DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: Last week I was out for dinner with friends, and there was this guy at a table across the room who was speaking so loudly, it was distracting us from keeping our conversation going. Don't get me wrong, the restaurant was not a quiet, cosy place. It was fairly loud and full of excitement. But this guy's voice overpowered everyone's conversations. Other patrons were making eye contact and rolling their eyes, so it wasn't just my group that noticed.
His dinner companion appeared uncomfortable, looking around the room a lot. Maybe she was hoping no one noticed. Why do people do this? Do they know how loud they are? Do they even care? Am I being unreasonable in expecting people to respect the noise level of the establishment and speak at an acceptable volume? -- Enough of Loud Talkers, Downtown
Dear Enough: Most people teach their children the difference between outside voices and hushed restaurant voices. But some people grew up without anyone teaching them any manners. It is difficult for the serving staff to say something to get a customer to pipe down; they risk losing their tip. Ditto for getting the manager to tell the person to lower their voice. It is actually better if the other diners say something, but that takes a lot of nerve. The trick is to whisper it in the person's ear so as not to humiliate them, although if they're drunk, that's no use. It's a sticky situation. If anybody has had experience with this problem and won, please write in and share how you handled it, and we'll publish answers in an upcoming column.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I have a pet peeve that has been bothering me lately. I work in a fairly upscale retail store and I am really tired of hearing women (of all ages) come in to adore the goods and then sigh and comment about how they need to find a doctor or lawyer or some other man with money so they can buy nice things. Why don't they become the doctor or lawyer or choose a career that will enable them to pay their own way in life? One time, a mother actually told her daughter she "needed to find a rich husband."
I'm a woman and I work hard to afford the nice things I have. A guy buying a gal dinner is one thing, but a gal purposely looking for a meal ticket really gets my goat! Why do women think they can't do things for themselves? Or better yet, why won't they do things for themselves? -- Independent Chick
Dear Independent: Teaching a girl to look for man to be a meal ticket is the worst kind of '50s thinking still in existence. Yet I must say I've rarely met a woman who considered buying a boat or a cottage, large diamonds or emeralds on her own, even if she loved them. On the other hand, many single or divorced women buy houses, furniture and vehicles for themselves, just like that. Women's thinking on luxury items, though, still seems to fall into '50s mode. Some women seem to think they need a partner to buy them real jewels, expensive watches, top-of-the-line luggage and fine fragrances. For some reason, these are still supposed to be gifts, or forget it. The idea of forgetting the luxuries makes sense if it's a single woman supporting kids who are her first financial priority, but it is a head-scratcher when an independent woman with a great career and surplus money is waiting around for a partner to buy these things as gifts. Would a guy wait on a woman to buy him a Rolex, or else deny himself the pleasure?
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