Q. Re. your letter from F.C. about the boyfriend leaving lids off (20 February), I have a similar problem. My husband has developed the habit of leaving all doors, drawers and cupboards open. I don’t want to nag, because he gets ratty when I do. I don’t think I can scatter insects in all the drawers and cupboards. We are 75 and 79. Any suggestions other than an old people’s home?
— G.F., Woking, Surrey
A. Why not use an aversion-therapy expedient? Explain to your dear husband that you don’t want to be a nag, so you are just going to accept that he leaves things open. Unfortunately, it means you will have to place mousetraps within the drawers and cupboards whose borders are now porous to rodent ingress. After a couple of nasty surprises you will see an end to the nuisance.
Q. I am thinking of advertising for a Jewish boyfriend but wonder if I would be contravening the law in being so specific? I have found most Jewish men cosy and fun and without the hang-ups of many Englishmen, who don’t always enjoy women’s company. My dad’s mother was from a Jewish family.
— E.S., London W11
A. Discrimination laws only come into play in certain situations, employment being the main one. In employment positive action is allowed (i.e. hiring someone from a minority group over someone with the same qualifications from a non-minority group). But positive discrimination is never allowed. A dating agency may object to finding only Jewish men if they are worried a legal complaint could be brought by a consumer of their services for discrimination. However, if you advertise as a private individual, the discrimination laws should not implicate you legally. Your tactic of specifying your favoured ethnicity should be productive as the knowledge that they have cleared the first hurdle will boost the confidence of applicants.
Q. What is the protocol about leaving a book launch? As an actor I would be mortified if anyone left an after-party without saying goodbye. But last week when I tried to say goodbye to an author before leaving his book launch, the journalist friend who had brought me along said I should just slip quietly away. To me this seems enormously rude. Who is right?
— P.W., London SW3
A. Your friend is right. At a book launch you can introduce yourself to the writer but engage him only briefly, preferably while he signs the book you have bought. You should not announce your departure because it may trigger others to leave. As an actor, no one would blame you for wanting to deflect the attention on to yourself but writers tend to feel less self-important and less self-conscious about whether others notice their presence or absence.
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