The Caramel Crunch (25 April 2020)

Over at Caramel (Learner at Love), CARAMEL has started a new prompt. I’d like to see her prompt do well, and I had some time today to write a post, so here we go…

The prompts are called the Caramel Crunch and so far are centered around a moral question. For your convenience I shall repeat her question.

You have a close friend who you are very fond of who seems to be neglecting their own personal care. When you are with them you notice their dress and grooming is becoming increasingly unkempt and the odour they emit indicates that either they have a medical issue that needs attention or that they are not regular with cleansing their body. What do you do.

That can be quite a difficult one. Maybe try and broach the subject, but with tact?

I had that once with my daughter, when she came here to stay. Your clothes are smelly, I said (OK, not very tactful 😆). It might well have been her shoes, because she tends to wear them without socks and they stink. She duly responded that she thought it was inappropriate for me to say that to her. It probably was. But I said, did she want to hear it from me, or from one of her friends? It pretty much doesn’t matter what I think of her, but it will definitely matter what her friends think.

And that’s the crux of it. I think it is probably a good idea to say something, because you want the best for your friend and it is probably better if it is picked up by you, rather than by somebody else. But, let’s face it, it is not good news so they’re not going to like it. That’s where your tact comes in.

If you mention it, and they confide in you that there is a good reason, then you should offer to help, if you can.

If you mention it, and they stonewall you, what can you do? You can lead a horse to water… You cannot, ultimately, be responsible for somebody else.

The Caramel Crunch (18 April 2020)

Over at Caramel (Learner at Love), CARAMEL has started a new prompt. I’d like to see her prompt do well, and I had some time today to write a post, so here we go…

The prompts are called the Caramel Crunch and so far are centered around a moral question. For your convenience I shall repeat her question.

Your boss is very friendly towards you and very supportive at work. You are grateful because you love your job. But your boss has asked you a number of times if you would like to go out for a drink after work. You are not sure if they are just being friendly or if they perhaps have a romantic interest. Your boss has not done anything inappropriate, but they are persistent in asking you out after work. You are concerned that it might affect the dynamics between you in the workplace. What do you do.

Okay, a couple of things. One, it might already have changed the dynamic, and there’s nothing you can do about it. If somebody is sweet on you, it will change how they behave toward you. That might be nice at first, but what about when they finally say something, and you reject them?

I’m ssuming here that you would reject them. Nothing in your question suggests that you are the slightest bit interested.

Second, I must admit I never wanted to have a relationship with anybody I worked with – I always wanted to keep the two separate. My work suit was my uniform, for that same reason. Work and home. I worked in a very male-dominated profession, so there was never really the opportunity, anyway. Plus, on the flip side, even though my wife and I have very different jobs, there is still common ground, because when you talk about work, what do you talk about? So-and-so is an asshole, right? I bet that happens in every job.

I did tend to socialise with workmates, but never anything romantic, and mostly men in any case.

Sorry I have nothing more to offer.

The Caramel Crunch (11 April 2020)

Over at Caramel (Learner at Love), CARAMEL has started a new prompt. I’d like to see her prompt do well, and I had some time today to write a post, so here we go…

The prompts are called the Caramel Crunch and so far are centered around a moral question. For your convenience I shall repeat her question.

You are in love and the person you have been courting for some time wants to marry you. Although you are very close, there is one main difference in your outlook. One of you believes in a Creator and wants to practice a particular faith. The other does not believe in a Creator and despises all religion. When the two of you talk about beliefs, emotions run high and generally the conversations have to be cut short because it can become hurtful. You realize this may cause challenges, despite the love you share.. What do you do?

This one becomes easy when you start to think about your children. Would either you or your partner want them brought up with your faith (or lack of)? Would either you or your partner be happy that the children would be brought up according to the other person’s faith?

Depending just how high emotions do actually run, I think this scenario makes the problem black or white.

Two people of different religions is not necessarily doomed, however. My wife and I were born into different religions, but since we’d both already rejected them, there was never a problem. My daughter was brought up in a secular manner and if she ever adopts a religion, it will be her choice. Which is exactly how I think it should be.

On the other hand, my cousin was (is?) Protestant Christian and she got together with a Muslim guy. They were together as boyfriend and girlfriend for ten years, all except … his parents did not know! He would not tell them he was seeing somebody outside of the Muslim faith. And for reasons I don’t know (or understand!), she put up with this.

After ten years, he asked her to marry him. Which, for her, entailed not only marrying the guy, but becoming a Muslim, as part of the deal. But she agreed. I attended the wedding, and just as far as being a wedding guest goes, this guy’s mosque were some of the most hospitable people I ever met.

My cousin was not religious, I don’t think. And obviously she had got together with this guy in the first place, and stayed with him all that time, so she must have thought his religion was acceptable. It became more of a problem for the relationship as this guy got more devout over the years. Tony Blair and George Dubya bear a large responsibility for that, I think – their wars created whole generations of Muslims who now have very hardline view of the West – I hope they will one day forgive us.

