My date is a bad dumpster

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Dear Gaby,

I went on a date with a guy and he offered to pay for dinner and drinks. I offered to separate, but he insisted. When he went to the bathroom I looked at the bill and he paid less than ten percent tip. Our service was excellent in a busy, post covid restaurant where the waitress worked hard. I was so offended that I handed the waitress a 20 on the way out. How do I tell him I thought his tip was cheap, bogus, and callous?

Sign,
Secret dumpster

Dear Secret,

Maybe your date never waited for tables? Maybe he’s really bad at math? Maybe he’s a thug. Time will tell us. In the meantime, when someone insists on paying the check, sometimes you can add “let me get the tip” and then the tip as you wish. It’s a strategy.

Another is to ask him if he has ever served at the table, how difficult it can be, the importance of supporting people in low paying jobs, etc. When I first met my husband, I had a few occasions to extract dollars from him while he was offering me meals. I had waited for a lot of tables, he had made some peanut butter and nut butter sandwich cookies.

Fortunately, after many years together, he now tips big. But along the way, I discovered that the apple hadn’t fallen far from the tree. His father was notoriously a bad rocker. And let’s just say change was not his forte. So after leaving the restaurant and heading for the car, my husband or I would say, “I forgot something” and slip some extra dough to the waiter. Honesty is always the best policy, but instead deviousness works wonders.


Dear Gaby,

I love, I love, I love to fill my house with plants. The problem is, I never remember when to water them, so I end up waiting for them to start collapsing before quenching their thirst. Is there a better system or should I accept my failure and fill my house with decorative stones instead?

Sign,
No green on this thumb

Dear Green,

I can tell by your question that you must be over forty. Not because you love, love, love plants and not because you forget to water them (although forgetting the middle ages is not to be despised), no, I can say your age because you have not set reminder on your phone to tell you to water the plants (or take a pill or make a call or take out the trash). That’s what every phone junkie, Angular Neck, Millennial, Gen X and Gen Yer would do.

I guess you’re a baby boomer. If you are, you might not know how to set a reminder, in which case I suggest stopping any 11 year old on the street to ask. After rolling the eyes, they can be very helpful. Then there are always the old-fashioned ways: write it down on your calendar (paper) or put post-it notes around the house. You can also schedule watering the plants alongside something you’ll never forget, like watching Judge Judy.

Short of these ideas, I would recommend air plants, which are exotic and beautiful and require absolutely no water. I last bought them at the Custer Street Fair, but now that it’s gone for good (boo hoo!) You’ll have to look around. From one brown thumb to the next, good luck!


Dear Gaby,

My friend asked to look at the photos we took today at the beach. She then continued to scroll and looked at other photos I had. Am I correct in thinking that this is an invasion of privacy?

Sign,
What are they hay?

Dear Hay,

One hundred percent! You are absolutely correct that scrolling them on your phone is an invasion of privacy. It seems rather passive-aggressive to me. But above all aggressive. Next time, show her (or anyone else, but who else would be so rude?) The photos while keeping your hands on your phone. Prevented is warned. Literally.


Dear Gaby appears in the Round table every Friday. Yes, Gabby is an advice columnist – but not just any advice columnist. Because that would be boring! Gabby combines wisdom with the mind. And a pinch of snark. She is by no means a qualified therapist, but she has seen and loved a lot in her time. Her goal is to make you think while she makes you laugh. Gabby welcomes all questions and requests and is only too happy to hear your opinion, no matter how different it may be from hers. Write to Gabby at [email protected]


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