laplumeDear L. A. Plume,
I was recently a guest in someone’€™s home for a dinner party. After dinner we retired to the living room for conversation and drinks. It was quite a lovely evening until the hostess sat down in her favorite chair facing the rest of the room, and took off her shoes and put her feet up on the ottoman.

Now I have no issue with people being comfortable in their own home, but her feet, which are just a tad past old and gnarly, were in the middle of the room, like a centerpiece. Unfortunately they did not have the same bouquet that a vase of roses might have, and additionally, we could all see up her skirt. To put it delicately, we were not looking at London or France. Her husband paid absolutely zero attention to these facts. What could we have done or said?
Prefers Manolo Blahniks

Dear Prefers,
Well, that sounds like an interesting end to an evening. If I had known the person well, which it sounds like you didn’€™t, I might have just gently found something to place over her feet and legs. Maybe it was their subtle signal that you shouldn’€™t stay too long; but the best thing you could have done was probably just to ignore it and make an early evening of it. (Just for the record, my yoga teacher says that, per Indian tradition, it’€™s rude for people to have their feet facing their yoga teacher.)
L. A. Plume

Dear Ms. Plume,
What’s with men wearing white undershirts (t-shirts, not wife beaters) out in public, as if they were real clothes? Can I just go up to them and say, “Don’t wear that in public!”?
Tee’d off in Maine

Dear Tee’€™d,
Good luck.
L. A. Plume

Dear Ms. Plume,
What is the etiquette for visits with children who seem to need “€œspecial”€ snacks? My neighbor brings her children over to the house whenever she wants to drop by, which always seems to be a snack time – read 24 hours a day -€“ and Little Edgar and Darling Bonnie want something to eat. I don’€™t have children and I would like to offer them cat treats, but I guess that won’€™t work. These children don’€™t eat things like squares of cheese, or fruit, or anything I might have that I want to share with them besides Milk Bones. My neighbor seems to think I should stock my pantry for these occasions. What do you think?

Dear Snackless,
It all depends on how much you like your neighbor and her children and whether or not you want to accommodate them. If you don’t want to provide the snacks, you could give her a little list of things she might bring to stock your pantry. You can keep the snacks there just for these visits, and you can safely say you won’€™t be tempted to eat them yourself. Or, you could just get something generic – a bag of pretzels or a piece of bread and a glass of water -€“ and offer them that. If the children don’€™t like what you have, then maybe they will stop asking or bring their own.”
L.A. Plume