May 18, 2011

Dear Delphi,

I am a 72-year-old woman and my youngest son, now 33, has recently started dating a top model. I do not think a pretty face and a nice body make for a good wife, a good mother, or a good marriage. I hope I never have to meet her! Now I fear he is going to marry some fortune-seeking empty shell of a bitch who is only interested in herself and her own needs, because he obviously has no idea what qualities he should be looking for in a wife.

“€”Model-Dating Son in London

Dear Model-Dating Son in London,

I agree”€”a pretty face and a nice body are not enough to have a successful marriage, but you are getting way ahead of yourself. He is a 33-year-old boy who just started dating a top model! I promise you the last thing on his mind”€”the very last thing”€”is marriage; it probably does not even enter into his realm of conscious thought. He is thinking only about reaping the benefits of the pretty face, the nice body, and the top-model status in private and in public. Any sane heterosexual single man would date a top model, so his wife-picking abilities should not be judged at this juncture.

Whether she is stupid, self-involved, vain, selfish, and bitchy remains to be seen. Whether your son is going to get serious about her also remains to be seen. So don”€™t put the carriage in front of the horse. For the moment, relax. The situation will remain safe until things start to get serious.


Dear Delphi,

My brother’s children are really rude. They are 13 and 14 years old, but one would think it took them centuries to learn such bad manners. It is embarrassing. I have made little comments here and there over the years, but my brother apparently doesn”€™t care if his children behave like heathen. What can I do?

“€”Embarrassment to the Family in ???

Dear Embarrassment to the Family in ???,

Most likely they do not think their children are ill-mannered, and therein lies the problem. But even if they do know and care that their children are ill-behaved, your brother and his wife will never admit it to you. Have you taken a good look at your brother’s or his wife’s manners? Do they pass your test? If you are honest about it, you probably do not think they are so polite, either. Parents set the bar for the children, and where you find rude children you usually find rude parents. Unfortunately nobody thinks good manners matter anymore, but they are wrong. Uncouth behavior in a 13-year-old is even more unappealing than boorishness in a 60-year-old; the latter at least has the excuse of being old and crotchety.

But in truth, the poor little kids were obviously never taught how to behave, which will only hurt them in the future. That’s where you come in. Their only hope is for you to directly teach them some manners yourself. Be on your best behavior in front of them, and sternly correct both them and their parents every chance you get. Teens do not like being embarrassed, so scold them until they sit up straight and pay attention.



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