Dinner-and-drinks invite makes teetotaler uneasy

Published 8:10 am Thursday, December 30, 2021

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DEAR ABBY: My husband, “Dan,” and I do not consume alcohol, mostly because of our family history. Several years ago while Dan was at a work event, a consultant, “Ken,” took him and some co-workers out for dinner. Ken ordered a bottle of wine for the table. Not wanting to cause a scene, my husband drank the glass poured for him. Now Ken has invited Dan and me to join him and his wife for an evening out, and he wants to “meet early for drinks.”
Dan is sure Ken will buy another bottle to share. I think Dan should give Ken a heads-up beforehand. Dan thinks it would be rude to refuse a drink and doesn’t want to have to go into an explanation as to why we don’t. We don’t care if the people we are with drink alcohol. Is there a polite way to decline without offending? Should it be ahead of time or at the restaurant? — RESPECTFULLY DECLINE

DEAR RESPECTFULLY: It is perfectly acceptable to refuse alcohol. For various reasons, many people forgo “the grape” (and the harder stuff) these days. If a server asks your husband what beverage he would like, your husband should state his preference — be it sparkling water, a soft drink, a juice drink, etc. There is no shame in it, and it isn’t rude. That the host is providing alcohol is not a mandate to indulge, particularly if the guest has a problem with it. If Ken pushes, Dan should simply tell him the two of you generally prefer not to drink alcohol.
DEAR ABBY: I am 30 weeks pregnant with my second child. I have always been slender, so like many expecting women, I am somewhat self-conscious of my changing (and ever-growing) figure. I was at the park today with my 2-year-old son when an older woman smiled and asked me when I was due. When I told her, she replied, “Oh, my God. Are you sure there aren’t twins in there?” I thought her comment was appalling. Since when is it OK to comment on someone else’s body? I was left feeling embarrassed, angry, and on top of that, enormous!
I know I shouldn’t care what other people say or think, but pregnancy is also a hormonal time, and I can’t seem to get past her nasty comment. What ever happened to “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? A simple “Congratulations,” or “How exciting!” would have been a far more appropriate and well-received response.
I’m sending this in the hope that ignorant people who say things like this will read it and realize how hurtful their comments can be to expectant mothers. Also, how should I respond if someone else makes a similar comment? — TEN MORE WEEKS TO GO

DEAR TEN MORE WEEKS: Two responses come immediately to mind. The first would be to tell the person who made the thoughtless comment, “Wow, that was tactless!” Or say, “Nope. It’s just one healthy baby in there.” Of course, a third option is to say nothing and walk away.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: “Abby’s Favorite Recipes” and “More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $16 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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