AnnLanders.com - Dear Ann Lander: What is the proper amount of time to stay at a come & go party?
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Section: marriage, manners, behavior
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
My husband and I were married recently. Our wedding was beautiful, but there was one problem: We had 17 no-shows and four surprise guests. Two days before the wedding, we'd had to give the caterers the exact number of guests. After that, we would get billed no matter how many no-shows there were. That means we paid for 13 extra meals that nobody ate. I understand that sometimes an emergency comes up, but we wasted more than $330 on those no-show dinners. The extra guests turned out to be no problem because of the no-shows, but generally, surprises are not welcome. What if those 17 people had shown up and we didn't have enough dinners? It would have been a nightmare. It is simply good manners to let the hostess know whether you are coming or not. And if the number of people in your party has changed, she should be informed about that, too. When you RSVP, the information you give the hostess is what the cost of the event is based on. Wedding receptions aren't cheap these days, and paying for no-shows is a terrible waste. Am I expecting too much from guests? If so, please tell me. - San Diego

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Section: behavior, manners, relationships, marriage, family
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
My in-laws have a habit of coming to our home without calling first. There have been times when my mother-in-law has called me on the phone "just to chat" and never says a word about coming over. Then, she shows up at the door 10 minutes later with a goofy grin on her face. I'm sure she enjoys these surprise attacks. My husband has asked his parents politely several times to call before coming over. One Sunday morning, they dropped by, and he refused to let them in, saying it wasn't a good time. You'd think they would get the hint. They didn't. I have come home from work on my lunch hour to find them in the house. We also have come home from work and seen evidence that they had been here. My husband gave them a key to our previous house, but when we moved, I refused to let them have a spare. However, there is a key that we keep hidden outside for emergencies, and my husband told his parents where it is. He said apologetically, "They might need to get into the house in case of an emergency." Ann, what can I do about this galling situation? I'm at the end of my rope and totally out of patience with my in-laws. Please advise. I no longer can think rationally about this problem. -- Ohio Nightmare Without End

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Section: children, relationships, behavior, family
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
I have been going with a man for three years. "Jerome" has a 5-year-old daughter, and I don't know how much longer I can tolerate that child. She tells her father where to sit, where to stand, when to go out and what to eat. She walks around his apartment and insists on holding his hand, no matter what he's doing. She even goes to the bathroom with him. (He says she cries if he locks her out.) If she awakens in the middle of the night, he allows her to sleep with him. Jerome is divorced, and his daughter spends two nights a week at his place. I realize she misses her father, but this seems to me a very unhealthy attachment. When she is with him, she won't play with her toys or watch TV. She only wants to sit on his lap. This child has so many hang-ups it saddens me. Jerome says I am jealous of her, but I don't believe this is true. What do you say, Ann? -- Ready To Give Up in Richmond, Va.

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Section: manners, manners, relationships, children, marriage
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
My 32-year-old daughter is getting married for the second time. My daughter and I have a good relationship, but my ex-wife and I barely speak. She and my daughter made all the wedding preparations and paid for the whole thing without any assistance from me. I received a wedding invitation, but it excluded my fiancee, "Greta." Greta and I have been together for the past six years. During this time, my daughter has visited us often and always seemed comfortable with the relationship. Greta is very hurt and angry that she was not invited to the wedding. She asked me to speak to my daughter about the "oversight" and said that if no invitation was forthcoming, I should not go to the wedding, either. I spoke to my daughter, who told me it was the expressed desire of her mother, my ex-wife, not to invite Greta. My daughter receives a lot of financial help from her mother and is obviously reluctant to go against her mother's wishes. What should I do? If I attend the wedding alone, Greta will think I let her down. If I don't go at all, my daughter will assume I favor my fiancee over her and will be crushed. Any suggestions would be appreciated. -- Dad in Bonita, Calif.

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Section: health-and-wellness, manners
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
I was run over by a drunk driver 21 years ago. As a result, my right arm is paralyzed, and my right leg is partially paralyzed and shorter than the left. I walk with a crutch. I am completely independent and self-sufficient, but whenever I am out in public, someone asks, "What happened to you?" Not a day goes by that some ignorant jerk doesn't confront me with that rude question. Recently, a neighbor's 7-year-old grandson imitated the way I walk in front of his friends. They thought it was hilarious. Parents should teach their children that it is cruel to make fun of a handicapped person. The able-bodied cannot comprehend the embarrassment, humiliation and struggle we must endure. Please tell your readers that we should be treated with respect, not stared at or questioned. Thank you. - Managing in Mesa, Ariz.

