Recently my husband and I invited his son and daughter-in-law for dinner. We also invited two other couples. They know each other, so we felt confident everyone would be comfortable. Our guests seemed to have a great time. A few days later, I received a note from the wife of my husband's son. It read: "Thank you for having us for dinner last Thursday. Everything was lovely! However, we would have dressed more appropriately had we known it was going to be a 'dinner party.' "
They both had worn jeans. The husband of the second couple came dressed in a coat and tie, and the third couple called beforehand to ask if the men should wear a tie. I said no.
How should I respond to this note?
Perplexed in Texas
Tell the young woman how pleased you were that they could attend and how much their presence added to your dinner party. Suggest to her that in the future she might do as you do when you're not sure of the "dress code": Call ahead and ask what others will be wearing.
My youngest son, "Jason," is a senior in high school and an all-around good kid. All of a sudden he's decided to let his hair grow. Although it's really not that long, my husband is very critical of it and threatens to cut it almost every day.
I feel it's time to let Jason make some decisions on his own. His hair doesn't bother me as long as he maintains his grades, behaves himself and keeps it clean. (I don't think it's any longer than the Beatles when they first came on the scene.) I look at other boys our son goes to school with, and some of them have short hair, while others wear theirs Jason's length or longer. What do you think about this? How can I persuade my husband to back off? (He let his hair and sideburns grow when he got out of the service.)
Peacemaking Mom in Arizona
If your son is doing well socially and academically and keeps his hair clean, your husband should not turn its length into a control issue. Learning to make decisions is an important part of a teen's development. It's also important for parents to pick their battles carefully.
P.S. Dig out some photos of your husband with longish hair and sideburns and tell him it's time to get back in touch with his sense of humor and stop obsessing about things that are not important.
My cousin's daughter, "Lisa," plans to be married in May. She is a 34-year-old schoolteacher and her fiance is a successful 39-year-old radiologist. He has just informed her that she must sign a prenup or there will be no wedding.
Abby, Lisa has asked me for advice about this, and I'm not sure what to tell her. When I heard about the prenup, my first reaction was she should walk -- but now I'm not so sure. Could you share your thoughts on this?
Awaiting a Reply in Nebraska
A prenuptial agreement is for the protection of both parties. Rather than advising the young woman to "walk," tell her to get a lawyer of her own to review and explain the document before she signs anything.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.
(c)2003, Universal Press Syndicate