Q  My husband and I are separated while we think about whether we have a future together. Do we continue to wear our wedding rings, or not?

A  This is your choice, but since the goal of a separation is to live apart while working out problems, in hopes of reconciliation, and since you still are married, it would be usual for you both to continue to wear your wedding rings.

Q  To celebrate the end of summer, with fall upon us, we’re serving lobsters at an upcoming dinner party. Should we just pull them out of the pot and put them on plates, or should we do anything to help our guests tackle their lobster?

A  It’s great if you first crack the claws at all points, split the tail in half, and remove the intestines before serving. Your guests should each be provided with individual nutcrackers or shellfish crackers to finish the process, and with seafood forks for extracting the meat. Provide a large bowl or platter so your guests can discard their empty shells as they go, giving them more room on their plates. It’s nice to provide finger bowls with hot water and lemon slices or packets of wet wipes for hand cleaning at the end of the meal, since eating a whole lobster definitely involves using one’s hands and a napkin doesn’t do the trick.

Q  I travel overnight frequently on business and often eat alone. I’m uncomfortable just sitting there, so is it OK for me to read during dinner?

A  Yes, it’s fine. When you are alone it helps pass the time, isn’t rude, and gives you something to do since you don’t have to carry on a conversation.

Q  I was standing with a group of people I didn’t know very well and one of them started in with derogatory comments about people of another race. It was awful. What should I have said to stop this?

A  You can say that you find those remarks objectionable and don’t want to listen to them, and then walk away. Or you can say, “Let’s not continue this discussion” and introduce another subject. By not saying anything and remaining in the group you are condoning or accepting the comments. If you find it hard to clearly state that the person’s remarks are objectionable to you, you can say, “Well, we’ll have to agree to disagree on this topic. Excuse me,” and then walk away.

Q  Do my daughter’s fiancé’s parents have to be included in the receiving line at the wedding reception? They aren’t paying for anything so I don’t think they should be greeting people as if they were co-hosts.

A  Weddings are all about the joining of two families, so of course they should be in the receiving line! The receiving line isn’t a billboard that says “we paid for this,” it’s an opportunity to greet all the guests and show unity and support for the bride and groom.

Questions for Catherine? Send them to [email protected]