost of one's mother?

Count your blessings if you only have the ghost of your mother. In addition to my German-Scots mother, twenty-odd years ago I inherited an Old Yankee Housewife ghost with my house. It's still an act of major willpower to throw away the last sliver of the bar of soap, and it isn't my mother's voice in my head!
 
Posted by Rat (# 3373) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gort:
quote:
Originally posted by Ann:
I was taught that all signs of intestinal distress short of requiring immediate medical aid should be completely ignored by both parties;

Oh, yes. One must maintain appearances by all means. Never let it be said that gaseous emissions at the dinner table, when helped along by a lifted cheek and grunt, are rude and anti-social.
Ann is right, other people's bad manners don't excuse our own.

In most cases farting at the table will be by accident and terribly embarassing to the farter. It should be ignored, rather than compounding their embarrassment by drawing attention to it.

Somebody doing what you describe, on the other hand, is obviously doing it on purpose and already knows it is revolting, rude and anti-social. They want a reaction. Don't give them one.

(The exception might be if the farter was a child whose training you were responsible for)
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rat:
Somebody doing what you describe, on the other hand, is obviously doing it on purpose and already knows it is revolting, rude and anti-social.

Or an old lady. Old ladies can get away with it.
 
Posted by splosh (# 2743) on :
 
Dear Sine,

I have been invited to an ex-boyfriend's wedding. Having not seen or spoken to ex for over a year, I am uncertain to whether to go, and if I do what to take as a gift.

please enlighten me
 
Posted by Rat (# 3373) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by splosh:
I have been invited to an ex-boyfriend's wedding. Having not seen or spoken to ex for over a year, I am uncertain to whether to go, and if I do what to take as a gift.

It all depends whether you are better or worse looking now than when you went out with him, and whether or not you have or can scrape up a partner, preferably one who is better looking than the ex.

If the answer to both those is yes, I'd go. Weddings have free food and people buy you drinks. These are good things.

If you've put on lots of weight, or had an unfortunate haircut, or broken out in bad skin, or if you'd be going on your own, then don't. Being all grown-up and mature and over him (and I'm sure you are all three) is all very well, but it's not worth it. After a few glasses of wine maturity goes out the window and you'll either slide into a pit of despair or get off with someone totally unsuitable.

Only go if you can be sure of remaining convincingly smug all evening.

That is my advice. Sine's will be much better.
 
Posted by Leetle Masha (# 8209) on :
 
If you were "engaged" to the guy who's getting married to someone else and has in spite of that invited you to the wedding, you could always regret thusly:

Miss Splosh regrets exceedingly
That due to a previous engagement,
She is unable to accept the kind invitation of....

Best wishes,

Leetle M.
 
Posted by tomb (# 174) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
If the Osage medicine man failed, I'm sure I wouldn't know how.

Thank you, sir! I never would have thought of calling my cousin in Okmulgee.

quote:
Originally posted by JLG
Count your blessings if you only have the ghost of your mother. In addition to my German-Scots mother, twenty-odd years ago I inherited an Old Yankee Housewife ghost with my house. It's still an act of major willpower to throw away the last sliver of the bar of soap, and it isn't my mother's voice in my head!

Oh, for heaven's sake, Jennifer. This is about Issues, not Poltergeist. Try stripping the wallpaper in the bathroom. That's where they usually hide. If that doesn't help, at least you've managed to Redecorate.
 
Posted by jlg (# 98) on :
 
You've never grappled with an Old Yankee Housewife, living or dead, have you, tomb. [Disappointed]

Strip the wallpaper in the bathroom. *snort*
 
Posted by tomb (# 174) on :
 
"Grappled?"

You make it sound so dirty.
 
Posted by jlg (# 98) on :
 
I should be so lucky.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by splosh:
Dear Sine,

I have been invited to an ex-boyfriend's wedding. Having not seen or spoken to ex for over a year, I am uncertain to whether to go, and if I do what to take as a gift.

please enlighten me

While women will invite ex-boyfriends to their weddings without ulterior motives it is an odd fact that no man ever invites an ex-girlfriend to his wedding just to be nice, especially one he hasn't seen or spoken to for over a year. You'd think it would be the other way round, but it's not. So you already know he's up to no good and certainly doesn't have your best interests at heart.

And there's a part of you that really, really wants to go, isn't there, Splosh? Wants to see if the groom looks tired and unhappy. Wants to check out the bride. Is she better or worse looking than you are? Pick out any flaws that might make you Ex miserable. Does she bray like a donkey when she laughs? The bustle on her gown that can't hide her fat ass. Her mother looks to be a virago who will be the mother-in-law from Hell. You certainly don't want to go to feel the love, as it were.

The thoughts we think about others always come back to us, for good or ill. It's a cosmic law. I personally would advise you not to put yourself in a situation where you will be thinking thoughts and having emotions that will ultimately be self-harming.

But that's a man's advice. For a woman's advice, see Rat's post. I bet you won't be able to resist. So if you do break down and go, give them a pair of lovely linen tea towels. Possibly with a picture of Charles and Diana on them.
 
Posted by jlg (# 98) on :
 
splosh: Rat and Sine speak the Truth.

The bottom line of all social situations is to feel the liberating sensation of superiority: emotional, physical, relational, existential, whatever. If you can't enter the situation secure in your particular sense of superiority, and you have any say in the matter, then don't go.

On the other hand, if you've gotten over feeling vulnerable, you'll be free to be learn the skills needed to be an old lady who farts on purpose just to enjoy watching the distress of her visitors nervous about observing the proprieties.

[Big Grin]
 
Posted by Joyfulsoul (# 4652) on :
 
Dear Sine,

So, a friend of mine who lives on the opposite side of the coast sent me some sermon tapes (5 tapes, two hours each). I'm not really a sermon-y-type of person. I started listening but I have kind of a short attention span so its hard for me... Anyways, I know she'll want some feedback and she is really a good friend even if we have different tastes on receiving information... So, my question is what do I do? I really don't like sermons all that much or maybe its the style of the first sermon that I listened to. But I want her to know that I appreciated her sending it from such a far distance...
...so what do I do when she asks me, "How did you like them?"

sincerely,
Joyfulsoul
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Joyfulsoul:
what do I do when she asks me, "How did you like them?"

Don't wait for her to ask. Be proactive. Call her right now and thank her effusively. Then say "Which ones do you recommended I listen to first?" Then you only have to listen to, say, two of them, just in case she asks again later.
 
Posted by The Coot (# 220) on :
 
About this swooning while clutching pearls that ladies do: is that so no-one nicks 'em while they're down for the count?

Also, jen, you know, there is no reason to throw away the last sliver of soap. You should wait til the end of the first shower with the new one, then press the sliver onto the new one (which will be slightly softened and sticky). Over future showers it will meld in with the new one. The effect is quite pleasing and interesting, actually.

That is prolly why the yankee housewife is pissed off with you. Why waste it when you don't have to?
 
Posted by jlg (# 98) on :
 
The 'stick the old sliver on the new bar' trick only works if you use a soap dish and let the soap get damp and mushy. I like my bar of soap solid, so have this nifty wall-mounted magnetic soap holder that I got in the Netherlands ages ago.

Besides, I decided I've let that housewife ghost browbeat me long enough! [Razz]
 
Posted by Custard. (# 5402) on :
 
You have magnetic soap?
 
Posted by Procrastinus (# 9915) on :
 
Dear Master Sine,

Firstly, I must just say how enthralling, nay, enlightening I have found the many and various pearls of wisdom you have been gracious enough to cast amongst us your shipmates.

I seek your advice on a delicate question. Owing to a certain innate sloth and a busy and demanding life, my humble abode frequently reaches a condition where - not to put too finer point on it - I might accept a visit from my closest friends but not strangers or members of my family. Economics dictates an unfortunate lack of house staff; given this how do I politely refuse visits or entry without either giving offense or drawing undue attention to the dishabile of my home ?

Thank you so much,

Procrastinus
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Procrastinus:
how do I politely refuse visits or entry without either giving offense or drawing undue attention to the dishabile of my home ?

Simple. When your butler answers the door just have him say "Mr. Procrastinus is not at home to callers."

Oh right. You don't have a staff. That's the problem. Well, actually the problem is you're a slob, but that's none of my business.

Now one does wonder just who the strangers are who might be banging on your door, but that too is none of my business although it does open up some interesting fields for speculation.

So what we're really probably talking about is how do you keep your mother from finding out you're living in a pigsty. Correct?

You must take a two-pronged approach.

First:

GO SEE YOUR MOTHER.

She'll have no reason to come check to see if you're dead or alive if you'd just go see here on a regular basis like a good child should. She's not going to be here forever you know. Don't break her heart.

But just in case she drops by, or if it's some other family member, keep a bath towel near the front door. As soon as the doorbell rings, strip naked and wrap yourself in the towel before answering. Then just peek around the door shyly and say "Oops. Sorry. In the shower. Another time, perhaps." and quickly slam the door shut.

Hopefully they won't notice you're dry as a bone.
 
Posted by babybear (# 34) on :
 
I read about a woman who wore a coat to answer the door. IF it was someone she didn't want to see she would make her apology and say that she was just on her way out. If she did want to see them - "I have just arrived home, but do come in." [Big Grin]

Jennifer, have you considered putting your soap slivers into an old sock and using it as a "wonderful body scrubby that lathers effortlessly". If you don't fancy the old sock, you could use the Soap Sliver Saver. I Googled 'soap slivers' can found a lovely page talking about Googling 'soap slivers'.

quote:
Raymond Weisling wrote an essay:Stop Soap Sliver Suffering


I have been restoring the dignity and utility of these tortured, shrugged-off little entities for years, rehabilitating them to provide a little more luxuriant lather in their autumnal days. The process is simple. Soap, when wet, starts to dissolve and soften. But inside it is still quite dry. If a little sliver of soap takes a short bath in warm water it can often become supple enough to conform to the contours of its big brother, the new bar that just arrived. With a little gentle pressure these two will cling together, at first not very tenaciously, but as the relationship develops and each one absorbs something from the slippery, soppy bond, they might well become one until the lesser of the two fades away totally.


 
Posted by Codepoet (# 5964) on :
 
Sine,
A couple of friends of mine are getting married (to each other). It is an honour for me to be invited to attend the wedding. However the reception afterwards is going to be of the "pile them high and sell them cheap" variaty, with a finger buffet and a guests having to buy their own drinks. Since they are going to have a gazzillion guests too, would it be terribly bad form just to go home after the service? No-one would notice my absence and it would save me from a very tedious few hours.
 
Posted by MadKaren (# 1033) on :
 
The happy couple might notice your absence, even if no one else does. So if you are going to disappear make sure you talk to the bride and groom first. If there's not going to be any tables, that makes it a lot easier to grab them early on.

You could also try being a bit less snobbish. Not all of us have £15000 or so to spend on a wedding (or even think it is a good idea). If they are the friends you say they are, then surely you should love them for who they are. Even if you think it is tacky.

MadKaren

[eta: Go and re-read your signature]

[ 21. August 2005, 08:48: Message edited by: MadKaren ]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Codepoet:
would it be terribly bad form just to go home after the service? No-one would notice my absence and it would save me from a very tedious few hours.

Looks like you hit a nerve with MadKaren, Codepoet. She must have charged her "guests" for drinks.

We've got a couple of things going on here.

First of all, they didn't invite you to the church. Not really. They told you when & where the church ceremony was going to be and invited you to the reception. You can't actually invite someone to God's house. (Well you could, but he might get mad and smite you.) If street people wander in to watch the ceremony the ushers are theoretically obligated to seat them. You can't keep people out of a church if they want to come in.

But moving on to the reception: Despite what MadKaren may or may not think, it's tacky beyond belief to pretend to be entertaining people and then ask them to shell out money for their entertainment. It. Just. Is. Period.

If the Happy Couple can't afford alcoholic drinks then they should be serving what they can afford, be it non-alcoholic punch or whatever. Or, on the other hand, cut the guest list to where they can afford to entertain them as they would like. But people getting married (i.e. brides) so often suffer from folie de grandeur. They want to be big shots on a budget and their friends get to pay the price, literally.

So, to finally get to your question: No. You can't skip the reception. But yes, once you have gone through the receiving line and congratulated the groom and expressed your best wishes to the bride (Note my careful phrasing. Don't congratulate the bride.) you may leave. You're not obligated to finance their little clambake.

If the reception is as big as you say it is, your friends will remember you attended and wished them well, but not how long you stayed or when you left.

Now before all you folks who made their guests pay for drinks jump my ass with your whiny explanations and excuses, I suspect there are places and cultures where it may be traditional to make the guests pay for their drinks. Maybe 19th century miners in Cornwall or millworkers in Lancashire or something. But before you pipe up, be sure you're actually from one of those traditions and not just cheap.
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
I was once sent a wedding invitation, not to the actual wedding, which was only for family, but to the reception. It arrived in a brown envelope, and was written in red biro on one of those pre-printed "Come to my party" notes with a frieze of teddy bears and balloons all round it, and there was a little note on the bottom saying bring your own bottle.

Naturally, I ignored it. I am told that those who went were given a plate of sandwiches and expected to make their own entertainment.

The happy couple split up after 18 months. I understand that an argument over spending money was one reason.

[ 21. August 2005, 10:49: Message edited by: Ariel ]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
Naturally, I ignored it.

Of course you did, dear. Any right-thinking person would.

I only respond to invitations with teddybears on them if they're from aquaintances aged 12 and under.
 
Posted by MadKaren (# 1033) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
Looks like you hit a nerve with MadKaren, Codepoet. She must have charged her "guests" for drinks.

Only the ones who wanted to pay for drinks. There were plenty of bottles of various drinks left from the stuff we bought. It took us long enough finish them after people had helped themselves to bottles.

quote:

We've got a couple of things going on here.

First of all, they didn't invite you to the church. Not really. They told you when & where the church ceremony was going to be and invited you to the reception. You can't actually invite someone to God's house. (Well you could, but he might get mad and smite you.) If street people wander in to watch the ceremony the ushers are theoretically obligated to seat them. You can't keep people out of a church if they want to come in.

But moving on to the reception: Despite what MadKaren may or may not think, it's tacky beyond belief to pretend to be entertaining people and then ask them to shell out money for their entertainment. It. Just. Is. Period.

True. But increasingly common. Weddings are becoming more and more expensive for guests and attendants due to a combination of profiteering merchants and higher social expectations. Plus weddings are often planned by groups of people with disparate ideas and views, and sometimes you have to compromise what you want.

Sine, I never said whether I thought it was tacky, I said that if you love your friends, that should outweigh any tackyness on their part.

quote:

If the Happy Couple can't afford alcoholic drinks then they should be serving what they can afford, be it non-alcoholic punch or whatever. Or, on the other hand, cut the guest list to where they can afford to entertain them as they would like. But people getting married (i.e. brides) so often suffer from folie de grandeur. They want to be big shots on a budget and their friends get to pay the price, literally.

Again, agreed. But often the folie de grandeur is on the part of the parents too. They want to impress/outdo their friends on a budget, and the guests pay the price literally instead.

quote:

So, to finally get to your question: No. You can't skip the reception. But yes, once you have gone through the receiving line and congratulated the groom and expressed your best wishes to the bride (Note my careful phrasing. Don't congratulate the bride.) you may leave. You're not obligated to finance their little clambake.

Or if you must stay, the bar should be obliged to give you tap water free.

quote:

If the reception is as big as you say it is, your friends will remember you attended and wished them well, but not how long you stayed or when you left.

Now before all you folks who made their guests pay for drinks jump my ass with your whiny explanations and excuses, I suspect there are places and cultures where it may be traditional to make the guests pay for their drinks. Maybe 19th century miners in Cornwall or millworkers in Lancashire or something. But before you pipe up, be sure you're actually from one of those traditions and not just cheap.

So, you did agree with me in the end, Sine. I'm not sure this thread is so much about advice as a chance for you all to share your middle class worldview. However it is very educational.

MadKaren
 
Posted by Sarkycow (# 1012) on :
 
Middle-class? MIDDLE-CLASS? [Eek!]

Sine isn't middle-class, he's high-class, upper-crust, genuine Mr Manners.

[Disappointed]
 
Posted by Grits (# 4169) on :
 
He was all over me like white on rice when I almost referred to him as "bourgeois" the other day. This is going to really raise his dander. He'll be home from ushering soon, and there'll be heck to pay.

(I do agree that wedding receptions have gotten totally out of hand, yet another reason to be thankful for hanging out with teetotalers.)
 
Posted by Firenze (# 619) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MadKaren:
Sine. I'm not sure this thread is so much about advice as a chance for you all to share your middle class worldview.

Ooooh, vicious. Vicious.

But then I suppose people speak from within the limits of their experience.

'Ah, brown! Dat's the colour of money' Spike Milligan: Puckoon

[ 21. August 2005, 16:01: Message edited by: Firenze ]
 
Posted by The Coot (# 220) on :
 
Dear Sine

I am acquainted with a stunning lesbian couple and can foresee our friendship growing stronger. Is there any term such as 'fag hag' or 'fruitfly' that could apply to a gentleman who is found in the company of lesbians? I know you are a man of the world - and if there is such a term, you would know it.

They really are fantastic, and possibly my ideal women: Cook (fragrant meals). Clean (absolutely immaculate house). And I don't have to worry about sex.
 
Posted by chive (# 208) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Codepoet:
Sine,
A couple of friends of mine are getting married (to each other). It is an honour for me to be invited to attend the wedding. However the reception afterwards is going to be of the "pile them high and sell them cheap" variaty, with a finger buffet and a guests having to buy their own drinks. Since they are going to have a gazzillion guests too, would it be terribly bad form just to go home after the service? No-one would notice my absence and it would save me from a very tedious few hours.

This reminds me of a wedding invitation I recieved that said the reception was in the church hall, there would be a Bible study and could we bring our own sandwiches. I chose not to go to any of it on the grounds I'm allergic to sanctimony. [Disappointed]
 
Posted by Firenze (# 619) on :
 
What a gem, Chive. The touch about the sandwiches just makes it.

I thought the wedding I went to where we were treated to a 50 minute sermon in which the happy couple were exhorted to 'existenialize the dialectic of marriage' was prime, but that at least had a decent reception at a hotel.

[ 21. August 2005, 16:44: Message edited by: Firenze ]
 
Posted by Rat (# 3373) on :
 
I'm painting a target on my bottom, I know, but...

I don't think I've ever been to a wedding where the drinks were free.

The most I'd expect would be either a glass of champagne brought round between the service and the meal (during that horrible period while the family are getting their photos taken and everybody else has to mill around uncomfortably); or first drink at the bar free during that time. And wine with the meal, if it's sit down.

(Assuming this is a traditional wedding, of course - many of my friends just met their mates down the pub after the registry office.)

But at the evening reception you're on your own. You might get a wee glass of something on arrival, but even that isn't compulsory.

Maybe I just know really mean people. Or Scots drink too much to make an open bar practical.
 
Posted by chive (# 208) on :
 
I agree Rat. In my experience in Scotland one is far more likely to have an open bar at a funeral than a wedding.
 
Posted by Kelly Alves (# 2522) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Coot:
Dear Sine

I am acquainted with a stunning lesbian couple and can foresee our friendship growing stronger. Is there any term such as 'fag hag' or 'fruitfly' that could apply to a gentleman who is found in the company of lesbians? I know you are a man of the world - and if there is such a term, you would know it.

I tend to really get along with lesbians, too, in an asexual way. One of my lesbian friends says I am a dyke-hag.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MadKaren:
So, you did agree with me in the end, Sine. I'm not sure this thread is so much about advice as a chance for you all to share your middle class worldview. However it is very educational.

Well you see, in America we only have one class: middle class. We have lower middle class, middle middle class, and upper middle class.

But there's a reason this thread is called "Ask Sine" and not "Ask MadKaren". It's considered polite to let the official advice dispenser share his middle class worldview before jumping in with alternate points of view.

But that's Ok. All is forgiven. I could tell you had issues and I'm just glad there was a forum where you could get them out. Doesn't do to stuff things. Might cause a disfiguring nervous rash or something.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Coot:
Is there any term such as 'fag hag' or 'fruitfly' that could apply to a gentleman who is found in the company of lesbians?

This sort of relationship is of course rarer than the 'fag hag' version. But if you must have a term, you might be called either a 'dyke tyke' or 'Dutch boy'.

Don't ask me how I know these things.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
You know, I just tried to lay down for my afternoon nap but felt something was wrong.

MadKaren, I let my ego get the best of me, and I shouldn't have. I apologize for being snarky on what should be a light-hearted little Heaven thread.

-Sine
 
Posted by Codepoet (# 5964) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
quote:
Originally posted by The Coot:
Is there any term such as 'fag hag' or 'fruitfly' that could apply to a gentleman who is found in the company of lesbians?

This sort of relationship is of course rarer than the 'fag hag' version. But if you must have a term, you might be called either a 'dyke tyke' or 'Dutch boy'.

... or just VERY LUCKY. Isn't this the stuff of fantasy? [Big Grin]
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
Linen blazer-wearing Host on

Sine and MadKaren: You are both familiar enough with Heaven to know personal attacks aren't allowed.

Sine, you've apologized, so there's nothing more I need say on your end.

MK, take it to Hell if you want to continue in that vein. I'm not asking for an apology, just saying don't make personal attacks in Heaven.

Linen blazer-wearing Host off
 
Posted by The Prophetess (# 1439) on :
 
Dear Sine,

Recently my husband and I returned from a lovely trip abroad to find (in the mountain of mail awaiting us) an anonymous letter accusing us of having left our garbage cans in an offensively conspicuous spot for maybe three days before our departure. It was signed "Your neighbors on X Lane." The possibility of our contributing to falling property values was mentioned.

The letter provided us with a good laugh and also led to our discussing how we might cause as many sleepless nights as possible to what is obviously our own personal Blockfuehrer, without excessive inconvenience to ourselves. I would be curious to hear your thoughts on the matter.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
Oh dear. I've been meaning to leave an anonymous note to the thoughtless jerk neighbor who parks his/her SUV too close to the alley entrance I use to get to and from my parking area in the back of my house. I can't see to pull out and am going to get creamed some morning. So I'm really not the best person to ask.

I live in an inner-city neighborhood with small (50') lots, so one needs almost a Japanese sense of courtesy to get along. You've also got to pretend not to see and hear stuff too.

And one of my tenants left her garbage bags on the fire escape last night rather than carrying them down to the trash cans, so I'm really, really not the best person to ask.

I guess you've got put your ego aside and ask yourself if where you left your garbage cans actually was unsightly. Also deliberately annoying neighbors can be dangerous. You never know when you're living next door to a nut with a gun. I'd be cautious if I were you.
 
Posted by The Prophetess (# 1439) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
You never know when you're living next door to a nut with a gun.

Yes, that had occurred to us too. <sigh> So now every time the garbage is collected we dutifully put away the damn cans.

You know, of course, Sine, that if you ever were to write that anonymous letter, the very paper it was written on would scream out your name.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
Well yes. I thought of that. The only paper I have around here is Crane's and has my name and address engraved on it, but I could always cut it off.

Which does raise the question "Should anonymous threats be written on full size sheets or informals?"

I'm guessing anonymous threats should be brief such as "You and yours are all going to die if you don't move your frickin SUV" so informals would be suitable.

But do make sure you center them properly on the page and only use blue or blue/black ink.
 
Posted by babybear (# 34) on :
 
Oooh dear!

I thought that red ink was most suitable for writing threatening notes. [Hot and Hormonal] I fear I have made a faux pas. [Hot and Hormonal]
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
If I might offer an alternative suggestion, I would have thought one thing to do might be to get a copy of some suitable newspaper or magazine and cut out the relevant words, or letters if necessary, and assemble them on a pleasing and tasteful sheet of plain cream paper.
 
Posted by Firenze (# 619) on :
 
There might be a difficulty approaching the necessary level of uncouth belligerence with only the Guardian and the London Review of Books for source material.

And cream? Winter white would surely set off newsprint more effectively?
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
Or the Times and Country Life.

"Dear Sir, I regret that I am forced to inform you that unless you remove your XXXX from my XXXX, your estate will be overrun with hunt saboteurs, foxes will dig holes in your paddock, and your economy will suffer badly from an above-inflation rise with effect from the next budget."
 
Posted by LutheranChik (# 9826) on :
 
Dear Sine:

I am in an informal caregiving situation with my 80-something mother. One of my tasks is taking Mother grocery shopping. To my distress, when we enter the supermarket, Mother begins treating me as if I were a small, wayward child, loudly chiding me for any number of things, usually involving my own grocery list ("Why are you looking at that? You're not going to buy any of that, are you?" "You're spending too much money" "Why do you always have to buy something different?" "Now, don't you buy any of that"), speaking loudly about other, anonymous shoppers ("Do you see the way she's dressed? Tsk!" "He looks like he's 'on' something"), or informing me of the latest manifestation of her own (usually gastrointestinal) ailments.

What is the polite way, if any, to respond to this running supermarket commentary? So far, my response has been to assume an expression of martyrdom as other shoppers pass us, as if to say, "Yes, she's been like this for awhile now." (Actually Mom is as sharp as a tack, and I think her shtik is some sort of passive-agression on her part.)
 
Posted by maleveque (# 132) on :
 
Lutheranchik:
Do you have Peapod where you live?
Have your groceries delivered - it doesn't cost a whole lot and you avoid all those embarrassing scenes.
Anne L.
 
Posted by Miffy (# 1438) on :
 
If I might be permitted to poke my nose into the garbage disposal problem...

Anna, why not use one of these to diguise your 'unsightly' rubbish bin? [Big Grin] (It's the horticultural equivalent of the knitted tea cosy that some folks here use to hide their loo rolls under). Train a couple of rose bushes up the sides and your neighbours will soon be thanking you for raising property values, not lowering them.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by LutheranChik:
What is the polite way, if any, to respond to this running supermarket commentary? So far, my response has been to assume an expression of martyrdom as other shoppers pass us, as if to say, "Yes, she's been like this for awhile now." (Actually Mom is as sharp as a tack, and I think her shtik is some sort of passive-agression on her part.)

I'm not sure that a mere man™ has much insight to offer on the Mother/Daughter Wars. We probably need input from our resident expert on the subject, Spiffy da Wonder Sheep. Of course you'd think I'd know something about it, having watched my grandmother and my aunt, my mother and my other grandmother, and my sister and our mother go at it for all those years.

But shopping with the elderly is fraught with landmines. I remember taking my grandmother on her semi-annual visit to Merle Norman Cosmetics at the mall in Raleigh, one of my jobs when visiting her in the summer. The poor little sales girl (she looked to be a teen-ager) had to break it to my grandmother that the particular shade of foundation she'd used for twenty-five years was no longer available. The wrath of God broke over the young lady's head. My grandmother was nearly screaming "But what do you expect me to use? What do you expect me to use?" Lord, it was embarrassing.

Looking back though, it was just my grandmother's fear and inability to deal with change that brought out all that emotion. I wonder how your mother really feels about not being able to do her own grocery shopping any more. I wonder how I'll feel when the time comes. Of course I'll be grateful if some kind soul will take me grocery shopping, but I bet I'll be snippy and difficult too*. Because I have a real hard time admitting gratitude and because I'm fearful of what old age may bring. I just hope someone will put up with me.

Of couse if you really wanted to infuriate your mother you could start calling her "dear" in a sickly sweet voice, as in "Now, now dear, don't you worry about what I buy." If she inquires why, inform her "Well, if you're going to talk to me like a child, I'm going to talk to you like an old bat."

(*Actually I'm already snippy and difficult. Just wanted to say it before somebody else did.)
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
Despite it being a pain to make two trips, I'd just take her to do her own shopping. She'll grouse about you wasting time, but you can protest that it's nothing and that you can tell that the double shopping trip is wearing on her although she's been too polite [Roll Eyes] to mention it.
 
Posted by Procrastinus (# 9915) on :
 
On a purely practical note, is your grocery store nice enough - or Mum a long standing enough customer - for you to drop her off to do her shopping with the help of 'a nice young man' (shop staff).

Then you could pick her up afterwards for a coffee and bun + mother daughter bonding, around whether said 'nice young man' had a decent hair cut or the good manners you used to be able to expect back in the day.

Tesco and M&S are very good to my ninetyish grandmother, carrying her bags etc.

Wishing you joy and a sufficient stock of patience,

Prock
 
Posted by LutheranChik (# 9826) on :
 
Sine Nomine notes:
quote:
I wonder how I'll feel when the time comes. Of course I'll be grateful if some kind soul will take me grocery shopping, but I bet I'll be snippy and difficult too. Because I have a real hard time admitting gratitude and because I'm fearful of what old age may bring. I just hope someone will put up with me.
Me too. I'm hoping to find a nice codependent partner who will fuss over me in my cantankerous old age and stay my hand before I start whacking bystanders with my footed cane. [Devil]

Re other suggestions: We don't have delivery service here in the wilds of Michigan, and even if we did I suspect it would generate its own set of complaints ("They didn't send the right brand!"). I have had some success with doing stealth shopping on my own -- especially the sort of crunchy-granola and ethnic foods I tend to favor.

I might have to just spend less time at the shopping cart -- my role being primarily chauffeur, reacher-of-objects-on-top-shelves and bag girl, I don't have to shepherd Mom throughout the store. "Oh -- I think you forgot something! Let me go find it!..."

[Code. Preview post is your friend.]

[ 23. August 2005, 06:28: Message edited by: KenWritez ]
 
Posted by Campbellite (# 1202) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
If I might offer an alternative suggestion, I would have thought one thing to do might be to get a copy of some suitable newspaper or magazine and cut out the relevant words, or letters if necessary, and assemble them on a pleasing and tasteful sheet of plain cream paper.

Might I suggest the print version of SOF magazine?
 
Posted by MadKaren (# 1033) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
You know, I just tried to lay down for my afternoon nap but felt something was wrong.

MadKaren, I let my ego get the best of me, and I shouldn't have. I apologize for being snarky on what should be a light-hearted little Heaven thread.

-Sine

Apology accepted.

KenWritz - I didn't realise calling Sine middle class was an insult. You live and learn I guess.


MadKaren
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
As you can see, he's able to deal with being called middle-class. Heaven help you the day you call him frumpy.
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
MadKaren; I flagged your quote

quote:
I'm not sure this thread is so much about advice as a chance for you all to share your middle class worldview
as a personal attack because in my judgment the connotation of your comment was patronizingly dismissive of Sine's culture and that of all the participating Shipmates on this thread. You may not have meant such, but that's what came across. (To me, anyway.)

Text mediums are tricksy things in a human world.
 
Posted by MadKaren (# 1033) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
MadKaren; I flagged your quote

quote:
I'm not sure this thread is so much about advice as a chance for you all to share your middle class worldview
as a personal attack because in my judgment the connotation of your comment was patronizingly dismissive of Sine's culture and that of all the participating Shipmates on this thread. You may not have meant such, but that's what came across. (To me, anyway.)

Text mediums are tricksy things in a human world.

OK, that's fair.

Sine, I shouldn't have got upset at your response and posted something potentially inflammatory, considering this is meant to be a light hearted thread. Apologies.

MadKaren
 
Posted by Telepath (# 3534) on :
 
Without wishing to fan any flames, I'm pretty sure that, traditionally, it has not been considered acceptable for hosts of any social class in the English-speaking world to impose part or all of the cost of their own parties, which they have unilaterally decided to throw, onto their guests.

IIRC, even 12-15 years ago, I was still being invited to events as a guest, with, as often as not, no contribution solicited either in money or in kind. With some exceptions, it was usually possible to convince my own guests that I really was able and willing to provide all the food and drink myself, and that they didn't have to do a thing.

I definitely wasn't brought up with the idea that, when someone decides to throw a party of whatever nature, it's the guests' responsibility to provide for it. I also definitely didn't have a middle-class or wealthy upbringing, and neither did my parents.

I believe that the prohibition against guests' showing up empty-handed/empty-pursed is a contemporary innovation.

I keep hearing that people 'nowadays' are short of money and time, as if most people of previous generations were both leisured and moneyed. When I throw a party now, my guests seem to be uncomprehending of, even upset by, the idea that I'm honestly not asking them to provide any of the food or drink or décor or tableware, and that I might just want to give of myself to them. I wonder how many of them console themselves with the idea that I must have more money than I know what to do with, and probably way too much time on my hands.
 
Posted by Firenze (# 619) on :
 
It's an interesting point, Telepath - how did the present guest/host relation evolve?

For my parents, if you invited people, that was it - you provided everything. But that 'everything' probably didn't include wine - alcohol with meals not being a feature of Irish life in those days.

Sometime post-uni, when we were all still pretty poor, bringing a bottle of gutrot to a party was de rigeur (Retsina was good, because no one else would drink it), and as good-as-you-could-afford to a dinner party, on the assumption that it would be consumed with the meal.

Later, you brought a good bottle to your hosts - but as a present, since it would have been impolite to imply that they had not sufficient wines, matched to the food, in their own cellar.

Again, you might offer to bring a starter or dessert - but more as an allowed display of one's own culinary skill level, than as a necessary supplement to one's hosts resources.

So that is the divide, I think: between sharing as a requirement because you can't afford the festivity otherwise - which, if put properly, is a valid position. And sharing, because you want to use the occassion (with the consent of the hosts) to show some particularly interesting vintage.
 
Posted by OliviaG (# 9881) on :
 
Quoth Telepath:

quote:
I believe that the prohibition against guests' showing up empty-handed/empty-pursed is a contemporary innovation.
I'm with you on the empty-pursed, but not on the empty-handed. Maybe this is a North American thing - it may even be a Southern thing. It certainly goes back at least to my grandmother's generation. Upon being invited to dinner at a friend's home, my reflex is "Should I bring anything?"

Any other Americans/Southerners/Texans out there who were raised to never show up empty-handed?

And on the issue of liquor at weddings, I've never been to a wedding that didn't have an open bar. Including my own. Again, maybe a NA thing?

Cheers, OliviaG, maintaining her cultural identity north of the 49th parallel
 
Posted by Grits (# 4169) on :
 
Yes, we usually always take something, be it a little gift, food, whatever. I went to my Bible study at a friend's house today, and I took three loaves of fresh-baked bread. She had gifts for us, as well -- copies of a photo of all of us together, on little easels, placed on the table around a huge glass vase of pink glads.

We don't do anything small.
 
Posted by Catrine (# 9811) on :
 
If I go to the bother of hosting a dinner party I do expect some kind of placatory gift of alcohol or other.

I make considerable effort and the drinks will flow freely despite my financial situation, so to come empty handed and contribute in drinking 9 bottles of my wine, I find infuriating.

Maybe that might seem selfish on my part, but I think that it is only good manners given that there were 4 of us eating and two of us live there.

I mean your company is marvellous, but it seems like you are freeloading otherwise.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Catrine:
I mean your company is marvellous, but it seems like you are freeloading otherwise.

Oh dear! I hardly know what to say. Gracious. Oh my. Uhm...

Well you see, theoretically you did invite them for their company. I'm thinking any host or hostess who feels like their invited guests are freeloading probably shouldn't be entertaining. The whole point (supposedly) is to give pleasure to one's friends.

There is, of course, the supposition that they will at some point in the future entertain you in return. That's why they don't need to bring anything to, uh, "pay" (oh dear) for their meal up front.

Although people do frequently bring wine to help replenish one's cellar. But I'd rather they invited me back for dinner.

(Now all of that said, in this day and age if I know I'm being invited to a very casual get-together, I'll ask if I can bring something. I don't actually expect to be taken up on the offer though. Not since student days.)

