My Friend Uses Too Much Botox. May I Tell Her?

Baby Shower: Still an Issue

I am appalled that you did not point out, in last week’s question about the lady who gave herself a baby shower, how gauche and wrong that was. Honestly, I don’t know what you were thinking!

MARGOT

Then let me tell you, along with the 67 email writers who also objected, though none so breathlessly as you. Social rules are useful as long as they reflect the world we live in. When I was a boy, for instance, going to a psychiatrist was considered shameful. You could get thrown off a presidential ticket for seeking help. (Remember Thomas Eagleton?) Social norms dictated silence on mental health. Forty years later, it’s hard to get people to shut up about their therapists. Times change.

On to baby showers. In the old days, parents-to-be, their siblings and their parents would never give a baby shower. (Aunts and cousins were somehow fine.) This was because it was appalling — just appalling, right, Margot? — to think of people giving a party where they, or their immediate family, would collect gifts. Today, we’re all in on the joke: Baby showers simultaneously celebrate a joyful event and outfit the nursery. Gifts are 100-percent baked into the enterprise.

It is silly to distinguish between cousins and siblings (or parents-to-be, for that matter) as appropriate hosts. For folks who like the fantasy (“What? A gift?”), let them keep asking others, sotto voce, to host their showers for them. But why judge a pregnant lady who wants to give her own party? And now, for the mind-blowing finale: You don’t have to give a gift if you don’t want to. Simply share in the joy of the cupcakes and the coming birth. Ka-boom!

I Was Told There’d Be a Smoothie

A neighbor asked to borrow my blender. She had picked a lot of blueberries and planned to use them in breakfast smoothies that week. I delivered the blender with a smile. She promised a smoothie in return. That was two weeks ago. How do I get my…

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