Anyway, long story short, the guy decided (!) that any offspring they had would have an Islamic education. Which, as far as he was concerned, involved either educating them at a dedicated Muslim school, or educating them in a British school, and supplementing this with three hours tuition in Islam, every evening, Monday to Friday, at the mosque.

I wouldn’t like to speculate what caused the split, but the marriage lasted just two years before they got divorced. Fortunately, my cousin was still childless, because that would have made the separation more complicated.

And these were two people for whom the issue of religion never even came up beforehand, let alone fighting about it!

The Caramel Crunch (4 April 2020)

Over at Caramel (Learner at Love), CARAMEL has started a new prompt. I’d like to see her prompt do well, and I had some time today to write a post, so here we go…

The prompts are called the Caramel Crunch and so far are centered around a moral question. For your convenience I shall repeat her question.

A blogger who has been reading your posts keeps on making rather acrid comments at the end of your posts. They seem to be increasingly critical and making fun of your character. You try to respond in good humour, but the blogger seems to continue with more sarcastic and cutting remarks. What do you do?

Does this actually happen on WordPress? I have found everybody on WordPress is immensely polite. Even where people pick up on something I wrote and disagree with it, it’s never been done done with any nastiness.

So, my first question is, Are you sure they’re being malevolent? I say this because some people have a weird sense of humour. I know if I post something jokily, before I publish I do try to remember to ask myself Could it be misinterpreted? Might they be offended? I have to say that the answer to these will depend on who I’m talking to. I’m more confident when I feel I know how somebody will react. So I might make a different comment to different people. But maybe sometimes the commenter will misjudge this?

I’m not saying that this is acceptable behaviour, but it would change my response. If I thought they were just being clumsy, I’d respond to the effect that their comment was inappropriate.

Okay, if I thought somebody was being malevolent, I’d block them, pure and simple. I’m not even sure what blocking means on WordPress, because I’ve never done it. I wouldn’t censor their comment, but I would reply to the effect that the comment was unacceptable, just so that other readers get the message.

The basic philosophy here is that blogging should be a 100% positive experience. 100% enjoyable. We don’t have to agree with each other, but we can at least disagree in a civilised manner. I don’t think blocking somebody is a particularly negative thing either, you’re simply making the point that you expect a better quality of debate. Let them go find some blogs at their own level.

The other thing here is that I think the old adage applies (I bet Fandango will quote this in his A-Z in a few days 🙂), that if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. I try to live by that; sometimes I even succeed! But if I find a post that I disagree with, I’d like to think I could just walk on by, rather than start a conflict. I hope I do succeed in that, there have been one or two posts/comments, especially on diabetes, that I have concluded are bs, but I don’t think I ever said anything to that effect.

As I’ve already said I have never experienced this on WordPress, but I did on Facebook, which I’ve used off-and-on for more than 10 years. On Facebook, I resolved long ago to block nasty people, and, really, the platform is irrelevant here. I say again, it’s not the disagreement I have a problem with, it’s the nastiness. I’m a silly old duffer who thinks that we can at least communicate civilly with each other.

Now, Caramel, you gonna block me? 🤣

The Caramel Crunch (28 March 2020)

Over at Caramel (Learner at Love), CARAMEL has started a new prompt. I’d like to see her prompt do well, and I had some time today to write a post, so here we go…

The prompts are called the Caramel Crunch and so far are centered around a moral question. For your convenience I shall repeat her question.

You are spending time with a close friend (or perhaps someone you are courting) at a public venue – perhaps at a shop or eating in a restaurant. Your friend is unhappy about the service, but when expressing their complaint, they are very rude to a member of staff. What do you do?

Hmmm…tricky one.

It is definitely a negative thing. But I’m not sure about fatal.

The reason I think it might not be fatal is because it happened when I first met my wife. Similar. We’d ordered an afternoon tea, the waitress screwed up the order (which, being afternoon tea, was pretty straightforward), and my wife was less than kind. Even at the time, I didn’t like it, but I never said anything. Having said that, it was quite belittling but I wouldn’t have described it as very rude. We got over it and twenty years later, we’re still married. I know her well enough now to realise that what I saw was a one-off. And my wife does not know to this day how mad I was at her. Well, I guess she does now, if she reads this post 🙂.

So I guess the question is really is being rude to a waiter/waitress grounds to end something? In my ivory tower, I say yes. In practise, I said no.

Incidentally, my response to that situation would likely be just to be polite, point out the mistake so it can hopefully be rectified, to chalk it up to experience, but at the same time to remember it and probably not go there again.

If it were a friend? I’m sorry, I can’y really conceive of a friend behaving in such a way. Put the other way, if they behaved like that, they wouldn’t be a friend.

I guess this fits, Fandango’s FOWC for yesterday, which was “confession”. Sorry buddy, I didn’t see it and forgot about it, until I saw someone’s response this morning.

The Caramen Crunch (21 March 2020)

Over at Caramel (Learner at Love), CARAMEL has started a new prompt. I’d like to see her prompt do well, and I had some time today to write a post, so here we go…

The prompts are called the Caramel Crunch and so far are centered around a moral question. For your convenience I shall repeat her question.

