Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: A few months ago a friend and I were in Paris. She had some family friends (whom she had not seen since she was young) who were available to host us for free. Now, I have always been taught that when entertaining, a guest comes first. These people, however, made us feel as though we were an inconvenience to them and their two children, though we only slept on their pull-out couch -- that was it. The father in the family runs a touring company, and my friend thought we should ask for a tour, to be polite -- with the intention of paying him. He gave us a very short tour of one of Paris' museums -- one of my favorites -- for free. But the tour was odd and he acted a bit rude, challenging my knowledge of the museum and the paintings and rushing us. I did not enjoy it. Later on in our visit, we came home late (about midnight) after going up the Eiffel Tower. We did not have a key and he proceeded to go to sleep. Luckily, the au pair let us in. But after that behavior and his lack of an apology, I decided I can't stand him. Now he sends me emails about giving a review of the tour (which he insists must be a five-star review). I have refused. Should I keep ignoring his emails? Or should I write the bad review because the world has a right to know? I don't want to seem ungrateful, but what kind of host leaves someone locked out and then goes to sleep -- and then demands a five-star review?
Frustrated with Friends of a Friend
DEAR FRUSTRATED: You were not invited guests, so the "rules" for entertaining do not apply. You and your friend were basically couch-surfing in this family's home, and the experience you had seems equivalent to what you contributed.
It is the height of arrogance to ask for (and accept) a free tour from a professional tour operator and then complain that the tour was truncated or not up to your standard.
All the same, this man should not be pursuing you aggressively and demanding a five-star rating in exchange for sleeping on his couch. There is a lack of integrity on both sides of this terrible holiday. You should thank him for hosting you and let him know that because you didn't receive the full professional tour you don't feel comfortable providing a rating.
DEAR AMY: I divorced my first husband for reasons primarily related to what I believed to be an addiction to sex. For years, he went into debt paying for prostitutes, sex lines, etc. He is a hundred watts of intelligent and a magnificent liar. I was naive. The last straw was when he gave me an STD. We have both since remarried. I just learned from his business partner that he is at it again. He is serially involved with prostitutes, has stolen from his clients and his professional license has been suspended. He could be facing criminal prosecution. Apparently, Wife No. 2 knows about the debt/theft situation but does not know the underlying reason. She and I have mutual friends who have first-hand evidence of his history and more recent behavior, and who are agonizing over whether to tell her. I do not know her, have never had any contact with her, and have no plans to. But do you think her friends (who include the business partner) should fill her in?
DEAR FLASHBACK: Definitely. Then she can decide what she wants to do.
DEAR AMY: Responding to the letter from "Hurt," who didn't acknowledge her sister's cancer diagnosis: YES, readers, it is vital to reach out with love and support in words and actions when you know a loved one is in a tough place. Do not let your own fears or issues prevent you from doing so. Life is too short, and you only get the measure of quality out of it that you make the effort to obtain.
Melanoma-Free Since 2006
DEAR FREE: Beautiful. Thank you.