I'm sorry. I have to go lie down now.
 
Posted by Campbellite (# 1202) on :
 
Sine, would a cold compress on your fevered brow be any help?
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
I'm guessing his brow is plenty cool. Maybe a fevered compress would help. Oh, nevermind. This is heaven.
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
are we sure it's his brow that needs compression?
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
Yes, his discretion knows no bounds. [Overused]
 
Posted by jlg (# 98) on :
 
Dear Sine,

Since we are all recovering from the recent unpleasant situation, may I pose a more philosophical question.

Due to the combination of normal breakage and loss, combined with the particular eating habits in our household which favor particular dishes and utensils, our stock of everyday dishes and cutlery has become extremely lopsided -- the things we use the most are the ones we have the least number of.

I have been debating about breaking into the good china and the silverplate to make up the gaps, but hesitate to infect those sets with this same virus of loss.

On the other hand, I truly can't imagine either of my children giving a hoot about any of this stuff (they have refused to learn how to cook, much less entertain).

Would it be a sin to move some teaspoons from the Pacific Cloth drawer to the caddy on the kitchen countertop?

Abjectly,

Jennifer
 
Posted by Catrine (# 9811) on :
 
Apologies Sine, on a bit of a selfish wave there. Perhaps I should invite you round for a cup of tea ( and I won't expect you to bring any biscuits ).

The error of my ways are now apparent... [Hot and Hormonal]
 
Posted by Rat (# 3373) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
(Now all of that said, in this day and age if I know I'm being invited to a very casual get-together, I'll ask if I can bring something. I don't actually expect to be taken up on the offer though. Not since student days.)

I'm sorry. I have to go lie down now.

I hope you are feeling better now.

I definitely think we've hit one of those cultural things. I've never in my life hosted a party (dinner or casual) where I didn't end up with more alcohol and food left over than I started with. Nor, to my memory, did my parents.

This is even if you say, outright, don't bring a thing, it's all in hand - everybody does anyway. They just do, anything else would be unthinkable. Nibbles, desserts, pies, bottles of vodka, all sorts.

I'd no more think of turning up at someone's house without at least nibbles and wine than I'd fly in the air. (And possibly a gift for the hostess as well, depending on the occasion. I'd advise against flowers - there's nothing more annoying than having to find vases for flowers while simultaneously greeting new arrivals and finishing preparations).

I'll bear in mind that in other places (possibly even other bits of the UK?) this would be terribly de trop.
 
Posted by Rat (# 3373) on :
 
Sorry, just wanted to add that round here being explicitly 'taken up on the offer' would not be unacceptable either.

I know a lot of people who throw 'everybody bring a dish' type dinner parties and it is not considered bad form at all. The only reason I don't do it myself is that I enjoy cooking for company.

We're not students either [Biased]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by jlg:
Due to the combination of normal breakage and loss, combined with the particular eating habits in our household which favor particular dishes and utensils, our stock of everyday dishes and cutlery has become extremely lopsided -- the things we use the most are the ones we have the least number of.

Would it be a sin to move some teaspoons from the Pacific Cloth drawer to the caddy on the kitchen countertop?

If it were sterling I'd say move away. Sterling is immortal. I'm working off a set from the 1890s that's in fine shape and I could use it every day if I wanted to. The only reason I don't is that it really should be hand-washed and I don't want to do that. The same is true of your plate, but more so. The dishwasher will remove the plating over time.

But you never know how people are going to grow and change. For years my sister sniffed at "nice things" but now really enjoys using them. My younger brother and sister-in-law think paper plates are just fine for Thanksgiving dinner, yet certainly grabbed their share of heirlooms when we broke up my mother's house. They wanted them for their daughters.

Your good china and silver may have sentimental value for your kids down the road, especially if you use for important family occasions and they associate with their childhood and happy family memories.

Or possibly just something to fight over when you're gone. Don't deprive them of that pleasure. That can be a family tradition of a sort too.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rat:
I'd no more think of turning up at someone's house without at least nibbles and wine than I'd fly in the air...

...I know a lot of people who throw 'everybody bring a dish' type dinner parties and it is not considered bad form at all.

Giving a friend a gift is always nice. And it may indeed be cultural or depend on the locale. The law I was brought up with was that you invited your hosts back to dinner at your house within a month, as well as writing them a note the very next day saying how lovely their dinner was and how much you appreciated being invited. If every one fulfilled their social obligations what a lovely world it would be. One would hardly have to cook.

But in these fallen times, when good help is so hard to find and ladies seem to enjoy the hurley-burley of the workplace instead of planning lovely dinners and receptions with their staff for the entertainment of their friends, the covered-dish dinner is a fact of life. They can be quite enjoyable. Actually I like being able to concentrate on making just one really nice dish to take to a friend's house, or not having to worry about a first course or the dessert when I'm having people over.

I guess that will have to do until we all win the lottery and can stay home and enjoy a proper social life.
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rat:
I'd no more think of turning up at someone's house without at least nibbles and wine than I'd fly in the air. (And possibly a gift for the hostess as well, depending on the occasion.

Absolutely. I would never visit anyone empty-handed - friend or relative, meal or stay, even cup of tea, I will always bring something, either something that can be used/eaten/drunk then, or else as a gift for the host.

If I invite someone round I am acting as host so I expect to provide everything. If they bring something, that is a bonus but I will always supply anything that might be needed. Yes, you may end up with extras, but that is fine. The whole point of being a host is that you are hospitable. It is presumably a bit of an occasion so you make an effort.

If I invite someone to lunch in a restaurant I usually expect to pay for them, too, unless it's one of those "split the bill" lunches or a group of people going out by common consent. But if I were to invite people to come out for lunch for my birthday I would not expect them to pay for the meal, I would tell them so, and would come prepared accordingly - whatever the actual outcome.

quote:
I'll bear in mind that in other places (possibly even other bits of the UK?) this would be terribly de trop.
It may be a cultural clash but I don't care, I think it is rude to just turn up, stuff your face then clear off again having done nothing but contribute your presence. If ever I treated anyone like that, I would in effect be saying I had little time for them and had only come for the food. And I think it is particularly bad form to invite people to dinner or your party and charge them for it.
 
Posted by Suze (# 5639) on :
 
I agree, I'd never turn up for dinner empty handed. Usually there's a bottle of wine and a gift for the lady of the house in recognition of the fact they are putting themselves out for you. I would also return the favour by asking them to dinner shortly thereafter.
 
Posted by ferijen (# 4719) on :
 
Sine, it looks as though when you do come and visit us folks this side of the pond (the QM2 is apparently the way to go if you don't do big metal birds in the sky, and gosh, you might even be met at the port by a local shipmate), you're going to have to bring a selection of gifts for all those dinners you'll be invited to for us to inspect your dinner table etiquette.

Can't you see it? Sine does a teach-manners-to-the-Brits tour of the UK, giving useful titbits about how to respond to Aunty Belle's simply hideous gift or how to use those particular forks which have been sitting in the dresser these past 50 years...
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ferijen:
and gosh, you might even be met at the port by a local shipmate

"Might"?

Etiquette suggests that he would have to be met by a carefully chosen, perfectly dressed and extremely polite and knowledgeable shipmate who will then make sure he gets to wherever he is staying, if locally, probably by escorting him there in person. It goes without saying that said shipmate must offer to help with the luggage, while equally Sine must decline. A compromise should be reached without loss of temper or baggage on either side.

As a guest in said shipmate's country, said shipmate will naturally pay for the taxi or bus (if wanted) or else refuse in no uncertain terms any offer that Sine may make to contribute to the petrol of the car (if a longish journey by shipmate's car: for short journeys this is not required). Sine will naturally find something complimentary to say about the means of transport, while the shipmate will point out a few carefully chosen features of interest on the journey and will have planned the route very carefully so as while not to take too long, also not to take too dull a route so as to give the best impression of the area to someone who is visiting it for the first time.

As for the shipmate, it would not normally be considered proper for an unmarried female shipmate to meet him unaccompanied, however in this instance it might be permissible provided she is properly attired. In this case a warm handshake is all that is necessary by way of greeting. Gifts are not required on the first meeting, and hats may be removed in the car.

Said shipmate must then make inquiries about Sine's agenda, helping with arrangements where necessary, discreetly suggesting alternatives in the event of Sine having unwittingly made unwise choices about where to go and who to see, and leaving him at the door of wherever he is staying with full contact details so that in the event of an emergency or if he gets bored he can ring the shipmate up in the middle of the night about it.

That should cover the first 20 minutes of his arrival, I think.
 
Posted by ferijen (# 4719) on :
 
Rules me out then. Never been discreet in my life and don't think I could possibly find appropriate clothing for the occasion.

Phew...
 
Posted by Telepath (# 3534) on :
 
It is extremely nice to bring your host/ess a gift, but you don't actually owe it to them, nor do you owe it to them to provide wine and snacks, even though everyone in the UK assumes that you do. Everyone in the UK also assumes that it's rude to say no to people, or to be direct in any situation whatsoever, but that doesn't mean it is. You're only required to stump up a gift if you're staying overnight. This is as true for UK etiquette as it is for US etiquette.

And I don't want anyone to think that I'm objecting to bring-a-dish suppers, either. Neither is Sine. These things are usually the result of a collective decision to engage in collective action.

What does bother me is being handed a printed 'invitation' to somebody's housewarming, or New Year's Eve party, with the terms and conditions written thereon: "Please bring something to eat or drink." Or "Amanita's birthday is on Thursday and she wants to invite you all to lunch at the Golden Wok. It costs about £SMALLINT per head for two courses and..."

In other words, "I want a party, please throw one for me." I wouldn't consider unilaterally deciding to throw a party and then issuing invitations that specified an entrance fee, because I can't imagine why anyone would turn up.

If the party I'm being asked to throw for someone else represents a special occasion, or I happen to be feeling affectionate towards them, then if I can possibly manage it, I will invite them over/out and entertain them at my own expense at a separate occasion a few days later.

There is, however, strictly no way that I'm going to spend an afternoon of my copious free time shopping and cooking, and an hour or more travelling with a covered dish, simply because somebody else has stipulated that that is the price of spending an evening with them.

I also kind of wish that people wouldn't be so reluctant to accept hospitality. I've told people, "no, honestly, that's very kind of you, but I've got everything covered. Just bring yourself," only to get the response, "Well, Murgatroyd and I are definitely bringing our own booze!" after I've just gone out and bought loads of wine, and made a Halloween rum punch with a frozen hand emerging from it. (I mean, it's not nearly as easy to get a frozen hand as they make it look on Buffy.)

I'm not complaining about the over-generosity of my guests, you understand - just nonplussed. I can't tell if they hate my choice of wine, or they simply can't stand the idea of turning up and providing nothing but their own company, as if they were not good enough in themselves. But I do wish they would just let me give to them, once in a while. I mean, I want to. They're my friends.
 
Posted by BroJames (# 9636) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
quote:
Originally posted by ferijen:
and gosh, you might even be met at the port by a local shipmate

"Might"?

Etiquette suggests ... said shipmate must offer to help with the luggage, while equally...

No said shipmate will arrive accompanied by previously chartered porter, and will forestall Sine on the tip.

On invites to dinner, I think this is a local custom thing - but a gift only needs to be a token of appreciation - chocs, wine, flowers, home-made preserves etc.

Offers to supply a course are generally turned down, the only exception being where one couple are unable to accept a return invitation due to child care issues - in which case the offer to provide starter. sweet or (more rarely) main part of main course may be accepted as a gracious way of allowing the others to offer something by way of hospitality
 
Posted by The Coot (# 220) on :
 
I think I need to lie down too.

I don't know about bringing food unbidden to the host - would you be indicating doubt as to their ability to feed you adequately?

Uncouple the gift giving from the invitation to eat - lest it look like you are trying to pay your way - which is an affront to your host's hospitality. Far better to drop in a few days later with some produce from your garden/fishing trip/preserving etc. (Shows that you think of your friend and want to share your good things with them).
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
How embarrassing. I shouldn't be allowed to mix with polite society. [Frown]
 
Posted by Rat (# 3373) on :
 
Nobody's going to shut the door in your face because you didn't bring enough Pringles, no. So in that sense it isn't owed. But it is a normal standard of behaviour round here.

So surely there is an issue here about who defines etiquette? If everybody in your peer group, and in your family's peer group, thinks it is de rigeur to bring whiskey and fruit cake when you visit, or if splitting the bill in the restaurant is normal practise, then how can some external authority tell you differently?

Surely at some point what the majority does becomes etiquette, and determinedly following some other standard, to the point of being considered rude, becomes bad manners?
 
Posted by The Coot (# 220) on :
 
Er, it could just be a British thing.

I don't think there is any risk of this 'majority' standard becoming prevalent in Mediterranean, Balkan, Middle Eastern or US Southern social groups.
 
Posted by Codepoet (# 5964) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
...Although people do frequently bring wine to help replenish one's cellar...

This always poses something of a problem for me as I do not drink. So when I get invited out, I take wine (which I would not normally have around the house). Then I invite them back, meaning I need to fill the house with wine to keep my guests well oiled, and of course my guests will bring more wine as a gift, which I also can't drink. I am having 2 sets of folks over for supper next week. My house is going to feel like a wine exchange.
 
Posted by Rat (# 3373) on :
 
Sorry, double posting again, when will I learn.

Just wanted to add - in my particular peer-group and in contrast to pretty much everybody else on the thread I think, inviting a bunch of people out to a restaurant then insisting on paying for them all would, I think, be seen as ostentatious and probably cause resentment. Unless the payer was your dad or something.

If you're all of about the same status, you'd expect to share the bill, I think, all other things being equal.
 
Posted by Rat (# 3373) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Coot:
Er, it could just be a British thing.

I don't think there is any risk of this 'majority' standard becoming prevalent in Mediterranean, Balkan, Middle Eastern or US Southern social groups.

I'm sure there isn't. I only meant a local majority! Other people can of course have different norms, that was kind of my point.
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Coot:
I don't know about bringing food unbidden to the host - would you be indicating doubt as to their ability to feed you adequately?

Uncouple the gift giving from the invitation to eat - lest it look like you are trying to pay your way - which is an affront to your host's hospitality. Far better to drop in a few days later with some produce from your garden/fishing trip/preserving etc.

I would say it's fine to bring a sort of accessory to the festivities like wine or biscuits or even cheese. It is not a good idea (at least IMO) to bring a main course or substantial contribution unless previously arranged, as it looks as if you have doubts about the host's ability to provide for you. Also, you don't want to be seen to be taking over, you're a guest not the host.

(What if they've gone to the trouble of cooking something reasonably impressive, worked out suitable veg and so on, and you turn up with a casserole, or something that you then discover some of the other guests can't eat for whatever reason?)

[ 25. August 2005, 15:13: Message edited by: Ariel ]
 
Posted by Telepath (# 3534) on :
 
So if you bring brandy and angel cake instead of whisky and fruit cake, when "everyone" in your circle has decreed the latter to be correct, are you in the wrong? Will your friends excuse your faux pas? Or will they not and say they did?

People really overestimate the extent to which their personal assumptions and social habits are shared by "everyone". I think it is better to recognize personal standards and common practice as just what they are - personal standards and common practice - rather than trying to elevate them to principles of etiquette that should be obvious to anyone with a modicum of couth.

What I see happening in practice, because I have several non-overlapping circles of friends, is a bunch of little groups doing everything according to their various personal standards, for years and years. This is fine as long as you stay within those little groups, but I then observe members of those groups becoming confused and upset when they interact with some other group with some other slightly different set of standards.

Honest - I've seen people nearly in tears, either enraged because somebody else failed to divine their unwritten personal preferences, or embarrassed because they failed to divine the unwritten norms of some other group, which other group they then blame for having "wrong" ideas about how to do things. Or, most ironically, for being too "formal", even though in most cases nothing "formal" has taken place and even though "formal" standards are, at least, codified and easily discoverable in a way that personal standards are not, and would, at least, have saved them the trouble of causing (real or imagined) embarrassment unintentionally.

It's worse than ethnocentricity - it's idiocentricity. IMHO if many of the people I know were to overcome their snobbery long enough to take seriously the idea of at least reading an etiquette book, they might still want to interact according to their personal preferences, but there'd be a little less confusion and a lot more fun.
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
I always thought the idea behind etiquette was to make social interaction easier. But honestly, all these ideas about what's required and expected, especially the unspoken things, make me want to stay home and eat dinner alone for the rest of my life.
 
Posted by Telepath (# 3534) on :
 
It would make social interaction easier, if people knew what it was and agreed to use it.
 
Posted by Rat (# 3373) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Telepath:
So if you bring brandy and angel cake instead of whisky and fruit cake, when "everyone" in your circle has decreed the latter to be correct, are you in the wrong? Will your friends excuse your faux pas? Or will they not and say they did?

Certainly not, why would you think that? But if you went to three gatherings in a row where everybody except you brought something, wouldn't you do the same?

I'm not pronouncing what's right or wrong. I'm quite sanguine about the idea that if I went to Tulsa or Provence or Ulan Bator I'd make all sorts of little social mistakes and have to adjust to some local mores. And I'm quite sure anybody worth knowing would be tolerant of my funny foreign habits until that adjustment happened.

It just seems silly to me to judge a dinner party in Thurso by standards prevalent in Runcorn, or vice versa. And it would seem a terrible shame to miss out on fun everyone else was having because the bar or catering or payment arrangements aren't to your taste.

Any road, this isn't what this thread is about and I apologise for helping to derail it.
 
Posted by Telepath (# 3534) on :
 
quote:
Certainly not, why would you think that? But if you went to three gatherings in a row where everybody except you brought something, wouldn't you do the same?
Of course.

quote:
And it would seem a terrible shame to miss out on fun everyone else was having because the bar or catering or payment arrangements aren't to your taste.
When I miss out, it's usually because the bar or catering or payment arrangements are more than I can afford, in terms of money or time.

I just think it would be a terrible shame if hospitality died out completely, which does seem to be the way things are going nowadays.
 
Posted by Telepath (# 3534) on :
 
quote:
This always poses something of a problem for me as I do not drink. So when I get invited out, I take wine (which I would not normally have around the house).
If wine is problematic, why not take flowers or candy or suchlike?
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rat:
Just wanted to add - in my particular peer-group and in contrast to pretty much everybody else on the thread I think, inviting a bunch of people out to a restaurant then insisting on paying for them all would, I think, be seen as ostentatious and probably cause resentment. Unless the payer was your dad or something.

If you're all of about the same status, you'd expect to share the bill, I think, all other things being equal.

It really depends. In some circles yes, in other circles it can be seen as mean and unfriendly to insist on going halves. I don't remember many occasions where people split the bill in the days where I was growing up - I do remember an awful lot of very amicable arguments about who was going to pay for everyone. And not so very long ago someone I know invited a group of friends to a restaurant to celebrate his 40th birthday, and paid for everyone.

Splitting the bill is fine if you all agree on it. It works well on the whole, but I can remember some office lunches where we all agreed to this except for one person who said we should all pay our exact share, and she wasn't going to pay for things she hadn't had. Which meant, "Now I had a glass and a half of mineral water from the bottle I shared with Jane and Kate, and there are six glasses to a bottle so my share would be..."

Not a lot you can do with people like that, really.
 
Posted by Campbellite (# 1202) on :
 
I think we are confusing a couple of things here.

If Lovely Spouse™ and I invite friends to our home, I would not expect them to bring anything but their delightful company. If they wish to bring a token gift, that would be a pleasant surprise, but utterly unnecessary. If they are particularly good friends, we may accept an offer to bring a dessert, salad, etc., but would otherwise graciously say no. (If they are family, they would be insulted if we did not let them bring something, but that is a different matter.)

On the other hand, if we invite friends out to dinner at a restaurant, I would expect to pay for the meal. Asking them to pay their share would be tres gauche. (If they absolutely insist, I have been known to let them pay the tip, but that is making a major concession.)
 
Posted by Mertseger (# 4534) on :
 
Oh, Goddess, be thankful you haven't had to face the Chinese check-wrestling challenge where everyone is expected to fight for the right to pick up the tab and bonus points are scored for preemptively sneaking your credit card to the maitre-d' during a fake bathroom break. I always have to discuss with my wife just how hard we're supposed to fight before each encounter. Of course, the ultimate counterstrike is to make the payment arrangements as you make the reservations, but, honestly, they seem to be disappointed if they don't get to fight for the check.
 
Posted by Campbellite (# 1202) on :
 
We have been known to have the ritual family check fight when eating out. (Only among family, never among friends). The only time I "won", (early in my married life) my father-in-law ended up insisting on paying the aforementioned tip, and stuck a couple of twenties in my shirt pocket before I could say no.

I have learned to make the ritual protests before "letting" him win. (If I make it too easy, he does not feel like he has succeeded.)

A few times we have been out to eat with extended family (my father-in-law's brothers and sisters). In that situation, it is best to just hold back and let them fight it out among themselves. I know when I am out of my weight class.
 
Posted by Mertseger (# 4534) on :
 
Yeah, Chinese culture is exactly like that, but the circle where you're expected to fight for the check is much broader to the point of including anyone you'd ever invite out.
 
Posted by Suze (# 5639) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rat:
Just wanted to add - in my particular peer-group and in contrast to pretty much everybody else on the thread I think, inviting a bunch of people out to a restaurant then insisting on paying for them all would, I think, be seen as ostentatious and probably cause resentment. Unless the payer was your dad or something.

If you're all of about the same status, you'd expect to share the bill, I think, all other things being equal.

The only time I'd invite folks to a restaurant and expect to pay the whole bill is with people that I expect to dine out with again - then it tends to be a "my turn, your turn" kind of arrangement. Otherwise we'll generally split the bill equally regardless of who had what.

I'd never expect someone to pay to eat at my house and while most folk do bring a token pressie, I certainly wouldn't be offended if they didn't. I also wouldn't expect guests to contribute to the meal by bringing a dish unless it was an extended family thing where everyone tends to bring their "party piece".

Sounds like we move in similar circles Rat.... fancy coming for dinner? [Big Grin]
 
Posted by Left at the Altar (# 5077) on :
 
Dear Sine

I am heading to the coast for a beach holiday next week. I am awfully pale after winter, and am wondering whether I should invest in a fake tan.

At what age is a lady too old to do this sort of thing? Or are we never too old?

Also, do you think I should go a Brazilian?

Thanks

LATA
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
Dear Sine,

I am about to become civil unioned. We are having a short ceremony followed by afternoon tea, since having a grand wedding-type celebration seems a little much for a couple who has been together 13 years. It will be a low key event and we only expect people to be there for about 90 minutes all up.

We have invited individuals rather than couples where we only know one of a pair. There should be no one there who doesn't know at least three or four other people. My beloved has been having qualms over this, and is thinking of inviting people's partners. I am not so keen - I'd rather have only the people we know.

What do you think?
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
Arabella, if you think of your civil union as your wedding, in traditional wedding etiquette you'd invite all partners who are married or formally engaged. I'd think in your case it would include your friends' partners in civil unions, too, and you could decide if you'd invite people who have been living together in a settled relationship for a while.

Yeah, I know that means more food and drink. [Frown] [Biased]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Left at the Altar:
I am heading to the coast for a beach holiday next week. I am awfully pale after winter, and am wondering whether I should invest in a fake tan.

If you mean at a tanning bed, sounds like it's too late. If you mean self-tanning lotion, sure. At least you can cut the blinding glare of your lily-white flesh a bit. Although in my experience people who live on the beach rarely go to the beach. I noticed some of the palest people in Florida were the year-round residents, so being pale won't necessarily mark you out as a tourist.

quote:
At what age is a lady too old to do this sort of thing? Or are we never too old?
Wrinkled, sagging old brown flesh is not as unattrative as wrinkled, sagging old pale white flesh - marginally.

quote:
Also, do you think I should go a Brazilian?
I really can't answer that without knowing what your swim suit looks like or what turns your husband (I assume) on. Neither piece of information am I in possession of.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom:
We have invited individuals rather than couples where we only know one of a pair.

What do you think?

Hmm...interesting. When is a wedding not a wedding? When it's a civil union.

Well, I guess the best you can do is imagine your feelings if your partner was being invited to someone else's wedding/civil union and you were not. How would you feel? How would she feel?

It does seem a bit ironic that you're having a celebration of your own couple-hood, but not necessarily recognizing other people's.

Yet I understand your hesitation. My gut reaction though is to invite your friends' recognized partners even if you don't know them. Don't invite any tricks de jour.
 
Posted by Grits (# 4169) on :
 
My son's invitations always read "Mr. Firstname Middlename Lastname and Guest". That way, they don't have to know who he's currently seeing, or he could even take me!
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
In my day you didn't receive invitations allowing you to bring an unknown date to a wedding. If you weren't married you were invited alone. I went to lots of weddings alone. But of course you knew bunches of people there anyway.
 
Posted by OliviaG (# 9881) on :
 
quote:
We have invited individuals rather than couples where we only know one of a pair. There should be no one there who doesn't know at least three or four other people. My beloved has been having qualms over this, and is thinking of inviting people's partners. I am not so keen - I'd rather have only the people we know.

First of all, Arabella, congratulations!

When I used to perform at weddings at a United church, there was a moment in the ceremony where the guests present were asked to stand to indicate their willingness to support the couple. Since then, I have felt very strongly that wedding guests should be people that truly matter to the couple. They should be the people you could go to in need.

What bothers me personally about the "and Guest" formula is that it implies that the couple doesn't know me well enough to know if I have a significant-enough-other that I would bring to a wedding. Could they tell if I brought my trick du jour? And if they don't know me that well, what the heck am I doing at their wedding?

However, I can also see the concern with the comfort of your guests. If you know that one of your guests would be utterly miserable at a wedding without their SO or t-d-j, then as a kind friend it is nice to give them the option of bringing someone.

Again, best wishes, Olivia G
 
Posted by Rat (# 3373) on :
 
I always feel mildly miffed at being included as '& guest'. I kind of think if somebody knows Mr Rat well enough to invite him to their wedding, they ought to know the name of the person he's been in a relationship with for 8 years, married or not. And if they don't, surely it wouldn't kill them to find out?
 
Posted by Telepath (# 3534) on :
 
I understand it's okay as long as your name is Guest. Perhaps your putative hosts are just confused about your SO's name, Rat?
 
Posted by jlg (# 98) on :
 
The "and Guest" formula strikes me as acceptable when used by very young couples having big formal weddings. Having to send out the invitations and get all the replies enough months in advance to deal with the caterers et.al. creates a definite problem when it's a pretty sure bet that the identity of "and Guest" will change during the time between issuing the invitation and the actual event. And at that age and level of social skill, kids don't want to show up alone at this sort of event.

(Yeah, yeah, they should have the social skills at that age, but some of us weren't lucky enough to be raised Southern. And I suspect there's an interesting Purg thread in there if you're getting married so young that your friends can't handle a wedding as a solo guest...)

But there should quickly come a time when anyone planning a formal social occasion should have a pretty good idea (or be willing to find out) who are couples (legal or otherwise) and who are singles. If the singles don't like not having a blank check included with their invitation, they have three choices: become part of an established couple; deal with it; or make sure their friends get to know lots of interesting singles who will also get invited to these things, thus providing a pleasantly mixed crowd with which to mingle.
 
Posted by Left at the Altar (# 5077) on :
 
I had the problem at my wedding of being forced to invite the husband of a friend from school, knowing that everyone loathes him within minutes of first meeting him.

I wanted desperately to invite just my friend. Then I had to work out where to sit them. Predictably, I received reports back from everyone else on their table about what a horrible person he was.

I wonder if Sine can advise how not to invite someone gracefully. Not that I plan to marry again.
 
Posted by jlg (# 98) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
quote:
Originally posted by jlg:
Would it be a sin to move some teaspoons from the Pacific Cloth drawer to the caddy on the kitchen countertop?

If it were sterling I'd say move away. Sterling is immortal. I'm working off a set from the 1890s that's in fine shape and I could use it every day if I wanted to. The only reason I don't is that it really should be hand-washed and I don't want to do that. The same is true of your plate, but more so. The dishwasher will remove the plating over time.
The only dishwasher in this house is me. I'm off to raid the breakfront!

quote:
Your good china and silver may have sentimental value for your kids down the road, especially if you use for important family occasions and they associate with their childhood and happy family memories.
My kids are already pretty much grown and have no memories of this china and silver whatsoever.

quote:
Or possibly just something to fight over when you're gone. Don't deprive them of that pleasure. That can be a family tradition of a sort too.
Can't argue with this. I doubt it will be the china or silver, but even my and my husband's pretty calm and rational Teutonic and Scandinavian families managed a certain amount of sniping and emotional angst over the dispersion of the family heirlooms. Hubby and I only have two kids, and they're very different personalities and tastes, and probably won't want much of anything. But I have no doubt that something will become a point of mutual lust and never-quite-fully-forgiven nasty words.

[fixed code]

[ 26. August 2005, 23:43: Message edited by: jlg ]
 
Posted by Telepath (# 3534) on :
 
I agree that it would be mortifying to show up at a wedding without a date.

After all, when you're dressed up to the nines, looking your absolute best, and about to mingle in a romantic setting with a bunch of strangers many of whom will also be single and in the same age group as you, the last thing you want to do is appear to be single yourself. You're not going to stay single for long that way, are you? [Snigger]
 
Posted by MadKaren (# 1033) on :
 
Thinking about dinner etiquette...

When people come over for dinner, the only thing I need from them is a list of likes, dislikes and allergies. Easy enough. (It best be said that formal dinners don't happen in my place at the moment.) So sometimes when I am in the kitchen cooking away and the LittleGreenAlien is talking to people, guests wander in and ask if there is anything they can do to help.

I can juggle cooking absolutely fine. I can juggle cooking and talking to people as well. I don't need help with the cooking. However, I would appreciate very much help with the washing up afterwards.

So, how does one deal with this. I'm not sure it's polite to ask them to wash up later, but why do people ask if they can help if they don't mean it?

MadKaren
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MadKaren:
So, how does one deal with this. I'm not sure it's polite to ask them to wash up later, but why do people ask if they can help if they don't mean it?

I think most people do mean it. They just don't expect to be given a very onerous task in return for their offer. "Could you pour the water, please?" as opposed to "Could you gut and pluck this chicken?"

Besides, all day long people who don't really much care ask me "How are you?"* One can't be too literal about these things.

(*The only correct answer to which is "Fine. And yourself?" Unless it's somebody who knows what you look like naked. Doctor, mother, spouse...)
 
Posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom (# 3434) on :
 
It wouldn't worry two hoots not to be invited to the wedding of one of Rosie's colleagues - first of all, I don't know any of them, secondly, they all talk to each other and on the odd occasion I have gone to something, I've ended up feeling like the afternoon would have been better spent gardening. If I do know them, then I would definitely go.

As I said originally, our CU isn't a big formal thing. We are not exactly flush with money, and at the current count there are 120 people coming. Parters would add another 40 people with consequent expense. It is only our colleagues that we have done this with - they all know each other, and they know us. I guess I feel that if they can't do without their partner for 90 minutes then that's a bit sad.

We want people we know to be there. And to be fair not one person has queried it - most of them are excited to be coming to their first CU. Our receptionist at work, Mrs Suburban Housewife personified (and one of my best work friends) told a meeting of her son's hockey team that she couldn't make a game because she was attending a civil union - apparently the rest of the parents stared at her, dumbstruck. She thought she would use the line again, should one particular chap start talking again.
 
Posted by MadKaren (# 1033) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
I think most people do mean it. They just don't expect to be given a very onerous task in return for their offer. "Could you pour the water, please?" as opposed to "Could you gut and pluck this chicken?"

Ahhh. So they want to do something small and simple - or they want an excuse to hang out in the kitchen and chat. [Biased]

MadKaren
 
Posted by Campbellite (# 1202) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
Besides, all day long people who don't really much care ask me "How are you?"* One can't be too literal about these things.

(*The only correct answer to which is "Fine. And yourself?" Unless it's somebody who knows what you look like naked. Doctor, mother, spouse...)

On the other hand, there is something to be said for being the local curmugeon. To the question of, "How are you?" I have been known to respond, "Not too good, thanks. How are you?" Curiously, very few seem to notice.* Those who do notice, usually people who are aware of my chronic medical situation, know that I am being bluntly honest."

*Unless, of course, they are being too polite to show it.
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
jlg, if you do start using your silver everyday, there is one thing you need to know.

Contact with egg yolk tarnishes silver very badly. Can you train your menage to use stainless steel for eggs?

Moo
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
Dear Sine,

A group of folks from my church gets together about every month or so for dinner at a restaurant. This social event is always coordinated by the same person, who has this month chosen a restaurant that I think is just too expensive. The food is by all accounts worth what they're charging, and one meal there would not put me in the poorhouse, but this is just not how I want to spend that much of my discretionary income this month. I can't control what I spend by ordering the least expensive thing on the menu, as this group has an established pattern of dividing the bill equally.

When I let the organizer know that I would not be coming, I gave the reason why instead of just saying I couldn't make it, as the restaurants she chooses have been getting more and more upscale, and she's getting close to pricing me right out of the group altogether. Was it rude of me to say I wouldn't be in attendance because of the prices at the restaurant? Is there a better way to handle something like this?
 
Posted by Duo Seraphim (# 3251) on :
 
On Sundays I tend to go to lunch with Madame la Directrice, his assistant the Ancilla Dominae and the Chief Whipper-in (Priests and Servers) with a free floating cast of Others, including the Young Hierophant, Her Holiness, Digsya and on occasions the Mater Amorosa and her daughter the Saveloy.

This is a wide range of incomes. Madame's mantra for lunch is "Cheap, plenteous and good". In Sydney this means Chinese, Indonesian or Lebanese. The trick is to find one full of Chinese, Indonesians or Lebanese respectively, all piling into the food. We have. The net result is we end the meal with Madame pronouncing himself to be "thoroughly satisfied" and a bill of about US$9.00 to US$13.50 per head.
 
Posted by maleveque (# 132) on :
 
Dear Sine,
This is not so much a question as an appeal for commiseration in the ongoing Bridezilla Wars. As I am not directly affected by this particular Bridezilla (just a neighbor), I merely offer this as more anecdotal evidence of The End of Western Civilization.
Young Couple, cohabiting for several years, finally get married. They already own a house and have most household items they want (although they seem to acquire new appliances at a fairly brisk pace). Because it is tacky to ask for cash, Young Couple registers at C**** & B*****. Why? Because Bridezilla has determined that C**** & B***** will give you cash when you return gifts, unlike some other stores that will only give store credit. So all gifts were returned and cash acquired. Young Husband goes along with all this rather meekly. I suspect he comes from a slightly lower tax bracket than his Bride's family, and thinks maybe this is How Things Are Done. The excuse was that people insisted on giving them gifts, so this was the best way to let them do so.
Goodness knows what will happen when Aunt Mary comes to visit and asks, "why don't we use that automatic carrot slicer I gave you as a wedding gift?"
I ask you, whatever happened to simply registering your china and silver patterns?
Anne L.
 
Posted by Telepath (# 3534) on :
 
The interesting thing here is that Bridezilla is not tacky (at least not socially) because she did this, but because you know she did this.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
When I let the organizer know that I would not be coming, I gave the reason why instead of just saying I couldn't make it, as the restaurants she chooses have been getting more and more upscale, and she's getting close to pricing me right out of the group altogether. Was it rude of me to say I wouldn't be in attendance because of the prices at the restaurant? Is there a better way to handle something like this?

I'm quite sure someone of your diplomatic skills said what you had to say in the pleasantest way possible. So no, it wasn't rude. It was Valuable Feedback.

