Should I continue to accuse women lawyers of using the title “Esquire” which I believe is for men only and other questions in the advice column – Digg

There are too many excellent advice columns to keep up with, so we’re committed to bringing you links to the best advice questions and answers each week. Here’s a roundup of the most interesting, thought-provoking, and surprising questions our favorite columnists have addressed over the past few days.

Should I continue to accuse women lawyers of using the title “Esquire” which I believe is only for men?

I am a lawyer of a certain age and have been licensed for more than 40 years. I often have to send written messages to female colleagues.

When I started practicing, it was found that the track “Esq.” was exclusively for male lawyers, no female squires. In letters, women were addressed with “Atty”. Those who inquired were told that the female version of “Esq.” was “Good Woman”.

Well, my habit of calling women “Atty”. has come under fire, particularly when I rebuked a woman for using the honorific “Esq”.

The dictionaries now state that it is a unisex term. I’m not sure. What does Miss Manners think of the use of the term “Esq.” after a lawyer’s name?


Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin, the writers behind the role of Miss Manners, rule that female lawyers should be allowed to use the title Esquire. “Why you would want to provoke your colleagues by blaming them and suggesting the antiquated term ‘good wife’ (which referred to a manager like a landlady) Miss Manners cannot imagine,” they write. “If she were your attorney, she would advise you to stop immediately before you get into serious trouble.” Read the rest of her answer.

Is the community garden I run an “unsafe and hostile place for children” because there are bees in it?

I’m not a parent but would love to get the perspective of someone who is. I run a community garden in a suburb outside of a big city. Locals and families are given plots of land that they can use as they wish, with a few exceptions. A new family with young children recently acquired a property and a conflict has arisen. Another plot in the garden features mostly lavender and other pollinator friendly plants to support bees. The parents in this family have complained about this conspiracy and said they are worried about their children being stung by the bees, which often have several hovering around this conspiracy. I explained to them that this plot conforms to our rules and the woman in charge of it is a longtime member of the community garden. They claimed I was making the garden an “unsafe and hostile place for children” and even complained to Nextdoor! As a non-parent, am I being unreasonable to their concerns? This has never been noticed by other families who use the garden.


Allison Price advises the letter writer to be kind but firm about the family’s unreasonable expectations. “They can offer to relocate the plots so they are furthest apart (which understandably may have to wait until the next growing season), or offer a refund on their plot if they may have a severe bee sting allergy that makes them unsure feel,” she writes. Read the rest of her answer.

Can I try to transfer my son’s baseball teammate to another league because she is better than my son?

My 9 year old son plays baseball in a 8 to 12 year old league. There are two age groups. A few years ago, girls were allowed to play. (Some people protested.) Which brings me to my problem: There is a girl on my son’s team who is taller and taller than most boys. She is an excellent athlete. She also happens to play the same position as my son – which means he doesn’t get to play much. As a feminist, I have no problem with this girl acting. But can I suggest she gets promoted to the older division because of her size advantage?

[The New York Times]

Philip Galanes reminds the letter writer that under league rules, the girl is eligible to play on her son’s team. “Turn this into a learning experience for your son,” he writes. “We can’t be the best at everything, but we can still have fun doing it.” Read the rest of his response.

Should I stand my ground when I invite relatives to my wedding after my fiancee threw a rock at her child?

I’m engaged to a lovely, kind, sensitive woman named “Adele” who happens to be related to a notorious but long-dead criminal. All her life Adele has been teased for her surname and sometimes even ostracized when people found out she was actually related, although of course she and her family condemn this man and his actions…

At the barbecue introducing our extended families for the first time, my 15-year-old cousin “Kim” held up a picture of the criminal on her phone and made a horrible joke, even though my entire family had been warned not to mention him. In response, Adele threw a small rock at her, accidentally hitting her in the face and injuring one of her eyes. In Adele’s defense, she was unaware that Kim was only 15 and assumed (reasonably based on her clothes and looks) that she was at least a few years older. Kim’s parents have broken all hell and Adele has been charged with aggravated assault and aggravated child abuse, which has deeply disturbed her given her personal trauma.

