I love my long-distance boyfriend of one and a half years. We see each other every couple of months.
Unfortunately, he has atrocious table manners – doesn’t use a knife, holds his fork backwards, lowers his face to his plate, slurps everything (even solids), and eats noisily.
I have to stop myself from saying something.
Manners and demeanor are important to me, part of the package of how we come across to others - our dress, behaviour, speech, and body language.
In all these, there’s no problem, but his table manners embarrass me.
I don't want to spoil our precious time together; I don't want to hurt him, nor sound like a snob.
But I fear I’ll just blurt out a comment.
Also, if we have children and this is unaddressed, what would I say, “Do what I do, not what Daddy does...?”
How do I approach this?
For someone to whom manners matter, you’ve been silent too long.
And you’ve done him no favour. Eating noisily, with distracting gestures and face buried in the plate, is a turn-off to many, and a detriment in many social/public situations.
Clearly, he’s unaware of the negative impression he creates, when he’s otherwise well mannered.
Tell him, gently, that he should look around when eating in restaurants, and particularly with people he admires, and see the different appearance of discreet, quiet eating habits.
Tell him you believe this matters – in business, socially, and it matters to you even within the family you may create together, so you’d like to offer a few simple pointers.
Say that you love him and don’t want him judged by this one highly visible trait. And it’s healthier to chew and swallow smaller bites of food slowly, than to slurp and gobble it down in chunks.
I’m a homosexual male, 15, living and attending high school in a gulf country. Obviously, I am closeted, but a few close friends know the truth and are very supportive.
I began crushing on Mr. A at the start of this school year. Through a huge effort on my part, we’ve become close friends.
I give him his space, especially after a classmate made a joke about us being a couple (though I wish that was true).
Recently, however, my simple crush has gone out of hand. I catch myself staring at him during class. I keep thinking how it’d be if we were in a relationship. I sing a lot of love songs nowadays.
I asked him, innocently, what he’d do if a guy confessed to him. He said he’d simply ignore him, and keep ignoring him henceforth.
I need a solution, because my friends are noticing the closeness between us, and making light jokes about it. They mean no harm, but it’s taking a toll on our friendship.
It’s sad to have to tell a teenager with a crush – a most normal occurrence – that this is dangerous, but for a closeted gay person in a country that likely has strict religious/political prohibitions against homosexuality, this is so.
You CANNOT let it get out of hand, or you’ll be risking far more than this friendship.
You also need to be sure you can trust your friends to whom you’re already out.
Believe your friend’s negative response. Shut down the daydreaming.
Hopefully, you’ll soon reach an age, or place and time, when you can be free to be yourself in every way. Meantime, stay self-protective in order to get there.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman’s engagement following a vacation fling (Dec. 7):
Reader #1 – “Having a fling when there was an existing boyfriend, means she needs to re-consider her true commitment to her fiancé.
“It’s obvious that she contacted the cruise guy hoping he’d say, "don't marry that guy.” She needs to confess.”
Reader #2 – “The depth of her existing relationship was enough to warrant a proposal.
“No one in a committed relationship should be having an affair, let alone hiding it. This isn’t a relationship built on honesty or transparency!”
Reader #3 – “Any serious dating relationship wouldn’t include "flings," if trust and fidelity are to be building blocks for their life together.
“Whether she now tells her fiancé about this fling is another matter, of which I have conflicting thoughts and experiences.”
Ellie – I too felt conflicted. I read frustration with the previously non-committal boyfriend. But it’s true that this fling “secret” could ruin their relationship.
Tip of the day:
If a truly noxious habit can easily be changed, it’s kinder to point it out than stay silent.