Ask Martha: 'I haven't been invited to my friends' wedding'

Got a social dilemma? Martha Arthur has the answer...
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Indy Lifestyle Online

Q. Some university friends of mine are getting married, but although I was invited to the engagement party I've not been invited to the wedding in the bride's home village. I am pretty hurt, to be honest, and worried my pride will mean I go out of my way not to see them again. Am I overreacting? Waz, Cambridge

A. Put it this way, Waz (an unusual, yet unfortunate name – a university moniker, perhaps?): country churches are small, caterers are expensive, family members and relatives are numerous. Just because they haven't invited you doesn't mean they don't like or appreciate you: in fact, there are probably people there whom they are duty-bound to invite that they like a lot less than you. It's painful readjusting to the idea that you're not on the top of their list, but don't write them out of your life completely. Just look at it as one less couple to invite to your own wedding, if there is one, Waz.

Q. Is it done to give other people's children helpful hints if they are growing obese? And if so, how? Anon

A. It is heroic, and bold, but it is not really done. So you have to be subtle about it. When little Ermintrude comes to visit, don't slap her podgy paw as it reaches for a ginger snap. Don't give all the other children cake and her carrots. But at the end of teatime you could give a helpful little speech – maybe: "I'd like a second helping now, but I'm not going to have one because I mustn't be greedy." That might spark a relevant conversation, or at least provide the visiting porker with food for thought. (Pun intended.)

Q. In the immortal words of Pauline Prescott, I would like to ask: how do you tell a lord his zip's down? DH, Lancaster

A. The wonderful Mrs Prescott suggested curtseying first, which is a good idea only if you want a better look. Euphemisms are very middle class, even old-school ones, so rather than telling him Rorke's drifted or the Jolly Roger's at half mast, it's probably best to simply point and laugh.



Are yellow walls naff? BH, Hove

Yellow wallpaper, as Charlotte Perkins Gilman knew, can send you mad, and yellow carpet can also send you mad (try vacuuming that every day!). But yellow-painted walls are, themselves, neutral. It all depends on how you work them. With duck-egg sofas and malachite vases? Could be a rather splendidly confident colour scheme. With yellow sofas and yellow cushions? Watch out that you don't die of jaundice: they'd never find you.

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