It pays to be honest and upfront regarding group outings of this sort. I frequently go to dinner with a group to the same restaurant on the same night. Turns out one guy really, really didn't care for this restaurant but for the longest time was reluctant to say anything. Just kept not showing up which was starting to give the rest of us a complex. He finally told us what the problem was, and now we alternate between the first restaurant and another that he likes which is also acceptable to the rest of the group.

People of good will can work most anything out. That pretty much applies to the Middle East or picking a restaurant. However if your organizer lady is really into control or has other issues such as one frequently finds in church go-getter types, you could be screwed.
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
Thanks, Sine. I never know when it's okay to talk about money.

quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
However if your organizer lady is really into control or has other issues such as one frequently finds in church go-getter types, you could be screwed.

Did I mention that she likes to order for the whole table? Or that everything is all about her? I told her once that an old boyfriend had recently emailed me a photo of his newborn daughter, and somehow that was all about her divorce. When my mother was diagnosed with cancer the second time, that turned out actually to be about her mother. Silly me, thinking it was about mine.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
Did I mention that she likes to order for the whole table?

Does she realize that makes her the hostess, entertaining her friends in a restaurant rather than privately at home? In which case she should pick up the check too.

Perhaps next time she does that you should say "Oh no, my dear. Just the house salad for me since you're paying."
 
Posted by maleveque (# 132) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Telepath:
The interesting thing here is that Bridezilla is not tacky (at least not socially) because she did this, but because you know she did this.

I only know it because of manly commiseration between the Groom and my own DH. DH was so shocked and appalled that it was the first thing he told me about after the little ones and I were away for a weekend.
I think it's tacky that she did it, even if most of her victims never know.
Anne L.
 
Posted by duchess (# 2764) on :
 
Dear Uncle Sine,

My mother wants to spend lots of time with me. I hate spending time with her. I have lots of issues with my mother. But to honor Commandment #5 and be a good Christian daughter, I go to din din and watch movies from time to time with her.

Please give me good excuses for getting out of spending time with her. I can only handle her once every two weeks, along with all the phone calls (where she calls up over and over and over again until I pick up...and says things like "there is a cat outside in my yard!")

This is progress from when I used to ignore my mother since she ignored me lots of time when I was growing up [cues Cats In The Cradle song ]. But now I'd love to, mom, if I can find the time, And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me, I'd grown up just like her...

[eta: fixed code & yes, I am a bad evil daughter but only semi-evil nowadays. thx.]

[ 02. September 2005, 16:20: Message edited by: duchess ]
 
Posted by iGeek. (# 3207) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ferijen:
and gosh, you might even be met at the port by a local shipmate

quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
"Might"?

Etiquette suggests that he would have to be met by a carefully chosen, perfectly dressed and extremely polite and knowledgeable shipmate ...

Preferably a nubile, 20-ish single male. There are a number of qualifying british shipmates that come to mind [Smile]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by duchess:
Please give me good excuses for getting out of spending time with her. I can only handle her once every two weeks, along with all the phone calls (where she calls up over and over and over again until I pick up...and says things like "there is a cat outside in my yard!")

It's always best to be pro-active in these situations. That gives you the control of the scheduling.

Don't wait for her to call. You call her and set up a visit. The same for phone calls. You call her. You set the frequency of the contact. If she gets used to you doing the arranging and the calling, she's not as likely to be calling you.

Once you've established your creds as "a daughter who makes an effort" if she calls and wants to do something you've got the moral highground to say "I can't tomorrow, Mom, but I can next week."

If that doesn't work, sign up for a course at night school. Between classes and homework you can get out of anything. She doesn't want you to fail, now does she?

(Has anybody else noticed we seem to get a lot of mother-daughter questions on this thread?)
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
I've noticed, yes. Perhaps it will make you feel better if I report that I get along really well with my mother. She is a genuinely nice, sweet person, and she loves me. She has never, not once, tried to tell me how to run my life since I became an adult, and she has never criticized my decisions. She has never made me feel bad about the way I look; she has never criticized my choice of clothing or implied that I need to lose weight. When I was a teenager she actually found a nice way to show me that I would look better and feel better if I stood up straight, and she gave me the sterling advice that if I'm ever not sure I'm wearing the right thing, I should just hold my chin up and look people in the eye with the attitude that "it's supposed to look this way." [Smile]
 
Posted by jlg (# 98) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
[...]I should just hold my chin up and look people in the eye with the attitude that "it's supposed to look this way." [Smile]

The secret of success in fashion, liturgy, and life.
 
Posted by Flausa (# 3466) on :
 
Dear Sine,

I find myself increasingly in social situations with people that I just don't like. The older I get, the less time I like to waste on building relationships with people I don't like. However, due to work, marital, church, ship sorts of commitments I'm forced to spend time with these people. Every so often I have to actually make inane conversation with such individuals and waste hours with them giving them the false impression that not only do I enjoy their company but that I want more of it.

I realise I have to meet these social obligations, but do you have any recommendations as to how a) not to encourage these people and b) how to deal with their presence and conversation without being driven to drink?

Yours truly,
Bothered in Britain
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
Oh God! That's a difficult one!

Only last Friday night I found myself at dinner - once again - with two people whose inane conversation drives me right. up. the. wall. Just couldn't stand another second of it, but couldn't leave without appearing rude. I stayed home last night rather than endure it again.

And yet...and yet...it's partially my fault. On occasion both of these people do have things to share I find interesting. But I'm passive about trying to direct the conversation. I think people tend to be shy about being real. I know I can be. When you're stuck with these people at least try not to have it be a total waste of time.

As to not encouraging them, honesty can be the best policy if you're really honest. Not "honest" about them but about your own feelings. Not too long ago I told someone who habitually needles me "When you talk that way to me I feel 'less than'." Note that I didn't say I hated talking to them, or that in Christian Love I felt obligated to point out I think they're a raving bitch. I just told them how I felt.

People are usually quite taken aback by that kind of honesty. This particular person has been very quiet around me since then, but that's Ok. It seems to be a respectful kind of quiet.

In any case, what you describe is difficult to deal with and I welcome comments from our panel of experts.
 
Posted by ferijen (# 4719) on :
 
Dear Sine,

A former university acquaintance famed for a somewhat abrasive personality and an obsession with money has got back in touch after two years* to say she's visiting my company for work and would we like to get in touch. The preliminary contact was much chattier and 'friendlier' than her old self and I agreed to a meeting up but I fear that on our meeting she may go back to her traditional ways which traditionally would be a discussion of how much she is paid, the price of everything in her apartment, how much she spent on her parents' Christmas presents and how amazing her cooking is. (It isn't).

Now I would like to think that my friend has changed, hence the reason I agreed to lunch, but if she still displays the traits of her former self, how best should one deal with such vulgarity and is it possible to get out of this being a regular occurence?

(*I couldn't say who was the last to be in touch, I suspect it was me when I sent around a note to say I had a new job and was moving in with my boyfriend of whom she does not approve for complicated reasons including her ex's obsession with my other half's ex from about six years ago. What that has to do with me when I knew none of the parties concerned at the time, I've never quite fathomed...)
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ferijen:
Now I would like to think that my friend has changed, hence the reason I agreed to lunch, but if she still displays the traits of her former self, how best should one deal with such vulgarity and is it possible to get out of this being a regular occurence?

I guess I'm a bit puzzled why this person is your "friend" given your description of her. There must be something there you like.

However this week (next week it may change) I'm really into the power of being open and vulnerable. If she starts in on "wonderful, glorious, marvelous me" why don't you say "That sounds fabulous, but it makes me feel really bad about myself in comparison. Anything not going well in your life? I do better at sympathy rather than envy."

As to getting out of future lunch dates, try this on for size:

"Let's do this again soon."

"Oh, I'd love to but I just can't."

"Why not?"

"It's just not possible."

"When are you free?"

"I haven't a moment to myself next week. What's your number? I'll call you and set up something."

...and then don't. Chances are she won't ask again.
 
Posted by Firenze (# 619) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Flausa:
how to deal with their presence and conversation without being driven to drink?

And the problem here being? With luck, they will start taking active steps to avoid being with this morose* lush.

*I'm assuming in vino veritas will kick in.

Actually, I have a sometimes staggering tolerance of boring people. I always imagine I'm writing their character into a book, and observing just which touches would convey their essential mindnumbingness while simultaneously being entertaining. Also, I knit a lot, which shows I obviously need a lack of excitement in my life.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 3631) on :
 
I knew our panel of experts would come through!

Taking up knitting is an excellent idea. I know a woman who takes her knitting everywhere. You never have the least idea whether she's paying attention or not. And no one messes with a woman who's got two sharp needles in her hands.

Plus you're way ahead of the game present-wise come Christmas time.
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Firenze:
Actually, I have a sometimes staggering tolerance of boring people...

The only thing worse than boring people is boring people touching me.

[*shudder*] [Big Grin]
 
Posted by Sarkycow (# 1012) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Flausa:
Every so often I have to actually make inane conversation with such individuals and waste hours with them giving them the false impression that not only do I enjoy their company but that I want more of it. [B]ut do you have any recommendations as to... how to deal with their presence and conversation without being driven to drink?

Most people* have at least one interesting thing in their life. Try directing the conversation, and probing for what this might be. Find out their interests, and hit those topics.

People who are talking about something they like are much less boring.

Also, by directing the conversation, you can limit it, so that you don't get stuck with one person for the whole time. Set yourself a time limit, and think of some graceful exit lines. Use one when you time limit is up, and move on to the next person.

Alternatively, tell them that they bore you to tears, and if they walked away from you right now, you would still have spent too long in their miserable company. [Big Grin]

Why do you feel that you have to give the impression that you would welcome more of their company?

Sarkycow

*I'm sure there are one or two exceptions, but pretty much everyone else has this.
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
Taking up knitting is an excellent idea. I know a woman who takes her knitting everywhere. You never have the least idea whether she's paying attention or not. And no one messes with a woman who's got two sharp needles in her hands.

On reading Sine's post I was irresistibly reminded of the knitting women at the Guillotine in "A Tale of Two Cities". Knitting can often be a deceptively innocuous pastime. Look closely at the shapeless garment being created but never criticize it. It may be your hair or sinews that end up in the next.

And never assume that a woman who knits isn't listening. In my experience they absorb information from a wide variety of sources simultaneously while knitting and do not hesitate to impart wisdom to you when they think it necessary.
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gort:
quote:
Originally posted by Firenze:
Actually, I have a sometimes staggering tolerance of boring people...

The only thing worse than boring people is boring people touching me.

[*shudder*] [Big Grin]

So maybe with that in mind you can understand why Laura and I and many other women prefer intelligent men when choosing sexual partners? [Big Grin]
 
Posted by Sarkycow (# 1012) on :
 
No wonder you're still single Ruth [Biased] There's only about three of them out there - and two of them are gay!
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
I know, I know. The last guy who expressed any interest in me is a self-described slut who just wants to get laid. (My internal response: "Uh, no, not when God only knows everywhere that's been.") The one before that, while a nice enough guy, isn't bright enough to figure out that he and I have almost nothing in common and that I'm not going to go out with someone who probably (I'll admit, this is speculation) owns at least one t-shirt that says on the back, "If you can read this, the bitch fell off."
 
Posted by Firenze (# 619) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sarkycow:
Most people* have at least one interesting thing in their life. Try directing the conversation, and probing for what this might be. Find out their interests, and hit those topics.

People who are talking about something they like are much less boring.

Unfortunately, in many people this one absorbing topic on which they can talk with the utmost vivacity for hours, is themselves.
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
[...] So maybe with that in mind you can understand why Laura and I and many other women prefer intelligent men when choosing sexual partners? [Big Grin]

Oh, yes, Ruth! But unfortunately there's no direct correlation between intelligence and stimulating (as opposed to boring) company. I've known plenty of intelligent people who would bore you to tears. There's no shortage of them on these boards. [Snigger]
 
Posted by The Bede's American Successor (# 5042) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
...The one before that, while a nice enough guy, isn't bright enough to figure out that he and I have almost nothing in common and that I'm not going to go out with someone who probably (I'll admit, this is speculation) owns at least one t-shirt that says on the back, "If you can read this, the bitch fell off."

Is someone making a nasty comment about bikers? [Paranoid]
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
No, that's me saying I don't want to date one.

{edited for clarity}

[ 03. September 2005, 18:22: Message edited by: RuthW ]
 
Posted by welsh dragon (# 3249) on :
 
Oh, many bikers are very intelligent people you know. Highly educated. Sensitive and spiritual. Talented in all sorts of ways [Cool] .
 
Posted by The Kat in the Hat (# 2557) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
Taking up knitting is an excellent idea. I know a woman who takes her knitting everywhere. You never have the least idea whether she's paying attention or not. And no one messes with a woman who's got two sharp needles in her hands.

On reading Sine's post I was irresistibly reminded of the knitting women at the Guillotine in "A Tale of Two Cities". Knitting can often be a deceptively innocuous pastime. Look closely at the shapeless garment being created but never criticize it. It may be your hair or sinews that end up in the next.
IIRC there has been some research done which shows that knitting can help prevent PTSS. Something to do with brain not fully engaging with what is being seen. (can't quite remember how exactly).
I also have heard that the women had to attend the exectutions, so maybe that was why they took along their knitting. [Big Grin]
 
Posted by Emma. (# 3571) on :
 
Flausa.... surely you dont mean theres *shipmates* whose company you dont like?! [Paranoid] [Ultra confused]
 
Posted by Sir Kevin (# 3492) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Bede's American Successor:
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
...The one before that, while a nice enough guy, isn't bright enough to figure out that he and I have almost nothing in common and that I'm not going to go out with someone who probably (I'll admit, this is speculation) owns at least one t-shirt that says on the back, "If you can read this, the bitch fell off."

Is someone making a nasty comment about bikers? [Paranoid]
NB: The scene is on US Highway North, not far from Malibu, offframp = Ventura Park Road
 
Posted by The Bede's American Successor (# 5042) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sir Kevin:
quote:
Originally posted by The Bede's American Successor:
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
...The one before that, while a nice enough guy, isn't bright enough to figure out that he and I have almost nothing in common and that I'm not going to go out with someone who probably (I'll admit, this is speculation) owns at least one t-shirt that says on the back, "If you can read this, the bitch fell off."

Is someone making a nasty comment about bikers? [Paranoid]
NB: The scene is on US Highway North, not far from Malibu, offframp = Ventura Park Road
Perchance, did you mean US Rte. 101 North near Malibu?
 
Posted by The Bede's American Successor (# 5042) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by welsh dragon:
Oh, many bikers are very intelligent people you know. Highly educated. Sensitive and spiritual. Talented in all sorts of ways [Cool] .

Aw, shucks, ma'am. 'Tis nothing, really. I didn't think anyone noticed.
 
Posted by The Bede's American Successor (# 5042) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
No, that's me saying I don't want to date one.

{edited for clarity}

It sure looked like your were taken aback by the use of the technical term "bitch." While I admit there are uses of the term "bitch" that are not polite and pleasant, you must place it in context. Even men say they are "riding bitch" when a passanger on a motorcycle.

It is much the same as the use of the term "hillbilly." I'm sure that my relatives from my mother's side of my family living in places like St. Francois County, Missouri, in the Lead Belt, would be taken back at some people's usage of the term. Not every usage of the term is bad, though.

(I was quite delighted to find that Tom Beverage's Ozarks has been placed on the Internet. I knew Dr. Beverage while a student at UMR. When imagining what CS Lewis must have been like, Dr. Beverage makes up half the image. The other half was a math professor during that period. Both men were well rounded individuals that could speak with solid authority outside of their academic credentials. While Ozarks is not some serious, scholarly work—it was arranged after his death from presentation notes he used for non-academic lectures around the community and state—you have a chance to pick up on a little of wit and humor of a person that graced my college life. And, I wish I would have had this reference during some recent discussions on infant baptism.)
 
Posted by Flausa (# 3466) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Emma.:
Flausa.... surely you dont mean theres *shipmates* whose company you dont like?! [Paranoid] [Ultra confused]

Yes, several actually. Hmmm ... did I say that outloud? [Was that too honest?] Perhaps I need to post on the confessions thread.

[Don't worry dear Emma, I wouldn't have invited you on the Mad Tour USA if I didn't like your company. I'm not nice enough to invite people I really don't like to spend four days in a car with me.]
 
Posted by Paul W. (# 1450) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Flausa:
quote:
Originally posted by Emma.:
Flausa.... surely you dont mean theres *shipmates* whose company you dont like?! [Paranoid] [Ultra confused]

Yes, several actually. Hmmm ... did I say that outloud? [Was that too honest?] Perhaps I need to post on the confessions thread.
Just buy us beer, we'll go away then. [Big Grin]

Paul W
 
Posted by Flausa (# 3466) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Paul W.:
Just buy us beer, we'll go away then. [Big Grin]

Paul W

Now why would I want to do that. You and Tom are one of my favourite ship couples.
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Bede's American Successor:
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
No, that's me saying I don't want to date one.

{edited for clarity}

It sure looked like your were taken aback by the use of the technical term "bitch."
I wasn't. I am just not attracted to men who would wear that t-shirt. Just as I was not in high school attracted to boys who wore Mr. Zogs Sex Wax t-shirts. Certain t-shirts say "not Ruth's type" very loudly--that's all I was saying.
 
Posted by Paul W. (# 1450) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Flausa:
quote:
Originally posted by Paul W.:
Just buy us beer, we'll go away then. [Big Grin]

Paul W

Now why would I want to do that. You and Tom are one of my favourite ship couples.
Thanks. We'll invite you to the wedding [Biased]

Paul W
 
Posted by Kelly Alves (# 2522) on :
 
Dear Sine,

After much discussion at dinner last night it was voted that I should put this question before the Master of Ice cream forks.

Here it is:

We were dining at a fine Italian restaurant in San Francisco's North Beach. I ordered a pasta dish that featured mussles and scallops, thinking these would be out of shell and incorporated into the sauce somehow. Imagine my surprise when I was presented with a plate of patsa covered with shelled shellfish!

This may sound really plebe of me, but I have never been confronted with such a dish in all my eating experience. So I figured I was gonna have to dive in and accept the fact that I was bound to make a faux pas at some point.

Seeing there was a big spoon provided on my plate, I used that to steer the shells toward my fork while I teased the meat out with it. Once done with the shell, I piled the empties on my empty bread plate. My companions noticed I ran out of room and cordially offered theirs as well. It was suggested that I could use my fingers to anchor the shell, but I was afraid of embarassing myself, as this was a fairy swanky place for North Beach.

So, lay it on me.. how badly did I screw up?

Constant Diner
 
Posted by Nutmeg (# 5297) on :
 
I also have a question regarding dining sine, to perhaps you could answer 'constant diner's' question and mine at the same time.

It concerns peas. I was taught many years ago to eat peas by squashing them on the back of my fork. I have been trying to impart this knowledge on the young ones, but they have asked difficult questions as to how many one may squash at a time, and I am afraid that I cannot answer. Is this the correct way to devour a plate of peas? Do you have any further suggestions for me in trying to raise the young ones with decent table manners?

Table Manners Police.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
It must not have been that fine an Italian restaurant in San Francisco's North Beach if they didn't supply you with a seafood fork and a pair of tongs.

Since they did not, what you should have done is use your place fork to remove the meat from the first mussel, then use the first empty shell as tongs to remove the meat from the rest of the mussels. You should not have put the empty shells on your bread plate, you should have stacked them neatly in a row across the rim of your soup plate or pasta bowl. You would of course have had to use your fingers to anchor the mussel you were working on, afterwards asking the waiter for a fingerbowl with a scented geranium petal floating in it. Or possibly a moist towelette.

In the future I suggest you take your own seafood fork and tongs with you if you're going to patronize dives that try to pass themselves off as fine Italian restaurants.
 
Posted by Kelly Alves (# 2522) on :
 
[Tear] It wasn't my fault, it wasn't my fault...
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nutmeg:
Is this the correct way to devour a plate of peas?

Theoretically you turn the tines of the fork downward and spear them. Personally I trap them up against the side of the mashed potatoes and scoop them up. This is "wrong" but I do it anyway. Turning the fork over looks so weird (to Americans at least.)

quote:
Do you have any further suggestions for me in trying to raise the young ones with decent table manners?
Not being a parent, I'd hesitate to say. My mother had a few set things we were never allowed to do...put our elbows on the table, talk with our mouth full, interrupt the conversation, chew with our mouth open. We would always be corrected on these basics. Not much fun for her, I suspect.

Learning the finer points came during multi-generational Sunday afternoon dinners at my grandparents' house or at Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner with no outsiders present. Plus we kids went out to restaurants with my parents regularly (my mother not liking to cook) and were exposed to things on a "need to know" basis.

I am told total strangers would come up to my parents in restaurants and compliment them on their children's manners. But causing a scene in public was cause for punishment once we got home. Perhaps I should sue. We were doubtlessly very repressed.
 
Posted by Joyfulsoul (# 4652) on :
 
Dear Sine,

One of my closest friend sent me a picture of this guy who she thinks is attractive and asked me what I thought about attractiveness of the guy. It has been the case for the five years I have known her that every guy she's ever dated/been interested in...they all have many great qualities that appeal to her tastes but not mine. I really want to be positive and affirming...but I struggle with trying to say something simply based on one's physical appearance. Especially since she and I are different in what we see as attractive. But I want to say sometime nice without a white lie. Is this possible? Thank you.
 
Posted by BroJames (# 9636) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Joyfulsoul:
Dear Sine,

One of my closest friend sent me a picture of this guy who she thinks is attractive and asked me what I thought about attractiveness of the guy. It has been the case for the five years I have known her that every guy she's ever dated/been interested in...they all have many great qualities that appeal to her tastes but not mine. I really want to be positive and affirming...but I struggle with trying to say something simply based on one's physical appearance.

As you obviously know her tastes by now, perhaps you can just get away with "Wow! I can see why you fancy him" which doesn't (technically) admit to finding him attractive yourself. Given she's just sent you a photo, you could even refer to anything specific in the photo which you know will have appealed to her. Higher on the honesty scale would be "Well, you know our tastes are different, but I really can see why you ..." I always used to find this sort of thing difficult, and would say something like 'She's not really my type but..." Then you can move the conversation on to something more lasting like the guy's character.
 
Posted by Rat (# 3373) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Joyfulsoul:
I really want to be positive and affirming...but I struggle with trying to say something simply based on one's physical appearance. Especially since she and I are different in what we see as attractive.

"Oh wow! He is just so your type!".

quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
We were doubtlessly very repressed.

A little bit of repression is a good thing, especially when it comes to restaurants. There's nothing more annoying than trying to have a nice meal while somebody else's kids behave like they were in a sandpit. Wandering around eating with food in one hand and and picking their nose with the other, then smearing ketchup all over the back of your coat.
 
Posted by jlg (# 98) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nutmeg:
It concerns peas. I was taught many years ago to eat peas by squashing them on the back of my fork. I have been trying to impart this knowledge on the young ones, but they have asked difficult questions as to how many one may squash at a time, and I am afraid that I cannot answer. Is this the correct way to devour a plate of peas?

What kind of peas are we talking about? Petit pois-type green peas or bean-type peas such as black-eyed? I ask because you refer to "devour[ing] a plate of peas". When is one ever faced with "a plate of peas"?

I can quite understand using the fork to mash bean-type "peas" a bit before scooping them up, but green peas musn't be mashed. In my sort of Midwestern upbringing (Michigan) they are scooped up on the fork (and one accepts the varying success of the scooping be it one pea or a bunch of them) and eaten. And as Sine has pointed out, it is acceptable to make use of auxiliary foods such as mashed potatoes.
 
Posted by The Kat in the Hat (# 2557) on :
 
Incidentally, what is the correct response when people compliment you on your children's behaviour (usually in a restaurant). I usually ending up saying something about sedating them heavily before allowing them out [Big Grin]
 
Posted by josephine (# 3899) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Kat in the Hat:
Incidentally, what is the correct response when people compliment you on your children's behaviour (usually in a restaurant). I usually ending up saying something about sedating them heavily before allowing them out [Big Grin]

My maternal grandmother taught me that the only correct response to any compliment is "Thank you."

To reply by saying that whatever it is -- the children's behavior, the dress, the haircut, the performance -- is not as wonderful as you have just been told is to insult the judgment or taste of the person who just gave you the compliment.
 
Posted by The Prophetess (# 1439) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Kat in the Hat:
Incidentally, what is the correct response when people compliment you on your children's behaviour (usually in a restaurant). I usually ending up saying something about sedating them heavily before allowing them out [Big Grin]

"Thank you; you are very kind" works for me. Perfectly polite, and yet allows for the possibility that within the next five minutes the child may throw something across the room.
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Kat in the Hat:
Incidentally, what is the correct response when people compliment you on your children's behaviour (usually in a restaurant). I usually ending up saying something about sedating them heavily before allowing them out [Big Grin]

Teach the kids to smile and say thank you for their own compliments. [Angel]
 
Posted by Nutmeg (# 5297) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by jlg:
quote:
Originally posted by Nutmeg:
It concerns peas. I was taught many years ago to eat peas by squashing them on the back of my fork. I have been trying to impart this knowledge on the young ones, but they have asked difficult questions as to how many one may squash at a time, and I am afraid that I cannot answer. Is this the correct way to devour a plate of peas?

What kind of peas are we talking about? Petit pois-type green peas or bean-type peas such as black-eyed? I ask because you refer to "devour[ing] a plate of peas". When is one ever faced with "a plate of peas"?

I can quite understand using the fork to mash bean-type "peas" a bit before scooping them up, but green peas musn't be mashed. In my sort of Midwestern upbringing (Michigan) they are scooped up on the fork (and one accepts the varying success of the scooping be it one pea or a bunch of them) and eaten. And as Sine has pointed out, it is acceptable to make use of auxiliary foods such as mashed potatoes.

They were baby green peas. I said a plate of peas as being little and round they tend to run all over the plate. [Razz] My children seem strangely impressed at being taught the 'proper' way to dine. I think I will be pushing the 'spear your peas' line in the absence of any mash.

Thank you for the wonderful advice. So nice to know this service is so readily available and free in this day and age.
 
Posted by The Geezer (# 5521) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Joyfulsoul:
One of my closest friend sent me a picture of this guy who she thinks is attractive and asked me what I thought about attractiveness of the guy.

Forgive me if I sound jaded, and Sine will undoubtedly have something more positive to say, but no one who asks someone's opinion is looking for anything other than a corroboration of their own opinion, regardless of how the request is worded. You should therefore respond accordingly.
 
Posted by chive (# 208) on :
 
Dear Sine,

I have two friends who I like dearly. Friend A also likes Friend B. Friend B really doesn't like Friend A. I can, on the whole, juggle meeting them so that they don't spend a whole lot of time with each other. But how do I approach it when Friend B says negative things about Friend A to me?

Do I ignore it or do I ask him not to talk about her to me again like that? I don't like being drawn into being bitchy about someone I like very much indeed.

Your wisdom would be appreciated.
 
Posted by babybear (# 34) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Geezer:
no one who asks someone's opinion is looking for anything other than a corroboration of their own opinion, regardless of how the request is worded.

That is not true. When I ask for an opinion I am genuinely seeking the other person's input into the situation. Interesting insights can be gained that way.

quote:
You should therefore respond accordingly.
That being to tell the truth (in a polite and non-hurtful way).
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chive:
But how do I approach it when Friend B says negative things about Friend A to me?

I have exactly the same situation in my life. In fact nobody else I know likes him.

I have three ways of dealing with unkind comments about Mr. X.

1) "Uhm...well...yes. I know you don't like him. I do." and then change the subject.

2) "Well, we all have our trashy friends, now don't we?"...reminding one particular friend of his drunken ex-boyfriend without actually mentioning him by name.

3) "We have a lot in common"...which reminds them that in putting down my friend they are also putting me down.

But there is a lot to be said for just ignoring things you don't want to hear. It's something people learn as they get older. That sort of situational deafness. Personally, I'm cultivating it. Saves a lot of social wear and tear.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by babybear:
When I ask for an opinion I am genuinely seeking the other person's input into the situation. Interesting insights can be gained that way.

Have you ever asked Gremlin "Does this dress make my butt look big?"

I do think that when asked for comment on a new boyfriend's picture enthusiasm, however faked, is called for. Although one could toy with the idea of saying something about having seen him on the registered sex-offender website. Or perhaps not.
 
Posted by babybear (# 34) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
Have you ever asked Gremlin "Does this dress make my butt look big?"

I don't think I have used that phrase, but I have asked his opinion on whether things are flatterning or fattening. (I so don't need clothes to make me look bigger.) He is honest yet kind in his comments.
 
Posted by Curiosus (# 4808) on :
 
Dear Uncle Sine,

A friend of mine has invited me to join her for afternoon tea at her club. I accepted the invitation but have since discovered that a mutual 'acquaintance' of ours has been invited to join us as he will be in town that afternoon.

Unbeknownst to my friend, our 'acquaintance' nearly broke my heart four years ago and I haven't seen him since. I don't mind meeting up at all - in fact, it's going to be great to catch up on old gossip. However, I have been thrown into a paroxysm of panic about what to wear. It's vitally important that I look absolutely impeccable without appearing to have made an effort or giving the wrong impression (the last thing I want him thinking is that means anything more to me than just a good friend!)

What do you advise?
 
Posted by Sine Nomine* (# 3631) on :
 
It's terrible when I don't get asked the question I want to answer. Here is a situation fraught with human drama - the genteel surroundings, the unaware friend, the old flame, secret glances and sizing up, perhaps even a few regrets - and I'm being asked WHAT TO WEAR? It's just not fair, I tell you.

Besides which, it's well to know one's limitations. A Mere Man cannot adequately answer so important a questions. I must turn this over to our panel of goddess-worshipping, raisin-cake-eating experts...
 
Posted by Rat (# 3373) on :
 
I think - and I know this is a pathetic answer - that how comfortable you feel is going to be more important that what you wear.

I.e. if you don't normally wear make-up, putting on make-up will make you feel uncomfortable and therefore make you self-concious, and then you'll unwittingly give the impression that you're trying too hard. Ditto with specially nice clothes.

So I would say wear whatever you'd normally wear to such a lunch. Wear something nice that you already have and enjoy wearing - just go with your normal style, even at the risk of being slightly under-dressed. Being relaxed in your skin will be far more impressive to the love-rat than what you wear.
 
Posted by The Coot (# 220) on :
 
Well I'm not really an expert, but I think you should wear your sexiest, skimpiest, most flattering and most expensive clothes.

Just so he knows what he's missing.

[Angel]
 
Posted by MightyAardvark (# 10255) on :
 
black fatigues, body armour, your choice of drop point tanto or ka-bar.
Night vision goggles are a season favourite.
.
.
.
Why is everyone looking at me like that?
 
Posted by JimmyT (# 142) on :
 
Dear Sine,

What is the correct way to handle a church organist who seems plainly to be trying to say, "I'm gay" but cannot seem to spit out the words? It is an exceptionally common problem of mine because I make my Unitarian-like progressive Christianity plain but not obnoxiously so IRL, which seems to be greatly encouraging. Enough to invite social interactions to an empty apartment adorned with an ancient cat, Scooby-doo memorabilia, and a selection of Will and Grace videos casually pulled from their position on the shelf. Currently, I live in a tiny rural University town with a devilish mix of far left intellectuals and far right octogenarian land owners. Guess who has the money. The parish priest is retiring, the treasury is nearly bankrupt, and an exceptionally contentious search has begun for a new rector.

Any hint of "It's OK to be gay" solicits a stone-faced million mile stare. Only once in my choir history have I succeeded in getting the leader to say he was gay and that went OK. All other times I have awkwardly implied that I know and it's OK, a fumbling, bumbling awkwardness has ensued. After that, it seems to result in an "us against the gay-hating world" situation where the organist and music program, always targeted for budget cutbacks, are militantly pursued by the rabid right who had "no idea that he simply hadn't found the right woman by age 45 or that there was anything at to all to his altar guild donation of a profusion of roses on the annual memorial of the death of his cat of 20 years."

The message I would like to give is, "It's OK to be gay, but you're on your own with the Cartwrights. By the way, I give you one chance in 10. More ice cream?"

Cousin Jimmy.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine* (# 3631) on :
 
quote:
What is the correct way to handle a church organist who seems plainly to be trying to say, "I'm gay" but cannot seem to spit out.
Dear Cousin Jimmy,

This also is a bit outside my experience, never having a known a single church organist who had the slightest difficulty making it perfectly clear he was gay if such was the case. Especially in the Episcopal Church where being a straight man probably counts against you in that field. Probably aren't "sensitive" or "artistic" enough if you're a straight organist. Too much testosterone or something. (Sorry tomb. I'm sure you're the exception.)

But frankly I'm puzzled why this is your concern unless you're planning on going to bed with him, which doesn't seem to be the case. Also you're mind-reading if you know what he's "plainly trying to say". Maybe he's plainly trying to say he's one of those nellie straight men who give homosexuals a bad name. Such do exist. So really until he gives your thigh a good squeeze while staring intently into your eyes, I wouldn't worry about it if I were you.

Now if you are wanting to go to bed with him, please rephrase your question and I'll give you a different kind of advice.
 
Posted by Laura (# 10) on :
 
Dear Sine,

Your switching back and forth between new and old identities seems ... not on, somehow. Are you planning on doing this indefinitely?
 
Posted by Sine Nomine* (# 3631) on :
 
I just realized I've never logged off and back in at work.
 
Posted by Firenze (# 619) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rat:
So I would say wear whatever you'd normally wear to such a lunch.

Well, maybe just one little extravagant extra. Which you can afford because you are not in some income-draining, personality-cramping domestic situation with this person.
 
Posted by Curiosus (# 4808) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine*:
It's terrible when I don't get asked the question I want to answer.

So what was the question you want to answer? I'm dying to know!
 
Posted by Paige (# 2261) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine*:
Maybe he's plainly trying to say he's one of those nellie straight men who give homosexuals a bad name. Such do exist.

Dear Sine:

Can you tell me how to recognize one of these men? How do you tell the difference between a gay man who might be a bit effeminate and a nellie straight man? (And no, I'm not asking for myself. [Big Grin] )

Best,
Paige
 
Posted by JimmyT (# 142) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine*:
But frankly I'm puzzled why this is your concern unless you're planning on going to bed with him, which doesn't seem to be the case. Also you're mind-reading if you know what he's "plainly trying to say".

The country mouse and the city mouse. Some country mice have to play a game that city mice don't have to: "is it OK to be myself around you?"

It can turn you into a mind reader and/or a hypocrite and I probably commit both sins in the Episcopal church.
 
Posted by Doublethink (# 1984) on :
 
quote:
What is the correct way to handle a church organist who seems plainly to be trying to say, "I'm gay" but cannot seem to spit out.
So many puns, so little time - don't use any of them.

Why don't you have a discussion about visibility management in the military - i.e. chosing who you disclose to *very* carefully - and leave him to draw any parallels he wishes in the privacy of his thoughts.

[ 13. September 2005, 23:10: Message edited by: Doublethink ]
 
Posted by The Coot (# 220) on :
 
There's another possibility. The organist is gay (of course), but he thinks you are hitting on him and he doesn't fancy you. Therefore he doesn't want to be admitting he's gay, or it will encourage you and before he knows it you will be the one grabbing his thigh and staring meaningfully into his eyes.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by JimmyT:
Some country mice have to play a game that city mice don't have to: "is it OK to be myself around you?"

