Send Me Away
Q:I am a never-married 39-year-old woman. I would like to take myself to Italy for my 40th birthday, and ask my friends and family to donate to the trip rather than give me gifts. I want to make it humorous, like: “You’ve never had to dress up or fly anywhere to fete me, so here’s your chance to fund my single-gal celebration.” I’ve told this to some friends, and their eyes go wide; others love it. Can I do this and not seem like a beggar? Tracy, Los Angeles
A: You seem like a beggar. Why are folks going to pay for your trip to Italy just because you haven’t walked down the aisle yet? You don’t get compensated in life for not being in a relationship. Hell, you should be giving gifts and trips to your friends since they don’t have to listen to your marital woes and how their isn’t enough space in the medicine cabinet for you and your husband. “Hey, since I have never been married and therefore never made you spend money on a dress, a gift, etc. for the wedding, can you just give me some money so I can go to Italy for my birthday?” Yeah, exactly. Doesn’t sound right.
In Too Deep
Q: I am a recent graduate living comfortably, but I worry about money. In a rush of inspiration, I snapped up two expensive tickets for a birthday dinner for my boyfriend at a restaurant he’s been dreaming about forever. Now I’m embarrassed by my extravagance. The gift is well beyond my means. We’re not getting married anytime soon, I have debt, there are hungry people in the world, etc. Would it be amiss to see if friends and family want to chip in for his half of the dinner?
A.M., New York
A: A.M., do you really expect friend and family to chip in for the dinner? Really? Nobody made you purchase those two expensive tickets. You knew how much they were when you put it on your credit card. To backtrack now seems difficult. You can ask the restaurant if you can return them and either play the “I’m a recent grad with no money” card (then why did you buy the ticket they will ask) or ask around and see if someone will buy the tickets off of you. Asking friends and family to chip in AFTER you already bought the tickets doesn’t work. You dug yourself a hole, my friend. Might as well eat a great meal and find something else to complain about. I’m sure that won’t be hard. What a schmuck.
A Sharp but Cowardly Tongue
Q:My hair is always an issue; it’s quite unruly. So I frequently change styles and colors. Recently, my mother-in-law said: “Your hair looks good. Do you like it?” I told her I did. To which, she replied: “I was just wondering, because when we were looking at pictures from Penny’s party, she said you look like a witch with your hair straightened.” I confronted Penny immediately. She apologized for about 30 minutes. Another sister-in-law told me her mother’s comment hadn’t come out right. But my mother-in-law never apologized. How would you have handled this?
A: You know the saying “boys will be boys”? Well, mothers-in-law will be mothers-in-law. Your other “mom” knew what she was playing at when she told you hair looked good and then asked if you like it. That was a throw away sentence to get to her saying that Penny said (like middle school all over again) you look like a witch. Don’t expect an apology from your mother-in-law; I’m not too sure they know how to do that. Seniors tend to be rather unapologetic while also having the “I’m older than you, wiser than you, and can say anything I damn well please” mindset. Suck it up for now and take comfort in the fact that you, too, someday will be able to tell your daughter-in-law she looks like a witch and get away with it. (Inset cackling witch laugh here)
I have a buddy whose friendship I value. He lives out of the way, and I live near a park, so occasionally he uses my apartment to shower and change after running. He never brings a towel and always needs a plastic bag for his wet clothes. It’s not a giant sacrifice, but his lack of appreciation is starting to grate on my nerves. He’s never even thanked me. And reminding myself that I shouldn’t resent him for bad manners hasn’t lessened my irritation. Any suggestions? Anonymous
A: My friend. You are getting used. I can picture his conversations to his buddies right now. “Yeah I don’t live close to the park but after I run I go to a friends house and I shower there and don’t have to bring soap or a towel or anything. It’s great.” Tell your friend straight up that in order for him to continue to use your abode as a 24HR Fitness, he has to bring his own belongings and plastic bags for his wet clothes. Unless you speak up, you will continue to get walked on.
My Boyfriend’s Back
Q:My boyfriend of two years dumped me after meeting a young hottie. He expected things to work out with her. When they didn’t, he came running back to me, desperate to reconcile. Should I take him back? Ginny, Brooklyn
A: Hell no, Ginny! This guy left you for a “young hottie” (hopefully your words not his) and not because things weren’t working out. Sounds like he always has one eye on the short skirt walking down the streets. He is coming back not because he realized he made a mistake but because things didn’t work out with the hottie. Don’t let him try to sugar coat it. If you let him back, what’s to say he won’t do this again? Tell this shaggy haired freelance photographer from BK to get the steppin’!
Q:I was invited to a small dinner with close friends and brought a bottle of Champagne. (It was given to us to celebrate our daughter’s birth.) I thought it would be the perfect time to enjoy it. But the host didn’t serve it. If I had bought it as a hostess gift, I wouldn’t have thought twice about it. But the bottle had sentimental value. Could I have asked for it back, or made a bigger push for opening it? Sarah, Manhattan
A: Well, Sarah, you flopped. You either had to announce you brought the champagne over and then taken the initiative and opened it yourself before the host had a chance to put it away OR you could have not brought it. The only time its okay to ask for something back after you bring it to a dinner party is the dish whatever food you provided came in. If the champagne had sentimental value AND it was given to you for the birth of your daughter’s birthday, why the F would you bring it to someone’s dinner party?
Forget You Not
Q: I have a summer birthday and am showered with cards and gifts by my family. But friends who are away during the summer say, “Let’s celebrate when I get back.” But by September, my birthday is forgotten, while others with fall and winter birthdays are feted with parties and lunches. Yes, I am a grown woman, but I can’t help feeling resentful after years of this. Childish?
A: Childish? Yes. Sounds a little “Bernstein Bears” esque to me. But I can’t blame you at all. I always felt sorry for the folks who had summer birthdays; especially during the school year. You guys were an afterthought. Forgotten during assemblies and passed over when someone brought cupcakes for the class. As a an adult, as you claim to be, it seems you would be able to come up with a solution on your own. As a kid, you can’t organize too many things (buying groceries, health insurance) but as a grown-up you can! Imagine that. You have the power to throw your own party when everyone gets back from summer vacation. With the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas, no holiday has to be celebrated the day of.