laplumeDear L.A. Plume,

I went to a dinner party at a friend’s home this evening and was astounded to find that one of the guests produced an iPad in the middle of cocktails before dinner. She was unknown to most of us, but dominated the conversation in her corner. When that impact didn’t seem to do the trick, she brought out her iPad, asked for the hosts’ internet connection and password and proceeded to “show off” photos of her boat and house and horse. Ick! What could we have done to discourage this?



Dear Lee,

What could you have done to discourage her? Well, ummm… let me see, perhaps not look at the pictures? Not encourage bad behavior? What were you thinking – that you wanted to see if her show and tell was worthy of her poor manners? Well, was it? I guess not or you wouldn’t be asking! Curiosity killed the cat – remember that.



Dear Ms. Plume,

A single man, I have befriended a couple who live in my building. The husband isn’t too well, medically-speaking, and I try to be helpful in any way I can – driving to doctors appointments, shopping, doing errands, etc. Last evening they invited me to dinner and served beef stew. They know I don’t eat cooked meat and I was annoyed that they didn’t seem to acknowledge this, or remember. I told the wife not to invite me again if this is what they would be serving. She seemed to be a bit taken aback. Was I out of line?




Dear Casey,

Get a grip! Someone is nice enough to invite you to dinner and you think it’s okay to dictate what they should serve you? Here’s what you should say if she is kind enough to invite you again: “My Dearest Penelope (substitute real name here, do not call her Penelope if that isn’t her name) I would love to come to dinner; and because I need to abjectly apologize for being so very boorish after your last gracious invitation, I would consider it an honor to bring dinner to you. I would like to serve you and your husband, who have been so very kind to me, a meal that would delight your very souls. I suggest lobster tails with butter a l’orange, most delicate tenderloins of beef (served rare because I have a ‘well done meat affliction’) with Bernaise sauce, grilled asparagus with petite white truffles, the most succulent potatoes rolled in sea salt and poofed in a beehive oven, and a dessert of your choice, all accompanied with suitable wines and champagnes.”

Since you, Casey, behaved so poorly, it is necessary that you allow me to accompany you to dinner to make sure that you have your manners properly aligned. And just so you know – white chocolate isn’t chocolate at all. Choose dessert well, the last word can be the most important.




Dear Ms. Plume,

A large group of us went to a new restaurant for dinner the other evening. We wanted to show our support of the new business and we knew there would be kinks to be ironed out so we were prepared to be patient. However, when we arrived at the stated time of our reservation, the table was not set, we were not served water or cocktails for forty minutes, not all of us received menus, and to make matters more complicated, they would not give us separate or even small group checks. To sort out a dinner bill for so many people with drinks, multiple courses, desserts, etc. was a mini-nightmare. No explanations or apologies were offered. I would like to see this business succeed. Should I have a word with the owner, or just let it go and hope for the best?


Dear Bob,

I think I know where you went for dinner. All things considered, I advise you to give it another try and then speak with the owner or manager if you think your comments will be of any help to them.