October 19, 2010
I am writing you because I feel too embarrassed to ask anyone else. When I am at a business dinner or a fancy dress party I can never remember which bread plate is mine or which glass is mine. I get all mixed-up, and I always end up drinking someone else’s drink, it is terrible.
“Bamboozled in Berlin
Dear Bamboozled in Berlin,
That must be awful. I can only imagine, you must sit in a cold sweat hoping not to make the wrong choice, watching your other dinner partners, trying to figure out left or right by watching the person in front of you. Do you trust that person knows what he or she is doing? By now you must have also developed some criteria regarding exactly whom at the table you decide to watch.
Not to fret. Apparently you are not alone. The dinner-table dilemma has claimed many victims. One such victim is a very good friend of mine who has had his wine and/or bread pinched so many times that he has developed a foolproof way to help people never lose track of their bread and wine again. Put both your hands out in front of you as if to shake hands with another person. Now make two circles by connecting your pointer fingers to your thumbs. Your left hand should look like the letter b (bread); your bread is on the left. Your right hand should look like the letter d (drink); your drink is on your right. If you cannot manage this child’s trick, then I suggest you apologize to your unsuspecting dinner partners before the meal begins.
I have been married to my husband for 15 years. We recently celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. I gave him a party and a multimedia presentation: pictures of us, our kids, our parents, all perfectly timed to perfect music. He gave me nothing! I am so mad and hurt I really do not know how to handle it.
“Mad in Memphis
Dear Mad in Memphis,
Don”t be mad at your husband. He is but “a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage.” Be mad at the masochists in Hollywood and network TV. They have managed to convince the better part of the world of all sorts of idiocies. However, the greatest disservice Hollywood has done for society is to convince women that relationships are supposed to be like the movies. Take a minute to think about your favorite romantic comedy and then think if you know one, only one, relationship that truly mirrors the fiction.
No? Of course you cannot think of one! Because while, for example, it is plausible in Bridget Jones’s Diary that Bridget Jones could have two suitors, it is complete fantasy, and I mean Snow White La La Land fantasy, that they look like Colin Firth and Hugh Grant.
So don”t blame your husband, who after 15 years has obviously proven he loves you in ways that are much more meaningful than an anniversary gift. Blame Hollywood. Most men on our side of the movie screen, walking and talking real men, need you to tell them: “Our 15th anniversary is next week. I want a bracelet.” If you have a picture and a store name, all the better. Is it romantic? No. Are you going to get what you want? Yes!
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