Dear Abby: I started working in engineering in the late 1980s and thought it was "cute" that we all wore Hawaiian shirts when the guys went out for Friday lunches. Now we're in our 50s, and many of my peers still honor that tradition.
I no longer find it cute. In fact, I'm finding it embarrassing because men over 50 -- especially curmudgeonly engineers -- should not be wearing Hawaiian shirts. They look like horrible Caribbean cruise ship tourists. In addition, their favorite lunch destinations are usually in a part of town where there's a big university, and they add the element of creepiness by ogling the young coeds.
I find myself hiding or inventing meetings so I can avoid being part of this Friday circus of embarrassment. How do I just tell them that the reason I no longer go along is their curmudgeonly displays of creepiness?
-- Sole Tailored Shirt In Texas
Dear Sole: There's no way to politely tell your co-workers their attire and the way they comport themselves is an embarrassment. Say instead that these lunches "aren't your thing" anymore.
It would be a kindness to diplomatically point out that their ogling is inappropriate. Hope they take the hint, but don't be surprised if you hear that some of the coeds complained to the managers of the restaurants, and your pals have been asked to take their lunches elsewhere.
Dear Abby: My husband's parents live in Vietnam. He has decided to take a two-to-three-week trip there soon -- at a time when it's impossible for me to accompany him because I'm a schoolteacher. The purpose of the trip is to attend a cousin's wedding and visit his parents.
We have known each other eight years and have been married for one year. He always talked about taking me to Vietnam so I could see where he was born and sightsee with him. But now he is choosing to go at a time when I cannot, and using his cousin's wedding as his excuse to "need" to make the trip. (He didn't think it was necessary to attend this cousin's older brother's wedding a few years ago.) I suggested he wait until summer to visit, when I'd be free to travel with him.
I feel his going without me is a negative commentary on his feelings for me and our marriage. He doesn't see it that way at all. What is your opinion?
-- Possibly Home Alone In Iowa
Dear Possibly Home: Your husband may feel closer to the cousin who is being married than to the older brother whose wedding he skipped. In my opinion, you are taking his decision to attend this wedding much too personally. I also think you should be a better sport about the fact you can't join him, and impress upon him that you are looking forward to the time he CAN take you to his home country so you can see where he grew up and enjoy the "grand tour" he promised.
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)