Q. My teenage daughter received a phone call a girlfriend who was upset about something someone else said about her. I was standing next to my daughter and I could hear this girl screaming at her even though my daughter's phone was not on speaker.My daughter tried to explain to her friend that she wasn't even present when this situation occurred, but her friend didn't give her a chance to say a word. My daughter turned to me with one of those "what do I do?" kind of looks and I mouthed to her to tell her you have to go and you will call her later. That's what she did and hung up.
My husband came around the corner at that moment and said he thought our daughter should have just hung up the phone period. How do you handle a rude phone call like this?
A. Hanging up the phone without trying to say anything would fall into the category of being rude also. It would likely give the caller another excuse, in her mind, to be even more upset. Your advice to your daughter was correct and polite. Becoming as emotional as an emotional caller does not solve the problem because the caller is venting and not is ready to listen.
Q. My neighbor's two little boys, who are about 8 and 10, often come to my house when they get off the bus after school and they know their mother is not home. They are good, cute little boys, but very impressionable and apparently eager to be like some of the teenage boys who ride on the same school bus and to be like some of the young male singing stars.
I was recently bringing in a tray of cookies for them into the family room and they were both trying to copy the same dancing moves as a popular young singer. I won't elaborate, but I think some of these male hand gestures being seen in public and on TV are totally inappropriate, as well as offensive and embarrassing. As a caring little old lady next door, I casually mentioned how inappropriate some of the gestures they were trying to copy were. They listened but then commented about how "lots of boys do that and even (so and so) on TV and at concerts."
I brought up the subject (not mentioning my neighbor boys) to my card club girls and they all agreed that it this male gesture, which appears to become a habit, is very disgusting. I am hoping you will put this in your column to make more people aware of how the older generation feels about this.
A. Yes, what you describe is apparently the result of males trying to hold up their baggy jeans and pants because they mistakenly think it's "cool" to have them hanging down well below their waistline. I am not certain what the younger generation feels the word "gross" means, and it is not a word an etiquette expert normally uses, but it may be the only word they would understand when it comes to describing this behavior. Thank you for caring to tactfully discuss your thoughts with these two young boys.
Dianne Isbell is a local contributing writer. Send your etiquette questions to Lifestyle Editor Pat Kuhl, Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427.