Ok...I am suspicious of people who entice confidences from other people. I'm sure you think your motives are good but I can think of several reasons why it's a bad idea and really not one why it would be a good idea. Uncle Sine suggests you just let it lie, Jimmy.

If you're his friend he'll tell you in his own time if he wants to. Please don't put him on the spot.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Paige:
Can you tell me how to recognize one of these men? How do you tell the difference between a gay man who might be a bit effeminate and a nellie straight man?

Yes. Leave a muscle magazine open on your coffee table. Watch carefully to see if his pupils dilate and his breathing becomes shallow.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Curiosus:
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine*:
It's terrible when I don't get asked the question I want to answer.

So what was the question you want to answer? I'm dying to know!
I'm not exactly sure, but it had something to do with how to have a sub-textual conversation with the old flame, the text of which would have been meaningless to the clueless mutual friend.

Meaningful glances, cryptic phrases, that sort of thing. And over tea at a private club, too. Very Private Lives.
 
Posted by Grits (# 4169) on :
 
quote:
Have you ever asked Gremlin "Does this dress make my butt look big?"
Reminds me of the scene from "Beauty Shop" where Queen Latifah is looking in the mirror and asks her young daughter, "Does this dress make my butt look big?" The little girl answers bediently, "Yes, mama, it does." To which Queen Latifah smiles contentedly at her reflection and responds, "Perfect".
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
quote:
Originally posted by Paige:
Can you tell me how to recognize one of these men? How do you tell the difference between a gay man who might be a bit effeminate and a nellie straight man?

Yes. Leave a muscle magazine open on your coffee table. Watch carefully to see if his pupils dilate and his breathing becomes shallow.
...or watch their eyes in the course of casual conversation. The gay guy will look you in the eye and the nellie straight will be shifty and talk too much.
 
Posted by JimmyT (# 142) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Coot:
There's another possibility. The organist is gay (of course), but he thinks you are hitting on him and he doesn't fancy you. Therefore he doesn't want to be admitting he's gay, or it will encourage you and before he knows it you will be the one grabbing his thigh and staring meaningfully into his eyes.

Ah, I've botched this terribly. I only meant "seems to want to come out into the open" and "wanting to invite me and my wife into his circle of friends" when I said "trying to say he's gay." He's new, we're new, the other people we've seen him with are new, we never see him with the same group of people twice and the church is in upheaval. Everybody just never mind me. My instincts are with Sine's last advice--just act like myself and let him act like himself. We all have the splendidly awkward time people do in little college towns where people come and go.

Ta ta and thanks!
 
Posted by Joyfulsoul (# 4652) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Paige:
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine*:
Maybe he's plainly trying to say he's one of those nellie straight men who give homosexuals a bad name. Such do exist.

Dear Sine:

Can you tell me how to recognize one of these men? How do you tell the difference between a gay man who might be a bit effeminate and a nellie straight man? (And no, I'm not asking for myself. [Big Grin] )

Best,
Paige

Ask him where he lives. Sometimes that works.

For example, I was getting my make-up done in LA months ago for fun and I couldn't tell if the guy who was doing my make-up was a free-spirited nellie straight or if he were bona fide gay. He didn't have a distinctly SoCal accent, so I politely inquired if he lived in Cali his whole life. And basically, through geography...San Fransisco...Hillcrest...etc... I came to the conclusion that he was either a very unusual straight man who enjoyed living in places where there are more gay people than straight or that he was indeed gay.
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
Dear Sine:

I was so hamster-wheel busy two weeks back, I hadn't the time to ask then --

But, for future reference, please do give me your valuable opinion on this:

What does one wear to a hurricane evacuation?

(I mean, besides a precautionary toe tag... [Eek!] )

[ 14. September 2005, 04:06: Message edited by: Janine ]
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
[Killing me] [Killing me] [Killing me]
 
Posted by The Bede's American Successor (# 5042) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Janine:
What does one wear to a hurricane evacuation?

Water wings?
 
Posted by Firenze (# 619) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Janine:
What does one wear to a hurricane evacuation?

One's diamonds, sewn into one's underwear.
 
Posted by Paige (# 2261) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Joyfulsoul:
Ask him where he lives. Sometimes that works.

Given that he lives in outer suburbia with his wife and family, that wouldn't help much. [Biased]

Thanks Sine----I was pretty sure which was which, but your answer sealed it for me. [Big Grin]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Firenze:
quote:
Originally posted by Janine:
What does one wear to a hurricane evacuation?

One's diamonds, sewn into one's underwear.
My thought exactly.

(Although we know what happened to the last family who tried that.)
 
Posted by Lola (# 627) on :
 
Dear Sine

I was brought up to never read at the table. How does this apply to dining alone in a restaurant whilst travelling on business? I have sometimes taken my newspaper or a book to dinner when eating in the anonymous hotel chains most business travel seems to involve.

I recently made a trip for work to an old-fashioned seaside town and was booked by the company I was visiting into a small, family type establishment full of families on holiday and couples on romantic nights out. In fact, it specified that you should dress for dinner - which alarmed me at first as I had not packed a cocktail dress, but then I reasoned that they meant don't come in your bikini and sarong straight from the beach and so just wore my suit. I felt it would be rude to the other diners in the restaurant to read at the table (although I don't know why, they were not eating dinner with me) and now I am re-evaluating whether I should desist in general when eating alone even in the Holiday Inn?

BTW I solved the problem for the rest of the week by eating fish and chips on the prom looking out to sea.

Lola
 
Posted by babybear (# 34) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by JimmyT:
I only meant "seems to want to come out into the open" and "wanting to invite me and my wife into his circle of friends" when I said "trying to say he's gay." He's new, we're new, the other people we've seen him with are new

From what you have said above you are not going to treat this guy any differently based solely on his sexuality. Ignore the question of whether he is gay or not.

You are new, he is new, why not invite him over for lunch after church one day, or suggest that you go out for lunch. I love having people over for lunch and have found it an excellent way to make new friends at church.
 
Posted by iGeek. (# 777) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gort:
watch their eyes in the course of casual conversation. The gay guy will look you in the eye and the nellie straight will be shifty and talk too much.

Though the gay guy may occasionally flick his glance downwards to check out, errm, other areas of interest.

You put it so elegantly, Sine (it *is* your thread after all), but I would have thought the presumption would be that a church organist is gay and that if he's going to come out, it would be as straight. IME, mind you.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lola:

I was brought up to never read at the table. How does this apply to dining alone in a restaurant whilst travelling on business? I have sometimes taken my newspaper or a book to dinner when eating in the anonymous hotel chains most business travel seems to involve.

quote:
A lady traveling alone with her maid (or without one), of necessity has her meals alone in her own sitting-room, if she has one. If she goes to the dining-room, she usually takes a book because hotel service seems endless to one used to meals at home and nothing is duller than to sit long alone with nothing to do but look at the tablecloth, which is scarcely diverting, or at other people, which is impolite.
Emily Post said it in 1922. It hasn't changed. Do however make sure you read a book, preferably Trollope, and not a newspaper.
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
Dear Sine,
Recently, I was invited by an attractive widow to accompany her and a couple of her women friends to a cabin she owns on a mountain lake. She went out of her way to explain that she wasn't in the habit of inviting men for weekend outings, was a little embarrassed but enjoyed my conversation and thought that it would be fun to have me along to "liven up" her regular group of women friends. She made it clear that there was an extra bedroom for me and hoped that I didn't think her intentions were "untoward". I should add that I know her only as passing acquaintance. Being the bonehead I am, I was flattered and accepted without hesitation.

A couple of days later, I was walking by her condominium and she saw me. As it was nearly noon, she invited me inside for coffee and cookies. She has an immaculate home, well appointed with fine furnishings and art typical of an older, single woman's home (knick-knacks, ya know?). This conflicted slightly with my former impression of her being a scruffy, athletic, outdoorsie type. She drives a bright red Jeep CJ-7 Laredo.

As I ate my cookies, panic slowly welled up. The Hummel figurines mocked me from the glass shelves... I could hear them silently laughing at my rash decision. She monopolized the conversation and was intent upon discovering my opinion regarding dating as "a serious matter that should be undertaken with marriage as a goal". I struggled back with lame comments including keywords like "fun, recreation, casual, get-to-know-a-person"... all in vain. Then she asks me, "How do you feel about pre-nupts?" I was dumbfounded and speechless. Her Bichon Frise stared at me knowingly. After a lengthy monologue regarding her efforts to cut back on anti-depressants, I made up a reason to excuse myself, thanked her for the coffee and cookies, then beat a fast retreat towards the door.

You know what I'm going to ask... How do I get out of the weekend cabin invitation? I'm basically a nice guy and don't want to be rude or hurt her feelings. I hate to lie with some phony excuse, but a fun weekend with the gals is freaking me out. Should I just break my leg or something? Any advice would be appreciated. (Yeah, I know I screwed up)

--Suffocating in Seattle
 
Posted by Dee-nz (# 5681) on :
 
quote:
Being the bonehead I am, I was flattered and accepted without hesitation
[Killing me] [Roll Eyes] [Disappointed] [Killing me]

Oh wow,

I cant wait to see how Sine suggests you get out of this one...personally I would go for self harm.
 
Posted by Nutmeg (# 5297) on :
 
I am also waiting to see sine's excellent suggestions too.

I thought of self harm too Dee- NZ, although constantly rehashing your last relationship and why you believe it failed usually scares most people off. Embellishing the story to include group sex and other 'unsavoury' practices might seem like fun at the time, but could result in some very nasty rumours.


[Ultra confused] [Eek!] [Killing me]
 
Posted by anglicanrascal (# 3412) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gort:
Then she asks me, "How do you feel about pre-nupts?" I was dumbfounded and speechless.

Wow: a Pre-Pre-Nupt!
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
Yeah, yeah. Yuck it up, Jokesters. All good humour is based on the misfortunes of others.
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
Gort's post sounds like something I've read before. I'm trying to think where.
 
Posted by duchess (# 2764) on :
 
Gort,

Just tell her that you are unable to make it since you have an obligation you can not get out of. Try for example to find somebody who is in dire straights...needs to move that day or go volunteer somewhere do-gooder (old folks home, soup kitchen)...then you feel this is for reals and you are not making it up.

"It turns out I have this commitment to sing Gershwin songs at the old folks home that day. I am sorry I am unable to make it."

"I am going with my church to the soup kitchen to help out..."

"Turns out my friend Cody had to move across state to Spokane and has not packed! He swears I volunteered to help him!"

"My son needs me..."

[I swear I heard the theme from JAWS in my head when I read your post...]

[ 16. September 2005, 04:28: Message edited by: duchess ]
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gort:
How do I get out of the weekend cabin invitation?

What a softball question! Jeez, I can answer this one with duchesses' hand tied behind her back.

Next time you see her, preferrably before the weekend event, you have two options:

1) Mention how much you enjoy being friends with her. "Gosh, I enjoy being friends with you." Then, to that little bon mot, append this: Tell her she reminds you of your mother or sister.

If you need the big guns, then go to Step 2:

2) Talk on and on about a new woman you just met at work and how crazy you are about her. Make sure the woman you describe is completely opposite to the widow so there is zero chance she'll think you're talking about her.

I think these will spike her wheels, but if you need more, I have them. (Finally, I get a chance to put into play all the "dump him, fast" strategies used on me! [Devil] )

Of course, there's always *coffcoff*honesty*coffcoff*. You could tell her: "I'm sorry, the situation has become such that I'm not comfortable any longer with going. I appreciate your willingness to invite me with your friends." Short, honest, to the point.

[ 16. September 2005, 05:53: Message edited by: KenWritez ]
 
Posted by RooK (# 1852) on :
 
I don't have anywhere near the élan enthralled in Sine's pinkie finger, but I'm inclined to offer advice anyway. Simply put, Gort, I suspect that you are very much like me socially. Meaning, of course, that you're a complete lunk-head with respect to subtlety and grace. Of the few things left to you in the realm of the quasi-charming are integrity and honesty; I suggest that you do not foresake these. You have made an agreement, and I think it would work out best for you if you were to genuinely bust your ass to keep it regardless of personal difficulty. Because frankly a capacity to suffer for your honour is what makes it noteworthy in the first place.

I'm not saying that you should succumb to any strange ideas she might have about who or what she wants you to be. I'm saying you should hold yourself to a high ideal out of principle, and give the lady a chance to surprise you. At the very worst you'll have a funny story at the end of it all.
 
Posted by babybear (# 34) on :
 
Yes, do go, and then tell us all about it. [Big Grin] It will be far cheaper than breaking your leg etc.

Besides, she might have a cute friend.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RooK:
I don't have anywhere near the élan enthralled in Sine's pinkie finger

Yes, and that's why I have an advice thread and you don't, Buckwheat. I have an uncanny ability to zero in on the heart of the matter. You have all overlooked the obvious.

The key is the Bichon Frise.

<Dog Allergy>

The woman, naturally, adores the the dog. There is no doubt she is taking little Fu-Fu with her to the cabin. All Gort has to do is call her and tell her he was incapacitated for nearly a day after just his short visit for cookies. There's no way he can spend a week-end in the dog's company. It would kill him at his age.

An added bonus is he'll never have to go into her condo again either and he can run in the other direction when he sees her out walking Fu-Fu.

(Of course he's got to hope she doesn't realize that Bichon Frises are recommended by the AKC as being a good breed for allergy sufferers. If she mentions it, I suggest that he say something along the lines of "Yes, that's what I thought too. Very strange." She can hardly call him a liar.)
 
Posted by Cosmo (# 117) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
quote:
Originally posted by RooK:
I don't have anywhere near the élan enthralled in Sine's pinkie finger

Yes, and that's why I have an advice thread and you don't, Buckwheat. I have an uncanny ability to zero in on the heart of the matter. You have all overlooked the obvious.

The key is the Bichon Frise.

<Dog Allergy>

The woman, naturally, adores the the dog. There is no doubt she is taking little Fu-Fu with her to the cabin. All Gort has to do is call her and tell her he was incapacitated for nearly a day after just his short visit for cookies. There's no way he can spend a week-end in the dog's company. It would kill him at his age.

An added bonus is he'll never have to go into her condo again either and he can run in the other direction when he sees her out walking Fu-Fu.

(Of course he's got to hope she doesn't realize that Bichon Frises are recommended by the AKC as being a good breed for allergy sufferers. If she mentions it, I suggest that he say something along the lines of "Yes, that's what I thought too. Very strange." She can hardly call him a liar.)

A masterful response of course and one, I'm glad to say, that launched itself into my own dense nut. It will be to Gort's advantage if she does call him a liar. Not only will he be out of the frame for his 'weekend' but he need have no more worries about her advances. She could hardly brand him a liar and then expect him to meet with her again - with or without the mutt.

Cosmo
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
Gort's post sounds like something I've read before. I'm trying to think where.

Yes, this rings a bell with me too. I'm sure I've read this elsewhere a couple of years ago.
 
Posted by Custard. (# 5402) on :
 
Go along with the intention of enjoying it no matter what.
 
Posted by Joyfulsoul (# 4652) on :
 
Gort, you have great instincts. It is possible that she invited you so that her girlfriends could size you to see if you're fit to be her future mate... run for hills!
 
Posted by Sarkycow (# 1012) on :
 
Y'know, it's just possible that Gort has completely misread all the signs, and this lady was simply interested in a friendship.

But y'know, Gort, break your word, your agreement. Lie to someone you're were beginning to see as a friend.

For heaven's sake, she explicitly made it obvious that she was inviting him for his sparkling conversation, not because she fancied him.

*shakes head*

And, Sine, I'm surprised at you, encouraging Gort to do the dishonourable thing.

Sarkycow
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sarkycow:
Sine, I'm surprised at you, encouraging Gort to do the dishonourable thing.

This is an advice thread. I give advice. He asked how to get out it. I know a good way of getting rid of dead bodies too.

Besides, I think he made the whole thing up anyway.
 
Posted by Sarkycow (# 1012) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
This is an advice thread. I give advice. He asked how to get out it. I know a good way of getting rid of dead bodies too.

Besides, I think he made the whole thing up anyway.

And normally you give good advice.

Are you having an off-day?

Sarkycow

(And his story does sound kinda familiar, whatever that means...)
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
I know a good way of getting rid of dead bodies too.

How do you do it?

Moo
 
Posted by The Prophetess (# 1439) on :
 
<cue theme from Rear Window >
 
Posted by The Coot (# 220) on :
 
If it is real, what if the lady harbours such ardent affections for Gortie that she is willing to put Fu-Fu into boarding kennels for the weekend? Or- get rid of Fu-Fu entirely?
[Eek!]

That would bugger things up a bit.
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
I see that my old Viagra story has ruined my reputation for trustworthyness. (I thought that yarn was obvious from its context) Anyway, the problem I asked advice for is true and has resolved itself in an odd fashion. Thanks for the help Sine (and others) but I decided to just be honest and just go talk to her about my reservations.

This is exactly what happened: Instead of using the phone, I went and knocked on her door. When she answered, her first words were a little strident. "It's been a week! Why haven't you called me? Yes, I have her number, but keep in mind we have never gone out on a date, I have never used her number and the only sit-down, one-on-one conversation I've had with her was the episode over coffee and cookies. (the cabin weekend was 6 weeks away)

I opened my mouth to begin my spiel. I intended to just explain that I was nervous and uncomfortable about spending a weekend with her and the two friends (whom I've never met). I meant to apologize and ask if she would like to go have dinner sometime instead. I didn't get a chance to speak. I couldn't even answer her question about not calling. Immediately after that first question, she says, "Oh, I get it! You don't want to go to the cabin! I stood there like a wooden cigar-store indian.

I stammered, "Well, I..."

She interrupted with, "It's OK. I understand. Actually, I've been thinking it was a mistake inviting you out of the blue like that since we hardly know each other. Since you were here for lunch the other day, I've realized that we probably aren't on the same wavelength about dating. I tried to explain to you how serious the subject is to me, yadda yadda, blah blah, I'm a Christian woman and I don't believe in sex outside of marriage!" (I swear this is true, also I have NEVER said anything about sex to her) "Yackity yack, It seemed from our conversation that you have a more casual attitude towards relationships than I, soooo... (on and on)"

All I could do was stand there and nod like a bobble-head dummy wearing a deathmask and sporting a frozen grin. Eventually, I was able to extricate myself with a few mumbled apologies and escaped.

So ends the saga of Gort, The Selfish and Unreasonable. Thank you all very much for your kind considerations. I'll just go back to my cave now.
 
Posted by jlg (# 98) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cosmo:
[content deleted because it's irrelevant to this post]

What on earth are you doing up here in Heaven? [Eek!]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by jlg:
quote:
Originally posted by Cosmo:
[content deleted because it's irrelevant to this post]

What on earth are you doing up here in Heaven? [Eek!]
I have a following you know. Even RooK was up here. The human drama on this thread is immense. Immense I tell you. Mothers, daughters, husbands, wives, love, jealousy, hatred, revenge, table settings...

It's life in a nutshell. Of course Cosmo reads it. All the best people do.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
I know a good way of getting rid of dead bodies too.

How do you do it?
That answer will cost you. But it involves strangling, carpets, and NFL stadiums.
 
Posted by samara (# 9932) on :
 
And back to table settings. Well, sort of.

Tell me, how does one deal with leftovers at a restaurant? I can almost never clear my plate. Are doggie bags frowned on in polite company?
 
Posted by Auntie Doris (# 9433) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
Of course Cosmo reads it. All the best people do.

Or maybe that should read, "All the best people read Cosmo"

Auntie Doris x
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by samara:
how does one deal with leftovers at a restaurant? I can almost never clear my plate. Are doggie bags frowned on in polite company?

I think it's always best to pretend it's something the dog might actually eat*. That is to say, ask for the leftoever filet mignon to be boxed up, but not the house salad you didn't finish. That just looks pathetic and cheap.

This jerks one of my chains because my sister will ask for anything that's not nailed down to the table to be boxed up. I'm quite sure it's a - if you'll pardon the expression - leftover from her graduate student days, but sheesh. Those 2 tiny slices of pizza aren't what's standing between her and bankruptcy anymore.

(*So Ok, the dog in this house loves carrots, but you know what I mean.)
 
Posted by The Prophetess (# 1439) on :
 
Dear Sine,

I am sick and tired of being served salad at the incorrect time, i.e. before the main course. Unfortunately, my husband believes that I am wrong, and when it is his turn to make dinner, he insists on serving salad first. How can I establish the correct procedure in our household? I am beginning to contemplate pulling a Lysistrata.
 
Posted by RainbowKate (# 9331) on :
 
Dear Sine,
As fate would have my brother and partner have graduation ceremonies on the same day, 2000 miles apart. Brother is getting is B.A. and partner her M.A. I have told my parents and brother that I am attending my partner's graduation, and we are then packing a moving van and moving her back east. We've been in a long distance relationship for two years and got officially engaged a year ago. If we could get married we would have already.

Now, my brother is dissapointed but understands that my duty is first to my partner. My partner understands if I feel I should attend my brother's instead. My parents are furious with me and claim I have "destroyed" my brother's graduation. I'm just confused. Am I right in attending my partner's graduation over my brother's?
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RainbowKate:
Am I right in attending my partner's graduation over my brother's?

This is one that only you can answer, in conjunction with your partner and with prayer. But let me ask this: If your brother is ill and frightened, your parents are unreliable, and your mother is tormenting him, who else will be there for him? Is there anyone besides you?

A difficult choice. What you don't want to do, however, is let your parents' opinion influence you either way - either to cave to guilt and go, or not go just to show your independence. Try and keep them out of your mind when making your decision. Concentrate on your partner and your brother and their relative needs on what is a special day for each of them.

Good luck.

[ 17. September 2005, 19:04: Message edited by: Sine Nomine ]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Prophetess:
I am sick and tired of being served salad at the incorrect time...How can I establish the correct procedure in our household?

Of course you're not wrong. What's with your husband? Did he used to be a waiter or something? Or from California, which I believe is where this particular abomination, along with so many others, originated?

However...I tend to cut people who will cook a meal for me a lot of slack, because the obvious answer would be for you to do all the cooking, and we don't want that, now do we?

But if you really want to make a point, you could just ignore your salad and desultorily play with your bread and butter until the main course arrives, then eat your room-temperature and disconsolate looking greenery afterwards. Wilted lettuce is a small price to pay for being right.

Probably better though just to serve the salad correctly on your nights in the kitchen. That will annoy him since he thinks you're doing it wrong, but he can't say much if you just smiled sweetly when it was his turn.

A little passive-agressive perhaps, but marriage is, after all, a rough proposition. Not for the faint-of-heart.
 
Posted by The Prophetess (# 1439) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
Did he used to be a waiter or something? Or from California, which I believe is where this particular abomination, along with so many others, originated?

[Overused] Got it in one. He was born in Long Beach and grew up in the Valley. Apparently there are some things that even a Princeton education cannot eliminate.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
Tell him that Helen Brown, in her famous West Coast Cookbook wrote in 1952:
quote:
Visitors to our Coast never fail to be impressed by our salads. Whether it's their excellence, which we modestly acknowledge, or the fact we serve them as a first course, which awes them, we are not sure. Actually, that salad-first custom, though almost invariably followed in restaurants, is not so common at home; we are quite apt to serve them with or after the entree as before it. Still it would be fun to know what started the restaurants on this curious habit, and when.
Nobody knew more about food history on the West Coast than Helen Brown. Not even James Beard.
 
Posted by The Prophetess (# 1439) on :
 
More about salad... perhaps, Sine, you can enlighten me on a point which has bothered me for some time. Among my Francis I wedding silver is a beautiful salad serving set as well as the salad forks that were part of the covers. How in the world am I supposed to serve salad without damaging the silver, as will happen when it comes in contact with anything acidic? It's been almost ten years now and the salad forks especially have little black spots on them that refuse to be polished away.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Prophetess:
It's been almost ten years now and the salad forks especially have little black spots on them that refuse to be polished away.

I always put the flatware (except the knives) in a plastic dishpan of very hot soapy water with a little ammonia added as soon as I clear the table. If there are any tarnish spots I dip the tines in silver dip after washing and then rinse again. Don't let it air dry. Use a terry dish towel and dry immediately.

If all else fails go to Williams-Sonoma and get some Wenol™ metal polish. Don't use it on plate though. Actually you ought to have some Wenol™ anyway. Good for copper and brass too.
 
Posted by RainbowKate (# 9331) on :
 
quote:
What you don't want to do, however, is let your parents' opinion influence you either way - either to cave to guilt and go, or not go just to show your independence.
Good advice, Sine. Thanks. It's really the power struggle between mom and I that this is about. It's hard to put that aside. It's also hard to want to be at my brother's when I know it will be full of my mother's drama. [Disappointed]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RainbowKate:
It's really the power struggle between mom and I that this is about.

Someone needs to tell your brother that in case he mistakenly thinks it's about him graduating from college.
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
ouch! [Eek!]
 
Posted by RainbowKate (# 9331) on :
 
quote:
Someone needs to tell your brother that in case he mistakenly thinks it's about him graduating from college.
Oh, he's aware. In our family any event is All About Mother. Currently she's giving him hell because he won't tell me that I have to come to his graduation instead of my partner's. So he's torn between wanting me to be there, and not wanting mom to think I've decided to go because he laid a guilt trip on me.

But it's time I quit playing her games and figure out what I need to do without watching the Mother Insanity Meter. Someone's got to act like an adult.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
Mothers, daughters, husbands, wives, love, jealousy, hatred, revenge, table settings...

It's life in a nutshell.


 
Posted by jlg (# 98) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RainbowKate:
But it's time I quit playing her games and figure out what I need to do without watching the Mother Insanity Meter. Someone's got to act like an adult.

You have just taken the first step towards a much less stressful life. Now practice saying "I know, Mother, but that's what we have decided to do", which is going to be your response, repeated ad nauseamas necessary, to whatever your mother says, asks, threatens, demands, shrieks, etc.
 
Posted by Kelly Alves (# 2522) on :
 
I can concur that that Broken Record technique indeed works with Unruly Mothers. (I totally feel you, RainbowKate)
 
Posted by RainbowKate (# 9331) on :
 
quote:
"I know, Mother, but that's what we have decided to do", which is going to be your response, repeated ad nauseamas necessary, to whatever your mother says, asks, threatens, demands, shrieks, etc.

This is good advice. So far I've been trying to treat her as a rational adult, but clearly that is not the way.
 
Posted by Dee-nz (# 5681) on :
 
quote:
So far I've been trying to treat her as a rational adult,
There it is, that's your problem right there. It took me 30 years to learn not to do that and now I have worked it out my life is much easier. Welcome to sanity Rainbow Kate now repeat after me "I am not responsable for my mothers happiness"

good and now the aforementioned line...

quote:
"I know, Mother, but that's what we have decided to do",
Excellent,and God go with you [Biased]
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Prophetess:
It's been almost ten years now and the salad forks especially have little black spots on them that refuse to be polished away.

I was told many years ago that you can get permanent black spots on silver from an interaction between water and the tarnish-proof cloth that lines silver chests.

When you wash and dry silver, you might leave a tiny bit of water somewhere. The solution is that after you wash and dry it, leave it out to air for at least a few hours before you put it away. (I usually wash my silver in the evening, leave it on the dining room table overnight, and put it away in the morning.)

I don't know for a fact that this is true, but I have assumed it was, and my silver does not have any black spots.

Moo
 
Posted by The Geezer (# 5521) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lola:
I was brought up to never read at the table. How does this apply to dining alone in a restaurant whilst travelling on business? I solved the problem by eating fish and chips on the prom looking out to sea.

There was a time when a classy restaurant would not seat a woman by herself . . . but that time has passed.

It has to be assumed that diners who patronize the hotel's dining room are guests of the hotel. After all, local residents would surely know of better (and more reasonably priced) dining spots. As such, you are perfectly entitled to occupy a table by yourself, with book or otherwise, and no one should suspect anything other than that you are traveling by yourself on business and that it is time for your evening meal.

I do, however, like your solution of dining on the veranda, provided that the weather and view are both pleasant. Or you could order room service and dine in your nightgown.
 
Posted by samara (# 9932) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
. . . leftover from her graduate student days, but sheesh.

You outed me! [Killing me] And the occasion which prompted the question was a "welcome to new people" dinner for our resesarch lab.

Thanks. I shall be more at ease. Though generally I just let them box whatever they wish.
 
Posted by Always Waiting (# 10141) on :
 
Oh no!! Nonono! I've come to the end of the thread. After fifteen pages of edification, I can't believe it. Sine, you are my touchstone. Your wisdom awes me. Your wit dazzles me. I bow to your immense knowledge. [Overused]

I have a very small quandry with which I would appreciate any advice you could offer. I am a student in New Zealand. My journey into the wonderful world of alcohol has been tainted by the crazy hedonism of student life. Under the careful tutelage of my friends, I have learnt to drink cheaply, quickly, and to great effect. I graduate at the end of this year, and plan to visit the UK, via America, on my OE (Overseas Experience). I am trying to train myself to drink like a civilised person.

Sadly, I don't know any civilised people.

Some advice on Alcohol Etiquette would be great. How do you know if you're being invited out for a few quiets, a bit of a laugh, or a right piss-up, particularly if the people doing the asking have unintelligible Coronation Street accents? I've heard about these "dinner parties" that grown-ups have. What is acceptable behaviour there? Is it OK to try to find these out things by asking people directly, or will that simply draw their attention to my a) ignorance, and b) propensity to drink like a thirsty camel?

I freely admit that I am a social pygmy. But I wouldn't want to look like a lush.

Yours in anticipation,
Always Waiting.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Always Waiting:
Sine, you are my touchstone. Your wisdom awes me. Your wit dazzles me. I bow to your immense knowledge.

What a charming young person. Who says the quality of the apprentice class is declining? Not moi.
quote:
Some advice on Alcohol Etiquette would be great.
Boy, have you asked the right person. You just don't know.

Let me tell you a little story. I was out to dinner last Sunday. There was a young lady at the next table drinking something tasty-looking from a stemmed glass - possibly a flavored martini or perhaps a Manhattan. She picked up the glass, took a little sip, put it back down, resumed her animated conversation with her dinner partners, apparently forgetting there was a glass of liquor in front of her. A few minutes later she glanced down as if surprised, saw her cocktail, picked it back up, took another little sip, put it back down again and continued talking. It probably took her forty minuted to finish that little cocktail. It drove me mad. I kept wanting to scream "DRINK THE DAMN DRINK, BITCH!"

Ahem.

But you see, she was using alcohol as a social lubricant. To make the evening with friends pleasant and convivial. This is the way normal people drink. Not to get drunk but to heighten the occasion rather than to obliterate it.

You are never going to get into trouble by drinking too little but you sure can get into trouble, socially and legally by drinking too much. If you want a rule of thumb, here it is: Don't have more than one drink an hour.

In practice what this means is only have one coctail before dinner. Don't have your wineglass re-filled during dinnner and only have have one after-dinner drink.

Don't run the risk of being a drunken dinner guest. There's nothing more boorish. Believe me, they're not laughing with you, they're laughing at you.

If they're laughing at all.
 
Posted by iGeek. (# 777) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kelly Alves:
I totally feel you, RainbowKate

[Eek!] Does her partner know about this?




[Killing me]
 
Posted by RainbowKate (# 9331) on :
 
[Killing me] [Killing me] [Killing me]

No, iGeek, she doesn't. She's very good at putting up with my baggage, but I have a feeling explaining that I'm being felt up by an axe wielding bunny would spell the end of our relationship.
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RainbowKate:
[Killing me] [Killing me] [Killing me]

No, iGeek, she doesn't. She's very good at putting up with my baggage, but I have a feeling explaining that I'm being felt up by an axe wielding bunny would spell the end of our relationship.

Not to mention the added factor of said bunny having met you (*gasp*) online.
 
Posted by Always Waiting (# 10141) on :
 
quote:
But you see, she was using alcohol as a social lubricant. To make the evening with friends pleasant and convivial. This is the way normal people drink. Not to get drunk but to heighten the occasion rather than to obliterate it.
Wow, thanks Uncle Sine. Yet again, you open new vistas of human experience to my initiated eyes. No more boorish drunkness for me (or at least, not after I graduate) [Angel]

[ 20. September 2005, 21:29: Message edited by: Always Waiting ]
 
Posted by Cosmo (# 117) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
Don't run the risk of being a drunken dinner guest. There's nothing more boorish. Believe me, they're not laughing with you, they're laughing at you.

If they're laughing at all.

One way of putting it might be 'Don't think you'll resemble Dorothy Parker; you're much more likely to resemble Randolph Churchill'.

Cosmo
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
While we're on the subject...
quote:
One reason I don't drink is that I want to know when I am having a good time.
--Lady Astor


 
Posted by Kelly Alves (# 2522) on :
 
Well if people are gonna gossip about me, there's a lot worse they can say than that I made a pass at a sweetie like RainbowKate. [Big Grin]
 
Posted by Grits (# 4169) on :
 
quote:
That answer will cost you. But it involves strangling, carpets, and NFL stadiums.

Sine, is Janet March under The Coliseum?
 
Posted by Campbellite (# 1202) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Grits:
quote:
That answer will cost you. But it involves strangling, carpets, and NFL stadiums.

Sine, is Janet March under The Coliseum?
I think it was Col. Mustard in the Study with the Rope.

Or am I on the wrong thread again?
 
Posted by Nonpropheteer (# 5053) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
Oh dear. You do have a problem.

Unfortunately, we need to remember that our friends are more important than our material possessions. If these suede sofas are going to be a source of tension for you when people come over you might just as well go ahead and return them now and get something else you'll be more comfortable having your guests sit on.

Or cover them with clear vinyl slipcovers. Since your friends are from West Virginia they won't think a thing about it.

[Killing me] [Killing me] [Killing me]
 
Posted by teddybear (# 7842) on :
 
Dear Sine,

Which is best place to pick up men, in Church or at a bar?

Sign me Curious
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by teddybear:
Which is best place to pick up men, in Church or at a bar?

There is something to be said for either venue. It all depends.

Naturally at church it helps if you're in the choir since that signals to potential sex partners that you're a person of low morals anyway, which saves a bit of time. Second best is being an usher since you get to check out all the meat as they enter and give them a dazzling smile and a meaningful look. If they're not interested, then you were just being friendly and welcoming. Also receptions after special church events are fertile stomping grounds. Especially after Evensongs, which always brings out the boys in full force. Plus a couple of glasses of cheap white wine loosens them up without making them sloppy drunk.

The downside of Church As Meat Rack is that your pool of available pick ups really aren't that attractive, since, in my experience, single men don't turn to the consolation of religion until they can't get a date on Saturday night and so have nothing better to do on Sunday morning anyway. But if they are, relatively speaking, dogs, at least they tend to be a better class of dogs than you get at 2:00 A.M. in a bar.

Plus you have built in conversation starters since you both obviously have a common interest in religion and things churchy. And you can always invite them back to your place to see your copy of the Gutenberg Bible or that rare icon you got for nothing at the flea market.

Also, and this is a real positive as you get older, church folks tend not to stay up late. If you pick them up at the coffee hour you can be done and have them out the door in time for your regular Sunday afternoon nap by 3:00 in the afternoon.

I won't go into the advantages/disadvantages of picking men up in bars since I assume you are already familiar with that proceedure.
 
Posted by teddybear (# 7842) on :
 
Thank you O Wise One for these pearls of wisdom. One more question. When I attend Catholic Churches the only ones cruising me are the priests and frankly, collars don't do anything for me. Should I start attending the Episcopal Cathedral down the street? Sign me perplexed.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
Actually, and this came as rather a surprise to me, apparently the Churcha Christ is where it's really happening for sex.
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
Kewl. Do they run a message board? Things have been a little slow around here lately.

