laplumeDear L. A. Plume,

I went out to dinner with a group of acquaintances to celebrate one of their birthdays. I felt uncomfortable when the conversation became an interrogation of one of the ladies present. It seems as though her child was in hot water with the law. One of the women drilled her like a drill sergeant. I felt bad for the woman. I tried to change the conversation by saying, “We’re not going to talk about grown children, work or men tonight.” Needless to say I was ignored. I am not an integral part of this group – thank God – but what could I say in the future when uncomfortable conversations come up that put one person on the spot? Or what does one say when they are asked a particularly personal question they don’t care to talk about?


Dear Maddie,

You did your best; perhaps the woman didn’t mind talking about it, even though it made you uncomfortable. Maybe it was the only venue she had where she could discuss the situation and get some feedback. If someone is put on the spot, it should be simple enough to say, “I’d really rather not talk about that right now,” and then just not answer any more questions.

L. A. Plume

Dear Ms. Plume,

We hosted a lovely and lengthy cocktail party the other evening to introduce our friends to my husband’s new business associate. The buffet table was overflowing with all sorts of cocktail food that could be stretched into the description of a light dinner. Yet, during the course of the evening, one guest remarked to another that she is a vegetarian as she was contemplating her choices. There were many selections other than the lovely tenderloin of beef, goose pate, and rich cheeses that are de rigueur for a party such as this. What was her point, do you think?


Dear Merry,

First of all, maybe she saw all your lovely food and was sorry she was a vegetarian. Beyond that, quite frankly, who cares? It sounds like it was a wonderful party, and she apparently had several things from which to choose. But, I must ask, why are you surprised? You have the worst house guests on record – people who eat sticks of butter practically with their bare hands, women who bring husbands and dogs to girls weekends, and people who need to have entire rooms devoted to them in your house. You might consider not continuing to befriend the people who stand behind you in the line at Walmart.

L. A. Plume

Dear L. A. Plume,

Why do some people think they can ask anyone about anything? A woman came up to me in a restaurant the other day and asked where I bought my dress and how much I paid for it! I was dumbfounded and embarrassed since I was sitting at a table with four other women. I didn’t want to answer and she clearly wasn’t going away until I did, so I said that I really didn’t remember, to which she replied that she found that difficult to believe and flounced away!


Dear Patti,

I have no idea why, but people do ask silly and stupid questions all the time. As you can see from my photo, my hairstyle may be described, on occasion, as a bit plain and outdated, yet I cannot tell you the number of strangers who will walk right up to me and ask if that is my own hair! It makes me think I should stick feathers in it and tell them it’s a hat. 

L. A. Plume