Foul Feast

Dear Annabel Manners, 

I have this awful cousin — let’s call her Trashy Tia. The girl has zero manners. Not only does she brag about how much all her clothes cost (using actual dollar amounts), every other word out of her mouth is f***!
She’s coming to Thanksgiving at my parents’ house. I hate watching my 86-year-old grandmother cringe, and the nieces and nephews are getting big enough to repeat what she says. How do I tell her politely to shut up?
Mallory — San Marino
Dear Mallory,
Swearing in front of children and old people? So gauche!
I suggest you take one for the team and position yourself right across the table from your cousin on Turkey Day.
If you sense that she’s gearing up for a money monologue (eeew), swoop right in and change the subject:
“So Emily, tell us about that wine-tasting weekend. Did you and the girls have fun in Santa Barbara?”
If Trashy Tia drops an F-bomb, force a smile, catch her eye, and say:
“Let’s not teach the little guys that word just yet. What would they learn in elementary school?”
If the boorish behavior persists, ask your cousin to give you a hand in the kitchen. Once you have some privacy, be calm but firm:
“I’m not sure if you can see Grandmother from where you’re sitting, but vulgar language really upsets her. Out of respect for her and for the kids, please tone it down until after dinner.”
I bet she’ll sulk (in silence) for the rest of the meal. And that, Miss Mallory, is something to be thankful for!
Graciously yours,
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