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Part Of Our Friend Group Only Takes, Never Gives

Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin on

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Six of us couples take turns entertaining and dining at all but one of our homes. One couple seldom entertains, as the husband is a clean freak who does not want his home dirtied. Additionally, he has stated that it is the inviting couple's responsibility to prepare a vegetarian dish for him.

We are obligated to invite this pair because of the relationship they have with one of the other couples. Your thoughts/response for these non-reciprocating guests would be appreciated.

GENTLE READER: Your individual is a porcupine of rudeness, or the vegetable equivalent, who sticks you no matter what your angle of approach.

As host, you do want to know he is vegetarian so you can prepare a meal from which he does not go home hungry. But how you solve that problem is up to you.

His refusal to reciprocate violates a basic tenet of hospitality. And his justification -- that he does not want his house sullied -- implies that you are dirty (without the humor of Groucho Marx's injunction, Go, and never darken my towels again).

If he and his spouse cannot be separated from the other couple, then perhaps the other couple can be confided in and asked for a solution. Could the offending pair not host a different type of event, perhaps post-pandemic, away from their home?

 

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have been using a small family company to clean my home for the last year or so. It is owned by a lovely couple, but they often bring a third cleaner, who may vary each visit.

Today I was organizing my jewelry box, and found that five pairs of earrings are missing. All are very special to me: gifts for graduations, milestone birthdays and my first holiday with my husband. They were stored in small boxes, and now the boxes are all empty.

I don't know when they went missing, as these are special things I only wear from time to time. But I would never empty all the boxes at once and misplace five pairs.

I don't have proof, and don't want to accuse anyone unfairly. But I am devastated and don't know what to do. Should I talk to the company owners, and what should I say?

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