laplumeDear L. A. Plume,

Help! My husband and I have rented a beach house for a month and invited his college roommate to visit for a few days. The roommate showed up with a new girlfriend who we were not expecting. The issue is that she promenades around the house in her bathing suit bottom and low cut bra all the while announcing that she is really a nudist. I’m just waiting for the day when she decides to embrace her proclivity and walk around nude. She has had certain surgical enhancements which have over the years succumbed to gravity and even in her skimpy attire really aren’t attractive. They have apparently decided to settle in for the better part of the rest of our vacation; so far she hasn’t offered to wash a dish, prepare a meal or assist in any way. She has even gone so far as to ask me if we could have a girls night out so she could “find some on the side.” How can I get them out of here??



Dear Penny,

Simply tell them you have enjoyed having them ever so much, but you have invited other guests who will be arriving in two days. If you must make the point, ask someone, anyone, to come over with suitcases and look like they are settling in.

L. A. Plume


Dear Ms. Plume,

A few couples recently hosted a good old-fashioned supper club dinner; we all brought our nice table linens and decorations, china, stemware, etc. It was a lovely evening until one of the guests had a few too many glasses of wine and put her big straw hat over one of the candles on the table while we were socializing. Needless to say, the hat caught fire and burned the tablecloth; in the process of trying to put out the fire, the glasses and some dishes were broken. She seemed mildly contrite but didn’t offer to do anything about it. Can we – and if so how? – ask her to pay for or replace the things that she damaged?

Burned Up


Dear Burned Up,

There are always hazards when entertaining, but they are usually limited to red wine stains and a broken wine glass or two. You could send the offender a note detailing the damaged items and replacement costs and asking her if she would prefer to replace or pay for them. I hope she responds.

A. Plume


Dear Ms. Plume,

I have been invited to a friend’s house in Maine for a week and would like to take a nice gift that represents the Lowcountry. My hostess is an excellent chef, so things like grits, pecans and various food items have been suggested, but since I’m not a cook, that seems rather banal to me. Any good suggestions?

Not Betty Crocker


Dear Not Betty Crocker,

I have one suggestion and that is the very best one – take her a copy of Debbi Covington’s new cookbook, “Celebrate Everything!” She’ll love it. If you want to go the extra mile, take the ingredients for her Coconut Cake recipe wrapped in a nice cake pan.

L. A. Plume


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