Dear Queenie,

My mother-in-law is a widow with limited means from the savings her late husband left her. She can’t make it on her own and depends on her children and they all agreed to pitch in to help.

The problem is one brother hasn’t yet given her a penny and in fact asked her for money which she gave him out of what the rest of them had given her, but we see him out and about all the time spending money on cigarettes and expensive dinners and restaurants and even going to adult clubs.

Queenie, if he can afford all that, why can’t he help his mother too, instead of asking her for money?—Angry daughter-in-law

Dear Daughter-in-law,

I do not blame you for being angry. Your brother-in-law is clearly selfish and irresponsible and if indeed he also promised to chip in obviously his word is no good.

However, it is up to his siblings (and his wife, if he is married) to demand that he man up and chip in his fair share instead of making things harder for his mother. They also should try to persuade their mother to stop giving him money she cannot afford.

Dear Queenie,

In some feedback you advise to contact marriage counsellors.‎

Queenie, could you assist with the contact info of those you have? Thanks.—Fan

Dear Fan,

I do not give out referrals. However, if it is marital counselling you want and you belong to a church, your pastor might be able to help you, or give you a referral.

Or you could get referrals from your family doctor or the Women’s Desk (Hope Estate Road #4, tel. 542-7940, fax 542-7941) or Safe Haven (office 9277, 24-hour hotline 9333, e-mail or

Dear Queenie,

I received a wedding invitation from my cousin the other day with my last name (my married name) spelled wrong. I’d like to tell her the correct spelling so the place card at the wedding reception will have it right and so she won’t make this mistake again in the future.

Queenie, how can I do this without insulting her?—Get my name right, please

Dear Right name,

Your cousin may have had help sending out the invitations and may not have been the one who made this mistake. However, the same helper may be also in charge of the place cards, so to prevent a repeat of the error you have several options. You could call your cousin and ask her about the mistake. Or you could just make sure your name is spelled correctly on the RSVP card (cross out the wrong spelling and write in the correct name, if necessary). As a bonus, this will give you added incentive to return the RSVP card promptly.

Dear Queenie,

My husband and I are friends with a group of other couples who meet every week in one couple’s house or another’s. One of the wives told me her husband has the habit of staring at women he thinks are sexy and asked me to dress more modestly because she had noticed him staring at me.

Queenie, it’s not as if I wear tight-fitting clothes or short skirts or low-cut necklines. Why should I have to plan my outfits according to her husband’s habits?—Not hot

Dear Not hot,

You do not. However, you should try to feel sorry for this woman who is so sensitive about what her husband may or may not be thinking about other women.

Dear Queenie,

My mother, who is retired, complains that no one in the family ever calls her. The reason we don’t call her is that when we do she wants to talk for literally an hour or more and we don’t want to hang up on her but we have our lives to live and our jobs to go to and we just don’t have all that much spare time.

Queenie, how can we cut her off without being rude?—Telephone Etty Ket

Dear Etty Ket,

Set a timer, preferably one with a nice loud bell or buzzer, when you call her or answer one of her calls, and when the time goes off tell her “Sorry, but someone is at the door” or “you have to take the food off the stove (or out of the oven, or whatever).” And, when you call her, try to do so when you have time for a nice long chat.

Apparently your retired mother is bored and/or lonely. Can you help her find some outside interest, like volunteering or joining a club or other mutual-interest group? With luck, she will get so busy that she will not have time to talk to you.

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