DEAR AMY: I attended a wedding recently and was shocked to see that the groom's stepmother and her daughter were both wearing solid-white-and-cream-colored dresses.
Call me old-fashioned, but I was taught by my mother that no one wears white to a wedding.
It is the bride's special day to shine and that color is reserved for her, right?
Has the etiquette regarding this changed? I can understand an unknowing guest accidentally wearing white, but members of the family who are so prominently displayed with the wedding party?
At first I thought I was the only one shocked by this, but everyone sitting at my table at dinner seemed equally horrified.
I was even more shocked when I learned that the stepmother is a knowledgeable event planner.
If it was a deliberate attempt to show up the bride, it failed miserably.
— Shocked in Seattle
DEAR SHOCKED: To answer your queries: This should not rise to the level of "shocking," much less horrifying.
A basic rule of etiquette has been broken, however. By you.
It is unkind, ungenerous, and — yes — rude for you to judge what color clothing family members choose to wear at a wedding at which you are an invited guest.
Leave the unkind fashion assessments to Joan Rivers on the red carpet. She wears this sort of mock horror well.
You? Not so much.
I can't brand you "old-fashioned," because I associate old-fashioned people with more positive qualities and values than you display here.
DEAR AMY: I have a couple of friends who often telephone me from their workplaces.
During the course of our conversations, I can hear them typing furiously at their keyboards.
Their comments are very distracted-sounding and vague, so I can tell they aren't really into our conversation, even though it's about a topic they initiated. After all, they made the call!
I believe their typing while talking to me is incredibly rude.
If they type for more than a few minutes in duration, I say, "It sounds like you're really busy. Why don't you call me back when you have a few minutes free?"
They'll say, "No, it's fine," and then continue!
Is this acceptable behavior? I know we are in a multitasking society, but I would like to think that my friends are focused on their conversations with me, whether they are in person or on the telephone.
I liken this behavior to talking with someone face to face and having them pull out their smartphone while we're chatting to read a text message they just received.
Am I overreacting?
— Frustrated Friend
DEAR FRUSTRATED: While you might be overreacting a little, I agree with you that this is definitely annoying — certainly when the offender is the one who placed the phone call.
I have a friend who once insisted that I stop leafing through a catalog while engaged in an in-person conversation with her. I maintained that I could both leaf and listen, but in retrospect I completely understand how it seemed to her — like I was browsing.
I learned something that day, and I haven't done it again.
When a person has initiated a conversation, the least that person can do is to give it her full attention.
But here's the great thing about a good friendship. Just as my friend once corrected me, you get to say, "It drives me crazy to hear you typing while we're talking. Can you either stop or call me back after work?"
DEAR AMY: "Going Solo" was reconsidering her life without children, and I liked that you offered foster care as an option.
I work in the foster care field and know a ton of wonderful kids who need good homes with parents who are in it for the right reasons.
So many of these kids need to know what a family looks like and know that someone will have them for the long term and not be just another stop on the road.
DEAR LYNNE: According to the most recent government report, 400,540 children are currently in foster care in this country. This staggering statistic should inspire "Going Solo" to go less solo.
Send questions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Amy Dickinson's memoir, The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town that Raised Them (Hyperion), is available in bookstores.