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DEAR ABBY: My stepson “Ryan” is an active senior in high school. He’s a great boy, and I love him. I’m proud and delighted that he says he likes my home-cooked meals, which he doesn’t have at his mother’s. They eat a lot of take-out or pre-made foods. Not everyone likes to cook, so I’m not judging.

My concern is that Ryan is eating his food at an alarming rate, especially if it’s something soft, like lasagna or casseroles. Her plate is almost done before someone else has just a few bites left. I don’t mean to shame or embarrass him, but it seems unhealthy for his digestion and maybe even dangerous with certain foods. It’s also very unpleasant to look at.

Last night Ryan inhaled a whole enchilada in two or three bites swallowed whole. He didn’t chew once. My husband will kindly tell Ryan to slow down if I give him an opportune look. Otherwise, he seems unfazed. Ryan frequently eats most of a serving platter if we don’t point out that others might want seconds as well.

I’m hesitant to make a fuss about it because he’s a great boy and my husband is a great father, other than teaching his son good eating habits. Ryan was a chubby little boy, but he got tall and skinny after a huge growth spurt. I feel bad for saying this, but I’m disgusted and worried at the same time. Your advice is appreciated.


Dear mother-in-law: It’s been years behind, but please seriously discuss with your husband that his son never learned table manners. From your description, he eats like an animal. He seems not only to eat too much, but also too fast, which is visually unpleasant and unhealthy.

Table manners are important. Not having one could have a negative impact on his social life and even his career in the future. Please report this to your husband and Ryan, as it is important that they both hear this. This may require constant reinforcement and reminders, so be prepared.

DEAR ABBY: My wife’s 90th birthday is fast approaching. Our youngest daughter gives him a birthday party at a nice restaurant and only invites women. When I asked her why I wasn’t invited, she said the party would be “more fun” with just ladies. I don’t understand or agree with this. I would like to visit with the ladies. What do you think of his decision? I think it stinks.


DEAR NON-GUEST: I “think” this decision should have been made by your wife as well as your daughter. At your age, there’s no guarantee how many more birthdays you’ll have together, and for you to be summarily kicked out seems like a mistake to me. If it’s a ladies’ lunch, it’s possible that “the girls” like to celebrate without their husbands – if they’re lucky enough to still have husbands.

Because this milestone birthday is one you’d love to celebrate with your wife, why not invite her to a special dinner – just the two of you – or include your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc., and make it a family business?