ASK AMY: Fun Guys Make Trouble Finding Mushrooms


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Dear Amy: I have a group of three friends (we’re all male) who I enjoy one night with each month at a cabin in the woods.

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We take turns cooking.

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Recently two of the guys made us a spaghetti dinner.

The next morning they told us that they included mushrooms in the sauce they found behind the pile of wood.

I was horrified. I have a degree in biology and have taught environmental science for over 30 years – none of these guys have a background in mycology or taxonomy of fungi – and they couldn’t even name the species of mushrooms used. When I expressed my dismay, they were defensive (“My wife said they were fine!”) and eventually turned to mockery.

The next night I asked what ingredients were included in the meal. Realizing the ridiculousness of this effort to be safe and wishing to avoid further ridiculousness, I started bringing my own food under the statement that I’d rather eat later in the evening than them.

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Amy, they still make jokes about it and have never shown contrition, let alone apologized.

Two questions: Was my reaction unfounded (I can’t imagine it was) and do you have any suggestion to solve this problem through communication?

– Avoid amanita

Dear Avoid: Your reaction was not without merit, but your overreaction is.

Your friends have made a potentially dangerous choice; in the end, everyone was lucky and no one got sick. You have expressed your informed and legitimate concern, and you know your friends have heard you because they have resorted to taunting you for taking your position.

I hope what you describe as « taunting » was a milder tease.

You’re certainly allowed to bring your own food to these gatherings, but you’re not being honest about why (and « eating later » doesn’t necessarily make sense). And – every time you do that, you go back to the original problem of not trusting your friends to deliver a safe prepared meal.

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In my opinion, you should make the choice to trust your friends’ food preparation, but that would force you to relax on an issue that you obviously take very seriously.

You might flip this problem to the side if you delve more or less into the heart of it. Have t-shirts made for the group: « Fun Guys Forage Fungi ».

Dear Amy: My spouse and I have been in a committed partnership for over 30 years.

It was only after many years together that marriage became legally accessible to us.

As the reality of confirming our long-standing commitment was now a possibility, it still took some time to reflect on how we see each other, our lives of shared experiences, and our intertwined families.

Marriage is not just a celebration and a beginning; it is a personal recognition of our long lives together.

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When someone sees a ring on my finger, they sometimes wonder how long we’ve been married. It is then that our definition of our life together clashes with what some admit to be true.

I would prefer to answer, honestly, that we have been married for 30 years. When a look of disbelief inevitably ensues, I might add, “…and we made it official last year.

But then some people might respond, “But you’ve only been married a year…” as if to put a huge asterisk on our marriage.

Besides insulting our proud and deeply personal milestone, their conditional definition diminishes the true story of our lives together.

So what should be our answer to the question of how long have we been married?

– Married and happy

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Dear groom: Congratulations on your long and fruitful relationship. Awkward encounters with others might cause you to anticipate more – with a somewhat defensive stance.

You can describe your relationship however you like, including saying that you’ve been married for 30 years. If anyone doesn’t like this answer or takes issue with it, then that’s up to them.

It would also be pretty simple for you to say, « We’ve been married in our hearts for 30 years and legally married for one, so I guess that makes us the oldest newlyweds on the planet. »

Dear Amy: « Hurt Feelings » was a man who suffered a sports injury but was upset when his close friend « Bart » failed to recognize him.

Dude needs a man! A lot of guys grew up hurting themselves on the sports field and their coaches didn’t embrace their sores.

– Former athlete

Dear athlete: Compassion does not hurt. You could try it.

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