Help! My New Guy Has Everything I Want—Except His Front Teeth.

Advice on manners and morals.
Jan. 30 2014 6:00 AM

Mind the Gap

My new guy has everything I want—except his front teeth.

(Continued from Page 1)

Dear Prudence,
A few days ago I was walking from my downtown office to lunch when I spotted my 14-year-old son “Tom” walking down the street with “Becky,” a classmate and friend of his. It was on a school day with an extended lunch hour. The school is not in walking distance, so I knew they’d taken the bus downtown. I resisted the urge to accost Tom and Becky on the street. When I spoke to him about it later, he was untruthful when I asked him what he did at lunch that day. I’d prefer he stay on campus, but it’s not against school rules to leave, and I don’t think they were up to anything illicit. I told Tom I feel obligated to let Becky’s parents know that they had left campus together. Tom, naturally, pleaded with me not to. Becky seems like a lovely girl, and she and Tom seem to be spending a fair amount of time together. We have not met her parents, but I feel an obligation to inform them what their daughter was up to with my son. On the other hand, they're good kids who were just enjoying their youthful companionship, and I understand how mortified my son will be if his mother tattles on his gal pal. Is there a middle ground here?

—Perplexed 

Dear Perplexed,
Since I’m the mother of a girl, I would wonder what message the boy’s mother was sending by alerting me to this little adventure by two high school freshman. You note neither of these kids was doing anything wrong. But think how thrilling it must have been for them to escape from school and go on a lunch date downtown! I’m feeling a little giddy just imagining it. Sure, Tom should have told you the truth when you asked about his day. But instead of setting him up, you should have said, "Hey, I saw you went downtown for lunch today.” This is the time in life that teenagers are testing their independence. You want Tom to feel he can come to you for the big things he’s going to face, like "I think someone is getting addicted to drugs,” or “I need to talk to you about birth control.” Rat him out now over nothing, and he will be reluctant to ever trust you. 

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—Prudie

Dear Prudence,
How far should a hostess go to accommodate the dietary choices of her guests? I'm not talking about EpiPen-requiring allergies. My husband and I are having a small Super Bowl party. He is suggesting to go with the lowest common denominator and make most everything vegan. I can do that, but I find that meat and dairy substitutes are just poor substitutes. It seems that vegetarians/vegans are so morally superior that we should all sacrifice our omnivore diets to their choices. I live in a part of the country where being vegetarian/vegan and gluten-free is super hip and widespread, which doesn’t help me with the pervasive feeling that I get that I should feel guilty for enjoying animal products. 

—The Amoral Hostess

Dear Hostess,
Excuse me for thinking there is a certain cognitive dissonance to the idea of a vegan Super Bowl party. Your crowd should get some laughs out of this Chevy Silverado commercial, which mocks the idea that men are going to eat kale salad. Then there was this since withdrawn Taco Bell advertisement that said bringing vegetables to football parties is “like punting on fourth-and-1.” Even during an event as long as the Super Bowl, no one is going to starve just because some of the snacks are on the forbidden list. Since you know many of your guests love plants and hate animal products, have enough vegetable dishes for everyone. But that doesn’t mean you can’t also serve an intoxicating tray of pigs in blankets at the biggest pigskin match of the year.

—Prudie

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Emily Yoffe is a regular Slate contributor. She writes the Dear Prudence column.