DEAR ABBY: I meet my dad for dinner once a week, which we both enjoy and have done for years. Dad stays very healthy and enjoys running and biking, which I completely support and admire him for.
The problem is, he has started running to our meals. He sweats a lot when he runs, so he arrives at the restaurant literally dripping. He then grabs a handful of napkins to wipe off, and lifts his shirt to wipe his face and neck with it. Abby, he’s so sweaty that he has dripped on the counter when he signed the receipt.
I find this unbelievably rude, not just to me but to the restaurant. This wouldn’t even be appropriate in a fast-food joint — but this isn’t one. It’s a nice restaurant where people are trying to enjoy their meal. I feel if he wants to run to our dinners, he should arrange to get there early enough so he can dry off in a bathroom and change his shirt. He insists it’s no big deal and that sweating is “normal.”
What should I do? This is really getting to me. — DISGUSTED IN SEATTLE
DEAR DISGUSTED: While I, too, admire your father’s dedication to physical fitness, I can understand why his behavior would bother you. It is gross. If you haven’t already expressed to him how inconsiderate this is, please do.
Because your father likes to run to the restaurant, consider stashing a supply of towels and shirts in the trunk of your car for him to change into in the men’s room out of view of other patrons. (And don’t forget the deodorant.) If he refuses to cooperate, then please — for everyone’s sake — pick him up and transport him to the restaurant. Just reading your letter is enough to make the famished lose their appetite.
DEAR ABBY: I was 33 and newly divorced when I was finally able to experience living by myself. I kind of loved it. My boyfriend, “Alex,” and I have lived together for almost four years and I almost never get time to be by myself.
Alex gets alone time because I’ll sometimes have dinner with girlfriends, volunteer, go to the theater, etc. But he almost never leaves. He’s somewhat social, but he always invites people over; he never goes to them. I have told Alex many times that I need him to give me some time alone in the house, but nothing comes of it.
He left for a couple of days to visit a relative two years ago (it was partly my idea) and it was great! I loved my solitude, and it was also nice to welcome Alex back home afterward. It was the first time I’d had a break! I don’t want to wait another two years to get my house to myself for a while, but how? — CRAVES “ME” TIME IN PORTLAND, ORE.
DEAR CRAVES “ME” TIME: In order to accomplish it, you are going to have to become more proactive. Many people need solitude to decompress; you are not the only one.
Tell Alex you need time alone in the house and that he will need to make other plans for a specific day. If that’s hard for him, call some of the friends he has been inviting over — after all this time, you probably know most of them — and ask them to invite him over a couple of times a month. They may be able to help you pry him out of the house. If they are unsuccessful, it looks like Alex will have to visit his relatives on a more regular basis.
DEAR ABBY: I have been dating a man with a 14-year-old daughter who sits in the front seat of the car when we go anywhere, while I must sit in the back. I think when we go places, I should sit in the front seat. What do you think? — FUMING IN THE BACK SEAT
DEAR FUMING: I think you and the daughter should alternate, and the person to suggest it should be her father. Under no circumstances should there be any whiff of competition, because if it comes across that way, the person not riding in the car will be you.