[especially since SoF began selling black wristbands on Gadgets for God]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gort:
Things have been a little slow around here lately.

What? Only one fistfight a day? I guess you do need something to break the monotony.
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
After a tough day fighting the forces of evil, one finds it difficult to discuss the intricacies of theology, liturgy and tat. Is it asking too much to expect a little prurient stimulation? I mean, black wristbands, polyamorous guilt, men traumatized by childbirth, plumbing issues and the passion of penguins just doesn't cut it for me.
 
Posted by Paige (# 2261) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
Actually, and this came as rather a surprise to me, apparently the Churcha Christ is where it's really happening for sex.

Does Grits know about this? [Eek!]
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
Where'd you think he heard about it? [Biased]
 
Posted by Miffy (# 1438) on :
 
More plumbing issues here. (Sorry, Gort!) [Cool]

Dear Sine,

I'm putting pen to paper in order to clarify a matter of liturgical etiquette.

Following the misfortunes with my pedometer, (see Questions and answers thread elsewhere in Heaven), I have recently experienced a similar incident and am at a loss as to the correct way of dealing with it. To wit: Early this morning I was performing my toilette - or to be brutally accurate - I was seated upon the toilet when my 'Celebrating Common Prayer - Pocket Edition' slipped out of my 'Victoria's Secrets' wooly dressing gown pocket and down the pan. Fearing spiritual as well as physical blockage, I fished said book out pronto - checked the pages for damage - gave it a quick wipe, and left it to dry at the edge of the bath. No damage done, thankfully and as I took my customary route to church, I offered up thanks for the deliverance of the volume from the murky depths.

What I would like to know is:

For future reference what is the correct proceedure for dealing with such an incident?

and

Do you think God was trying to tell me something?
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Miffy:
For future reference what is the correct proceedure for dealing with such an incident?

I don't know why people think everything is a matter of etiquette. Etiquette involves interaction with at least one other person, which doesn't seem to be the case in this instance. However if this sort of things seems to be happening a lot you might want to consider keeping a nice pair of silver-plated ice tongs next to the toilet, although I rather shudder to think what guests might think they're for.

quote:
Do you think God was trying to tell me something?
I like to think God is always trying to tell us something, if only we'll listen.
 
Posted by Miffy (# 1438) on :
 
Sine - I'd have thought that prayer does involve interaction with at least one other person! [Angel] However, thanks for the tip Much appreciated. Although there's not much call for silver-plated ice tongs chez Miffy. Would plastic salad spoons or pasta servers do instead?
 
Posted by Sarkycow (# 1012) on :
 
Miffy, I'd suggest that you empty your pockets before going to the toilet in future...

[Big Grin]
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Miffy:
Do you think God was trying to tell me something?

Yes. He's trying to tell you not to take prayer books into the toilet in a Victoria's Secret Dressing gown.
 
Posted by Mamacita (# 3659) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sarkycow:
Miffy, I'd suggest that you empty your pockets before going to the toilet in future...

[Big Grin]

Or take a magazine in there with you, like the rest of us.
 
Posted by The Machine Elf (# 1622) on :
 
Or a WiFi laptop, so you can post to the ship.


TME
 
Posted by Chorister (# 473) on :
 
Well, when the very same thing happened to the church loo and the hymn book, the vicar went and bought a whole new set with a different title. Just after I'd carefully dried all the pages of the old one, too.
So perhaps He's telling you to ditch Celebrating Common Prayer, and use this order of service instead? [Biased]
 
Posted by GloriaGloriaGloria (# 8017) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Machine Elf:
Or a WiFi laptop, so you can post to the ship.

TME

Oh, my. That was a visual image I did *not* need!
 
Posted by Joyfulsoul (# 4652) on :
 
Dear Sine,

Ok...so I'm not sure what to do. My good friend bunked with this guy right after breaking up with her boyfriend and moving out of her boyfriend's apartment. She claims they were never in a relationship but after she moved out, the guy claimed that they were and emailed all her friends (including me). He says that his motivation for emailing everyone is to "come clean" and "take responsibility for his actions" and "set the record straight from the horse's mouth" etc...but being the fact that he is obnoxious and everyone of her friends recommended not ever in blue moon bunking with him...kind of ruins any credibility that he might of had. After stating an email that I don't want to discuss it, he sends me this long email about how there are two sides to every story and that I shouldn't take sides just because I'm better friends with the other person. The thing that makes it hard for me is that I know full well that my good friend treated him shabbily and irresponsibly but equally this guy is trying to spite her back by emailing all her friends and ex-boyfriend about what was going on.

aiii!

I don't want to deal with this drama but I want to behave in Christian [tm thingy insert here] way. What do I do?
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
Email "this guy", tell him you understand, admit that you are completely infatuated with him and ask him to please not tell anyone.
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
For him:

Send him an e-mail that says, "Whatever." [Roll Eyes]


For her:

If your friend wants to go on about it, tell her she's well away from him and that the best thing to do would be to ignore his existence completely. Including talking about him- at all. Beginning now. No, really. Now.

That's a good, Christian response. [Angel]
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gort:
Email "this guy", tell him you understand, admit that you are completely infatuated with him and ask him to please not tell anyone.

Don't forget to add that you are pregnant and also confess your addiction to alcohol and methamphetamine. Explain he is the only man you've ever really loved, that you can no longer face life without him and his example has convinced you to "come clean" about your feelings. And, since you're now out of money and so you're about to lose your home, could he please loan you several hundred dollars/pounds and could you please stay with him until you get back on your feet after the baby's birth? Make sure to ask if his front door has a good solid lock on it because you owe money to some unpleasant people.
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
Tell the guy that it's none of your business. Because it isn't. Tell your friend that you believe her. Because it sounds like you do. Then ignore any other emails you get from the guy on the subject, and change the subject if it ever comes up in conversation with anyone again, making exceptions only for your friend if she wants/needs to talk about it.
 
Posted by Codepoet (# 5964) on :
 
Tell him to get a blog.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
It sounds like Sister Ruth has pretty much got it covered.

I love situations where I can take a High Moral Tone, not particularly because I'm a High Moral Tone kind of guy, which I'm not, but because I'm bored with something or it makes me uncomfortable - which seems to be the case here.

You just can't argue with a High Moral Tone.

As Ruth suggested what you want to tell this guy is "It's none of my business and I don't listen to gossip." I've noticed people seem very taken aback when you tell them something is none of your business. In this day of celebrity gossip and tabloid journalism, almost nobody says that anymore.

Sometimes I go around all day saying "It's none of my business." It really annoys people plus it gives me a wonderful self-righteous glow. I sleep better at night too. I've got plenty of problems of my own. I don't need to waste emotional energy on other people's if it's water under the bridge and I can't do anything about them anyway.

There's a lot to be said for a little emotional detatchment from all the craziness around one.

(I've got a friend who's still insane a year after a break-up. Whenever he mentions his ex-boyfriend's name at dinner I ostentatiously look at my watch and say "Ok. You've got five minutes starting now...")
 
Posted by Joyfulsoul (# 4652) on :
 
You guys are wonderful. Thank you for your advice and thank you very, very much for helping me. Gort, Lyda Rose, Kenwritez, Ruthw, Codepoet, and Sine Nomine [Axe murder]
 
Posted by Auntie Doris (# 9433) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
(I've got a friend who's still insane a year after a break-up. Whenever he mentions his ex-boyfriend's name at dinner I ostentatiously look at my watch and say "Ok. You've got five minutes starting now...")

I do that with 2 friends who play bass. They are epically dull when they get together, so myself and one of their girlfriends limit their time being boring!! Works for us anyway [Smile]

Auntie Doris x
 
Posted by welsh dragon (# 3249) on :
 
My significant other (who plays bass) is considering taking us to a recital by the ensemble "Motorhead".

Could you advise me on etiquette re attire please? And also appropriate behaviour? Is there an alternative to playing air guitar?
 
Posted by Miffy (# 1438) on :
 
Earplugs would be a good start, WD. [Big Grin]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
I'm afraid you have far more serious problems than you know, welsh dragon, if your Sig Other is a bass player.

Bass players are notoriously unfaithful due to their deep-seated inferiority complexes from having to stand in the back all the time. That and the fact that everybody mocks them. They compensate by trying to shag everything that comes within spitting distance.

It's best you know this up front to avoid heartbreak and needless fashion expenditures.
 
Posted by Kelly Alves (# 2522) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by welsh dragon:
My significant other (who plays bass) is considering taking us to a recital by the ensemble "Motorhead".

Could you advise me on etiquette re attire please? And also appropriate behaviour? Is there an alternative to playing air guitar?

Jeans and a t-shirt featuring any heavy metal, classic rock/ Thrash metal band. Leather jacket if weather is cold.

A lot of howling "YEAH!!!!", or just inarticulate screaming.

There are many alternatives to playing air guitar, as long as you don't play air guitar.Hip-swaying, boob-shaking, loud stomping of Doc Martins. Just. Don't.Play. Air guitar. Myself, I would stick to head-banging. (if your neck is up to it-- for those uninitiated, it is simply bobbing your head vigoruosly in a rhythmic manner.Not for the chiropractic patient) Raising a bottle of whatever beverage you are consuming is also appropriate.

Be sure to bawl "GET OFF THE STAGE!" to the opening band, as well.It's just sort of traditional.

[ 01. October 2005, 19:31: Message edited by: Kelly Alves ]
 
Posted by Auntie Doris (# 9433) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
Bass players are notoriously unfaithful due to their deep-seated inferiority complexes from having to stand in the back all the time. That and the fact that everybody mocks them. They compensate by trying to shag everything that comes within spitting distance.

The last bloke I went out with was a bass player. Entirely accurate. Marvellous [Smile]

Auntie Doris x
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
Motorhead's style is known as 'speed-metal', so be prepared for a high-energy, full on assault of the senses and unintelligible lyrics...unless they play my old favorite, "1916"

They do some awfully spooky stuff too.

Don't forget your Bic.
 
Posted by basso (# 4228) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:

Bass players are notoriously unfaithful due to their deep-seated inferiority complexes from having to stand in the back all the time.

They're not the only ones condemned to the back row . . .

b.
 
Posted by jlg (# 98) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
Bass players are notoriously unfaithful due to their deep-seated inferiority complexes from having to stand in the back all the time. That and the fact that everybody mocks them.

Unless they're jazz bass-players, in which case they're sexy, confident and faithful. Especially the ones who play fretless electric and/or upright basses, plus Bach on the cello.
 
Posted by KateLees (# 9668) on :
 
Dear Sine,

I wonder if you can help with a little situation at work.

I work in a small team where the boss is incredibly busy and quite stressed and does not like being challenged on his decisions. On Friday he asked a Mo, a team member, to do a piece of work. Mo did what he was asked to do, and showed it to the boss. Later the boss tore up what he had done, and told me to do it, as it had not been done properly. He asked me to do this whilst Mo was out of the room, and also seemed to be expecting me to agree with him that Mo wasn't a good worker etc.

I didn't agree or disagree - I just did what he asked me to do.

What I would have like to have done is to ask him to tell Mo what was wrong with the work, and get him to do it again. (You can only learn from mistakes if you know what they are and so on). I know that if the same were done to me and I found out, I would feel less worthy as a member of the team.

How can I tell my boss without causing too many problems?

Kate

[ 08. October 2005, 11:56: Message edited by: KateLees ]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by KateLees:
How can I tell my boss without causing too many problems?

Golly. That's a hard one. My boss is very laid back and I'm fortunate to say we communicate excellently.

I think I'd go with "Boss, do you want me to go over this with Mo so it won't happen again, or do you think it would be more appropriate coming from you?"

Generally question get better results than statements, especially if you phrase it in a way that assumes he will of course want Mo to know about it.

What does our panel of experts think?
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:

Bass players are notoriously unfaithful due to their deep-seated inferiority complexes from having to stand in the back all the time. That and the fact that everybody mocks them. They compensate by trying to shag everything that comes within spitting distance.


Bass player married 26 years responding. Maybe being the Worst Bass Player in South Wales has something to do with this.

[ETA: Sine is spot-on about responding to boss re another's mistake. And don't ask boss to do this in anyone's earshot either.]

[ 08. October 2005, 12:42: Message edited by: Sioni Sais ]
 
Posted by chive (# 208) on :
 
Dear Sine,

I just over a week I'm going to be working abroad for a month. There are two of us going. The person I am going with is not someone I particularly like. He has mentioned that he is glad we're both going because we get on so well and has suggested that we will be socialising together.

How do I suggest to him that I would rather socialise with a rancid goat for an entire month and that I don't particularly want to spend a second outside work time with him without offending the poor man?
 
Posted by HopPik (# 8510) on :
 
I'm sure Sine will have a better suggestion, but maybe put your arm around a rancid goat and shrug sweetly at your colleague? Offence may of course be caused, but whadya want? Sainthood?

[ 08. October 2005, 16:38: Message edited by: HopPik ]
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
Maybe you could tell him that you expect you'll both need a break from one another after such intense work? Or say that you try not to carry workplace friendships outside?

Alternately, read up on the most disgusting/ offputting aspects of the culture you'll be visiting, and then inform him (e.g.) that you're so thrilled he's willing to eat monkey's brains with you every night.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chive:
Dear Sine,

I just over a week I'm going to be working abroad for a month. There are two of us going. The person I am going with is not someone I particularly like. He has mentioned that he is glad we're both going because we get on so well and has suggested that we will be socialising together.

How do I suggest to him that I would rather socialise with a rancid goat for an entire month and that I don't particularly want to spend a second outside work time with him without offending the poor man?

I don't want to steal Sine's thunder but I remember someone in this position being advised that they have an infectious disease that is a) far less bother for women than men and b) is more likely to be spread by prolonged contact.

That is, tell him you are incubating mumps.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chive:
How do I suggest to him that I would rather socialize with a rancid goat for an entire month and that I don't particularly want to spend a second outside work time with him without offending the poor man?

You can't.

You've just got to have a strategy to minimize the damage. Hopefully you'll be able to invite some of the new people you're working with to join you so it's never just the two of you. And if you only accept his invitations every, say, third time maybe it won't be too bad.

On the other hand, I personally am known as The Office Curmudgeon, an attitude I've carefully developed over the years to get out of socializing such as you describe. My stock answer should anybody be so bold to suggest I join them in some dreary event is "I don't get to spend forty hours a week with people I actually like, so I think I'll pass."

Oddly enough people seem to think I'm joking, but at least it gets me out of things.
 
Posted by The Prophetess (# 1439) on :
 
chive---

Here is my way of putting the kibosh on such situations. It is not for the faint of heart, but your mention of rancid goats suggests that you are not one such.

You must move quickly to convey to him that his friendship is returned, nay, is returned more than warmly. Armed with your datebook or PalmPilot, accost him in the hallway at work and demand that he immediately set up a time to socialize with you. Do not take no for an answer, and if he begins to seem a bit uneasy at your sudden enthusiasm, you can mentally pat yourself on the back.

Of course you will have to go through it if the two of you agree on something, but it will be time well spent. You can, for example, gush with compliments on his professional skills so that he blushes for you. You can say how thrilled you are that the two of you will be working together so closely in a foreign environment. Touching his arm would not go amiss.

One such occasion should do it.

[Axe murder]
 
Posted by Ann (# 94) on :
 
Either that or the next we'll hear from chive will be on the Weddings thread ...
 
Posted by HopPik (# 8510) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Prophetess:
chive---

Here is my way of putting the kibosh on such situations. It is not for the faint of heart, but your mention of rancid goats suggests that you are not one such.

You must move quickly to convey to him that his friendship is returned, nay, is returned more than warmly. Armed with your datebook or PalmPilot, accost him in the hallway at work and demand that he immediately set up a time to socialize with you. Do not take no for an answer, and if he begins to seem a bit uneasy at your sudden enthusiasm, you can mentally pat yourself on the back.

Of course you will have to go through it if the two of you agree on something, but it will be time well spent. You can, for example, gush with compliments on his professional skills so that he blushes for you. You can say how thrilled you are that the two of you will be working together so closely in a foreign environment. Touching his arm would not go amiss.

One such occasion should do it.

[Axe murder]

But then of course you might end up in bed with him.
 
Posted by chive (# 208) on :
 
You're making me shiver. [Ultra confused]
 
Posted by Left at the Altar (# 5077) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chive:
You're making me shiver. [Ultra confused]

With excitement?
 
Posted by chive (# 208) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Left at the Altar:
quote:
Originally posted by chive:
You're making me shiver. [Ultra confused]

With excitement?
I would say less excitement and more barely concealed horror. Believe me if you'd met this person you would understand.
 
Posted by Left at the Altar (# 5077) on :
 
I suggest actually taking a rancid goat and saying at the outset, "I'm with him", pointing to your horny companion.

The only possible snag with this plan, is that your colleague might harbour secret desires to have a threesome with a lady and a goat. I consider this fairly unlikely. However, if it is the case, you are well and truly stuffed.
 
Posted by jlg (# 98) on :
 
This brings back some bad memories.

What Sine said, definitely. I suggest that you think of something (prep for an exam, intensive personal prayer/discernment, writing a novel, whatever will seem remotely in character) that you have decided to pursue during this month of freedom from the usual demands of everyday life. Decide on the maximum amount of contact you are willing to accept with this guy (breakfast only - to plan the day's work, of course, dinner once a week on Saturday or Sunday, dinner only when it's with the customer so as not to be rude?) and announce it up front, with a flurry of fake-sincere apologies about not being available as a companion and regrets about leaving him on his own most of the time.

I do hope you're going to be someplace where he won't have any trouble amusing himself.

ETA: Make sure it's something that allows for the need to go out for walks alone in order to "think about" whatever, or to sit in a coffee shop or have a drink alone while reading or writing. You don't want to find yourself trapped in your hotel room!

[ 08. October 2005, 22:55: Message edited by: jlg ]
 
Posted by chive (# 208) on :
 
Thankyou for all your advice. I think I'm going to be grown up and say something along the lines of, 'I don't think so, you incredibly horrible nasty wee bloke.' Or alternatively just do what Sine does, and what my usual routine is, of just not socialising with colleagues.

Thankfully we don't have to stay in a hotel. Work has the decency of getting us proper apartments so there is going to be no need for polite chat over breakfast. I think I may also try and persuade my management to give me opposite shifts.

I will also invoke my deeply held love of solitude which I think will develop pretty much the morning I leave.
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
I have an answer that's easy peasy: Tell him you're writing a novel and thus your non-work time is spoken for. This allows you to get out "to do research" in cafes, bars, restuarants, museums, et al, plus gives you excellent reasons for spending time with locals and not him.
 
Posted by babybear (# 34) on :
 
An alternative might be to do something toghether where you aren't really together, eg going to the cinema or theatre. You can be sitting next to each other, but you don't have to talk because the film or play is taking up you attention.
 
Posted by Left at the Altar (# 5077) on :
 
...although he might think it's a kind of date ...
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
I'm beginning to feel sorry for this poor idiot. (But not enough to suggest chive spend more than the bare minimum of time with him. [Disappointed] ) But if he's such an awful specimen, he must be damned lonely. With any luck he'll find the new culture more congenial, leave chive alone, and at the end of the trip ask for a transfer to that nice foreign office.

How's that for optimism? [Razz]

[ 09. October 2005, 14:03: Message edited by: Lyda*Rose ]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
Since the Panel of Experts has been remarkably unhelpful to Chive (in my opinion), I've revisited her problem at no additional charge and come up with two possible lines for her to use. They both begin with "It's nothing personal" and they both will only work if she's not the life of the office party back home.

1) "It's nothing personal, but there's just no one I want to spend more than forty hours a week with."

2) "It's nothing personal but I make it a habit to keep my business and personal lives separate."
 
Posted by GloriaGloriaGloria (# 8017) on :
 
Dear Sine,

An coworker of mine has gotten involved with a company that does those dreadful retail house parties, where parties are arranged and the guests are pressured to buy scented candles, tea cups, glass pitchers, and other decorative knick-knacks.

I loathe the concept of such parties and do my best to avoid them like the plague. Unfortunately, my coworker is pressuring me to host one of these parties for her.

I'm extremely uncomfortable with the idea- it just seems to me, to be the height of rudeness, to invite people to my house and then expect them to buy various housewares.

Is there a polite way I can tell my coworker to 'bugger off'?

(Apologies if this has been asked before, I skimmed through the thread and didn't see anything similar).
 
Posted by babybear (# 34) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by GloriaGloriaGloria:
I'm extremely uncomfortable with the idea- it just seems to me, to be the height of rudeness, to invite people to my house and then expect them to buy various housewares.

I think that it is only rude if you are not up front and honest about what you are inviting them to. You could say something like "My friend, Sine, has just started selling Party Plan goods. Would you be interested in seeing his wares?" That way the person invited is under no illusions about just what they have been invited to.
 
Posted by Firenze (# 619) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by GloriaGloriaGloria:

Is there a polite way I can tell my coworker to 'bugger off'?

Is there a reason why 'Do you think I am going to turn my home into a capitalist whorehouse the better to advance your tawdry schemes, you profiteering cow' is inappropriate?
 
Posted by Left at the Altar (# 5077) on :
 
I think you should simply say something like:

"I am not comfortable with asking my friends to come to my house and spend their money there. They will feel pressured because they know me, and that's not a position I want to be put in."

Alternatively, tell her to rack off.

I, too, loathe those sorts of parties and avoid them at all costs. I will never ever ever ever host one.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
Howabout "My mother hosted a party for ******* only last week and I got the few goods I thought worthwhile there and then".

[ 10. October 2005, 08:29: Message edited by: Sioni Sais ]
 
Posted by GloriaGloriaGloria (# 8017) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Firenze:
Is there a reason why 'Do you think I am going to turn my home into a capitalist whorehouse the better to advance your tawdry schemes, you profiteering cow' is inappropriate?

I really like that sound of that!
[Overused]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by GloriaGloriaGloria:
Is there a polite way I can tell my coworker to 'bugger off'?

Naturally it would never occur to the co-worker that she's being rude by trying to pressure Gloria into hosting a shakedown, and here's poor Gloria wanting to be polite back. Well, we do teach our children that they shouldn't steal just because little Johnny does. Turn the other cheek, etc.

Vague. You want to be really vague here. I would suggest something along the lines of "Oh dear. A party. At my house. I'm just not in a position to right now." Look a little distracted and worried while saying this. That could cover anything from a leaky toilet in the guest bath to an impending divorce.

If she persists say "Let me get back to you after the holidays." That will buy you time to at least the middle of January. Maybe by then she will have lost interest.

Now as I've indicated before I'm pretty short with my co-workers when they try to impinge on my personal life. I don't even like signing birthday cards in the office. I've made it clear over the years not to fuck with me about stuff like that. Yet we still get on Ok and do our jobs. They just think I'm a little cranky and eccentric. I can live with that.

So if someone were so bold to ask me, I'd say "I hate those things. I wouldn't even host one for a friend."

It does have a certain simplicity of approach, plus they'll never, ever ask you again.

[ 10. October 2005, 10:40: Message edited by: Sine Nomine ]
 
Posted by saysay (# 6645) on :
 
Dear Sine and assorted SOF experts,

Due to the circumstances surrounding my mother’s death, my brother and I found it necessary to ask my grandparents’ neighbor to help us settle her estate. We feel that it would be appropriate to get him a gift as a token of our gratitude (and we're finally planning a trip home to settle up).

He is a middle-aged native West Virginia resident who enjoys hunting and playing the bagpipes in his spare time. Most of the previous exchanges between my family and his have involved the exchange of such things as hunting rights, butchering skills, and meat, none of which we are currently in a position to offer.

His house is primarily decorated with the skins of the bears he has killed, along with an assortment of weapons that hang on the walls. I believe he collects old and unusual guns, so this might make an appropriate gift. However, as this is not an interest I share, I have no idea where I might procure such a thing, or even what I would be looking for.

I have to admit to being completely and utterly stumped here. I would greatly appreciate any ideas - I’d like to get him something he would appreciate, but I have no idea what that might be.

Thanks.
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
He sounds a lot like my dad. I suggest a gift certificate to Cabela's, Eddie Bauer, or, a framed copy of this print.

If your budget allows, you could also offer to have any one of his collectible pistols mounted and framed at a local art & frame store.

If nothing else, give him a hand-written card or note of thanks. It should not be effusive or floral, simple is best: "Thank you for all your help in settling [name] estate. We will always remember it."

Sine may have other thoughts.
 
Posted by Timothy the Obscure (# 292) on :
 
If he plays the bagpipes, a bottle of good Scotch might not be amiss...
 
Posted by Pure as the Driven Yellow Snow (# 9397) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Timothy the Obscure:
If he plays the bagpipes, a bottle of good Scotch might not be amiss...

Yes, you could hit him with it until he stops...
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by saysay:
I have to admit to being completely and utterly stumped here. I would greatly appreciate any ideas - I’d like to get him something he would appreciate, but I have no idea what that might be.

First of all, people who collect anything know more about what they collect than you possibly could, unless you're another collector of the same item. So it's unlikely you could get him a gun he would like. Put that thought out of your mind.

I assume you've known this man pretty much all your life if he's your grandparents' neighbor. My suggestions are:

A) Find a picture of you and your brother taken at your grandparents' house when you were kids, have it copied and framed.

B) Write him a lovely note as KenWritez suggested.

C) Get him either a gift basket or a case of West Virginia wines. He may not particularly like wine but as a West Virginian he'll be proud of his state's vineyards. Plus giving wine is classier than giving hard liquor, which might imply you think he enjoys a toddy or three a little too much.

The main thing is that you appear to have gone to some trouble in getting him a gift, since I'm sure he went to some trouble in helping to settle your mother's estate.

Now we really need some input from Twilight and NP, our resident West Virginia experts, who are doubtlessly surprised I didn't suggest you buy your friend a set of clear vinyl slipcovers.

[ 12. October 2005, 10:55: Message edited by: Sine Nomine ]
 
Posted by Twilight (# 2832) on :
 
I was going to suggest a new copper kettle for his still, but the wine is a much nicer idea.

Actually I'm still thinking back a few posts. In the sad times before we had Sine Nomine, I went to Judith (Miss Manners) Martin's site to research the perpetual party plan problem, as it has plagued me all my life. I remember she called them "horrid social hybrids" and reminded us that the usual social rules of RSVP etc., did not apply. In other words, we can just not go if invited or say, "I'm not really interested in tupperware," if asked to host. Yay.
 
Posted by Pigwidgeon (# 10192) on :
 
"He is a middle-aged native West Virginia resident who enjoys hunting and playing the bagpipes in his spare time."

I do hope he doesn't do both simultaneously. [Big Grin]
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pigwidgeon:
"He is a middle-aged native West Virginia resident who enjoys hunting and playing the bagpipes in his spare time."

I do hope he doesn't do both simultaneously. [Big Grin]

Do you think anything worth hunting will be attracted to the sound of bagpipes? Might make him more likely to be hunted.
 
Posted by Matrix (# 3452) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
quote:
Originally posted by Pigwidgeon:
"He is a middle-aged native West Virginia resident who enjoys hunting and playing the bagpipes in his spare time."

I do hope he doesn't do both simultaneously. [Big Grin]

Do you think anything worth hunting will be attracted to the sound of bagpipes? Might make him more likely to be hunted.
Well, the only thing worth hunting and eating that would respond to the pipes is haggis. I didn't know they had native haggis in the US at all.

M
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
If I kept dead animal parts on my wall, a build-it-yourself muzzleloading pistol kit would be charming.
 
Posted by Doublethink (# 1984) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by saysay:
Dear Sine and assorted SOF experts,

He is a middle-aged native West Virginia resident who enjoys hunting and playing the bagpipes in his spare time. Most of the previous exchanges between my family and his have involved the exchange of such things as hunting rights, butchering skills, and meat, none of which we are currently in a position to offer.

If he has a family connection to Scotland (guess from the bagpipes reference) you could check out the correct tartan on the web and buy him scarf / gloves or kilt in the ancestral fabric. Failing that, what about a gourmet cookbook on receipes for game meat ?
 
Posted by Presleyterian (# 1915) on :
 
I think Kenwritez' suggestion of a Cabela's gift certificate would be an inspired choice. Even though I have no idea what 75% of the merchandise is used for, any retail establishment that features a Bargain Cave is all right by me.
 
Posted by wanderingstar (# 10444) on :
 
Dear Sine, is it ok to use bad words when formulating a query for you?

'Cos I've just finished a nightshift and drunk most, hang on, yes definitely most of a bottle of wine, and I can't seem to express my true concerns without expletives.

Should I wait until I am in a more presentable state before asking your advice?

[ 15. October 2005, 10:17: Message edited by: wanderingstar ]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by wanderingstar:
I can't seem to express my true concerns without expletives.

Profanity: the linguistic crutch of inarticulate bastards.
 
Posted by wanderingstar (# 10444) on :
 
I'll take that as a yes (to my latter question) then. Many thanks.
 
Posted by marmot (# 479) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Presleyterian:
I think Kenwritez' suggestion of a Cabela's gift certificate would be an inspired choice. Even though I have no idea what 75% of the merchandise is used for, any retail establishment that features a Bargain Cave is all right by me.

I have always been a fan of the Camo bedding, camo baby sleepers, and of course, Hunter Dan and Hunter Ann.
 
Posted by Twilight (# 2832) on :
 
Oh, Hunter Dan. I thought at first you were talking about Dapper Dan, the bezippered and buttoned guy who helps little boys learn how to dress. Hunter Dan looks like more of GI Joe type -- I'm glad he has Ann. GI Joe has already caused enough trouble between Ken and Barbie and since this is a well-mannered thread I won't even go into what Barbie did with Stretch Armstrong...

Is gossip always wrong, or are there times when we can say, "If you don't have anything nice to say about anyone -- sit right here by me." ?
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
As with pictures of naked people and ingestion of alcoholic liquids, I suspect the mysterious line that's crossed when one gossips one's way into "sin" territory is a faint one, slippery to peg down, different for each person.

If Dear Uncle weren't around to give the definitive answer, I would just make sure I tag any observation that smells like gossip with "Bless his heart", "God save her", etc., to take the curse off.

Can't wait to see what Nonc Sine says. Lord love him.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
Is gossip always wrong, or are there times when we can say, "If you don't have anything nice to say about anyone -- sit right here by me." ?

Er...well, I wouldn't personally say gossip is wrong, though the more morally high-minded amongst us might disagree with me. However, I am always painfully aware of the saying "Those who gossip to you will gossip about you." when friends' eyes light up as they clutch my sleeve to dish the dirt about some mutual aquaintance.
 
Posted by josephine (# 3899) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
Is gossip always wrong, or are there times when we can say, "If you don't have anything nice to say about anyone -- sit right here by me." ?

Why, what a coincidence! We've been discussing just that down on the Dead Horse thread on homosexuality!
 
Posted by Amos (# 44) on :
 
Dear Sine, I hope you can help me. It's a shoe question. Not the 'white/winter white thing'. Not the 'does every woman really need a pair of red high heels?' question. This is one about a pair of perfectly designed brown lizard court shoes (pumps to US Shipmates). Sine, is there any occasion when an priest can wear brown shoes? Any occasion whatsoever?

If Cosmo's lurking on this, I'd be interested to hear his views as well, though I'm afraid I know what they'd be.

Amoselda Marcamos
 
Posted by Amos (# 44) on :
 
'a priest', sorry. editing time elapsed.
 
Posted by Campbellite (# 1202) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Amos:
[I]s there any occasion when an priest can wear brown shoes? Any occasion whatsoever?

While working in the garden?
 
Posted by Amos (# 44) on :
 
The Amosling has pointed out that if I wear brown shoes even the Bishop of Carlisle (qv) will not suspect that I am demonically possessed.
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
He will if he sees your avatar.
 
Posted by The Geezer (# 5521) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Amos:
Sine, is there any occasion when an priest can wear brown shoes? Any occasion whatsoever?

Provided you are not wearing clerical garb, and provided your shirt, trousers and socks match the shoes, then go right ahead -- but be sure to change before dark. A gentleman never wears brown after dark.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Amos:
This is one about a pair of perfectly designed brown lizard court shoes (pumps to US Shipmates). Sine, is there any occasion when an priest can wear brown shoes? Any occasion whatsoever?

While I love Cosmo dearly, I'm not sure he is in tune with the allure of a pair of perfectly designed brown lizard pumps. And doubtlessly his advice on the matter might be canonically and liturgically correct but it would not speak to the heart.

And a pair of brown lizard pumps is all about the heart. So while the closest I've gotten to seminary is a brief fling with a pot-smoking Jesuit in the 70s, I would say that any occasion when you can legitimately be carrying a matching brown lizard handbag is appropriate for wearing brown lizard pumps. But not one without the other.
 
Posted by Dee-nz (# 5681) on :
 
Sigh,

Sine...your just so classy...one day...
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
I'm trying to make people forget that unfortunate rug-burn comment.
 
Posted by Campbellite (# 1202) on :
 
How's that working for you, Sine?
 
Posted by babybear (# 34) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Amos:
The Amosling has pointed out that if I wear brown shoes even the Bishop of Carlisle (qv) will not suspect that I am demonically possessed.

I can't quite parse that sentence. Does Amosling believe that you are not demonically posessed AND the Bishop of Carlisle (may God bless his little cotton socks) would never dream of thinking that you could be, or does it mean that although you are demonincally possessed the Bishop of Carlisle (mGbhlcs) would not suspect it?
 
Posted by Corpus cani (# 1663) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Geezer:
-- but be sure to change before dark. A gentleman never wears brown after dark.

Or anywhere except the country. "Shoes of brown, but never in town."

Corpus
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
Since my last two priests have tended to wear birkenstocks or birkenstocks, brown lizard pumps sound incredibly classy.
 
Posted by Cosmo (# 117) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
quote:
Originally posted by Amos:
This is one about a pair of perfectly designed brown lizard court shoes (pumps to US Shipmates). Sine, is there any occasion when an priest can wear brown shoes? Any occasion whatsoever?

While I love Cosmo dearly, I'm not sure he is in tune with the allure of a pair of perfectly designed brown lizard pumps. And doubtlessly his advice on the matter might be canonically and liturgically correct but it would not speak to the heart.

You do me a disservice. I am indeed quite in tune with the allure of brown lizard pumps. However, they may not be worn by any priest, not even a she-priest, whilst said priest in priestly garb. Black and brown are not an attractive combination unless you happen to be an admirer of the SA. On no account may a priest wear anything other than black shoes; not sandals even in summer climes, but shoes.

This comes direct from the heart as is my advice that the brown lizard handbag should be either huge or miniscule. A regular size handbag carried along with the wearing of pumps merely looks as though the wearer has forgotten to put on her shoes.

Cosmo
 
Posted by ferijen (# 4719) on :
 
Now I hate sandals. Haven't worn a pair since I was about 10. I detest bare feet - or more specifically, toes, on anybody. Completely and utterly. But I still can't see a proper response to the thought that 'if sandals were good enough for Jesus, they're good enough for x'. Sine, or Cosmo, can you illuminate me as to why priests shoudn't go open toed?

[ 19. October 2005, 11:08: Message edited by: ferijen ]
 
Posted by Corpus cani (# 1663) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ferijen:
8<...can you illuminate me as to why priests shoudn't go open toed?

People would notice that all clergy have webbed feet. Thus would escape the details of the planned domination of the world by giant alien lizards.

