Rules in public conversation apply abroad

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DEAR ABBY: Summer will be here soon, a time when many Americans travel abroad. I live in Europe, and Americans seem to think that most of us do not understand English here.

Last summer, I overheard a young lady in a restaurant telling her friends about a portion of her anatomy that I shall not mention in a family newspaper. The entire restaurant went silent while she continued on as if no one else had any idea of what she was talking about. Believe me, everyone knew!

Please remind your readers that if a topic is not appropriate to discuss in public in the United States, then its not appropriate to discuss in public abroad, either.

EDITH W. IN SWEDEN

DEAR EDITH: Im pleased to oblige. You are correct that Americans many of whom are not fluent in a foreign language tend to forget that people from other countries are often bilingual or trilingual.

Many years ago, I spent a summer studying in Italy and had a similar experience. Trapeze dresses (A-line, loose-fitting) were in style that season, and I was walking down the street wearing one of them when an American family (husband, wife, and a boy about 11) approached strolling in the opposite direction. As we passed, the boy said loudly to his mother, Look, Mom! That ladys wearing a nightgown.

I thought they were going to go through the pavement when I turned around and said, Thanks, kid!

DEAR ABBY: Im a single mother, newly relocated to a small town, new job and new boyfriend. I have been dating Kyle for six months and keep running into the same issue repeatedly.

While Kyle is very successful in business hes never been married or had children when we are out and the check arrives, if another friend who may be with us or I dont pick up the entire tab, he pays for his portion only. Only a few times has he actually paid for both of us, but never for the rest of the group. Some of our male friends have been embarrassed by this and have taken the check themselves. Instead of stepping up to the plate and insisting on paying for at least some of the dinners, Kyle nonchalantly will ask something to the effect of, Do I need to put anything in?

Abby, Im usually very accepting of people and try not to make too much of things like this, but lately, my friends have been commenting about it and telling me I can do better than Kyle. What do you think?

EMBARRASSED IN IDAHO

DEAR EMBARRASSED: I think your friends may be right. You could be contemplating a future with a skinflint. The next time Kyle asks that question, you should say, Ill say! Its your turn to pick up the check!

Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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