Dear Annie: I was widowed two years ago. I joined a group last year that gets out and does things together. About 10 months ago, I started dating one of the guys in the group. We are both in our 60s. In the beginning, he called and asked me to dinner and other activities. Now, when I am running errands and he calls, he asks, "Are you going to stop by?" The other day, I got a text message asking whether I would be his date in four hours for dinner. Yesterday I went to church and stopped by the grocery. He called as I was returning home and said I could have called him to go to lunch. I tried explaining that I had not had lunch yet and had frozen food in the car, but he didn't seem to listen, because he repeated that I should have called him and asked him to meet me for lunch. I have bought numerous tickets for concerts and other events, which he seemed to enjoy.
Am I being too old-fashioned to expect him to take the lead for some dates or call more than four hours before a dinner date? I have tried more than once to tell him that his lack of planning makes me feel as if he is taking me for granted. His response was, "What do I know? I am just a dumb man." I now go ahead and make my own plans for the following day, thinking he may take the hint that I am not sitting around idly waiting all the time.
He is a nice guy and says he loves me, but I feel that if he really wanted to be with me, he would invite me like a date. — Underbooked
Dear Underbooked: Time to let this man know that you're not his on-call girlfriend, that you have a life outside of the relationship and that you can't always drop everything to go see him at the last minute. You've told him as much with words; now keep saying it with your actions. Continue to make your own plans, and don't change them for him. (This doesn't have to be rigid or absolute. It's just a general rule.) If he cares to date you, he'll care to start getting in your datebook, at least a couple of days in advance. I have a feeling that by your acting instructively, this "dumb man" (an act I don't buy, by the by) will learn very quickly.
Dear Annie: I'm a faithful reader of your column. There is one thing I've not seen addressed that I'm sure other people have a need to know.
When you're dining out and the check is placed on your table, should the 20 percent tip apply to the total amount? In my way of thinking, it should be computed on just the food and service and not the tax. If people wish to include tips on the tax, that is their privilege, but others like me feel differently. I don't want to regularly overtip, as that adds up, but I want to do the right thing by servers, of course. — One Who Tips
Dear One Who Tips: If you feel like going above and beyond and tipping on the post-tax amount, I'm sure that any server would appreciate it. However, it's by no means necessary. Tipping based on the pretax amount is logical, acceptable and expected, so you can rest assured you're doing the right thing.
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