Nephew’s ta­ble man­ners make him un­fit for civ­i­lized com­pany

The Washington Times Daily - - LIFE - DEAR ABBY ABI­GAIL VAN BUREN

DEAR ABBY: I’m a fifty-some­thing sin­gle man liv­ing with my el­derly mother. My fa­ther passed away a while ago, and the only mem­bers of my fam­ily left are me, my mom and my older sis­ter, who has a 27-year-old son, “Jeff.” They do not live with us.

Jeff’s meals con­sisted of what­ever he wanted, eaten in his bed­room.

Once a week, my mother makes a nice din­ner and in­vites my sis­ter and nephew over. The prob­lem is, Jeff was never taught proper ta­ble man­ners. He eats like a cave­man, slurps his food and holds the uten­sils like a 2-year-old. It’s em­bar­rass­ing.

Jeff has no girl­friend or sig­nif­i­cant other at the mo­ment, but if he were to go to any “nice” restau­rant, he’d end up look­ing id­i­otic. It has reached the point that I can no longer look at him while we are at the ta­ble be­cause it ru­ins my ap­petite. How can some­one tact­fully teach this kid how to eat and con­duct him­self prop­erly? — CAVE­MAN’S UN­CLE

DEAR UN­CLE: This is a sad sit­u­a­tion, con­sid­er­ing how many so­cial oc­ca­sions re­volve around food. If no one ever took the time dur­ing the last 27 years to ex­plain ba­sic ta­ble eti­quette to Jeff, you can’t blame your nephew for his atro­cious man­ners.

You should speak to him about this — but pri­vately — and ask if he would like you to give him some poin­t­ers. How­ever, if he re­fuses, you might be hap­pier eat­ing else­where when your mother in­vites Jeff and his mom for din­ner.

DEAR ABBY: Re­cently, my wife and I went danc­ing with my friend “Dick” and his wife. While I was in the mid­dle of a con­ver­sa­tion with Dick, my wife kept try­ing to in­ter­rupt. She even laid her hand on my arm to try to get my at­ten­tion. I ig­nored her and told her later she had been rude to try to in­ter­rupt my con­ver­sa­tion. She thinks I dis­re­spected her and our mar­riage by putting con­ver­sa­tion with my friend above her. This hap­pens of­ten when the four of us are to­gether.

Am I be­ing in­sen­si­tive to my wife’s feel­ings? We fre­quently dis­agree, but we have been mar­ried 44 years. Your in­put would be ap­pre­ci­ated. — AL­WAYS A LOV­ING HUS­BAND

DEAR LOV­ING HUS­BAND: It is gen­er­ally con­sid­ered rude to in­ter­rupt some­one when he or she is talk­ing. The next time your wife does it, stop and ask her what’s so im­por­tant. (Could it be that the band is play­ing your song?)

How­ever, if you have been dron­ing on with your buddy for a long time, she may sim­ply be crav­ing some at­ten­tion. If that’s the case, per­haps it would be bet­ter if you saw Dick on a one-to-one ba­sis with­out the wives around. That way you won’t be in­ter­rupted.

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