Corpus
[who only ever wears black Oxfords in town.]
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cosmo:
[...] On no account may a priest wear anything other than black shoes; not sandals even in summer climes, but shoes.

Somehow, I just can't get my mind around the image of Jesus strolling in sand wearing black oxfords.

(or black anything for that matter)
 
Posted by teddybear (# 7842) on :
 
Dear Sine,

Speaking of shoes... I will be in Italy for the Christmas holidays and one of my goals is to buy a pair of nice shoes. My question is how do I know a pair of nice shoes when I see one? Does one go on comfort alone? Does one choose what is in fashion in Italy or what would be in fashion here in flyover land? I don't want to make a faux pas, so help me please!!!!

Teddy
 
Posted by Amos (# 44) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by babybear:
quote:
Originally posted by Amos:
The Amosling has pointed out that if I wear brown shoes even the Bishop of Carlisle (qv) will not suspect that I am demonically possessed.

I can't quite parse that sentence. Does Amosling believe that you are not demonically posessed AND the Bishop of Carlisle (may God bless his little cotton socks) would never dream of thinking that you could be, or does it mean that although you are demonincally possessed the Bishop of Carlisle (mGbhlcs) would not suspect it?
Oh bb! That is a carefully couched ambiguity you're unveiling! Sometimes she thinks the one thing and sometimes the other.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by teddybear:
I will be in Italy for the Christmas holidays and one of my goals is to buy a pair of nice shoes. My question is how do I know a pair of nice shoes when I see one? Does one go on comfort alone? Does one choose what is in fashion in Italy or what would be in fashion here in flyover land?

You will be visiting Florence, won't you? Of course you will. So you go here and have a pair custom made. That way they will be both stylish and comfortable. Plus they will then have your last on file and you can order from them for the rest of your life.

When friends ask you where you get your shoes you can reply "Oh I have them made at a little place outside of Florence." That's hard to beat for a drop-dead throwaway line.
 
Posted by Twilight (# 2832) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gort:
Somehow, I just can't get my mind around the image of Jesus strolling in sand wearing black oxfords.

But Jesus lived in a sandy country while British priests live in an oxey, fordy country.
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
quote:
When friends ask you where you get your shoes you can reply "Oh I have them made at a little place outside of Florence." That's hard to beat for a drop-dead throwaway line.

Except that in fly-over country, most people will assume that you mean Florence, Missouri.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
quote:
When friends ask you where you get your shoes you can reply "Oh I have them made at a little place outside of Florence." That's hard to beat for a drop-dead throwaway line.

Except that in fly-over country, most people will assume that you mean Florence, Missouri.
Irthlingborough is outside of Florence too. Not just outside but they do make shoes there, including some of mine.
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
Irthlingborough is outside of Florence too. Not just outside but they do make shoes there, including some of mine.

Yeah, but for anyone outside your immediate area, when friends ask you where you get your shoes, and you reply, 'Oh I have them made at a little place in "Earthlingburrow,'" your drop-dead throwaway line shatters on their look of dull incomprehension as you have to explain "Earthlingburrow" yet again.
 
Posted by Autenrieth Road (# 10509) on :
 
Dear Sine,

The rector at my church has taken to occasionally wearing his stole upside down. I can tell because the cross at the nape of his neck is upside down. Apart from denouncing him to the vestry as a satanist, or embroidering "L" and "R" on the stole ends so he can easily check by looking down, what should I do?

Autenrieth
 
Posted by Joyfulsoul (# 4652) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by teddybear:
Dear Sine,

Speaking of shoes... I will be in Italy for the Christmas holidays and one of my goals is to buy a pair of nice shoes. My question is how do I know a pair of nice shoes when I see one? Does one go on comfort alone? Does one choose what is in fashion in Italy or what would be in fashion here in flyover land? I don't want to make a faux pas, so help me please!!!!

Teddy

Florence (Fierenze) is the best place in Italy to buy shoes. Both times I bought shoes in Florence (at difference stores) and the shoes are still good-looking and comfortable years later. Their leather is the highest quality and durability. The first time I bought shoes in Florence was at fancy small shoe shop and the second time was a mom and pop store. I was really amazed at the good price and the fact that my shoes are still wonderful now. You can't go wrong shopping for shoes in Florence.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Autenrieth Road:
Apart from denouncing him to the vestry as a satanist, or embroidering "L" and "R" on the stole ends so he can easily check by looking down, what should I do?

Snicker quietly to yourself unless you're a member of the altar guild or his wife. Either of those categories can just go up to him and say "Bob, your stole's upside down again. You're losing it." But then they're entitled ex officio to make personal commments.
 
Posted by The Coot (# 220) on :
 
Dear Sine,

I didn't know where else to put this, but I wanted you to know that I bought an Emporio Armani blazer for $2 from the Op Shop yesterday. It's in perfect condition except one of the buttons is chipped. As they are ordinary looking black ones, I reckon I replace it with look alikes and no-one will tell the diff.

I also bought a brand new tux - it seriously looks like it has just come off the rack and has never been worn, the facings are crisp and the clasps shiny. It's a shawl collar and I would've preferred a notch but one can't have everything for $5. Only prob is it's a bit tight... ah well. Something to aim for.

I know it's a bit peasanty, but a chap has to start somewhere. I knew you'd be happy for me.

[Axe murder]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Coot:
I know it's a bit peasanty, but a chap has to start somewhere. I knew you'd be happy for me.

Peasanty? I think not. Only a fool pays retail.

My very favorite sportcoat - the one I get the most compliments on - came from the Goodwill Store. Normally it would have been $10.00 but from noon til one on Saturday all clothing is half price so I was able to purchase it for a much more reasonable $5.00.

That said, I am extremely particular about ties and will pay any amount of money for just the right tie to with some jacket I got at the consignment shop. It makes all the difference in the world.
 
Posted by Left at the Altar (# 5077) on :
 
Dear Sine
What is the most socially acceptable way to deal with a runny nose that will not respond to medical treatment?
Do I simply lock myself in a dark room until it stops?
Thank you in advance.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
You say "excuse me" a lot, try to at least turn away from other people when blowing your nose, and don't examine your snot like it was precious jewels afterwards.

At least that's how we do it in North America. Possibly the rules are different in the Antipodes.
 
Posted by jlg (# 98) on :
 
Here in New England saying "exuse me" every time would only draw unwanted attention. One is expected to deal with the nasal or chest secretions as quietly and discreetly as possible (and sometimes this means giving in to a big honking snort and/or cough as the lesser evil to a continuous sniffing, snuffling, and/or loud throat-clearing). It is very important under these circumstances to make sure that one's supply of tissues and/or cough drops is stashed in an easily available location (a simple outside pocket rather than one velcro tab and two zippers inside a purse/backpack adorned with various jingly bits) and if packaged it isn't garbed in noisy wrappings.

ETA: The key to it is wearing clothes with lots of readily accessible pockets. Some designated for clean hankies/tissues, others for the soiled ones (until you can get to a waste can). The bottom line being keeping everything out of sight except for the actual moments when it is being used.

[ 22. October 2005, 02:23: Message edited by: jlg ]
 
Posted by RainbowKate (# 9331) on :
 
Dear Sine,

I am dealing with a tricky situation at work. Since begining work there (4 years ago) I have shared an office with Sue. Most of the time it's been fine and we've gotten along well. There is an interconnecting door between our office and my boss'.

Sue is extremly loyal to our CEO (not his real title, but it will do), while most of the staff (and indeed most of his clients) think he's an incompetant idiot. So he's been ousted. Sue carries on day and night about the injustice of it all. At times she clearly expects a response from me, but what do I say? The CEO doesn't leave until February so I can't say what I really think about him just yet.

We've requested she be moved to her own office closer to the people she works with directly, but this will not happen until the new year. What do I do in the meantime? She's also angry that she's got to move office and thinks we want to get rid of her (we do, as it happens).

I'm not sure what to say to her that is both honest but not cruel (and moreover won't get me in trouble).
 
Posted by Real Ale Methodist (# 7390) on :
 
"It is a shame this has to happen," you say - after all it is; it's a great shame that your boss is an idiot and no-one on the office likes Sue.
"But whatever I think, theres nothing I can do," I assume this is the case.
"I'd rather not dwell on it I am afraid, of course I wish you and CEO the best in your new locations/jobs/whatever. However it might be best not to discuss it to much."

Thats my suggestion anyway, people might not respect a fear of authority(which you can pretend) but they wopn't think its rude. A good apologetic shoulder shrugging and a request not to talk about it should get her of your back.

If it doesn't you may have to start being less subtle.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
I think Real Ale Methodist has some good suggestions. I'd add one more:

"It's all very distressing."

When people try to suck me into Office Drama, I generally will make a short, non-committal remark such as the above and then immediately turn back to my computer and start typing madly, even if it's just an imaginary email. Frequently they will try to keep the "conversation" going. I turn back around make another non-committal comment and return to my electronic correspondence. After about three times most people get the picture.

After all you are there to work, and if you're working away ostentatiously it generally makes other people feel a little guilty that they're not.
 
Posted by RainbowKate (# 9331) on :
 
Thanks! I will have to try those out on Monday.
 
Posted by babybear (# 34) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Left at the Altar:
Dear Sine
What is the most socially acceptable way to deal with a runny nose that will not respond to medical treatment?
Do I simply lock myself in a dark room until it stops?
Thank you in advance.

You are one very fortunate lady! There are two little short films produce by the Central Office of Information.

This should be of great assistance to you.
 
Posted by Twilight (# 2832) on :
 
RainbowKate, you might also suggest that Sue watch Shattered Glass for it's many warnings against misplaced office loyalty. [Big Grin]
 
Posted by Miffy (# 1438) on :
 
To further add to the advice re LATA's runny nose - some advice from one who knows (through bitter experience) all there is to know about how do conduct oneself in church.

Now that it's open season on coughs and sneezes, I make a point of:

a) Designating separate coat pockets for clean and used tissues

b) Endeavouring to remember which is which. (see also c) below) [Ultra confused]

c) Reminding myself of the golden rule of successful mopping up of bodily fluids - Always blow with your left hand Else you could end up passing on rather more than The Peace. [Hot and Hormonal] By that token it also follows that left pocket is for dirties, right for clean hankies.

c) When receiving communion - always intincting. (Though as I do this with my right hand, it sort of defeats the object of a) and b).

Of course, I could receive with the left hand, I hear you say. Well, yes... But then I'd run the risk of committing the worst faux pas of all - dropping the lot. [Hot and Hormonal]

Is it all worth it, I ask myself?
 
Posted by maleveque (# 132) on :
 
Twilight - ooh, oooh, Steve Zahn plays my cousin in that movie!! Biggest difference is that Zahn has a big ol' square jawline, and my cousin, well, doesn't.
Miffy - intincting just spreads the germs. I don't care what hand you do it with. When you have a cold, flu, plague, whatever, the best course of action is to receive the Blessed Sacrament in one kind only, the body of Christ, and know that you are receiving the fullness of grace especially since you aren't spreading your lovely germs to everyone else.
Man, I HATE it when people intinct, and about half of our parishioners do, no matter what they're told about it spreading germs.
You have SO many more germs on your hands than on your lips.
Anne L.
 
Posted by Twilight (# 2832) on :
 
Maleveque's cousin is Adam Penenberg! I'm way impressed! That whole journalistic world is just fascinating to me. Maybe we could all do that movie for the SoF film thread sometime. (hint hint)
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
Dear Sine,

I have, in these pages, sought your wise advice concerning the eternal power struggle between Mrs Eliab and her mother, and I hope you will allow me to share with you and your readers a recent modest triumph for my wife.

The Wife’s Mother was visiting for the weekend as we were hosting a Christening party for our infant. We have a lot of preparation to do, and ask the WM to keep an eye on the (sleeping) baby for a couple of hours. But she is in the middle of an attention-seeking invalidity ploy, and is having none of it.

“Look after a baby? With my back/neck/legs/head/bowels? The doctor says he’s never seen such…”

Mrs E then cuts her off deftly. “No, of course not. Don’t worry, I can ask Eliab’s mum to take care of him”.

The threat of being side-lined in favour of the Other Granny, slipped in with every appearance of concern, was simply masterful. I’ve never seen the WM U-turn so fast. Of course she wanted to look after the imp. No problem at all.

Anyway, I know that as a man, I’m strictly a spectator of these mysteries, but I do like watching anything done well. And when Mrs E gets one over on her mother – against the weight of shameless manipulation and cunning – I’m proud of her.

So my question is – is there an accepted way that I can show my appreciation of a hand well played? Jumping to my feet and yelling “Ha! In your face, Granny!” would have seemed both socially unacceptable and tactically unwise.

Eliab

(BTW – this weekend I learned that “Jesus’s goblin” is not the correct mode of address for the newly baptised. Your readers may find this helpful in avoiding domestic disharmony).
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
"Jesus's Goblin" sounds adorable, especially in this season. [Big Grin]
 
Posted by babybear (# 34) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
And when Mrs E gets one over on her mother – against the weight of shameless manipulation and cunning – I’m proud of her.

So my question is – is there an accepted way that I can show my appreciation of a hand well played?

Have you considered waiting until your mother-in-law has left the room, and then falling at your wife's feet, with due reverence and honour?
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
Dear Sine;

I want to host a dinner party for four friends, something of "casually elegant comfort" feels about right. I want my guests to be comfortable and the attention to be on the people first and the food and conversation second, rather than on the place settings or the decor.

Any suggestions as to how to achieve this without going broke or insane? Without having to buy out Williams-Sonoma or Bed Bath & Beyond? Can I have a "theme" without resorting to Stewartian heights of nubby-fingered production, baublery and effort?

What is your Dinner Party Wisdom™?
 
Posted by welsh dragon (# 3249) on :
 
Hi

I don't know your cultural references, Ken. But I think candles, semi darkness (so the emphasis is off the decor), some sort of gentle music if poss, maybe some flowers on the table, aromatic cooking smells as I am sure would be the case and general bonhomie will win the day.

Oh and a plentiful supply of drinkable wine as well...
 
Posted by Left at the Altar (# 5077) on :
 
Dear Sine

Help! My nine year old son is pestering me to let him get a mullet (hairdo, not fish). He is quite insistent.

What should I do?

Many thanks

LATA

PS. He really does need a haircut, so this is of some urgency.
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
LATA, rent and watch Joe Dirt with him, and then ask him if he still wants a mullet. If he does, you'll just have to face the fact that someone dropped a little redneck in your nest. [Razz]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
I want my guests to be comfortable and the attention to be on the people first and the food and conversation second, rather than on the place settings or the decor.

Can I have a "theme" without resorting to Stewartian heights of nubby-fingered production, baublery and effort?

Simple doesn't mean easy. In fact simplicity can be extremely hard to achieve.

What you're after, I think, is the deceptively simple. Like Marie Antoinette's Hameau at the Petit Trianon.

A rustic stew, but it took you two days to prepare and mellow it and you used a wonderful wine to flavor it. A peasant tart, but with the best apples you could find. What you're thinking here is Richard Olney, if you're familiar with him.

As to a "theme" - that's easy. "Autumn". I don't know why but people are always bowled over by dead leaves and a few gourds on the table. Go figure. And buy some unusual napkins. But don't fold them into weird shapes.

If you want the attention on the guests don't serve too much to drink. Well, that is if you want attention in a good way.

Keep the focus on the conversation. Don't you try to be clever or insightful. Encourage your guests to be. Don't be afraid to steer the table talk back into more interesting chanels if it flags. Put your elbows on the table and lean forward with breathless interest when someone else is talking. Don't pay too much attention to your food while you're eating. Keep your eyes on your guests.

The balance you're after is to make your guests feel they're at a Special Occasion, but not so special that they're intimidated.

p.s.:
Don't have "background music".
Don't have a clock in the room.
Ruthlessly cut off any mention of politics, money, or ailments.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Left at the Altar:
My nine year old son is pestering me to let him get a mullet (hairdo, not fish). He is quite insistent.

If it will make him look cool among his peers let him have it. Who cares what adults think? It's his classmates who count. What are they wearing?
 
Posted by Left at the Altar (# 5077) on :
 
Well, all the sons of criminals are wearing mullets.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
What could be cooler than that to a nine year old? Let him have it but start referring to him as "Billy-Ray".
 
Posted by Corpus cani (# 1663) on :
 
Do we mean the same thing by "mullet"? Lots of frizzy, permed hair on top and down the back, hanging below the collar (uurgh!) but quite short at the sides without being a 'buzzcut'?

Then your problem is solved. Next time he asks, just say, "Great idea! That cut was fashionable when I was young. Everyone had them in the eighties. It'd be great to see you with "my sort of haircut". >whistful sigh.<

He'll want a short back and sides before you can blink.

Corpus
 
Posted by Left at the Altar (# 5077) on :
 
He's 9. He still thinks I'm cool.

And, yes, this is a mullet .
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
That's a pretty current adaptation of a mullet back there, hopelessly not quite achieved by a guy with too-straight, too-heavy hair.

(Unless you picked that one because it's exactly the sort of mullet the kid wants.)

Would more examples help?

There

You

Go

[ 25. October 2005, 11:23: Message edited by: Janine ]
 
Posted by Jack the Lass (# 3415) on :
 
If all else fails and you have to give in, you can comfort yourself with the thought that far from being the ultimate in naff, the mullet is, according to some, hairstyle of the gods.
 
Posted by Left at the Altar (# 5077) on :
 
You mean Jesus Had a Mullet??!!
 
Posted by Janine (# 3337) on :
 
Y'all have inspired me.

I think I will go get a mullet.
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
Remember the mullet theme: "Business in the front, party in the back."

If he turn out to hate the thing, all you have to do is clip off the rear, and vwah-lah! Instant short front, sides and back.
 
Posted by Mamacita (# 3659) on :
 
LATA, I detest mullets with a passion, so, believe me, I feel your pain. This is the kind of issue where I ask myself, "Is this the hill I want to die on?" I decided a long time ago that I would be relatively open-minded on matters of hair, clothing, etc, but would have certain non-negotiables. For example, my son, now 18, has a beard. I'm not crazy about it for school, but we have rules about keeping it clean, trimmed etc. I think that might be a reasonable approach to the mullet as well. And the less of a Big Deal™ you make of it, the faster it should pass.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mamacita:
I detest mullets with a passion,

A very acceptable fish in my experience. The red mullet has slightly dodgy scales, but can be a feast. The rather cheaper and more grey mullet is easy to cook and a fine centre for many Mediterranean dishes.
 
Posted by mertide (# 4500) on :
 
I'd pick your fight on this one, and let him have it if you can stand it. Wait for the eyebrow bar, that's one that takes effort to keep the lip zipped.
 
Posted by Campbellite (# 1202) on :
 
One of the problems here is that as a teenager, he feels compelled to shock and horrify his elders. Thus you need to make a reasonably believable objection. Otherwise he will simply escalate until he genuinely DOES do something outrageous.

As a teen, my son dyed his hair a lovely copper color. We took that in stride.

He shaved his head. Mom was shocked, but I was cool with it. (It grew back.)

The tattoo, however... [Eek!]
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
When my step-son starts hitting his stride in teen angst and rebellion, I plan on wearing lots of ripped denim jeans, rock band t-shirts, earrings and spiked leather accessories, playing loads of top 40 and metal CDs, and writing lots of porn. I figure he'll rebel by wearing dress shirts, ties, khaki pants, listening to Lawrence Welk and reading Tolstoy and the Wall Street Journal in his celibacy.
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
Worked with me. [Devil]

Or did anyone else here wind up married and in the ministry against the will of a father who frowned on both?
 
Posted by Gort (# 6855) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Left at the Altar:
He's 9. He still thinks I'm cool.

And, yes, this is a mullet .

That's not a mullet. That's a Tennessee Tophat.
 
Posted by Real Ale Methodist (# 7390) on :
 
It worked for me Kenwritez; my teenage years collided/are colliding with my fathers escalating mid life crisis. He's all jeans and band t-shirts; I am currently wearing pinstripes and a cravat - I had to rebel somehow.
 
Posted by Left at the Altar (# 5077) on :
 
Sine, dearie, I am referring Emma to you. She needs help.

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Emma.:
Dear LATA, I lent a friend some money about 6 months ago when they came to visit me (they had their wallet stolen on the way) and well, frankly havennt seen it since. Ive had numerous "ill sort it this week" and "ive sent it in the post" and "im just speaking with my bank" type emails.

Im really puzzled, I went from just letting it slip for a bit, adn then asking directly for it, and having previously offered instalments if money was the problem, im still getting emails that say "tomorrow".

Ive been quite firm and direct,

what is there left for me to do? what do you advise??
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Knee-capping. Emma, darling, I'm not trying to fob you off, but this problem requires tact, strategy, style and rat cunning.

I'm referring you to Sine.

LATA
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
You can bet that if a legal type such as LATA can't give advice on how to get money back the situation is hopeless.

Which in fact it is.

I assume from the fact you have been having email correspondence on the subject that the "friend" doesn't live near you so you can't lie in wait on the High Street and pounce upon him or her when they least expect it.

I also assume since you have offered the easy installment repayment plan this is more than, say, twenty pounds or so.

This raises the question: How much was this person carrying in the wallet that was stolen??? And why did you feel obligated to lend them more than just necessary to get them by until the bank opened the next day?

I sense a mystery.

In any case you've got to decide what's worth more to you: the money or the friendship. I'd say the friendship is blown now anyway so go for the money. It would be ideal if you knew this person's parents and could start calling them, explain the situtation, and ask them to pressure your friend to pay up.

If not that, then a heavy dose of guilt is called for. Go beyond firmness. Explain that you need that money for your car payment. That you trusted them. That they have screwed you over. Etc. Etc.

What you will learn from this of course is that any money given to friends or family members had best be considered a gift.
 
Posted by Emma. (# 3571) on :
 
Dear Sine,

Thankyou for your reply, as always you have it in one... Are you sure we cant get married dear?

Yup - other side of the uk to me, so a quick knee capping in the high street isnt possible im afraid.

I did completely trust the bloke, and at the time had no reason to believe differently of him (tho in future i will think to drive them to a bank....) As for the stupid amount -well the credit card was stolen in the wallet i guess.

As for the friendship - I think sadly thats pretty much gone - anyone who can continually mistreat you this badly hey. IM fairly forgiving and trusting type - perhaps too so!!!!

**mental note to be more wary of men wanting to borrow your affections and money - never mix the two**

[ 06. November 2005, 15:37: Message edited by: Emma. ]
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
If this were in the US, Emma, I'd advise you file a small claims court suit, and then see if the jerk would be willing to fight it out on Judge Judy or The People's Court. [Devil] Getting him in front of Judge Judith Sheindlin would be particuliarly satisfying; she is unparalleled in the art of sarcasm. And there is no delight like making a fool of someone on national TV.
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
Emma - a pity he isn't local, otherwise you could go round to his place and ask if you can borrow some of his books, DVDs or prize CDs (to the value of). Smile sweetly and assure him that you'll return them. Then hold them to ransom (they're in the post, I'm just sorting it out, etc"). He'd get the message, and get them back when you get the money. Alternatively, you could sell them.

Sine's guilt trip sounds like a good idea, but he probably isn't the guilty type. (I hope he didn't by any chance tell you he needed £XX for his fare home?) He may be trying to sponge money off other people for all you know and you might not be the only one, which could explain all the excuses.
 
Posted by Emma. (# 3571) on :
 
er yes... needed the money to pay for the weekend, the trip to me (he was at a train station) and the trip home......

Hmmmm.

Tried the guilt trip thing, well wasnt intentional, but I **wasnt* working at the time, was ill and needed the money back!!!

Ho hum.

Do i just keep pestering?!??!
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
Well Emma, all I can say is I hope he was a good lay. Because he certainly was an expensive one.
 
Posted by Firenze (# 619) on :
 
I think we can forget the 'friend' bit. The only question is, how can you get the money back without spending more?

The only parallel situation I had was one in which a driving school had defrauded me of the cost of lesson: it was too small a sum for legal action, but it rankled. So I wrote to all the organisations they had a link to - local council, trade association, dept of transport - explaining the circumstances and asking for them to ask the school... cheque was in the next post.

So, are their other parties - preferably ones in whose favour he wishes to stand - to whom you could sweetly appeal?

Remember, this is war.
 
Posted by Joan_of_Quark (# 9887) on :
 
Emma, the UK has a small claims court. Although it generally works to get money for unpaid bills, rent etc. where there's a written contract, it might be worth mentioning it in this case, because the person has accepted that the debt exists in numerous emails. It's possible a remark to the effect that you'd HATE to have to waste your time and his with filing a claim might finally get an installment on its way.

You can get info on how to use it here or there
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
Ask his mother to speak to him. Or his current girlfriend. [Devil] [Two face]
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
Well Emma, all I can say is I hope he was a good lay. Because he certainly was an expensive one.

Beautiful, Sine, simply beautiful! It's a tragic waste of opportunity you were not hired as Dear Abby's successor. [Disappointed]
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
Dear Sine,

I am writing to call your attention to a book which I find very enjoyable.

The title is, BEING DEAD IS NO EXCUSE
The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral


I'm sure you know exactly how to host the perfect funeral in Tennessee, but this book discussed funeral rites in the Delta. You may find interesting variations on the traditions you are familiar with.

It's also extremely funny.

Moo
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
It is indeed. I'm sure it will come as no surprise that a certain Girl Raised In The South gifted me with a copy. It is a treasure trove of helpful hints and recipes. I can hardly wait for a relative to die so I can use it.
 
Posted by The Wanderer (# 182) on :
 
Just remember to wait. Murdering relatives is the sort of thing the Borgias did - definitely tacky.
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
I can hardly wait for a relative to die so I can use it.

For some reason I am irresistibly reminded of "Kind Hearts and Coronets".

Incidentally, there is someone who catches the evening train who looks very like you, and is always very smartly dressed (suit, hat, handkerchief in jacket pocket, that sort of thing). Tonight I looked up from the depths of my Su Doku puzzle in the newspaper to find him staring at me. Is it you and have you been having difficulty with the Prize puzzle lately, or are you just hoping I will leave my newspaper on the seat for you when I get off?
 
Posted by Joyfulsoul (# 4652) on :
 
Dear Sine,

I am going to an engagement party this Saturday afternoon for two of my friends from uni days. I know both of them and I'm wondering what sort of thing one would bring to an engagement party? It's an afternoon, casual thing - but I'm wondering if I should bring like cookies or something else?

sincerely,
helplessly unsocial
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
Is it you?

No, but I must say he sounds fascinating.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Joyfulsoul:
I'm wondering what sort of thing one would bring to an engagement party?

While I'm willing to admit to cultural differences, to the best of my knowledge all you would bring would be yourself and a smile brimming with happiness for the two of them.

Leave your doubts at home. You can tell them all about why it will never last later.

(You will have plenty of time to spend money on them between now and the wedding. The engagement party should be free.)
 
Posted by josephine (# 3899) on :
 
Dear Sine,

I've been invited to a bridal shower this coming weekend. Because the bride and groom will be combining households, they don't need towels or kitchen gadgets or other such things. In fact, it's likely that, in combining their respective stuff, they'll have a lot of duplicates to get rid of.

Therefore, the guests have been told that, instead of gifts, we should contribute to a "money tree." Are you, or any of your panel of experts, familiar with this custom? Does one put the money in a card? Tie it with a ribbon? Should the recipient be able to tell who gave how much? Or is it a communal gift?

I need to be enlightened!
 
Posted by Kelly Alves (# 2522) on :
 
(This oughta be good...)
 
Posted by Nutmeg (# 5297) on :
 
We went to a wedding recently and the bride and groom asked for a cash donation. I felt it would be only right to give a cash donation equivalent to the cost of entertaining us at the reception, and then a little left over after that. We gave a generous gift accordingly.

I still feel peeved that instead of a sit down lunch, we were entertained in a pub. The food consisted of merely nibbles with plenty of alcohol. This meant that when the plates of nibbles did come out and were passed in front of guests, they were truly hungry and I'm afraid that greed got the better of them. People were piling up their napkins with 4 or 5 hot nibbles, instead of a polite 1 or 2. This further meant that the group of people I was standing with, the furtherest from the door by which the food entered, did not get to sample many of the delights as did the other guests.

I was so disgruntled I wanted to go and rifle through the card we left for them containing a generous cash donation and go and buy myself a proper lunch downstairs at the pub.

I did however behave myself, and smiled and thanked the bride and groom for the lovely and simple reception.

Manners above all else I guess.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by josephine:
I've been invited to a bridal shower this coming weekend...

...the guests have been told that, instead of gifts, we should contribute to a "money tree."...

Well let's get the actual question out of the way first, and I assure you I had to ask someone else because this is not information I have floating around in my brain. No nice person would, as obviously Miss Josepshine doesn't either.

I am told you put your shake-down, I mean love offering, in a small gift envelope. On with a plain brown wrapper one assumes. One further assumes there will be a method of hanging it on the tree provided. Or perhaps the bride-to-be will just stuff the cash down her brassiere. While doing a pole dance.

There's just no telling with people like this.

Why couples who want to legalize their fornication expect other people to pay for it is beyond me. If they can't afford to get married maybe they should wait and save up some money or something.

I hope they're not planning on having children. We don't need any more people like this on the planet.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
I have just remembered that we did once have a money tree at work for a receptionist who was retiring.

The office harpy who organizes these things collected the shake-down in advance, got crisp fresh bills from the bank and artfully arranged them in origami-like fan shapes on a plastic tree of a green color definitely not found in nature.

In that particular case it was, as far as I was concerned, a thank-offering for getting rid of a woman who was a terrible gossip and trouble-maker.
 
Posted by Telepath (# 3534) on :
 
Originally posted by Nutmeg:

quote:
We went to a wedding recently and the bride and groom asked for a cash donation. I felt it would be only right to give a cash donation equivalent to the cost of entertaining us at the reception, and then a little left over after that.
That's very generous of you, but I think you were responding too readily to the suggestion that a wedding reception be treated as a fundraising event and not a party.

Unless a reception is held at a time coincident with mealtime, it's fine to provide just nibbles instead of a full meal. Of course the basis for this idea is that the happy couple are entertaining according to their means, simply because they want the company of their dear friends, who are attending simply because they want to wish the couple well.

By demanding that you stump up cash as a gift, they've obviously shown what they think of THAT quaint old notion.

Nevertheless, the idea that "you get what you pay for" applies to commercial transactions. It is not supposed to be a rule of thumb when being entertained by friends. If you're in a situation that causes you to think in those terms, maybe "caveat emptor" should be your motto.
 
Posted by Telepath (# 3534) on :
 
Originally posted by Nutmeg:

quote:
People were piling up their napkins with 4 or 5 hot nibbles, instead of a polite 1 or 2.
Everyone knows that you are supposed to provide 3 or 4 canapés per guest in any cocktail-type situation. What were they thinking?

Maybe they were clawing back the cost of not having the [Mad] usual [Mad] cash bar [Mad]
 
Posted by Telepath (# 3534) on :
 
Originally posted by Ariel:

quote:
Incidentally, there is someone who catches the evening train who looks very like you, and is always very smartly dressed (suit, hat, handkerchief in jacket pocket, that sort of thing).
Owning a snotrag is nothing to be ashamed of. It's nothing to be particularly proud of, either.

If he were really smartly dressed he'd tuck the handkerchief further into the pocket, where it couldn't be seen.
 
Posted by welsh dragon (# 3249) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nutmeg:
I still feel peeved that instead of a sit down lunch, we were entertained in a pub. The food consisted of merely nibbles with plenty of alcohol. This meant that when the plates of nibbles did come out and were passed in front of guests, they were truly hungry and I'm afraid that greed got the better of them. People were piling up their napkins with 4 or 5 hot nibbles, instead of a polite 1 or 2.

Nothing wrong with having a reception in a pub. (We had ours in a bar). Main thing is, IMHO, not leaving guests hungry or thirsty or bored for long periods. A lively party with lots of food and drink, even if food and drink is plain, is much better than a grand do with a dearth of sustenance. The most upper class wedding I've been to, of an heiress and a diplomat, had a load of non family people standing in a barn on the family estate (my stilettos sank into the straw) with retainers plying us with champers (that bit was fine) but no food in sight that I could see.

The bride and groom got into a hot air balloon to depart (over the nearest hill) and the college friends of the bride got on to the train back to London both starving and, unsurprisingly, completely sozzled...
 
Posted by Rat (# 3373) on :
 
On a similar note, Mr Rat and I are thinking of making honest people of each other. Now, this is unlikely to be a traditional wedding since we are not spring chickens and have been together for, like, hundreds of years.

The only bit that is concerning us is presents. We already live together, and merged two households to do so, so we really have no need of any usual wedding present stuff. Plus, as I say, we're unlikely to be doing the whole 'wedding thing' so we don't really see why people should feel obliged to spend money on us. But you know what families are like - we've already been surpised by the arrival of unexpected engagement presents, and certainly don't want to put people to the trouble of hunting for a suitable present in the absence of a wedding list (we already have more pot-pourri vases than we can make room for, thank you very much. We're having to circulate them.).

So currently we're thinking of issuing a No Presents dictum. Is that acceptable or gauche?

Another alternative might be one of those schemes where people buy a bowl of rice or a cow or something for a starving village - nice idea, or insufferably self-righteous?

Or would it be even vaguely acceptable to ask for items relating to the new baby which (all going well) should hopefully be arriving around the same time? For people to chip in for a buggy and the like?

Any advice gratefully accepted.
 
Posted by babybear (# 34) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rat:
The only bit that is concerning us is presents. We already live together, and merged two households to do so, so we really have no need of any usual wedding present stuff.

Another alternative might be one of those schemes where people buy a bowl of rice or a cow or something for a starving village - nice idea, or insufferably self-righteous?

Or would it be even vaguely acceptable to ask for items relating to the new baby which (all going well) should hopefully be arriving around the same time?

I think that people will want to buy you presents, even when you say 'Please don't'. It is probably going be a case of you and Mr Rat smiling and saying 'Thank you'.

It might be better to bite the bullet and make a present list. If anyone asks you what you would like you can explain that you really don't need anything. Then when they insist you can refer them to that. You could have a three section list. One for things that you have, but could do with being replaced, the second the 'ethical' gifts and the third for baby items.
 
Posted by Telepath (# 3534) on :
 
Well, Rat, probably the best way is simply not to mention gifts in any way, shape, or form.

If people ask you what you want, you can then say, "Ohwecouldn'tpossiblythatwouldbemostkind."

If they persist, you might say that something for the baby would be nice.

On the other hand, if you really really don't want gifts, not even for the baby, you could just say firmly, "No, honestly, we have everything we need and all we want is for you to celebrate with us."

Some people will probably still give you gifts, but that is their free choice.

Saying "no gifts" is a less good way to convey this, because at worst, it could sound like, "NO! No gifts! A plague upon your peasant offerings!" At best, it could be analogous to cooing, "Oh no, please. Don't get up," when you walk into a crowded room.

In either case, it would bring the issue of gifts into sharp relief, and act as a sort of recipreversexcluson. A phrase that can only be taken to mean anything other than itself.

As for asking for charitable donations - bad idea. For one thing you are still asking for money, regardless of who the recipient is supposed to be. For another, some of your guests may be conscientiously opposed to whichever charity you name. Plus which - yeah, it is a bit ostentatious.

What you could do, if you want to give to charity, is surreptitiously eBay all the gifts you don't plan to use, and silently give the proceeds to charity.

Hope that helps. I'm sure Sine will be along any moment now, to give you the full gen.
 
