What's your problem?

I've been invited to an industry conference that includes a gala dinner in the evening at the Savoy hotel in London. The invitation says we can bring a guest. I'm single at the moment and want to take my father.

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Since my mother died, he doesn't really get out much and I'm sure he'd like going up to the city for a swish dinner. Do you think it would be OK if I brought him, or is that a bit sad? I'm worried people will think I'm a bit of a teenager. I'm 34.

A I think it's a wonderful idea - and once you've run through a brief mental checklist, I'd urge you to go for it.

First thing: don't give more than a moment's thought to what other people may think of you. Maybe they'll think: 'Poor old Sonia, hasn't got a man of her own so had to bring her Dad', or 'Poor little Sonia, still needs her Daddy to hold her hand'. But the chances are, they'll think none of those things.

The person that you've got to consider more carefully is your father. To him, the prospect of going to a swish dinner might seem wonder-fully exciting, but the reality could be a bit of a nightmare - particularly if he's surrounded by a bunch of well-oiled bond salesmen, all of them about 40 years younger than him, and indulging in the completely incomprehensible banter of bond salesmen.

So the obvious point - which I'm sure you've thought through - is this. Just be sure in your own mind that there'll be a few compatible companions nearby, and that your father will be able, naturally and comfortably, to join in the conversation and not just sit there in mute and miserable isolation.

Jeremy Bullmore has been creative director and chairman of J Walter Thompson London and a non-executive director of both the Guardian Media Group and WPP. Address your problems to Jeremy Bullmore at: editorial@mtmagazine.co.uk. Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.

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