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Didi’s Manners & Etiquette: Hot and Cold Etiquette

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


Want to know what not to talk about to a preteen and what to do about excessive air-conditioning? Read on!

Inappropriate conversations with minors

Yesterday while playing tennis with friends, I heard one of the junior coaches asking about "dirty words" while giving a private lesson in the next court. The coach is in his late twenties and the private lesson was to an eleven-year-old girl. At the water cooler, in front of the preteen, I told him his conversation was inappropriate. Then, I overheard him asking her personal questions (including her age) about her family and their residences. He asked very specific questions about her older sister. I was appalled because it was highly inappropriate for a coach to be grilling and victimizing a child, when the parents think he's only talking tennis.   After the one hour lesson was over, again in front of her, I told him he should not be asking her personal questions. The three women I was playing with thought I should report the coach to his superiors. Inevitably, he would be fired and I would have been responsible for tainting his career. I would like to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he got the message, but then I think I should turn him in. What should I do? By the way, I don't know the parents.

~Cordelia, East Hampton, NY

Go with your gut feeling. Turn the pervert in. Your anger is justified. This coach shouldn't be around children. Preteens, especially, are beginning to understand that their childhood is coming to an end as they're struggling with new emotions. It is a time for discovery and looking for new perspectives of identities. The child was being victimized by an adult, and you pointed that out. The preteen's parents should be told so that they can reassure her that it is their responsibility to protect her; older men shouldn't be talking about dirty words and asking her personal questions. And should something like this happen again, she should tell her parents immediately.

Since you don't know the child's parents, you don't have any choice but to ask the weirdo's superior to handle the situation and speak directly to the eleven-year-old's parents. Thank him, but gently ask him to report back to you after he's done so. 


Excessive airconditioning

At a client's home the other day outside of Boston, I thought I would freeze to death. She greeted us saying she had turned the central air conditioning way up so we would be comfortable, but we were all dressed for the steamy, muggy July weather. She greeted us wearing a heavy, snuggly sweater. It didn't seem polite to ask to borrow a sweater to wear over my short, sleeveless dress, or to have her turn down the air-conditioning, because she seemed terribly proud of her frigid house. The cold was a distraction and halfway through the two-hour meeting, I wanted to leave, but suffered in silence for the sake of her business. What should I have done? Neither of my two male colleagues were wearing jackets, or I would have asked to borrow one. 

~Anonymous, Boston, MA

Its cultural. It gave your client a certain amount of power and prestige being able to make you shiver. Despite the huge greenhouse-gas emissions issue, many sophisticated office lease  holders require chilling capacity air-conditioners. The more upscale the store, the cooler the chill. Counterintuitively, researchers have found that more mistakes are made and employees are less productive when indoor temperature is 68 degrees to 72 degrees, as opposed to the more comfortable 74 to 76. There is actually an app called Comfy where owners of air-conditioners can type in that they're too hot or cold or just fine to learn what you like when  and tells the air-conditioning system when to boast or hold back the cold.

Excessive air-conditioning is such a common problem, there are even fashion blogs that show you how to dress for the extremes of entering a cold office building from the suffocating subway. Layering of course is the way to go and there is no better fashion accessory than the summer jacket, which you can keep in your freezing cubicle for when the temperature drops to 68 degrees in August. Look at these cute work outfits from themuse.com.  


Do you have a dilemma about love, family and life in general for Didi? Go ahead and "Ask Didi." If your Question is used, we can withhold your name and/or location.


This article was originally published in July 2015 


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