Posted by Belisarius (# 32) on :
 
Sine will agree with you. Earlier in the thread, it was mentioned that presents are never supposed to be mandatory,* so "no gifts" or any attempt to dictate is indeed gauche (mentioning a Registry is just within the realm of politeness, as people are free to ignore it).

* Big lie, of course, but as Judith Martin wrote, the world could use a little more hypocrisy.

[ 09. November 2005, 15:14: Message edited by: Belisarius ]
 
Posted by Belisarius (# 32) on :
 
Tangent--

Depending on the traditions of the people involved, it can be legitimate for gifts to be displayed at the wedding (in fact, per The House of Mirth, it used to be routine in the American uppercrust). To quote Ms. Martin again, it's "not vulgar, but certainly barbaric."
 
Posted by Rat (# 3373) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Belisarius:
Tangent--

Depending on the traditions of the people involved, it can be legitimate for gifts to be displayed at the wedding (in fact, per The House of Mirth, it used to be routine in the American uppercrust). To quote Ms. Martin again, it's "not vulgar, but certainly barbaric."

Continuing tangent --

It used to be traditional here to do that, at least in some circles. Although not at the wedding - a special day was set aside for 'The Showing Of The Presents' at the bride's family's house. I think only women go. The presents are all laid out in a display, and sherry and sandwiches are served. Polite chit-chat takes place.

I've been to a couple, though I think the tradition has mostly died out. Very strange and, I'm afraid, excruciatingly boring.
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Telepath:
Owning a snotrag is nothing to be ashamed of. It's nothing to be particularly proud of, either.

If he were really smartly dressed he'd tuck the handkerchief further into the pocket, where it couldn't be seen.

You're missing the point, this isn't a snotrag. It's one of those decorative coloured silk handkerchiefs that are primarily intended to be folded neatly and tucked into the jacket pocket in such a way that they display to their best advantage. It's more a fashion statement than a practical item.
 
Posted by Telepath (# 3534) on :
 
Yes, I have seen decorative handkerchiefs before. I am a cosmopolitan sort and have been to many sophisticated places throughout the universe, and in other places.

If a man decided to wear decorative Y-fronts outside his trousers, that would not make him look dapper, and I don't think I'd be missing the point to say he was in error, regardless of the decorative nature of the Y-fronts.
 
Posted by Codepoet (# 5964) on :
 
Dear Sine,
I am now in the position of having to arrange the baptism of the newest addition to my family. Presumably I should contact the parish office, but one of the retired clergy (who is a lovely man) has had his eyes on the baptism for some months now. He has asked several times if we would be requiring his services, and might be hard to say no to.
However this particular chap does have a flare for liturgical over-engineering. He also dispises the choir, and so generally never talks to the choirmaster / organist. This can lead to some difficulties. The last baptism he did, was a baptism and eucharist, and as he had reworked the entire liturgy, the acolytes / servers / lesson readers / crucifer etc where all trying to work out what he wanted to happen when, when someone let slip that the choir had prepared an anthem. The priest had not anticipated an anthem and sunk into a bit of a mood, refusing to read any notices, and snarling at one of the acolytes for slouching on each circuit of the alter during the distribution.
He really is a wonderful guy, and I love him very much, but do not want a repeat performance at my little chap's baptism.

What to do?

CP
 
Posted by josephine (# 3899) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Belisarius:
Sine will agree with you. Earlier in the thread, it was mentioned that presents are never supposed to be mandatory,* so "no gifts" or any attempt to dictate is indeed gauche (mentioning a Registry is just within the realm of politeness, as people are free to ignore it).

You know, Mr. and Ms. Rat might be able to stay inside the realm of politeness by distancing themselves from the request ever-so-slightly. The registry works because it's the store, not you, who is telling the guest what you want. They're just passing along the information.

Perhaps the Rats could enlist their nearest and dearest to serve in the role of sharers of information? It would have to be people whom they feel free to confide in.

I would imagine something like this: "You know, Mr. Rat and I have so much stuff between us, I don't know what we'll do if people start loading us down with the sorts of gifts they'd give a young couple just starting out. I mean, honestly, we've already got a blender, a toaster, a mixer, a food processor -- how many appliances can one family use? We want the people we invite to celebrate with us, but we really, truly don't want any gifts. If anyone asks, would you tell them that? Please? And if they really insist -- you don't think they will, do you? If they do, maybe they'd be willing to make a contribution to a charity in our honor. Do you think you could persuade them to do that? You're such a dear ..."
 
Posted by Telepath (# 3534) on :
 
I'm afraid to say that my patron saint, Miss Manners, has recently issued a ukase banning registries altogether.

They used to be permitted if used appropriately, but rampant misuse and acquisitiveness has brought them into disrepute.

Other etiquettists may still allow them, though, if used in the manner Josephine has described.
 
Posted by jlg (# 98) on :
 
I suspect Miss Manners was forced to dig out the smelling salts (as was I) when wedding invitations began arriving with little business card enclosures identifying where the Happy Couple was registered.
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
I pissed off my whole family by refusing to register when we married for just those reasons. In the future, I shall endeavor to be less tasteful.
 
Posted by Campbellite (# 1202) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Codepoet:
Dear Sine,
I am now in the position of having to arrange the baptism of the newest addition to my family. Presumably I should contact the parish office, but one of the retired clergy (who is a lovely man) has had his eyes on the baptism for some months now. He has asked several times if we would be requiring his services, and might be hard to say no to.
<snip>
He really is a wonderful guy, and I love him very much, but do not want a repeat performance at my little chap's baptism.

What to do?

CP

I do not know the policy in the CofE, but we have a policy that the resident clergy perform all duties as a matter of course. If YOU want someone else to perform the ceremony, the invitation must come from the resident clergy.

It would be frankly unethical for a retired clergyperson to barge into a parish and supplant the resident clergy. It happened to me a couple of times, and I made d*mn sure they wouldn't do it again. I would never presume to perform sacerdotal duties without the express permission of the resident.

[OK, there was one exception when the congregation in question was between pastors.]
 
Posted by Lamb Chopped (# 5528) on :
 
One way of handling it is to make the arrangements with another pastor / priest (preferably the incumbent of the parish, unless you have special circs) and THEN say to the retired gentleman, "Oh, I'm so sorry, but Rev. X is already handling it, and I wouldn't dream of hurting his feelings, as I'm sure you understand, but you are so kind to offer," etc. etc. etc. Look slightly distressed (not too much so, lest he volunteer to talk with the other pastor!) and suggest that he perform some other minor function--say, offering the prayer at the post-baptismal cake and coffee celebration. Then be sure to take a photo of him and the baby together. With luck, he'll think you clueless but well-intentioned.
 
Posted by Codepoet (# 5964) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Campbellite:

It would be frankly unethical for a retired clergyperson to barge into a parish and supplant the resident clergy. It happened to me a couple of times, and I made d*mn sure they wouldn't do it again. I would never presume to perform sacerdotal duties without the express permission of the resident.

[OK, there was one exception when the congregation in question was between pastors.]

A bit of a problem there - we are between pastors, and so this guy is one of the few bits of sticky tape keeping the show in the road.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
I'm letting the Religious Professionals handle this one. Out of my league.
 
Posted by Jeremiah Gutzywuk (# 8783) on :
 
King Soloman provided the answer - divide the living child in two.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
All the Religious Professionals except Jere.
 
Posted by Pure as the Driven Yellow Snow (# 9397) on :
 
Now if they were Jewish and it was a bris..., that would work
 
Posted by Joyfulsoul (# 4652) on :
 
Dear Sine,

What is the best way to decline a date? For example, while perusing at a bookstore (in the religions section no less!) I got asked to coffee and didn't really want to go but was unsure of how to best say no.
 
Posted by Firenze (# 619) on :
 
I am sure Sine will be along with the silver-plated version - but how about 'No, thank you' with a brief smile?

Never apologise. Never explain.
 
Posted by Left at the Altar (# 5077) on :
 
Can you at least tell us what you said at the time.

Out of professional interest only, you understand.


(Effity effity effing eff: I never get asked out in bookshops. Why? What's effing wrong with me?)
 
Posted by Tabby.Cat (# 4561) on :
 
Well, have you tried the religious section, LatA?
 
Posted by Left at the Altar (# 5077) on :
 
Often. What am I doing wrong?
 
Posted by Tabby.Cat (# 4561) on :
 
Not sure. Perhaps you need to look more devout. Hope Joyfulsoul can tell us.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Joyfulsoul:
What is the best way to decline a date? For example, while perusing at a bookstore (in the religions section no less!) I got asked to coffee and didn't really want to go but was unsure of how to best say no.

If a total stranger tries to pick you up in a commercial establishment, regardless of the spiritualilty of the merchandise, it's a little grandiose to refer to it as a "date", frankly.

So what you really want to know is how to decline a pick-up from a possible serial killer. You look startled, back away slowly and say "Uh...no, thanks. I don't think so." Men who approach women they don't know with potentially neferious ends in view can't expect the normal standards of politeness in return.

Now if you wish to politely decline a date from someone you're aquainted with, every girl knows you just say "I'd love to, but I've got to wash my hair that night. Another time perhaps."
 
Posted by Joyfulsoul (# 4652) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Left at the Altar:
Can you at least tell us what you said at the time.

Out of professional interest only, you understand.


(Effity effity effing eff: I never get asked out in bookshops. Why? What's effing wrong with me?)

There's nothing wrong with you, LaTa. Quite honestly, I attract the most strange guys ever. Think of it as a compliment that psychos don't pursue you. I think most of them hangout in the same places I do...which kind of says something about me [Hot and Hormonal] .


To please your professional interst, tho' my heart was racing and I was frozen with fear, I'm a West-Coast-bred-girl, which means we practice well in the Art of the Artificial™ so I calmly said, "Sure" while flipping my long fake-blond hair and giving what I thought at the time was most bored and disinterested look. Of course it takes a professional to pull that off. I'm not quite sure I managed. Needless to say, he called me 4 days ago and I haven't called him back.

I'm a polite person so I really intend to call him today and explain that we won't be going hiking or going to coffee or anything like that.

Thank you, Firenze and Sine for your most helpful advice. You really are a life-saver. [Axe murder]
 
Posted by josephine (# 3899) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Joyfulsoul:
To please your professional interst, tho' my heart was racing and I was frozen with fear, I'm a West-Coast-bred-girl, which means we practice well in the Art of the Artificial™ so I calmly said, "Sure" while flipping my long fake-blond hair and giving what I thought at the time was most bored and disinterested look.



The bored and disinterested look is useless when you say, "Sure." You should have accompanied the bored and disinterested look with the words, "No, thanks" or "Not interested," then turned back to your books.

If that's too difficult for you (it is for me), you can press your lips tightly together, look at him as if you're not sure he's talking to you, and look back at your books without saying anything. If he persists, you say, "Excuse me, but I'm trying to select a book. Do you mind?" And if he continues to persist, you go to the service desk and ask to speak to the manager.

The fact that you said "sure" is why psychopaths follow you around and ask you out when you're simply trying to buy a book in a bookshop -- you've got a flashing neon sign over your head that says, "This girl is afraid to say no!" Those kinds of guys can tell.

So go back and re-read what Sine told you. You don't have to treat strange men trying to pick you up like they're your friends. They're not.

You do not owe him the pleasure of your company. You don't owe him an return call.

And speaking of which -- who gave him your phone number? You didn't, did you? Giving your phone number to strange men you met at the bookstore isn't a whole lot brighter than giving it to strange men you've met on the Internet. If a man asks you for your phone number, tell them it's unlisted.

And please, please, don't give him your name and address and social security number. Please?
 
Posted by Joyfulsoul (# 4652) on :
 
[Hot and Hormonal]

I'm really bad at saying no but I'm slowly learning. (and no I've never met anyone through the internet.)

[added stuff]

[ 16. November 2005, 18:07: Message edited by: Joyfulsoul ]
 
Posted by Jeremiah Gutzywuk (# 8783) on :
 
Dear Sine,
I have had a full beard since 1969, and can not remember getting more than 3 haircuts per year in that time.
However, the elders at my church have recently decided that they would like us to try to build a mega-church here, and have asked me to be more like Jerry Falwell in appearance and theology.
I have ordered a copy of "The Evangelical Pastor's Annual Manual" which begins on November 27, (1st Advent) so that should help to shave away most of my theology, and I have ordered teeny-tiny rectangular spectacles, which I should be able to pick up next week.

I think my evo friends are teasing me about the grooming bit, though. I usually get my hair cut at a discount place in the mall, for around $12. They tell me I will need 20-25 haircuts per year, at a cost of at least $40 per cut, and that I should plan on shaving 3 times per day.

They also suggest that I have the parts of my face that have been covered by my beard coloured at a tanning salon to make it all match and give a professional image to my appearance.
Lastly, they tell me to use Oil of Oregano on the back of my tongue, so that I can speak for 45 minutes non-stop without my voice cracking.

Since you obviously understand the finer points of grooming much better than I, can you help me to separate their teasing from the reality of what I really need to do to look like a TV evangelist? [Confused]
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
Keep the beard and drop the Jerry Falwell. Please. [Disappointed]
 
Posted by The Wanderer (# 182) on :
 
I thought all you needed was a white suit?
 
Posted by Jeremiah Gutzywuk (# 8783) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Wanderer:
I thought all you needed was a white suit?

Does that mean I won't be able to wear my Santa boxer shorts with the bright red hat on the front?
And, Sine, where does one purchase a white suit? [Confused]
 
Posted by Joyfulsoul (# 4652) on :
 
Jeremiah, God loves as you are. Why are you trying to please everyone else?
 
Posted by Jeremiah Gutzywuk (# 8783) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Joyfulsoul:
Jeremiah, God loves as you are. Why are you trying to please everyone else?

'Cause God is 'bout the only one who does.
 
Posted by Jeremiah Gutzywuk (# 8783) on :
 
Sorry, that sounded really stupid.
I should not have spewed something like that.
 
Posted by Joyfulsoul (# 4652) on :
 
Dude, that's the way I feel sometimes too (even if I know its not true). Welcome to the human race. ((hugs))
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jeremiah Gutzywuk:
quote:
Originally posted by Joyfulsoul:
Jeremiah, God loves as you are. Why are you trying to please everyone else?

'Cause God is 'bout the only one who does.
No, you are quite right, Jere. God is the only one who loves you. It’s because you have the wrong look. Your friends are correct. A makeover is desperately required. But they are wrong about the hair cuts. A good televangelist has a toupee instead. No annoying trips to the salon to be trimmed. And ditch the white suit. It’s so Elmer Gantry. I think with a little work you can give Ernest a run for the money.

Good luck and God bless.
 
Posted by The Wanderer (# 182) on :
 
quote:
And ditch the white suit. It’s so Elmer Gantry.
I stand corrected. (And I'd just bought a new one - damn!)
 
Posted by Timothy the Obscure (# 292) on :
 
It's only Elmer Gantry if you're a preacher--otherwise it's so Miami Vice, which is probably just as bad, but different.
 
Posted by Belisarius (# 32) on :
 
Tangent:

The following etiquette advice is from the 100-Word Novel Thread on the Circus Board:

When serving more than seven courses at dinner, be sure to provide a generous supply of buckets for all your icecream forks. Also, remember--a truly elegant table is never complete without rose buds and silver napkin rings. They should make your guests feel special; if not, a general insurrection may ensue. When considering the seating of troglodytes, it's best to waterproof. Never let a scantily clad lapdancer sip margaritas while vacuuming crumbs off the napkins, as more sensitive guests may feel a warm sensation spread through their elbows. It is considerate to provide ample supplies for the cleaning up.

[ 17. November 2005, 17:36: Message edited by: Belisarius ]
 
Posted by The Wanderer (# 182) on :
 
Dear Sine,

I have a couple of old tiger skins that my parents left to me. What should I do with them? The outrage over the fur trade means I can't turn them into matching jacket and waistcoat. However it seems wasteful, and disrespectful, just to throw them away. How can I use them in a way that respects the dead animals and the neighbours' sensibilities?
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
Pet cemetery?
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Wanderer:
I have a couple of old tiger skins that my parents left to me. What should I do with them?

quote:
Would you sin
With Elinor Glyn
On a tiger skin?
Or perhaps you'd prefer
To err with her
On some other fur?


 
Posted by Kelly Alves (# 2522) on :
 
[Axe murder] Sine, you rock like no other.
 
Posted by Firenze (# 619) on :
 
Sine is quite correct.

You need a room hung with rare tapestries, velvet curtains, swagged brocade, bunched silk, and the steamier works of Fragonard. Elaborate lamps of Moorish design hang from the ceiling, while even more elaborate Chinese incense burners fill the air with exotic fragrances. The floor is covered in knee-deep Aubusson and embroidered cushions. There is a couch of carved ebony inlaid with ivory, mother-of-pearl and agate. This is where you drape the tiger skin.

Dressed only in a clinging swathe of figured satin, and a pair of jewlled sandals, your long black hair loose, your eyes rimmed with kohl, and a rose between your teeth, you dispose yourself on top of the pelt (chin resting between its ears is a good look).

You have of course previously inveigled the love object of your choice to join you. (Obviously, not too previously, while you were still lugging the furniture about, hoovering the Aubusson and trying to get the bally incense to stay alight, plus still in an old T shirt and track bottoms).

Let us know how you get on.
 
Posted by The Wanderer (# 182) on :
 
OK, I've got the tiger skins. Now I need:
rare tapestries
velvet curtains
swagged brocade
bunched silk
Fragonard
lamps of Moorish design
Chinese incense burners
Aubusson
embroidered cushions
a couch of carved ebony
a clinging swathe of figured satin
a pair of jewlled sandals
long black hair
a rose

Not to mention a the love object.

Firenze, it may be a while before I get back to you......

[ 19. November 2005, 10:36: Message edited by: The Wanderer ]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
You might want to PM the Coot and see how many of those objects he can supply.

If they're not currently in use, of course.
 
Posted by The Wanderer (# 182) on :
 
It seems to me the most important is the last item on the list. Any offers?
 
Posted by The Coot (# 220) on :
 
You know me so well, Uncle Sine. I'd simply love all those. Just because something is vulgar doesn't mean it can't give great pleasure. A bit like me, really. As it stands I can provide:

rose
gold curtains
antique tapestry (which may even be Aubusson)
Fragonard substitute (much tackier)
Indian incense holder
embroidered cushions (on loan to granny)
lamp of Moorish design (if one imagines a little)
lots of clear glass tableware with embossed fruit (that must count for something)
hair

Will travel. Except by plane.
 
Posted by The Coot (# 220) on :
 
[Missed edit: I should add, the cushions are silk with brocade, gold thread and embroidered with various Chinese landscape scenes]
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
One of these days I'll inherit two leopard skins (amongst other things). I have therefore been following this exchange with interest. If Firenze or someone could suggest a budget version that would be good. I already have an Indian incense burner, but I'm sure I could probably get most of the rest from Argos, except the final item.

Perhaps an ad in Sprite Weekly might solve that. "Beatrice seeks Benedick to pose on new Argos sofa (leopardskin print). Bring own furnishings, curtains, etc. Send awful poem to Box No X."
 
Posted by Firenze (# 619) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
a budget version

I do feel that if you are using real fur, everything else should be of comparable standard.

If you are going to do disport yourself on 100% nylon shagpile, then I don't suppose much more is called for than a Tretchikoff, flock wallpaper, a bar in the corner of the room covered in leather-effect quilting, a bottle of Thunderbird and a chicken tikka marsala takeway (for the exotic touch).
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
From Madam Glyn's shocking novel of illicit love, Three Weeks:
quote:
A bright fire burnt in the grate, and some palest orchid-mauve silk curtains were drawn in the lady's room when Paul entered from the terrace. And loveliest sight of all, in front of the fire, stretched at full length, was his tiger--and on him--also at full length--reclined the lady, garbed in some strange clinging garment of heavy purple crepe, its hem embroidered with gold, one white arm resting on the beast's head, her back supported by a pile of the velvet cushions, and a heap of rarely bound books at her side, while between her red lips was a rose not redder than they--an almost scarlet rose.
For those you of who wish to read it in full...

(But please! If you are a gently reared young lady refrain from opening this link.)
 
Posted by Emma. (# 3571) on :
 
What is the point of doilies? (like my gran used to put oin a plate before putting things on it.. like for tea )
 
Posted by Firenze (# 619) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
and a heap of rarely bound books at her side,

<Julie Walters northern Agony Aunt> And girls, when your 'usband makes love t' you, put that book down!</JWNAA>

Though, 'rarely bound' - I'm seeing a stack of coverless Penguins. Or possibly Mills and Boon. She sounds more of a M&B girl.
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
There is one way this scenario could work. A woman stretched out in purple on the back of a tiger with a rose between her teeth and a stack of very creased, partly coverless Mills & Boons on the floor next to her. A tall slim handsome man clad entirely in black sneaking quietly in (so as not to disturb the tiger) and leaving a purple box of chocolates next to her and sneaking straight out again. "All because the lady loves Milk Tray."

It's the rose between the teeth I have problems with. (Yes, as a 14 year old I did try this in the privacy of my own room.) There's just no way you can make it look natural or carry it off in a way that doesn't make you look a bit deranged.
 
Posted by Firenze (# 619) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
It's the rose between the teeth I have problems with.

Yes, it's trying to say lines like 'Come to me, my fool!' It comes out as 'Cmmmmsh ssheee mmphhoolsh'.

Or do you take it out when you want to speak, and then pop it back like a ciggie? At what point in the proceedings do you discard this piece of chewed vegetation? I'd feel the need to put it a little glass of water with some plant food myself. By which time he's picked up one of the paperbacks and is immersed 'Cupid comes to ER'.
 
Posted by Adrienne (# 2334) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Firenze:
If you are going to do disport yourself on 100% nylon shagpile ...

... you might well benefit from some earthing.

A
 
Posted by Emma. (# 3571) on :
 
hmm we could start a thread for writing our own mini er novel?
 
Posted by rosamundi (# 2495) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
It's the rose between the teeth I have problems with. (Yes, as a 14 year old I did try this in the privacy of my own room.) There's just no way you can make it look natural or carry it off in a way that doesn't make you look a bit deranged.

And you'd have to be sure of your rose supplier, as well. I suspect one that's been thoroughly doused in Bordeaux mixture wouldn't do you a deal of good unless you had a copper deficiency.

Deborah
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Emma.:
What is the point of doilies? (like my gran used to put oin a plate before putting things on it.. like for tea )

You stumped me on that one and I had to do a little research. I'm not sure this answers your question, but I found it interesting nonetheless:
quote:
Doily's etymology is simple: it comes from the name of a London draper of the late 17th century, a Mr. Doylely. He must have sold a good lot of the stuff to have his name attached to it - it was originally a lightweight and inexpensive woollen cloth for summer wear. By the early 18th century the fabric was being used for ornamental dessert napkins known as doilies (but with myriad spellings); later it came to apply to crocheted or knitted pieces which resembled the napkins.
As to why your gran uses them, I use them too when I have a party. Habit I guess, plus giving the food trays a more finished, cleaner look. On a practical level I've noticed they soak up any grease or oozing from the food and prevent them from sliding around on the tray.

But really, in the end, I think that like the nature of the Holy Trinity, it's just a mystery we have to accept.
 
Posted by Ann (# 94) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Adrienne:
quote:
Originally posted by Firenze:
If you are going to do disport yourself on 100% nylon shagpile ...

... you might well benefit from some earthing.

A

That's a good point - do tiger (or leopard) skins minimise rug-burns?
 
Posted by The Coot (# 220) on :
 
Dear Uncle Sine,

I believe I have spotted a breach of etiquette on the Ship. Exhibit A. Our intrepid globe-trotter Markie-Mark committed to a Shipmeet. Then he indicated he may opt out of the Shipmeet in order to attend the Messiah. This is rude, no? I think I would be pissed off if I organised a Shipmeet in someone's honour, they said 'Yer cool', then said: 'Oh sorry, I might put you off 'cos there is a performance of the Messiah I might want to go to'.

If there is a way to put off an engagement in one's honour decorously, you would know Uncle Sine. My guess is that it should be accompanied by a humble apology for imposing on people; thanking them kindly for thinking enough of one to organise a Shipmeet; and, with their permission and the hope it will not cause too much inconvenience seeking to arrange an alternate date. One shouldn't say why one needs to change plans I imagine - rather that one has an appointment - let the hosts imagine they are being put off for something of great importance. That's wot I would do, anyway. Am I barking up the right tree?

quote:
Wow. I don't blame you if want to shoot me. But I just found out St. Paul's is doing Handel's Messiah on December 7th. This creates issues.....
I don't think this really cuts it.


It's bloody England in December - someone, somewhere is putting on a performance of the Messiah every day.
 
Posted by Corpus cani (# 1663) on :
 
Oh! Coot PLEASE!!! It's Messiah, not THE Messiah.

The choice; between hearing Messiah,
Sung by Paul's very own choir,
Or a special Shipmeet
(maybe no chance to eat)?
Take care; the results could be dire.

Corpus
 
Posted by The Coot (# 220) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Corpus cani:
Oh! Coot PLEASE!!! It's Messiah, not THE Messiah.

You pedant!!! You musical snob!

(Coot makes a careful note of the distinction in order to use it on some unsuspecting peasant in turn)

You are right though. I checked it in the Wikipedia.

[Code]

[ 21. November 2005, 21:43: Message edited by: KenWritez ]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
Hmm...Uncle Sine didn't get his reputation on three continents for extreme tact (when he wants to excercise it) by falling into traps like the one above. So I'm not going to directly answer your question.

However I will say that about 10 years ago I invited someone to dinner who cancelled the afternoon of the party saying "Mr. X just called and asked me out. I've always wanted to date him so I've got to cancel for tonight. I know you'll understand."

I understood all right. Trash. Nothing but trailer trash. A mule dressed up in horse harness. I haven't willingly spoken to him since then, much less invited him to my house.
 
Posted by Amos (# 44) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ann:
quote:
Originally posted by Adrienne:
quote:
Originally posted by Firenze:
If you are going to do disport yourself on 100% nylon shagpile ...

... you might well benefit from some earthing.

A

That's a good point - do tiger (or leopard) skins minimise rug-burns?
Considering the static electricity my cats transmit, I doubt it somehow.
 
Posted by Corpus cani (# 1663) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Coot:
You are right though. I checked it in the Wikipedia.

You checked?

You CHECKED?

Well! I proffer my words of wisdom and you "check" them? I'm mortified.

I'll 'ave you know I've sung Messiah in the Royal Albert 'all under the baton of Sir David Willcocks no less. I've sung Messiah so often I'm sick of the bloody thing - not that I liked it much in the first place, but it's the principle. I've lived and breathed Messiah for the sake of me ar'.

And YOU CHECKED?!?!?

Corpus
>handbag snaps shut... door slams... sound of Corporeal stillies clacking down hallway...<
 
Posted by Amos (# 44) on :
 
Eee, and there was I thinking you'd sung Messiah under Sir Tommy Beecham, Corpus. (Oh, Ah loved 'im Ah did)
 
Posted by Corpus cani (# 1663) on :
 
Chance'd be a fine thing Amos, but a leettle before my time I think you'll find... [Paranoid]

Corpus

[ 20. November 2005, 23:19: Message edited by: Corpus cani ]
 
Posted by Jahlove (# 10290) on :
 
Our Cathedral musicians (Three Spires) have a fine reputation which extends well beyond the boundaries of our County.

A church laydee told me this week that she only really enjoyed their recent Messiah performance because she was able to read along to her own copy of the score. [Projectile]
 
Posted by Grits (# 4169) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Corpus cani:
Oh! Coot PLEASE!!! It's Messiah, not THE Messiah.

I know exactly how you feel. That's my reaction whenever I hear someone say THE Gap.
 
Posted by The Wanderer (# 182) on :
 
As in, "Please mind the gap," when you're getting on the Tube? [Confused]
 
Posted by iGeek. (# 777) on :
 
GAP as in clothiers.
 
Posted by badman (# 9634) on :
 
It works the other way of course. The Underground station may say Temple but everyone says THE Temple. And the street sign may say Strand but everyone says THE Strand (like the song: "Let's all go down the Strand").

And don't even start on the hoi polloi. I mean the polloi. Or is it just hoi polloi. Oh, *bother*.
 
Posted by Belisarius (# 32) on :
 
<smarty-ass pedant>

Although true that the official title contains no "the," Handel himself alluded to "the Messiah" in his correspondence.

</smarty-ass pedant>

ETA: Enough tangent; I just thought of an etiquette question:

Is it acceptable to take sealed condiments from a restaurant, or is that too greedy?

[ 21. November 2005, 17:01: Message edited by: Belisarius ]
 
Posted by badman (# 9634) on :
 
Couple of dinner party questions.

If a guest makes a racist or homophobic remark, how do I (1) not spoil the atmosphere or be rude to guest but (2) challenge or at least distance myself from said remark?

When a couple with a hereditary title, who for some reason think it's a big deal and ALWAYS use it, come to dinner, how do I introduce them to other guests without (1) slighting them or (2) suggesting to other guests that I give a flying f*** about a title that the holders have not earned.

Thanks.
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
Badman, do they expect you to address them by title? Or only introduce them? If the latter, introduce them to others by title, then address them all evening as Bess and Phil.
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Grits:
quote:
Originally posted by Corpus cani:
Oh! Coot PLEASE!!! It's Messiah, not THE Messiah.

I know exactly how you feel. That's my reaction whenever I hear someone say THE Gap.
Oh dear. Do you get annoyed when asked to key in your Pin number?

(Which they have to say, really, because "can you put your Pin in" just sounds stupid.)
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Grits:
quote:
Originally posted by Corpus cani:
Oh! Coot PLEASE!!! It's Messiah, not THE Messiah.

I know exactly how you feel. That's my reaction whenever I hear someone say THE Gap.
They used to have commercials with the tagline "Fall into the Gap," so I'm having a hard time seeing why this is a problem.

Belisarius, it seems to me that taking sealed packages of condiments from a restaurant is tacky unless you've ordered your meal to go.

But Coot's earlier inquiry about MarkthePunk's behavior was much tackier and completely inappropriate.
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
<snob mode> A really good restaurant wouldn't offer you sealed packets of condiments anyway, they'd have salt and pepper pots or containers of sauces on the tables. </snob mode>

ETA I think you could get away with pocketing one or two but not half the bowl like some people do.

[ 21. November 2005, 19:51: Message edited by: Ariel ]
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
<snob mode> A really good restaurant wouldn't offer you sealed packets of condiments anyway, they'd have salt and pepper pots or containers of sauces on the tables. </snob mode>

Even really good restaurants in the states will have sugar and sugar substitutes in little packets. They may order cool-looking packets, but they'll still be packets. And there will be no containers of sauces on the tables, just salt and pepper shakers, in a really good restaurant. It's the diners that put the ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, etc. on the tables. Wait staff in really good restaurants will bring the sauces that go with your meal when your meal is served and remove them when they take your plate.

quote:
ETA I think you could get away with pocketing one or two but not half the bowl like some people do.
When we go out, my best friend allows her little girl to chew on one while we're waiting for our food to be served, but she's not allowed more than that.

[Edited because details matter, don't they? [Big Grin] ]

[ 21. November 2005, 20:00: Message edited by: RuthW ]
 
Posted by Doublethink (# 1984) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by badman:
Couple of dinner party questions.

If a guest makes a racist or homophobic remark, how do I (1) not spoil the atmosphere or be rude to guest but (2) challenge or at least distance myself from said remark?

When a couple with a hereditary title, who for some reason think it's a big deal and ALWAYS use it, come to dinner, how do I introduce them to other guests without (1) slighting them or (2) suggesting to other guests that I give a flying f*** about a title that the holders have not earned.

Thanks.

Well, according to the Goddess of etiquette - Miss Manners - inappropriate jokes are answered with a weak smile, a brief pause (you have to imagine the tumble weed blowing across the desert of silence) and a change of subject. Optional extra, calm statement before change of subject along the lines of 'Perhaps you didn't know my sister/husband/lover is gay/black/mentally ill ...' If the remark is not intended to be humourous, I'd go with a calm statement along the lines of 'I'd have to disagree' or 'I'd rather not get in to that' and change the subject.

As for title droppers, one never properly introduces oneself by ones own titles - so bow out saying 'I'll just get the door, do introduce yourselves ...' - at least then you can snigger when they make their own social error.
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
It's the diners that put the ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, etc. on the tables. Wait staff in really good restaurants will bring the sauces that go with your meal when your meal is served and remove them when they take your plate.

Ah yes but a really good restaurant won't have ketchup or mustard or hot sauce on the tables at all and the only way you get it is if it's part of the actual dish you order. [Razz]

It's interesting that a lot of the Chinese restaurants I've been to have bottles of Japanese soy sauce on the tables by way of condiment. (Or perhaps to fiddle restlessly with and read the label of, as you wait a small eternity for your order to be taken.)
 
Posted by Grits (# 4169) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Grits:
quote:
Originally posted by Corpus cani: Oh! Coot PLEASE!!! It's Messiah, not THE Messiah.
I know exactly how you feel. That's my reaction whenever I hear someone say THE Gap.
For goodness' sake, people. I read Corpus' post as being somewhat tongue-in-cheek. Mine certainly was. So I was either playing along, or making fun of him for being so touchy about his articles.
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
Sorry, Grits. I figured CC was as much serious as he was joking. After all, articles are serious!

quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
Ah yes but a really good restaurant won't have ketchup or mustard or hot sauce on the tables at all and the only way you get it is if it's part of the actual dish you order. [Razz]

That's what I meant, actually -- guess I should have specified that the sauces that came with your meal would be specific to the dish you ordered and in special little dishes if they were served on the side. I think the places with the snooty chefs tend not to serve things on the side, though; you get the food exactly they want they intend it to be without choices about how much salad dressing or sauce or whatever goes on the food.

But I only eat in such places when someone else is paying, which is to say, hardly ever. Places where you have to bang on the side of the ketchup bottle to get the ketchup onto your fries are more my speed. My local grease joint used to have the sealed packages of ketchup, but switched to squeeze bottles -- very helpful, as I was always squirting ketchup everywhere when trying to get the little packages open.
 
Posted by badman (# 9634) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyda*Rose:
Badman, do they expect you to address them by title? Or only introduce them? If the latter, introduce them to others by title, then address them all evening as Bess and Phil.

I think they would expect me to introduce them by their title and call them by their Christian names. But I don't generally use names much when talking to people, I just talk to them.

quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink:
Well, according to the Goddess of etiquette - Miss Manners - inappropriate jokes are answered with a weak smile, a brief pause (you have to imagine the tumble weed blowing across the desert of silence) and a change of subject. Optional extra, calm statement before change of subject along the lines of 'Perhaps you didn't know my sister/husband/lover is gay/black/mentally ill ...' If the remark is not intended to be humourous, I'd go with a calm statement along the lines of 'I'd have to disagree' or 'I'd rather not get in to that' and change the subject.

As for title droppers, one never properly introduces oneself by ones own titles - so bow out saying 'I'll just get the door, do introduce yourselves ...' - at least then you can snigger when they make their own social error.

Oh, yes, both very good. I particularly like "I'd rather not get into that" - understated but clear.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
Belisarius, it seems to me that taking sealed packages of condiments from a restaurant is tacky unless you've ordered your meal to go.

Not if the large handbag he's hiding them in matches his shoes.
 
