DEAR ABBY: Regarding your advice to the physician whose girlfriend has poor table manners, you advised him to tell her that "her parents shortchanged her in one area -- her table manners."
Her parents? Always the parents! Nowhere in his letter did the physician refer to her parents. I am overweight and love good food. However, I eat too fast. My parents always told us to take our time while eating, to enjoy our food and not to eat the meat first. Is it my parents' fault that I did not listen? I think not!
This lady may have developed her bad habits in school or in work cafeterias. Perhaps her schedule forces her to eat "on the run." Please, Abby, don't blame the parents. You can do better. -- WILLIAM S., TORONTO, CANADA
DEAR WILLIAM S.: The physician did not complain that his girlfriend ate her food too quickly; he said her table manners were poor. He asked if I had any suggestions on how to give her pointers on manners without embarrassing her.
I advised him to begin by listing the qualities he loved about her, and then explaining that there was one area in which her parents had shortchanged her -- her table manners. The reason I suggested it was not to malign the parents, but to introduce the subject in a way that would not make the woman defensive.