DEAR ABBY: I was always taught that when a meal is served "family style," the food is passed to the right. However, I have been unable to find that statement in print.
Since I don't have Internet access, what books on table manners should I check? I've examined several at the library, but have been unable to find an answer.
Thanks, Abby. My family and I enjoy your column. -- ROSY JOHNSON, BREMERTON, WASH.
DEAR ROSY: I had to check a number of etiquette books to find your answer -- and to my surprise, the subject of eating "family style" was included in only one of them: "The New Emily Post's Etiquette."
She writes: "Often 'family style' means the host or hostess serves the meat, and the other dishes are passed around with each diner helping himself. These dishes are passed counterclockwise. Men do not offer the dish to the women on their right first, but help themselves when the dish reaches them. They may then, if they wish, hold the dish while the woman next to them serves herself."
I hope this is helpful.
DEAR ABBY: For 3 1/2 months, I have been going once a week to a sex therapist who has been trying to help me work out my physical and emotional sex problems.
Lately, my husband, "Danny," has grown suspicious about my whereabouts. Danny believes I am romantically involved with an intern I have been training at the office. I do not wish to reveal to him my true whereabouts because I am afraid it may affect his self-esteem and, in turn, our sex life.
Should I tell my husband the truth and risk him feeling inadequate, or not tell him and jeopardize our relationship? -- SEXLESS IN SEATTLE
DEAR SEATTLE: You should absolutely tell your husband the truth about where you have been going, and why. He needs to know the truth, because he needs to be part of the solution to the problem. (Explain to him that this isn't his "fault.")
Frankly, I am surprised that you would be seeing a sex therapist as an individual because this is a COUPLE's problem, and the most common form of treatment for it is to help the husband and wife together.
DEAR ABBY: My 8-year-old nephew, "Ralphie," gets up at 6:00 every morning. I have two children, a 4-year-old girl and a 15-month-old boy. We are not early risers.
When Ralphie sleeps over, it's usually because his parents are working and there's no school the next day, and they need someone to watch him. When he gets up, he usually wakes up my daughter, and they play loudly in her room.
How should I handle this? I don't want to be a mean aunt, and I don't want to refuse my sister and brother-in-law when they need a favor. -- SLEEPLESS IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR SLEEPLESS: At 8 years old, your nephew is old enough to understand that you need quiet in your house until a certain hour. Explain that your family is on a different schedule. Put out cereal for him to eat if he is hungry when he awakens in the morning, and be sure he brings a book or a game he can amuse himself with until the day starts with your family. Make it clear that you do not want your daughter disturbed, nor do you want to be awakened before a designated hour -- unless there is an emergency. As long as he is not hungry or bored, I'm sure your nephew will cooperate.
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