DEAR HARRIETTE: I'm a waiter at a popular family restaurant chain in New York City. One evening a pregnant woman and her husband asked to see a menu and to be seated. The gentleman ordered a Sprite, and his wife ordered a glass of white wine. I looked at the woman with a puzzled glance, because she looked like she was well into her pregnancy.
At that moment, I was not sure what the proper protocol was. I walked over to my manager and asked him if was OK to serve a pregnant woman an alcoholic beverage. To my amazement, he showed me the law that says we are allowed to serve alcoholic beverages to pregnant women.
Morally, I felt uncomfortable serving alcohol to my pregnant patron. How should I conduct myself when a pregnant woman wants to drink alcohol at the restaurant? --Puzzled Waiter, Brooklyn, N.Y.
DEAR PUZZLED WAITER: It is your responsibility as a waiter to serve patrons what they order. Your boss was right that it is not unlawful to serve a pregnant woman alcohol. It is also true that it is not recommended that pregnant women drink alcohol -- I'm sure you have seen the warning labels on alcoholic beverages.
I've done a bit of digging to learn about the effects of alcohol on pregnant women. Many health professionals suggest that moderate alcohol consumption later in a pregnancy could be safe.
The problem is, every woman's body reacts differently to alcohol. So is it wise for this woman to drink while pregnant? No. But it's not your place to deny her whatever she orders. The exception would be the same as it is for any patron: If she had seemed intoxicated, you would have had the right to stop serving her.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I was recently asked to my school's senior prom by a senior boy. (I am a junior.) Traditionally, only the senior girls are allowed to wear long dresses, while the underclassmen wear shorter dresses.
I want prom to be special, and part of that is wearing a long dress, but I'm afraid the seniors will get mad if I wear the long dress. What should I do? -- Prom-plexed
DEAR PROM-PLEXED: You already know that the senior girls may be a bit uncomfortable that you are coming to "their" prom. The politics of prom can be ferocious.
You need to decide what your intentions are. Do you want to potentially upset or even insult these young ladies? If not, why not find a lovely dress that is shorter than a gown but that still showcases your assets? Then you will look beautiful without seeming to defiantly break the rules of prom at your school. There's no need to start a fight at a party!