Dear Papa: The landlord’s son — who is now, I guess, a teenager — shovels the walkway every time it snows. He’s one of the reasons I never want to move! Should I tip him?
—The Lady Upstairs
Dear Lady: Work is good and valuable and teaches its own lessons, so it is good that this young man is doing work. But a person should be paid for his labor. You do not know if his parents are paying him, if this is the way that he earns $10 from his father or his car money from his mother, but it does not matter. It is good to have a young man on your side. A slip of a fin to a bright-eyed youngster can win you a friend to run errands, or to bring in your mail when you go fishing. Or, at the end of a long night or a longer morning, your young friend may find it in his heart to carry you discreetly up the stairs.
Dear Papa: I was not invited to a wedding, but I really love the couple. I want to send them a gift! Do you think it would make them feel awkward because they didn’t invite me? For what it’s worth, the wedding is very small because they don’t have much money. (Also, it happens to be a lesbian wedding.)
—Weddingless in the Wissahickon
Dear Wiss: I’ve never known a woman to turn down a gift, but I have known them to look the horse in the mouth. Best not make it a gift they can read into, because one woman is a fine enough reader, and I can tell you from experience that two women together are the biggest readers around. Give some cash to your poor Sapphic friends. Perhaps they also will carry you discreetly up the stairs the next time you need it.
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