The district attorney, who knows my family, has agreed to drop the charges if Kim refuses to testify. My uncle ‘Rob’ – my mother’s sister’s husband and Kim’s father – told us she would do this if Adele apologized to her and we agreed to pay 100 per cent of her medical and cosmetic treatment, which is still uncertain and could amount to tens of thousands of dollars. Rob has a good job and I’m sure he has excellent family health insurance. Kim also laments that her injury could prevent her from becoming a pilot, something she had previously only expressed a passing interest in. Worse, my whole family rallied around Kim – so I uninvited them all from our wedding to support Adele and the vows we’ve already taken.

In retaliation, Rob now says Kim will only decline to testify if, in addition to her previous demands, I invite my side of the family back (he, his wife and Kim will stay away). I might be more inclined to cooperate if Kim were just as remorseful – but neither she nor her parents have apologized in the slightest, claiming it was ‘just a silly joke’ and even suggesting Adele was because of her ‘blood’ violent.

I’m torn now because Adele will do anything to just say sorry, pay the bills and invite my family back over. In part because she is hurt by their lack of anger and the resulting explosion and wants to try to restore ties with them; partly because she wants a “nice, normal” wedding with both sides; but mostly because she’s afraid of the slightest possibility of having to spend even a day in jail if Kim testifies against her. Should I agree to that even though it would (A) cost us a lot of money and (B) give my family carte blanche to abuse them — and by extension disrespect me — and abandon them with the beginning of our marriage? Or should we stand firm, have our wedding without her, and trust that no sane judge with a good defense attorney will sentence her to prison for reacting to such atrocities as she did?


R. Eric Thomas advises the letter writer to contact Adele. “Look, there’s a lot of blame here and at some point you need to have a serious talk with your family about your dealings with Adele,” he writes. “But the fact remains that she hit a 15-year-old with a rock.” Read the rest of his response.

How can I get over my frustration that my friends didn’t give me enough cash gifts at my wedding to cover my expenses?

We just had a big wedding and our baby’s first birthday. We were a pandemic wedding that got canceled so it was great to have a big party with friends. I’m fighting though because I’m surprised at how little our guests gave and I feel guilty about it. In general, I’ve always heard you give $100-$125 per person, especially if you drink and eat (we had an open bar).

However, many people we consider good friends gave…much less. Some didn’t give at all. Getting around $100 per person would have covered the cost of each person at the wedding. Of course, if they didn’t have the money, we would understand, but many of them are very wealthy financially. I know it’s in the past now. But how can I not let that frustration and sadness color my friendships with these people? I know that’s not the point of the party, but it’s also hard not to feel like the party we threw was a little underrated.


Elizabeth Spiers challenges the letter writer to decide on an expensive wedding. “[C]Consider the possibility that your friends did their part by showing up to the wedding — according to your wishes, not theirs — and celebrating your wedding with you,” she writes. “I’m afraid the only person here who is unduly ungrateful is you.” Read the rest of her answer.

Can I tell my daughter-in-law that she’s young and clueless because she got a job in a crime-ridden neighborhood?

Okay, so my kid lost his job more than a year ago; being newlyweds on his wife’s student loans has been tough, but they’re getting through. We have helped financially when asked, which has not happened often. He’s taken some gig jobs and had some interviews but no offers and where they are Covid is still rampant and he has several risk factors. All this to say that they are doing things right and have limited options. She was offered a salary-enhancing, professional position in her field. Sounds good? Ready for the shoe? The location is in the center of a notorious crime ridden part of their big city. She doesn’t drive; he would probably drive her rather than risk commuter traffic.

So is there anything a mother can do other than lie awake imagining horrible things? Can we advise to wait for a safer option? No we can’t, can we? She’s excited about the offer, as she should be, but hey, they’re young and clueless. Sigh.

[The Washington Post]

Carolyn Hax points out that there are other people living in the neighborhood about whom the letter writer is expressing so much concern. “Perhaps if we all saw equal responsibility and equal investment and equal roles in all parts of human industry — and its socioeconomic by-products — we would lose less sleep over boogeymen and function better as a society,” she writes. Read the rest of her answer.

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