Sweet and Sour and Everything Dour

"Social Q's" is Philip Galanes's advice column in the New York Times.  Every Monday in Anti-Social Q's, I will answer the same questions as "Social Q's," dropping at anti-social cues.

This week Philip is asked about sexist parties, wedding invitations, online snooping, and stealing your neighbor's treats.

We received a “save the date” card for a fifth birthday party for a boy my daughter knows.  It was to be a Superhero Soiree.  But shortly before the date, we were uninvited.  The party is now just for boys because of its “masculine” theme, and my daughter was invited to a separate party for him just for girls.  I don’t want to tell my daughter that she isn’t allowed to attend the real party, but she is going to want to know what happened.  Something about this feels wrong.  Should I mention it to the mother?

Anonymous, New York

This is a wonderful opportunity to teach your daughter about how the world is full of morons.  Really, do you want your daughter hanging out with five-year-old boys that just want to hang out with each other?  And dressed in superhero outfits to boot?  Do you really want her associating with the Comic Con type?  You should be thankful her life path was just set in the right direction.

I have been a hands-on stepmother to our 30-something daughter for 28 years.  She and I are very close.  She is getting married soon, and my husband and I are happily paying for everything except the wedding invitations, which her mother is handling.  My dilemma is how to approach the wording on the invites.  I would like it to include the mother of the bride (who is single) as well as my husband and me.  My husband does not want to get involved.  Help!

Anonymous, New York

Oh please, nobody reads this nonsense.  You might as well put gibberish on them and nobody will notice.  Besides, the invitations are being paid for by the mom.  Let her deal with it.  What do you care what a stupid card will say nobody will ever look at again.

I am in my 40s and have never been married, and I was recently asked out by a man I met at a singles event.  I entered his name in Google and eventually found myself face to face with his father’s online photo album: nearly 200 pictures from my date’s life, spanning birth to present day.  I scrolled through every one of them, and now know information that he may have revealed at some point, but not on a first date.  I wish I hadn’t seen the album, but I’d probably make the same choice again if I faced it.  Your thoughts?

Rebecca, Denver

Act surprised at everything he says.

We live next door to neighbors from hell.  On Monday, after living through yet another weekend of their all-night partying, I saw a basket of sweets from a local gourmet shop at their door.  I took it without a second’s remorse and ate the contents.  In my view, this was simply compensatory.  My boyfriend disagrees.  You?

Jean, Manhattan

Always take the higher ground.  You just lost the right to call your neighbors, the neighbors from hell, because, you too are a neighbor from hell.


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