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Shoppers Should Wear Masks. Shouldn’t Protesters, Too?

  • July 12, 2020

My husband began participating in a socially distanced guys’ night held outdoors: Bring your own chair and beverage, go home when you need to pee. But I learned from my friend, whose husband was the host, that my husband went inside to use the bathroom. This is not what we agreed on! He claims he was on his way to a tree when the host told him he could use the bathroom. Thoughts?


Let’s hope he does better next time. We’re all figuring out re-engagement on the fly. The host may have felt awkward barring guests from his bathroom, even though that was the agreed-upon protocol. So, he made a spontaneous offer that your husband felt uncomfortable refusing. Next time, suggest he reply: “Thanks, but let’s stick with our plan.” Or have him come home to use the bathroom indoors like a normal person.

When I’m out to lunch with my mum, men often ask: “Are you two sisters?” I know they mean it as a compliment to her, but I find it demeaning. My mum is a vibrant, intelligent woman, but she doesn’t look like my sister. And I don’t think she should be aspiring to look 25 years younger than she is. How can I let these men know their question is inappropriate?


I hate to be difficult, but I’m pretty sure these men are cracking a corny joke. (It’s the oldest line in the book!) Sure, it betrays their assessment of your mother as an object, which is gross, but you’re probably the only one taking it literally.

Before you say anything, make sure your mother agrees with you. (She is their target after all, right?) If she does, reply: “Yes, we’re sisters, which makes you old enough to be our father. Creepy!” But if she prefers to chat with these gents for a while, let her. You can buy her the feminist canon for her birthday.

For help with your awkward situation, send a question to, to Philip Galanes on Facebook or @SocialQPhilip on Twitter.

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