When the subject came up, I tried to explain that because I wasn’t allowed to do it as a child, I swore that when I was an adult, I’d eat my food in any order I wanted. But lately, it has failed to diffuse the tension.
I don’t think I’m being rude. I do this only at restaurants where it’s possible to order dessert at the same time as the meal. I’d never do it when I’m a guest in someone’s home.
Do you think I’m being rude? Should I eat in a more conventional way to avoid flak from people I’m dining with?
Sweet Tooth in Colorado
Dear Sweet Tooth: I’m not your mother, so I’ll refrain from lecturing you about the empty calories you consume, which reduce your appetite for the healthy food you “should” be eating at mealtime. And yes, I do think what you’re doing is rude because it is obviously making your eating companions uncomfortable, or you wouldn’t be getting flak along with your dessert.
Dear Abby: After 31 years of marriage, my wife and I have split up. We love each other, but after the kids moved out, we realized we have little in common.
What is an appropriate Christmas gift for an ex-wife? We are on friendly terms and will probably spend the holidays together with our children. I don’t want to give a gift that will offend or encourage her.
Free Man in Pennsylvania
Dear Free Man: How about a gift card from her favorite store, or a lovely scarf or colorful shawl, or if she has a hobby, something to do with it? None of them would send the wrong message.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.