Dear Carson: Whenever my parents are by themselves at a restaurant, they will sit next to each other in a booth. I have told them that this looks extremely silly, but they insist on sitting that way in order to be close to each other. Please tell them that when sitting in a booth they should sit across from each other. -- Embarrassed Teen
Dear Carson: Several weeks ago a reader asked about an invitation that read, "Dress: lounge suit," asking what that meant in ladies' attire. I understand her confusion. This term is used on invitations in England and many other overseas countries.
Dear Carson: I'm dating a man who is the father of my daughter's close male friend. If we marry, is it OK for his son and my daughter to marry if they desire? I know it will be OK biologically because the children are not related. However, will it be acceptable socially? -- Potential Future Stepmom and Mom-in-law
Dear Carson: I hope you'll address the topic of business attire for women in more formal office settings, particularly in the summer.
Dear Carson: I am writing on behalf of a two-table bridge club. The hostess gives $2 for high score and $1 for second place.
Dear Readers: Each year I try to write something about flag etiquette to honor this holiday. The following rules are good in regard to displaying the U.S. flag:
Dear Carson: I'm divorced, with two children. I'm not ashamed of being single, but I also don't want my personal business out of the private boundaries where it belongs. What is the proper answer when people ask, "Are you married?" If I say, "No, I'm divorced," they usually want to know why. If I just say, "No," they usually reply with, "You have all these kids and you're not married?"
Dear Carson: I am planning a surprise 40th birthday party for my spouse at a fine restaurant, and I am preparing to send invitations to 30 people. We are unable to provide dinner for the guests, but I am providing the banquet room and a wonderful cake. How do I tactfully inform the guests that they must purchase their own food and drinks? -- Thank you for your help! -- Dutch Treat Dilemma
Dear Carson: Is it proper business etiquette to eat everything on your plate (excluding garnish)? Do you leave food on your plate purposely so as to not look like a glutton? -- Gourmand but not Glutton Dear Gourmand: It is not the amount that a person eats that makes him look like a glutton, but the manner in which he eats. When dining with someone, it is important to remember that the purpose of your dining together is primarily the opportunity to visit, not to stuff food into your mouth in a ravenous manner. By all means, eat as little or as much as you like.
Dear Carson: We have known a family in our community for more than 20 years. Our daughter was engaged to their son for three years but ended the relationship after finding found him with another woman. She discovered she was pregnant with his child. He has told his parents the baby is not his. This family knows us well, and I believe they know it is their grandchild, but they also want to believe their son. They have made no effort to check on the status of the pregnancy or to assist in any way. The boy's mother has even said a few ugly things about my daughter.