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Section: relationships
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
Please help me figure this out. I am seven months pregnant, and my husband still hasn't told his mother. She lives in another city. We already have one child, so it's not as if she doesn't know we are sleeping together. My husband obviously doesn't have a close relationship with his mother, but this example of poor communication makes me uncomfortable. I wanted to tell her, but he said he wanted to do it himself. Meanwhile, he keeps putting it off. My mother-in-law phoned the other day, and I didn't know what to say when she asked, "How are you doing?" Should I tell her I'm pregnant or just wait until the baby is born? I'm pretty sure my husband won't have any trouble telling her then. -- Infanticipating in Berkeley, Calif.

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Section: manners, relationships, teenagers
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
I am a 14-year-old girl and have a friend who is dominating my life. "Julia" calls me so often, my family has started making up excuses why I can't come to the phone. She invites me to her house every day. I usually decline because her brothers are foul-mouthed and Julia constantly gets into fights with her mother. Every time I go there, I come home feeling upset. I no longer enjoy Julia's company, but she makes me feel so guilty that I wind up making plans with her anyway. I feel sorry for her because she doesn't seem to have any other friends. What makes it even worse is that she gets angry and jealous when I go out with other girls and don't include her. Frankly, my other friends don't like her. She's overly critical and says hurtful things. I don't know how to get out of this relationship. I don't want to harm her obviously fragile self-confidence, so I lie about how much I value her friendship. When I think of how stuck I am in this situation, I end up in tears. Please tell me what to do. -- New Jersey

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Section: aging, relationships, children, behavior
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
I would like to address this message to the grown children of widowers who are involved in relationships with widows in the evening of their lives. Many of these children do not understand how important we are to one another, and they treat us as if we were "intruders." To these children, I would like to say: I am the one who makes sure your father takes along a jacket so he doesn't get chilled in an air-conditioned movie theater. I am the one to whom he tells all his life stories, often more than once, and I still listen to them respectfully. I am the one who goes to the doctor with him, at his request, to help him remember what the doctor says. I am the one who plays cards with him as we listen to music, just to keep him company and because I like him. I am the one who watches that he doesn't eat the foods the doctor has told him he shouldn't have. I am the one who sits by his bedside in the hospital, making sure he is cared for, fluffing his pillow, speaking to the doctors, reporting back to you and, finally, driving him home to his apartment. I am also the one who respects and admires your father, values his opinion, appreciates his kindnesses, loves his affection, revels in his compliments and needs his companionship. You should call me now and then and let me know you are pleased that I am in your father's life. -- Florida Widow

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Section: money, relationships, behavior, marriage
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
Are you sick and tired of hearing from disgruntled bridesmaids? I hope you will print one more letter. I have a message for bridesmaids who complain about the expense of buying pink dresses with shoes to match. I was married a year ago and went out of my way to accommodate my bridesmaids. Those who accepted were told they could choose the style of dress they wanted from the six or seven I liked. Only one showed up at my house to make a selection. I found a seamstress who would make the dresses at a reasonable price ($60 each), and I bought the material. Then, I found a wholesale shoe store that sold me the matching shoes (already dyed) for $13 a pair. Each bridesmaid had a total bill of $73. If they hate their dresses, too bad. And what they do with them after the wedding is no concern of mine. If a friend doesn't want to make the small sacrifice, she should say, "Sorry, no," when asked to be in the wedding party. If she agrees to accept the honor, she should buy the dress and shoes and shut up. -- No Name in Fla.

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Section: manners, behavior, health-and-wellness
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
I have a very sophisticated, attractive girlfriend. She is intelligent and has a terrific job. What's the problem? She doesn't shave her legs or under her arms. I'm too embarrassed to tell her this offends me and that it is neither ladylike nor attractive. I never have dated a woman who didn't shave her legs. My girlfriend has more hair on her legs than I have on mine. I know that in Europe some women don't shave their legs, but is this socially acceptable nowadays in the United States? -- A Hairy Situation in the East

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"Nobody ever drowned in his own sweat."
-Ann Landers