Over the past week, my family had a big gathering for the holiday. My sister hosted, so I asked her what I could bring. She assigned me dessert. Because she was expecting a lot of people, I made two. Then she told me that another guest had informed her that they were bringing two desserts as well, from a nice bakery.
I was both pissed and bummed. I know it seems petty, but it feels rude to bring food to a party that has to be eaten at the gathering if you haven’t cleared it with the host. Am I wrong?
Too many treats!
Dear Too many,
Yes, you are! Not a 100%, but maybe 93%. Let’s rise above our petty tendencies, even though our petty tendencies are much more fun. A guest was thoughtful enough to bring food from a fancy bakery. How could that be wrong?
And, more importantly, can there ever be too many desserts? I think not! Instead of stewing, better to get into the spirit of celebration and indulge. And next time you go to someone’s house for dinner, consider the gift that sounds delicious but isn’t: a succulent.
I was recently at a cafe that has outdoor seating. There was a person using a chair to prop up their foot. When I asked if I could use that chair, they looked at me as though I was about to take away their first born. What the heck? Don’t butts pull rank over feet?
Best foot forward?
Dear Best foot,
Indeed, butts do pull rank, but who knows, maybe this person had a foot injury and was supposed to elevate it, so what you saw in their face was not anger, but disappointment that the chair they nabbed for their foot was about to go bye-bye.
In other words, it had nothing to do with you, but everything to do with them. Since you can’t know what’s behind an expression that reads as angry (when you’ve done nothing wrong) best to chalk it up to the internal misery of the other person and go about your day. Otherwise, you’d never get out of bed!
My daughter was in the hospital for a year. After she recovered, we were all set to visit her best friend in college (my daughter is 18 and took a gap year). Coincidentally, her parents found out about the visit and forbade their daughter from allowing my daughter stay in her dorm room because she had done badly in a class – but subsequently dropped it.
Never mind that my daughter can’t drink or stay up late, or that they are micromanaging, punitive parents who think they have more influence over their kid than they do (probably because they are so micromanaging!), or that this is the first time in a year that my daughter could actually be a teenager again, or that their daughter is an excellent student.
Crazy town. I knew that my daughter was planning to stay in her friend’s dorm room, and I wasn’t about to enforce her parents’ ridiculous rule. In fact, I was all for them bunking together. My question is, when and if I see her mom back home, and she asks me directly about it, should I lie?
What happens at school stays at school
Dear What happens,
You don’t want to lie, nor do you want to throw this woman’s daughter under the bus. So, I think the best thing to do would be to be honest. Maybe something like, “Yes, they did room together. After a difficult year in the hospital (milk it!), it was so lovely of your daughter to give my daughter a taste of college. And besides, since my daughter can’t drink or stay up late, I’m sure their weekend was pretty tame. I know they both had a wonderful time!”
I think that hits all the important points: guilt, shame and embarrassment – I hope!
Dear Gabby appears in the RoundTable every Monday. Yes, Gabby is an advice columnist – but not just any advice columnist. Because that would be boring! Gabby combines wisdom with wit. And a pinch of snark. She is not a trained therapist by any means, but has seen and loved many in her day. Her aim is to make you think while she makes you laugh. Gabby welcomes all questions and queries and is only too happy to hear your opinion, no matter how much it may diverge from hers. Write to Gabby at email@example.com.