Dear Abby: Our daughter, "Julie," came home for the weekend so we could meet her new boyfriend, "Scott." He's a delightful young man, and my daughter is clearly smitten.
When I suggested Scott sleep in the guest room, Julie and my wife gave me this perplexed look as though I'm from a different planet. In the end, I was deeply disappointed that they shared a bedroom. After 30 years of marriage, this created the first disagreement between my wife and me in a long time.
I'm no prude. My wife and I had our share of premarital mambo, but we always slept in separate rooms while visiting our families before we were married. It was about respect for our parents' feelings.
Julie spends a lot of time with Scott's family where they share a room. My wife is afraid if we don't provide common accommodations in our home, our daughter will be less inclined to visit.
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I welcome your thoughts, Abby. Is expecting some sense of propriety being a curmudgeonly father? —STUMPED AND TRUMPED IN OHIO
Dear Stumped And Trumped: You didn't mention how long Julie and Scott have been involved, or whether they're living together — which might have had some bearing on this. However, I keep coming back to the fact that under your roof, guests should abide by your rules. If you prefer that unmarried couples sleep apart in your home, then your feelings should have been respected. And for your wife to wimp out for the reason you stated is just sad.
Dear Abby: I work for a company that processes orders from a store at a local mall. I handle these orders and have run into an embarrassing problem. Our customers come from every imaginable ethnic background. When I take a look at some of the names on the work orders, I can't even begin to pronounce them.
It's my job to call these customers back to verify details and schedule installations, so what should I do? Is it more polite to try to sound out the name and wait to be corrected, or to apologize right off the bat and ask the proper pronunciation? —TONGUE-TIED IN ST. PAUL, MINN.
Dear Tongue-Tied: To lead off the conversation by stating that you don't know how to pronounce someone's name could be extremely off-putting. It would be better to sound it out, syllable by syllable, and try to pronounce it — adding, "If I have mispronounced your name, please correct me." (It probably won't be the first time the person has heard it.)