Posted by Gladly The Cross-eyed Bear (# 9641) on :
 
Dear Sine:

I need advice on a quandary at work. I have a co-worker, X, who is a pain to be near and is considered by most to be an irritant, at the very least. X is one who always tries to be friendly with all, but in a way that makes one recoil in distaste. This morning he confided to me that he saves money on Christmas postage by bringing cards in a few at a time and using the office meter. Now, I would like to have as little to do with X as possible, but I would hate to see him lose his job. If I inform my superiors that X is in the habit of using company funds for mailing, and he gets in trouble, there is a good chance that X will know I am the one who spilled the beans. I am spending my time alternating between trying to think of how to let someone know anonymously and wishing to reset the clock so that I never knew. Please advise me. Thank you.

Gladly [Confused]
 
Posted by ecumaniac (# 376) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
Oh dear. Do you get annoyed when asked to key in your Pin number?

You haven't met Sinisterial, have you? He starts foaming at the mouth if you say ATM machine.

[edit - bad code. Bad, bad, code.]

[ 22. November 2005, 02:29: Message edited by: ecumaniac ]
 
Posted by Campbellite (# 1202) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by badman:
Couple of dinner party questions.

If a guest makes a racist or homophobic remark, how do I (1) not spoil the atmosphere or be rude to guest but (2) challenge or at least distance myself from said remark?

At a family gathering about ten years ago, my wife's uncle cornered me with a horribly racist joke. When he got to the punch line, I just stared at him expectantly, like there had to be more. He started trying to explain the joke*. The more he tried, the more I believe he saw that it wasn't really funny. He hasn't done that again within my hearing.

*I suspect he was more embarrassed by being not funny than by being racist, but there you go.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gladly The Cross-eyed Bear:
I have a co-worker, X, who is a pain to be near and is considered by most to be an irritant, at the very least...This morning he confided to me that he saves money on Christmas postage by bringing cards in a few at a time and using the office meter...I am spending my time alternating between trying to think of how to let someone know anonymously and wishing to reset the clock so that I never knew.

I wish I could rid myself of the uneasy feeling that there is a connection between your dislike of Mr. X and your wish to inform on him. I think you must ask yourself what you would do if it was your bestest friend at work who had told you this and do the same.

Of course the bigger question is what do we do when we are told about such ethical laspes in confidence. My rule of thumb has to do with how seriously it will hurt the company. This doesn't sound like it's going to stand between your company and bankruptcy, so I'd say it comes under the category of "none of your business". His chickens will either come home to roost or they won't but in any case there is something distasteful about anonymous informers. If you get in the habit of this, it could serve you ill should you ever get sent to prison.

You did not say what your reaction was when you were told this interesting tidbit by Mr. X. Did you smile and nod in complicity, or did you say coldly "I wish you hadn't told me that. I'll pretend that you didn't." That might have given him a clue that such behavior is stealing and unacceptable in your sight.

But these work things are frequently difficult. That's one reason I've never tried to be particularly palsy-walsy with my co-workers. As long as I do the best job for my employer that I can, it's none of my business particularly what they do. Plus I'm too busy to notice.
 
Posted by Boopy (# 4738) on :
 
Back to the dinner guests - titled or not, why not introduce them in the same way as you'd introduce your other dinner guests? So if you normally introduce untitled dinner guests as Mr & Mrs Smith, you can intro your title guests as Lord and Lady Jones. . I don't know about you but I'd introduce guests as John and Jane Smith and Bess and Phil Jones - if you're not using Mr/Mrs/Ms for other guests, you don't need to use titles for these particular guests, it will just introduce an awkward distinction.
 
Posted by The Wanderer (# 182) on :
 
Why is there a problem? Surely your butler will call out their full names, titles and all, as they enter the room?
 
Posted by Belisarius (# 32) on :
 
Someone should hint to these dinner guests that title-dropping is the surest mark of an arriviste.

[ 22. November 2005, 19:22: Message edited by: Belisarius ]
 
Posted by The Coot (# 220) on :
 
quote:
RuthW:
But Coot's earlier inquiry about MarkthePunk's behavior was much tackier and completely inappropriate.

That's an interesting perspective, Ruth. I'm of the school of thought that it is kinder to bring things like this out in the open in a humorous context than talk about what a rude bastard someone is behind their back.

Saying what the other parties may be thinking gives everyone a chance to relax, laugh, and allows an 'in' for the person who has stuffed up to fix things.

There's that, or everyone could go off quietly thinking to themselves what a socially clueless twassock the protagonist is.
 
Posted by Gladly The Cross-eyed Bear (# 9641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
I wish I could rid myself of the uneasy feeling that there is a connection between your dislike of Mr. X and your wish to inform on him. I think you must ask yourself what you would do if it was your bestest friend at work who had told you this and do the same.
(...)
You did not say what your reaction was when you were told this interesting tidbit by Mr. X. Did you smile and nod in complicity, or did you say coldly "I wish you hadn't told me that. I'll pretend that you didn't." That might have given him a clue that such behavior is stealing and unacceptable in your sight.

But these work things are frequently difficult. That's one reason I've never tried to be particularly palsy-walsy with my co-workers. As long as I do the best job for my employer that I can, it's none of my business particularly what they do. Plus I'm too busy to notice.

Thank you. I appreciate the affirmation of my eventual thoughts before I managed to get to sleep. I fear you are correct in your uneasiness. I would love to not have to interact with him at all, and that may have influenced the depth of my quandary.

As for my reaction when X was speaking to me; I was very busy being busy, and being psychologically not available to him. I didn't really grasp what he had said until he had moved on. Letting him know that I disapprove of what he does involves more interaction with him than I want. If he were one of the people at work with whom I am friendly I would be able to say, "That doesn't sound like such a good idea." But with X I don't want to have to explain myself.

Gladly
 
Posted by badman (# 9634) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Belisarius:
Someone should hint to these dinner guests that title-dropping is the surest mark of an arriviste.

It's a mark of insecurity, certainly. But people who think it's the best they've got to offer need a bit of compassion too, I suppose.

Anyway, I've made my mind up. First name introductions only and get 'em all plastered, as usual. You OK with that, Sine?
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by badman:
You OK with that, Sine?

Being a citizen of a republic I have deliberately stayed out of this, although 'Merikans dearly love a lord. I do remember writhing in shame when the dean of our cathedral incorrectly addressed the (very charming) mother of one of our esteemed shipmates as if she were the daughter of a duke instead of the wife of a lord. But then it's not something we have to worry about much on this side of the ocean.

But yes, I'm Ok with that. And I'm sure dear Nancy Mitford, looking down from Heaven, is too.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
(And don't even get me started about people with doctorates who use the title "doctor" socially.)
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
The dinner guest question depends on the formality of the occasion.

At a formal dinner, with an order or precedence and possibly speakers or toastmasters, yes you can introduce people by titles.

But if you aren't living in a college of an ancient university, and you aren't a high-ranking officer in the armed forces, a diplomat abroad, or a member of the royal family, the chances are that the only formal dinners you are ever likely to host in your own home will be weddings of family members (in which case the bride gets to decide what people are called, so there)

At an ordinary informal dinner in your home, or any other kind of party, politeness includes the illusion that your guests are part of the family, social equals, insiders, people who already know each other (if only by reputation).

So if Mrs Coster the cleaner is eating on one side of the table and the Duke of Loamshire on the, the nearest you get to a formal introduction is "Doris, I'm not sure if you've met Rupert? Mary, surely you know Fred?"

If you think the difference between their situations is so great that either or both would be embarrassed by that then you shouldn't invite them to the same party. Titles are for high tables and uniforms, not for dinner at home.

You don't point out that she is a duchess or he is the Mundanian ambassador, or the President of Harvard, or Queen Marie of Romania, or the winner of the latest Turner prize, or the chair of the local parish council, or the man who works down the chip-shop and thinks he's Elvis, because you act - in public - under the assumption that anyone sussed enough to be invited to your table already knows all that. In private of course you make sure everyone knows who everyone is, before they arrive if possible.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
you act - in public - under the assumption that anyone sussed enough to be invited to your table already knows all that.

Lady Cunard was notorious for embarrassing her guests by her introductions. Two of her most famous:

"This is Grand Duke Dimitri, who helped murder Rasputin" - he was so enraged he turned and left her house - and "This is Michael Arlen, the only Armenian who survived the massacre" which was particularly insulting since he liked to present himself as every inch the English gentleman.
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
(And don't even get me started about people with doctorates who use the title "doctor" socially.)

Better not go to Italy then. It says in my language coursebook that many Italians like to address each other with their titles as a form of respect - and it might be Doctor, it might be Professor, it might even be Engineer.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
How about "Manicurist"? Or would that be "Nail Specialist"?
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
I don't know but it might be interesting if people were addressed by their job titles over here.

"Good morning, Rubbish Disposal Operative. Lovely day isn't it?"

"Indeed it is, Administrative and Secretarial Assistant."
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
Germans do that on business cards and in directories. Someone who had a Master's degree from one of the old snobbish universities that allows anyone to call themself a Doctor, and then got a real PhD and had once taught at a university (like the Merkins they call any university teacher a "proffessor") and who had a qualification in engineering and then got an honorary doctorate could really be known as "Herr Doktor Doktor Doktor Professor Ingenieur"

Though only in writing I suspect. I don't think even a German would actually ever say all that.
 
Posted by Joan_of_Quark (# 9887) on :
 
They do that in Mexico too. People use these titles on their correspondence "Licenciado José X", "Ingeniero Joaquín Y" etc. (usually abbreviated). The boss in the office is often referred to as "El Ingeniero" i.e. "THE Engineer" as if he's the only one in the world with that distinguished title.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
I don't know but it might be interesting if people were addressed by their job titles over here.

"Good morning, Rubbish Disposal Operative. Lovely day isn't it?"

"Indeed it is, Administrative and Secretarial Assistant."

You must mean "Environmental Technician" and "Junior Deputy Assistant Undermanager"?
 
Posted by badman (# 9634) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
You don't point out that she is a duchess or he is the Mundanian ambassador, or the President of Harvard, or Queen Marie of Romania, or the winner of the latest Turner prize, or the chair of the local parish council, or the man who works down the chip-shop and thinks he's Elvis, because you act - in public - under the assumption that anyone sussed enough to be invited to your table already knows all that. In private of course you make sure everyone knows who everyone is, before they arrive if possible.

This is the Ship's roundhead?
So, which of you is the cavalier?

*ducks*

I'll get my cape.
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Coot:
quote:
RuthW:
But Coot's earlier inquiry about MarkthePunk's behavior was much tackier and completely inappropriate.

That's an interesting perspective, Ruth. I'm of the school of thought that it is kinder to bring things like this out in the open in a humorous context than talk about what a rude bastard someone is behind their back.

Saying what the other parties may be thinking gives everyone a chance to relax, laugh, and allows an 'in' for the person who has stuffed up to fix things.

There's that, or everyone could go off quietly thinking to themselves what a socially clueless twassock the protagonist is.

I'm of the school of thought that if you really want to be kind you speak to the person privately. If you had posted in Heaven to criticize my behavior in All Saints, I'd have called you to Hell.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
Uhm...lovely weather we're having. Wouldn't it be nice if we had a white Christmas? Did you make that dress yourself? It really suits you. The color is fabulous with your eyes.

Can I get you another glass of sherry?
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
Thank you, Sine. I'll do my best not to spill it on your best carpet.

Ah, there's a question -- if I do spill something that makes a stain while a guest in someone's home, should I offer to have the tablecloth or carpet or whatever it is professionally cleaned, or is that overkill?
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
Excellent question, especially with the holidays approaching.

My first thought was "Yes, you're supposed to offer but the host is supposed to refuse." but upon reflection I actually do think that's overkill. When one entertains one expects a certain amount of wear and tear on the tools of the trade.

Because really, what's probably the worst that could normally happen? Red wine probably. And you aren't going to completely get that out in my experience, even if you send the tablecloth to the cleaners. So actually you'd have to offer to buy them a new tablecloth, which seems a bit much.

And if you spill something awful on the carpet or sofa I can't see Stanley Steamer pulling up in front of the host's house the next day bearing a card "compliments of RuthW."

So I think you just apologize profusely and go on. But not too profusely. That would put a damper on the party.

What does our Panel of Experts think?

(Now that said, if you spill something on somebody else's clothing I think you offer to pay to have it cleaned. That's a little more unexpected and personal.)
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
I'd think that the host accepts a certain amount of risk in having other people around. Provided they're not the sort who enjoy throwing food at each other and spilling stuff for its own sake, a grovelling apology and attempt to help clear up there and then should be sufficient.

On no account try to be helpful by sprinkling salt on a red wine stain though. I am convinced this is an old wives' tale, as in my experience it's never had any effect other than to leave a purple stain which is very difficult to remove.

I suggest that if you are a very messy eater you might like to think about bringing with you a small carrier bag of assorted stain removers which you could discreetly use at intervals throughout the evening, or else present to your host on arrival as a pleasant and more practical alternative to the customary bottle of wine.
 
Posted by Always Waiting (# 10141) on :
 
I have had success with salt on red wine stains. It didn't work on the puddles on the carpet, but did work on my light blue jeans, leaving only a small and faint orange mark. This was the result of half a bag of salt lavishly administered around the stained area - maybe it only works when you trowel it on.
 
Posted by welsh dragon (# 3249) on :
 
I have a friend with a very elegant home and a white carpet. She invited a large number of people from church to her house at Christmas and served mulled wine.

White mulled wine.

It went down a treat with the guests and she didn't have to worry about people spilling it...
 
Posted by Rat (# 3373) on :
 
I'd agree with Ariel. If your carpet or tablecloth is so precious that a stain will be a major crisis, I really think you'd be better not to invite people round. An (genuine) apology should be enough. Trying to discreetly rub the stain in with your foot, or blaming the dog, are bad form though.

I do know somebody who refused to let red wine be drunk in her house, for fear of the cream carpet. That seemed a touch over-sensitive.

(My only experience with salt only resulted in bleaching the area around the stain, so I wouldn't recommend it)
 
Posted by Pigwidgeon (# 10192) on :
 
O.K., I confess. I did spill red wine (actually dark pink) at a church wine party last week. My host was prepared for this eventuality with club soda and salt, and he quickly cleaned it up as soon as I told him of my mishap. (They normally serve the white wines indoors and the reds outside, but this was technically a "pink" and was served with the whites.)
 
Posted by Twilight (# 2832) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pigwidgeon:
O.K., I confess. I did spill red wine (actually dark pink) at a church wine party last week. My host was prepared for this eventuality with club soda and salt, and he quickly cleaned it up as soon as I told him of my mishap. (They normally serve the white wines indoors and the reds outside, but this was technically a "pink" and was served with the whites.)

From time to time it's driven home to me, just how different from Methodists the Anglicans are. "Church wine party" has a "Church casino & strip-club" sound to it that makes me quite envious.
 
Posted by Moo (# 107) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
From time to time it's driven home to me, just how different from Methodists the Anglicans are. "Church wine party" has a "Church casino & strip-club" sound to it that makes me quite envious.

You mean you wish your church had casino and strip-club parties? [Big Grin]

Moo
 
Posted by Twilight (# 2832) on :
 
Let's just say it makes our Chicken &Noodle dinners sound even more stodgy than usual. [Smile]

Red wine actually gives me a crashing headache, so the people who simply never serve it to guests don't seem that extreme to me. I like grape juice myself, but I never, ever buy it because it just doesn't seem worth the risk. There are so many other choices.
 
Posted by Doublethink (# 1984) on :
 
I have a ginger carpet, and whatever I like to drink [Cool]
 
Posted by Pigwidgeon (# 10192) on :
 
Hmmm... maybe I should suggest strip-club parties as a new fund raiser. [Smile]

Thanks for the suggestion!
 
Posted by Twilight (# 2832) on :
 
Let's have it at Doublethink's house! I'll bring my own grape juice and a large fan.
 
Posted by Mathmo (# 5837) on :
 
Dear Sine,

Earlier this week, whilst rather tired, I ran a rehearsal for the once-a-year Christmas choir, during which I snapped rather too readily at the poor volunteers, and at one in particular.

Having now woken up from the aforementioned tiredness, should I seek this lady out on Sunday morning and apologise for my behaviour, or I let sleeping dogs lie and simply try to be nice to everyone at next week's rehearsal?
 
Posted by Doublethink (# 1984) on :
 
Few people are ever offended by someone apologising for a rudeness they did not notice, a lot of people are offended by receiving no apology for a rudeness the speaker thought they did not notice.

I'd apologise if I were you. After all, you'll feel better [Biased]

[ 24. November 2005, 19:20: Message edited by: Doublethink ]
 
Posted by Always Waiting (# 10141) on :
 
Dear Uncle Sine,

I try to be nice, but I'm not very good at it. I have a terrible memory for people (although I remember faces, I forget names and contexts at the drop of a hat).

Over the last week I have had three brief professional interchanges (or thereabouts) with a youngish gentleman who came to my office on behalf of his subordinates. It was all very professional and friendly. Then - disaster. I saw him by chance, suddenly and accidentally, on another part of campus. Knowing that I recognised him but, in the heat of the moment, not remembering from whence, I gave a friendly smile. He looked a bit nonplussed.

All well and good. But then I saw him again, yesterday. It was that nightmare - a long, open street with nobody else on it. He saw me and I saw him. I panicked. I had to smile. He smiled back.

It was all a horrible accident. If I'd known where I recognised him from in the first place, I wouldn't have even made eye contact. It's like when you recognise your bank teller in the street. And now I'm trapped in a perpetual smiling relationship with this young man, who I'm likely to keep passing, as we work in fairly close proximity. How can I extract myself from this social nightmare?

Yours in desperation,
Always Waiting.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Always Waiting:
Now I'm trapped in a perpetual smiling relationship with this young man, who I'm likely to keep passing, as we work in fairly close proximity. How can I extract myself from this social nightmare?

Whoa Nellie!

There is a HUGE chunk of missing info here! I keep going over and over you post trying to figure out what the problem actually is. What aren't you telling Uncle Sine? Why should a friendly exchange of smiles produce so much angst? And for that matter why would you be embarrassed to smile at your bank teller in the street?

I'll have to go out on a limb here and guess that your work status is so much higher than his that he is socially beneath you and can't be recognized. Especially if you think bank tellers shouldn't get social recognition from you. Also there is an implied whiff of something sexual here too that I don't understand. Almost as if you're afraid he'll think you're coming on to him by smiling. You must have quite a smile. I wish I had it.

I'm guessing the missing piece of info is whatever it was he came to your office about. Although you say it was "all very professional and friendly".

In any case the best advice I can offer is the next time you see him, stop and say "I'm sorry I've been smiling at you. I thought you were my bank teller."

That should probably fix it.
 
Posted by Always Waiting (# 10141) on :
 
Dear Sine,

You're quite right. I was a little het up. That's what interaction with strangers does to me. But you've set me on the calmer path to rational thought.

To explain a little: my trouble isn't that I think he is not up to my social standard and therefore should be spurned like a dog in the street - I just worry that he thinks it a little weird that this person with whom he transacted a couple of business exchanges should take to smiling as if we're old friends. I realise that this is paranoid and neurotic behaviour.

He is a rather attractive young man. This heightens my neurosis. No one likes to look dumb around someone who's cute.

Thank you for your (as always) sound advice. Next time I'll take a couple of deep breaths, reassure myself that he probably doesn't care a damn if some girl flicks a grin his way, and either smile politely or attempt to open a savings account. Either way, the matter should be settled.

[eta: neurotic? nuerotic?]

[ 25. November 2005, 00:10: Message edited by: Always Waiting ]
 
Posted by babybear (# 34) on :
 
Smile at everyone. Say "Good morning" to strangers. It makes the world a happier place. [Big Grin]
 
Posted by Macgyver's Apprentice (# 603) on :
 
Good Morning [Big Grin]

quote:
Smile at everyone. Say "Good morning" to strangers. It makes the world a happier place.
It also means that you don't have to remember who you do and who you don't know [Biased]
 
Posted by Firenze (# 619) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Macgyver's Apprentice:
It also means that you don't have to remember who you do and who you don't know [Biased]

Sounds like a bit too casual sex.

('Who you do and don't know' is perfectly viable and perhaps closer to your intended meaning)
 
Posted by Macgyver's Apprentice (# 603) on :
 
quote:
Sounds like a bit too casual sex.

It could lead to some interesting conversations when meeting people:

"Say, I don't I know you from somewhere?"
 
Posted by xSx (# 7210) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
(And don't even get me started about people with doctorates who use the title "doctor" socially.)

Sorry, Sine, I'm afraid I've allowed myself to get behind in reading this thread. My social education is suffering as a result.

May I inquire what people who have been awarded a PhD or DPhil should be called socially?
Do you stick to Miss Jane Smith/Mrs. Jane Smith, if you're using titles (e.g. if sending them an invitation through the post)?
 
Posted by Smudgie (# 2716) on :
 
Dear Sine,

A purely hypothetical situation, you'll understand.

An occupational therapist and care worker are visiting an elderly person's house where I, as the carer, have come to meet them while the elderly person is in hospital. They have come to assess whether he needs any extra care.

The house is devoid of provisions, the householder being in hospital, and all that is available is a bottle of milk, a teabag, and two mugs. I make each of the visitors a cup of tea before they begin their tour of the bungalow. To my horror, just as I am about to hand the mug to the senior of the visitors, I see a large hair which has clearly just fallen off my head and into the cup of tea. It is impossible to make a fresh cup as there is no tea and no milk left.

How do I get myself out of this terrible predicament without showing a lack of manners or hygiene and convincing the visitors that I am a suitable person to be caring for an elderly gentleman? ... if it were to happen, of course.
 
Posted by Jeremiah Gutzywuk (# 8783) on :
 
Spill the contents of the cups and apologize, then suggest that perhaps it would be best to skip the refreshments?
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Macgyver's Apprentice:
quote:
Sounds like a bit too casual sex.

It could lead to some interesting conversations when meeting people:

"Say, I don't I know you from somewhere?"

My personal favorite, which yes, I have had occasion to use, is "I'm sorry. I didn't recognize you with your clothes on."
 
Posted by Chorister (# 473) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Smudgie:
A purely hypothetical situation, you'll understand.


Well, it's obviously a hypothetical hair, then. So no worries.

[Big Grin]
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Always Waiting:
How can I extract myself from this social nightmare?

Seduce him and go back to his place.

Then, at the moment he removes his undergarments, run giggling from the room and never come back.

Ideally you would also vomit on his carpet.

He will not make eye contact with you in the street again
 
Posted by dolphy (# 862) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Smudgie:
A purely hypothetical situation, you'll understand.
<snip> ..... To my horror, just as I am about to hand the mug to the senior of the visitors, I see a large hair which has clearly just fallen off my head and into the cup of tea. It is impossible to make a fresh cup <snip>...

How do I get myself out of this terrible predicament? <snip> ... if it were to happen, of course.

I would merely tell them that this is a cup of herbal tea. The aforementioned hair is actually a rare strain of herb which, if left in the cup, will bring calm to all those who drink it.

...unless it is a grey hair [Snigger]

<the 'snips' were not meant as puns, honest they weren't [Two face] >

[ 25. November 2005, 16:30: Message edited by: dolphy ]
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Smudgie:
To my horror, just as I am about to hand the mug to the senior of the visitors, I see a large hair which has clearly just fallen off my head and into the cup of tea. It is impossible to make a fresh cup as there is no tea and no milk left.

How do I get myself out of this terrible predicament without showing a lack of manners or hygiene and convincing the visitors that I am a suitable person to be caring for an elderly gentleman? ... if it were to happen, of course.

I think you'd have to say, "Oh, excuse me, I just forgot something," and rush back into the kitchen with the mug on a pretext of looking for biscuits even if there aren't any (or somesuch) before they can say anything or notice the hair, then quickly fish it out in the kitchen and return with hairless tea and a brazen smile. If it were to happen of course.

I was once served a mug of tea in a friend's house that had a cat hair floating in it. Not wishing to be rude I discreetly removed it without saying anything and drank the tea hoping that boiling water would kill any lingering cat-germs. As this was about 20 years ago and I am still alive I think I am safe in saying it probably worked.

[ 25. November 2005, 17:08: Message edited by: Ariel ]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by xSx:
May I inquire what people who have been awarded a PhD or DPhil should be called socially?
Do you stick to Miss Jane Smith/Mrs. Jane Smith, if you're using titles (e.g. if sending them an invitation through the post)?

Well, I know I'll probably get a lot of flak for this, but in America at least, I think it's pompous and pretentious to use a doctoral title socially. My grandfather had two and my sister has one, and neither of them used/use them to bludgeon people over the heads at parties. I mean, who really cares besides you? ("You" being the one with the doctorate.)

Medical doctors by custom get to use them, but I wish they wouldn't.

Now go ahead. Tell me just how hard you worked to earn them, blah, blah, blah.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
quote:
Originally posted by Smudgie:
To my horror, just as I am about to hand the mug to the senior of the visitors, I see a large hair which has clearly just fallen off my head and into the cup of tea. It is impossible to make a fresh cup as there is no tea and no milk left.

I think you'd have to say, "Oh, excuse me, I just forgot something," and rush back into the kitchen
I think Ariel has got it, although if the visitor were in the act of actually reaching for the cup when you spot the hair, your best bet might be (have been [Devil] ) "Oh dear. I'm sorry. As you can see I'm under a lot of stress right now. Let me fish that out for you."
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
Uhm...lovely weather we're having. Wouldn't it be nice if we had a white Christmas? Did you make that dress yourself? It really suits you. The color is fabulous with your eyes.

Can I get you another glass of sherry?

I enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner at the home of friends yesterday. Well, I enjoyed most of it. Most of the people in my best friend's family are rather loud, and many of them have no qualms about getting into political arguments at the dinner table. At one point discussion of recent ballot measures here in California devolved into a shouting match between my best friend and one of her relatives over teachers' salaries and teachers' unions (my best friend is a teacher, the relative is anti-union). I just hunched down in my chair, the small child present said, "Too loud!" and someone else tried several times to change the subject in the manner you demonstrate above. It didn't work. The shouting didn't end until the combatant seated next to me spoke so loudly I involuntarily flinched.

Is there anything to be done in such situations? When obvious efforts to change the topic of conversation are ignored, does one simply contemplate the cranberry jelly and consider whether a third glass of wine is in order? Or can one ask the shouters to stop? (I contemplated the cranberry jelly and heroically decided against the third glass of wine.)
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
Is there anything to be done in such situations?...Can one ask the shouters to stop?

Sad but true, different standards of behavior seem to exist for family dinners. Part of your value as a non-family member should have been to prevent such scenes. Obviously it didn't work. The host or hostess should have intervened decisively to stop it.

My brother-in-law loves to argue, especially after a few cocktails. I have no problem saying to the combatants "If you two want to argue go outside. You're boring the rest of us." Then I change the subject, forcibly if necessary, and keep rattling on for a few minutes until the awkwardness has passed.

Since the host or hostess didn't intervene I would have gotten up and gone to the bathroom saying rather loudly "Excuse me for moment, please." Another more desperate ploy would have been to knock your water glass over. The main thing is to create a noticeable diversion if softer measures have failed.
 
Posted by mrs whibley (# 4798) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
Well, I know I'll probably get a lot of flak for this, but in America at least, I think it's pompous and pretentious to use a doctoral title socially. My grandfather had two and my sister has one, and neither of them used/use them to bludgeon people over the heads at parties. I mean, who really
cares besides you? ("You" being the one with the doctorate.)

Medical doctors by custom get to use them, but I wish they wouldn't.

Now go ahead. Tell me just how hard you worked to earn them, blah, blah, blah.

No, I won't; I'm with you all the way. Besides, it intimidates people, which is really not the point socially - it often is professionally, though! I'm not sure which category bank managers come into.

Mrs (or Dr if you must) Whibley PhD
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
Many thanks, Sine. I am filing away the diversionary tactic for future reference. Perhaps I will conspire with the small child about creating a diversion if things get too loud at the next family gala. (My presence did prevent anyone from mentioning the sordid details surrounding the recent failure of one family member's marriage, so they're not entirely hopeless.)
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
Next time, offer to bribe the child to vomit onto the lap of one of the arguers. Everyone wins! Child wins your bribe plus gets to vomit with social approval (yours and other sufferers), target of said substance becomes instant center of sympathetic attention, all present are witnesses at an exciting event they'll *all* talk about for years, and best of all, you get the hat trick! You've stopped a boring and embarassing event, you're basking in the warming glow of good interior gloat, and you've effected a change of subject discussion which is unlikely to be repeated. Everyone comes out ahead!

[ 25. November 2005, 19:11: Message edited by: KenWritez ]
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
Sine, please accept my warm regards and thanks for your advice.

My family members offer unsolicited advice, and I was able to cope with it this Thanksgiving by adopting your technique. Their feelings weren't hurt and I wasn't overwhelmed. Thanks again.

[ 25. November 2005, 19:20: Message edited by: KenWritez ]
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by KenWritez:
Next time, offer to bribe the child to vomit onto the lap of one of the arguers.

I'd try knocking over the water glass first, but that's just me.

Mr. Writez, I assume you're referring to the "You could be right" ploy. I'm glad you found it effective.
 
Posted by Firenze (# 619) on :
 
You are at dinner with old friends. You are, all of you, persons past their first youth.

The company contains a lady who was a sometime mistress of the host. The hostess is the present 'bidey in' as we say. The FM (who cannot hold her liquor) persists in loudly and continuously referring to her former relationship with the host. Is there any way, short of decoying the woman to the bathroom, running a bath, and holding her under until the bubbles stop, of shutting her up?
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
Oh Gawd! How perfectly dreadful.

I would say only the current mistress en titre can put a stop to it. The poor man can't without looking the fool, nor can any of the other guests.

The current holder of the title has two options. Either laughing it off "Thank you for breaking him in for me." Or trying to remove the liquored up Ex "Let's go in the other room and compare notes."

Either way the man loses. But isn't that always the case?
 
Posted by Real Ale Methodist (# 7390) on :
 
On the issue of using Dr as a title.

I suppose one only uses a proffesional title such as Dr if ones relationship is proffesional. Thus my old man is referred to as Dr Methodist, by his colleagues and patients (also accountant, lawyer etc); even when he is in a social setting. People with whom his relationship was initially social just know him as Old Methodist. Likewise I suppose academics might be referred to as Dr by there students and peers; but not by their friends. (That said, in academia everyone has a PhD so I am not entirely sure what the point would be...)
 
Posted by Timothy the Obscure (# 292) on :
 
The custom in (American) academia used to be (I'm told by people even older than me) that one addressed one's professors as "Doctor" until one passed one's orals. At that point, your advisor would shake your hand and say, "Congratulations, Dr. Obscure," and thereafter you were on a first-name basis.

However, even back then anyone who would want to be addressed as Doctor in any context less academic than a departmental sherry hour would have been seen as a bit stuck on themselves.
 
Posted by The Prophetess (# 1439) on :
 
In the United States, I think, the tendency is for holders of Ph.D.'s in the "hard" sciences and mathematics to use the title of "Dr." In the humanities, this is generally considered pretentious. I will also go out on a limb and say that the less prestigious the institution, the more likely it is that the faculty members with Ph.D.'s will insist on being referred to as "Dr."
 
Posted by Laud-able (# 9896) on :
 
At my place of work all holders of PhDs and higher doctorates – MD, LLD, and so on – are referred to as ‘Doctor So-and-So’ if they are not ‘Professor So-and-So’.

Medical practitioners holding no degrees higher than those of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (the run-of-the-mill qualification in Australia) are ‘Doctor’ by courtesy in conversation, but are not so styled in official University publications such as graduation programs.

The use of the titles Professor and Doctor socially would depend upon the formality of the occasion.
 
Posted by Pigwidgeon (# 10192) on :
 
Why is it that most of the clergy who use the title "Doctor" are ones who have honorary degrees rather than earned ones? Or is that just my imagination?
[Confused]
 
Posted by Real Ale Methodist (# 7390) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Prophetess:
I will also go out on a limb and say that the less prestigious the institution, the more likely it is that the faculty members with Ph.D.'s will insist on being referred to as "Dr."

And the ones who have most recently earned it, it occurs to me it is always the post doctoral fellows who introduce themselves as Dr. unremarkable historian, as opposed to the grand old men of the subject who introduce themselves more humbly.

Likewise Students and Post-Doc-Fels are more likely to call themselves historians; whilst the more established figures more likely to merely claim to study history, as if really they were just keen Undergrads.
 
Posted by Doublethink (# 1984) on :
 
Well, I understood it is always incorrect to introduce yourself by your title - so saying hi I'm Ms Doublethink would be as incorrect as saying hi I'm Countess Doublethink or hi I'm Dr Doublethink.

In case you'r wondering, what you're supposed to say is: My name's Bond, James Bond. Then your evil nemesis will guess your correct title and address you thusly: I expect you to die Mr Bond.

I think it was also always traditional in the UK not to use the title Dr socially except for medics.
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Prophetess:
In the United States, I think, the tendency is for holders of Ph.D.'s in the "hard" sciences and mathematics to use the title of "Dr." In the humanities, this is generally considered pretentious. I will also go out on a limb and say that the less prestigious the institution, the more likely it is that the faculty members with Ph.D.'s will insist on being referred to as "Dr."

That explains why the principal of a friend's elementary school workplace insists on being called Dr. _____. [Snigger]
 
Posted by Chocoholic (# 4655) on :
 
Dear Sine,

At the weekend I am due to attend a baby shower. I have never been to one before and they are not partiularly common in the UK, so consequently I don't know anyone else who has attended one either.

In fact, I have a feeling men don't usually go, so you may not be in position to help either.

Are you able to give me any words of wisdom as to what happens at such events?

Many thanks

Choccie
 
Posted by Telepath (# 3534) on :
 
Until Sine gets here:

The main thing to remember about a baby shower is that it is one of the few events at which gifts are mandatory, both de facto and de jure. (Therefore, they're thrown by non-relatives or not-close relatives.)

A shower gift is supposed to be small, on the order of a rattle or a stack of nappies, rather than a trust fund or a solid-gold charm bracelet.

They get their name from the idea of 'showering' a new mother with the things she will need to make the transition from non-parent to parent. That's why they're only held for first babies.

Since gift-giving is mandatory, unwrapping of gifts and coos of gratitude and delight will be a central feature of the entertainment. I expect there will be a cake and suchlike.

Hope that helps.
 
Posted by Mertseger (# 4534) on :
 
And try to make your gift appropriate for your relationship to the mother-to-be.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Telepath:
The main thing to remember about a baby shower is that it is one of the few events at which gifts are mandatory, both de facto and de jure. (Therefore, they're thrown by non-relatives or not-close relatives.)

Exactly. Just remember you're going to a mafia shake-down and not a real party and you can't go wrong.

And I have been to baby showers before. In this day and age expectant parents are so greedy for gifts they'll invite anybody. I make it a practice however not to let food or drink pass my lips at such events, otherwise I'd feel obligated in some awful way or another.
 
Posted by Chocoholic (# 4655) on :
 
Thank you.

At these occasions, does one take a bottle (of wine as opposed to for milk) or something non-alcoholic for the mum-to-be, or something alcoholic to have after the birth. Or any food.
 
Posted by Sine Nomine (# 66) on :
 
They ought to be feeding you in return for your gift. It would be too cruel to expect you to shell out for the rugrat-to-be and have to bring your own snack.
 
Posted by KenWritez (# 3238) on :
 
Make sure to bring a book, too. Get there a bit early and scout a comfortable chair somewhere off in the corner because they'll go fast. The women will happily ignore you except for the kind few who will come over to commiserate and offer you cake. Unless you get your jollies from watching mom-to-be unwrap ye