Newport Manners + Etiquette: Fertility Etiquette

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


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Fertility etiquette is the big buzz for both genders this season. Is it spring fever?

You know spring fever is finally in the air when the old boxers vs. briefs debate raises its head. Fertility Etiquette is the big buzz for both genders this season. In the aftermath of a tornado, a teacher wants to know the right etiquette for comforting a student. All questions to Didi Lorillard at Newport Manners this week, along with what to wear when the invitation says Newport Casual.

Should you be freezing your eggs?

Dear Didi,

My father died when my youngest sister was very young and I've always been a kinda' dad to her along with being her much older brother. The family is concerned about her future with her longtime boyfriend. He doesn't seem to want children, but if she's insistent, he says he wants to wait until he's in his late 40s before having any. We're concerned if she waits until then, she could be very disappointed if she couldn't have kids. For him that wouldn't be a big deal. For my "kid" sister, who's no longer a kid, it is a big deal. She would be a great mother and she should get the chance. She's always been a really wonderful, caring aunt to her siblings' kids, spending time with them, babysitting, going to their ice hockey, baseball and soccer games. How do we approach her without being confrontational. After all, it really is none of our business. Name Withheld, Providence

Dear Sir,

It isn't any of your business. Nevertheless, it sounds as though your family feels helpless and wants to offer an edict. Remind your kid sister that strong, long-lasting relationships always entail constantly making compromises and the sooner their compromises start, the sooner the two of them will get down to the nitty-gritty of being a couple. Suggest by saying, "As a kinda' surrogate dad, I think you and Jake should make a compromise about the issue of having children. Tell him you want to look into having your eggs frozen so that you will have the option of having a child when you two are ready." Then at the end of that discussion suggest that he freezes some of his sperm just to be safe. That dear reader, is the best you can do.  ~Didi

Teacher's response to the death of a student's parent

Dear Didi,

Do you attend a funeral for a parent of a student you teach (I am an art teacher), if you did not know the parent? There is a faculty posting for the service and I would like to show support for the children who came through my classroom. Also, is it appropriate to give or send a sweet note/care package to the student?  J.B., Moore, Oklahoma

Dear J.B.,

This would be all about your student. Not about the parent you didn't know. The bereft child needs to look around and be reassured that there are still people in his world who will make eye contact with him/her. The more familiar faces the child recognizes at the service, the more comfortable they'll feel. Especially if he/she has to get up and say something or stand in a receiving line.

It would be best not to take anything to give him/her to the service because then it will have to be carried around and perhaps lost. But sending a sympathy card to the house is always a thoughtful gesture. Children, especially, feel neglected as well as abandoned when a parent dies. That said, be cautious because as honorable as your intentions may be, you wouldn't send a "sweet note/care package" to a child older than eight for fear that it could be misinterpreted.  ~Didi

Please don't wear tighty-whities

Dear Didi,

I can't believe my boyfriend wears tighty-whities. As much as I love him, it is such a turnoff seeing big letters on the wide waistband spelling out Ralph Lauren every time he bends over or takes off his trousers. I've given him more tasteful, manly boxer shorts, but he never wears them. How do I politely tell him his tighty-whities are a buzzkill?  J.D., Manhattan

Dear J.D.,

First, ask him why he wears briefs instead of boxers. He may feel he needs the firmer support he gets from the brief. Or is it a fashion statement? The old boxers vs. briefs debate is ongoing. Anderson Cooper says most guys wear both and statistics back him up showing the number of men who wear briefs and who wear boxers is too close to call, but a third more men are wearing boxer-briefs (which I personally find are even more of a buzzkill), but twice as many men are still going commando. 

Unless, your boyfriend is wearing briefs because he's not interested in being fertile (briefs raise body temperature and prevent sperm survival), a man planning to have a family one day wears boxers or goes commando. Maybe you and he should talk about fashion vs. health.  ~Didi

Dress code for 'Newport Casual'

Our son-in-law is throwing a surprise B-day party for his wife and has requested 'Newport Casual' attire. We aren't certain what this is. Is business casual close?? A.R., Washington, DC

Dear A.R.,

'Newport Casual' means the men would wear ties and jackets, although they wouldn't necessarily have to wear socks, especially with loafers. The dress code 'Business Casual' would include wearing socks. Out of respect for 'the birthday girl,' the men should wear ties and jackets, both of which can casually be removed when the dancing begins.  ~Didi

We like hearing from you at and if we use your question, we're happy to post it anonymously. Didi researches etiquette and all matters of manners for her book, "Newport Etiquette," and her column for "Newport This Week." Or you can ask a question on Didi Lorillard's Facebook page or Twitter. Prior weekly GoLocalProv columns are listed below and can also be accessed through search. 


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