Dear Annie: We have a friend, “Larry,” whom we socialize with and who is part of a tennis group that my husband is also part of. My husband has always loved cooking and is great at it. (More than once, friends have told him he ought to open a restaurant.) He has cooked for this tennis group — having been asked— on several occasions.
But no matter what it is that my husband cooks, Larry always has some complaint: “It’s not the same as last time,” “It’s not spicy enough,” “This is overcooked,” etc. Yet he always comes back for seconds and more.
It aggravates me, and I told my husband that perhaps he should tell this guy to do it himself, but he’s too nice. (Plus, the one time Larry did bring a dish, it was terrible — though we all ate without complaining for the sake of his feelings.) What could my husband say while still being tactful? We are open to any suggestions. I don’t want to lose it and snap at this guy in front of all our friends. — Sick of Fussy Larry
Dear Sick: Larry sounds unbelievably spoiled. If it weren’t so irritating, you’d almost have to laugh at the gall. Perhaps your husband could serve him some truth with a helping of humor: “Would you like a refund?” or “I’ll pass your complaints along to the chef.” This would bring Larry’s attention to his rudeness without leaving a bad taste in anyone’s mouth.
Dear Annie: This is in response to the woman who wrote in about her daughter’s showing up late for holiday dinners. Our family tradition when I was growing up (in the 1960s and ‘70s) was Thanksgiving with Dad’s family and Christmas with Mom’s family. We lived less than an hour from Mee-moo’s house.
We found out years later that they always told Dad that dinner was an hour earlier than it was really scheduled for because Dad had a tendency to make us late.
However, I agree with you. The person who is late is the rude person. When everyone is told that dinner will be at 4 p.m., the person who doesn’t bother to arrive until 4:45 is being totally rude.
As they say in one of the “Star Trek” movies, “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” Thirty people who are polite enough to show up on time have the right to start on time unless there is a very good reason for delaying. One person’s deciding to be late without explanation is not a good reason. – John
Dear John: When friends and family start lying to you about when you need to be at a place, you know you’ve got a bad case of chronic tardiness. Though I’m not one to condone lying as a solution in general, what your family did was a good way to adjust for your dad’s own personal time zone.
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