Dear Ann Landers: I am a divorced man whose son is being married in a few months. My future daughter-in-law (I'll call her "Marie"), has suggested that for propriety's sake, she would like to seat me at the table with my daughter, her fiance -- and my former wife. Marie says that since neither of us has remarried and we do not have significant others, this would be socially acceptable.
My ex-wife and I have been divorced for 25 years. We have communicated only when family emergencies demanded that we do so. .
I do not hate the woman any longer, Ann, but I don't want to look like a fool in front of the family and friends. Incidentally, I am paying for the entire wedding and all the festivities. Please give me some advice.
-- East Coast Inquirer
Dear Inquirer: Most etiquette books will tell you that divorced parents do not sit together at the reception. And since you are paying for "the entire wedding and all festivities," you can sit wherever you want to.
However, instead of throwing your weight around, I hope you will tell your future daughter-in-law that you are willing to be seated wherever she chooses to put you, even if it means sitting with your ex-wife. Marie will, I'm sure, appreciate your flexibility and generosity of spirit. You will not look like a fool to your family and friends. You will look like a loving and gracious father, and people will marvel at your forgiving and tolerant attitude. You won't regret it.
A difference of opinion
Dear Ann Landers: This is in response to "Daughters in Turmoil," who are worried that their alcoholic, widowed father is being taken advantage of by a series of no-good pals. One borrowed money from him and disappeared. Another turned his house into a drug haven. The current boarder acts like he owns the place. Now, the father is in the hospital and helpless. You said the daughters need to take over and see that Dad is protected.
You are wrong, Ann. Alcoholics should reap what they sow. Dad is 68, and has a right to a companion, regardless of how creepy the guy is. At least this latest freeloader is giving him some kind of attention. Those daughters have no business interfering. They may not approve of their father's companions, but if he doesn't want their assistance, they should butt out. If he self-destructs, so be it. It isn't worth the aggravation to try to "save" him when he doesn't want to be saved.
-- Been There in New York
Dear N.Y.: Wake up and smell the bourbon. The girls' alcoholic father is in the hospital and helpless. He has had a series of exploitive, even dangerous bums living with him. The man we are talking about is their father. It is their moral responsibility to do whatever they can to help him.
Your signature says you have "been there." I don't know where you've been, but if you had an alcoholic father and didn't make an attempt to help him, you broke one of the Ten Commandments. Yes, you should "honor" your father by trying to help him, even if he is a drunk. Rethink this one, please.
Problems? Dump on Ann. Write her at The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240.