Dressing room discards

Q  More times than not I go into a fitting room that is crammed with clothes other people have tried on and left behind. What’s the etiquette for fitting rooms when it comes to clothes you try on but aren’t buying?

A  Very simply, you return them to their hangers and remove them from the dressing room, either to a rack many departments have at the entrance to the fitting rooms, or back to where you got them. Stores are understaffed these days and sales personnel don’t always have time to clear dressing rooms, so your taking care of your own situation makes the dressing room a nicer place for the next customer.

Q  We have a good friend we see often, but every time he makes me really uncomfortable by demanding “give me a kiss” and then zooming in and kissing me on the mouth. I hate this. He is in no other way inappropriate, but this habit makes me crazy. Is there anything I can say that doesn’t sound rude?

A  This is not appropriate. To keep it from happening in the future, turn your head fast and accept a kiss on the cheek, or extend your hand with a stiff arm for a handshake, or simply say, “Cut it out, Harry. The only person who gets to kiss me on the lips is (your husband). Off limits to everyone else, including you.” If he doesn’t get the message, say it again the next time he lunges for your lips, and again, and again. None of these solutions is rude, so do whichever is the most comfortable for you.

Q  My wife and I have been long-time friends with three other couples. We all have had children since we became friends, and get together periodically, as families. We finally have the opportunity to get together just as couples for old time’s sake, something we haven’t been able to do for several years, and have been looking forward to it. One of the wives just sent an email saying that she had invited another couple, unknown to most of us, to join us, since they already had plans with them, and she hoped that was okay. It isn’t okay and really spoils our plans. Was it all right for her to do this?

A  Absolutely not. When the plans were made, she could have said, “oh, we can’t make that date — we already have plans with Jen and John Smith.” You, as a group, could have said, “oh, too bad, we’ll miss you,” or said you’d pick another date, or suggested she bring the Smiths along, but it was not up to her to decide she would include them and then announce what she had done. Not only is that thoughtless in terms of your group, but also in terms of the additional couple who very well could feel uncomfortable and like a fifth-wheel spending an evening with a close-knit group of which they’ve never been a part.

Have a question for Catherine? Send it to her at arts@hersamacorn.com.