social humour

Dear Mary: How can we get our star friend along to dinner when he’s so busy?

17 February 2018 9:00 am

Q. We want to invite a rather exceptional friend to dinner. He lives nearby but he has a top job…

Dear Mary: What do you do when your secretary accuses you of not making a pass?

10 February 2018 9:00 am

Q. I am at the age where parts of the body start to go wrong, and I have a minor…

Dear Mary: how do you deal with a daughter who has gone vegan to get attention?

27 January 2018 9:00 am

Q. Several friends have reached an age and wealth that means they take unreasonably long holidays or even entire gap…

Mary solves your problem: Is it cultural appropriation for an English person to attend a Burns supper?

13 January 2018 9:00 am

Q. Should the lady or the gentleman have the banquette in a restaurant? I’ve been brought up to believe that…

Mary solves your problems: A secret school scrapbook discovered by the housemaster

6 January 2018 9:00 am

Q. At my son’s school the boys keep a clandestine leatherbound book known as ‘The Bible’, a sort of Rogues…

Mary solves your problems: What do you say when a screaming child is ruining your lunch?

9 December 2017 9:00 am

Q. My wife and I were having lunch in our local bistro. A boy of about two was wandering around…

Mary solves your problems: what’s the right response to a request for no presents?

2 December 2017 9:00 am

Q. We have reached the age when we are receiving invitations from our friends for Golden Wedding celebrations. All the…

Dear Mary

21 October 2017 9:00 am

Q. A newish friend who has very good manners lent me a DVD of his grandfather at the Olympics. I…

Dear Mary

7 October 2017 9:00 am

Q. We have moved from London into a rural area where we are preparing for the first visit of a…

Dear Mary

30 September 2017 9:00 am

Q. How can I avoid becoming seen as an ‘Instagram creeper’? My well-meaning niece tells me that I’m in danger…

Dear Mary

16 September 2017 9:00 am

Q. My partner and I recently had two close friends — one a Peer, the other a former Member of the…

Dear Mary

9 September 2017 9:00 am

Q. Some rather flashy new neighbours of ours — I won’t mention their names as his will be familiar to…

Dear Mary

26 August 2017 9:00 am

Q. I am in my seventies and my husband is in his nineties. The other night we had two couples…

Dear Mary

5 August 2017 9:00 am

Q. I’m shortly to host a very large family gathering. Everyone will be related to the same ancestor, so we…

Dear Mary

15 July 2017 9:00 am

Q. Is there an etiquette regarding security gates? My wife and I were invited to dinner by new neighbours who…

Dear Mary

8 July 2017 9:00 am

Q. ‘Alfred’ is a friend of 30 years’ standing who has just married for the first time. Alfred retains all…

Dear Mary: Is it OK to ask to drink the wine you brought to a dinner party?

28 May 2016 9:00 am

Q. What is the etiquette regarding asking to drink the wine you have brought to a dinner party? The man…

Dear Mary: why have all my friends given me scented candles?

21 May 2016 9:00 am

Q. My super successful son kindly gave a birthday dinner party for me in a glamorous London club. I have never…

Dear Mary: How can I angle for a wedding invitation?

30 April 2016 9:00 am

Q. How does one go about getting invited to a wedding? Two friends of mine from university, who I have…

Dear Mary: my niece hasn’t returned the small sum I lent her

12 March 2016 9:00 am

Q. My niece, who came to stay with me in the country for the weekend, arrived without cash and asked…

Dear Mary: How can I teach my godson to write thank-you letters?

13 February 2016 9:00 am

Q. I recently rediscovered a wonderful 22-year-old godson. He came to shoot for the first time and was a marvellous…

Dear Mary: My neighbour is planning a girls’ night in — how can I escape?

9 January 2016 9:00 am

Q. Although I have met most of the fellow occupants of my building at residents’ meetings, we don’t socialise. However…

Dear Mary solves problems for Nicky Haslam, Nigel Slater, Professor Mary Beard and others

12 December 2015 9:00 am

From Nicky HaslamQ. Being considered something of a guru on the subject of things common, can you advise me how…

Dear Mary: How can I shut up business travel bores?

21 November 2015 9:00 am

Q. I work in the London art market. Often, when I run into a fellow dealer and ask how they…

Dear Mary: why are young women dyeing their hair grey?

7 November 2015 9:00 am

Q. I have lunch once a month with an old university friend. Over the years we have both thickened out…