Your best friend (or someone you are dating) has surprised you by buying tickets to a live entertainment show. As the show starts, you become uncomfortable because you find the entertainment offensive. However, the person who paid for your tickets is clearly enjoying the entertainment a great deal. You decide to wait and see of the tone of the entertainment changes, but it only becomes more and more offensive to you. You friend just seems to be smiling and laughing more and more. What do you do?

Okay, I think the key phrase here is as the show starts.

If you knew you in advance that you were likely not going to enjoy the show, you should have backed out then.

If you wait until the performance starts, then decide, I think you’re probably just going to have to suck it up.

Maybe make a mental note not to go out to “entertainment” with that friend again? If it’s a date, then liking different things sounds quite incompatible to me, whatever attraction there might be.


I’ve been vaguely in this situation myself quite recently. About a year ago, against my better judgement, I agreed to go out to lunch with somebody. I ended up both not enjoying the lunch, and being unable to do the other tasks I had planned for that afternoon because the lunch took so long.

What could I do? I was 10 miles freom home and did not have any transport, so the difference between my situation and this is that I couldn’t really do anything except suck it up.

I think these experiences can happen, but I think we have to learn from them and make sure they never happen twice.

Lots of crunching today 😃

The Caramel Crunch (14 March 2020)

Over at Caramel (Learner at Love), CARAMEL has started a new prompt. I’d like to see her prompt do well, and I had some time today to write a post, so here we go…

The prompts are called the Caramel Crunch and so far are centered around a moral question. For your convenience I shall repeat her question.

You have met someone you really like. There has been some innocent flirting between you and after exchanging phone numbers you have been in contact frequently and been out for a couple of dates. It is still early days though. Your life long best friend tells you that they have met someone and have fallen in love and it turns out to be that same person. Your best friend is a little shy, but they tell you they want to ask the person you have been flirting with out on a date. What do you do?

Okay, let’s take this bit by bit.

Two friends, going out casually with the same partner. I don’t necessarily see a problem there, don’t even think that the partner has an obligation to disclose, but the keyword is casual. I think there is a point at which the partner needs to make a choice – one, the other, or neither, but I certainly think that there is some period of time before that when seeing more than one person is acceptable.

So, you both find out you’ve been dating the same person.

Here’s what I’d like to say:

  • that your friend comes first, that your friend will be your friend long past a partner (mostly). So, the friendship is more important than any relationship.

Here’s what always happened to me (and to my friends):

  • you drop all your friends for the new partner. The reason they are friends is because they somehow accept this, and will be your friend again once the partner is an ex-partner. That is always how it worked out in the real world.

So what do you do in this specific scenario?

I think the question is loaded a bit. Your friend is shy. So perhaps they have more of a problem finding a partner? Also, they are your best friend – so shouldn’t you do everything for each other?

Well, certainly that last part cuts both ways. And as for the first part, if your friend ever found out you acted out of pity, I doubt they’d be your friend much longer.

So, what are the options?

  • You give up the partner so your friend has a clear run. Very possibly, a big loss on your part. I think we meet so few potential life partners that if we think we have found one, we should really follow it through. So, not ideal.
  • Or, your friend does the same. Ditto.
  • Or, maybe you both sit down with the partner? So he chooses one of you? But by forcing the issue, maybe you are just priming the partner up to choose neither of you? So again, the odds seem stacked against you.

I dunno. Is there any way you could carry on seeing this partner, let things run their course with them, and claim ignorance if the **** ever hits the fan? I’ve often found in other situations that it is better appear a little more ignorant than we actually are.

I guess if none of those is an option, you’re choosing between your friend and your partner.

Or, I did see a documentary last year about polyamourous people – they do exist, apparently 🙂.

The Caramel Crunch (7 March 2020)

Over at Caramel (Learner at Love), CARAMEL has started a new prompt. I’d like to see her prompt do well, and I had some time today to write a post, so here we go…

The prompts are called the Caramel Crunch and so far are centered around a moral question. For your convenience I shall repeat her question.

You have fallen in love after courting someone who seems like everything you have ever hoped for in a partner. They want to marry you. However, one of you has a desire to start a family after the wedding, the other has no desire at all and as quite adamant that they do not want to have children. What do you do?

An easy one this week. No ifs, no buts, finish it. 100%.

If you don’t, here’s how it will play out:

If you do have children, one partner will end up blaming the other for taking away their freedom, for clipping their wings, and making them rear a child. It might take years, but the resentment will just build and build.

If you don’t have children, one partner will eventually blame the other for not giving them the offspring they always wanted. And don’t forget, there is a limited window when you are going to have children – all of us). So, it might take until right to the end of this window, but the resentment will just build and build.

Some further observations:

Bringing up children as a couple is immensely hard work.

Bringing up children as a singleton is even harder. But, miraculously, some people are up to it.

Trying to get by with somebody, without children, when you actually want them, will eventually force you to look for somebody else, who will give you children.

Not me, but personal experience, I watched this happen.

Did I say 100%? Misprint. 1000%. If you’re gonna do this, stack the odds as much in your favour as you can. Even if you do, it is still bloody difficult, but the very least you can do is to find a partner who wants the same things as you.