DEAR MISS MANNERS: Please comment on being expected to wait for a scheduled visit while your host has her nails and hair done or sees a chiropractor. This has occurred on several occasions and has caused a rift in a 25-year-old friendship.
I always clear my calendar of personal appointments when guests are visiting for the weekend. Others have not accorded me this courtesy.
These are not spur-of-the-moment visits but planned ahead by several weeks. On the last occasion we had plans to take a short trip and to stop at several places along the way. We discussed what time to leave and decided that whenever we were ready we would depart. I had taken two vacation days for this trip.
I was informed that morning that we could not leave until a personal appointment had been completed and therefore we would not be able to make the stops we discussed. The person in question is recently retired. I have a total of 10 vacation days a year.
GENTLE READER: In the interest of preserving a 25-year friendship, Miss Manners is trying hard to find a reasonable explanation for this behavior. Never has she been so tempted to go against her own rule that prohibits declaring that everyone who behaves badly is deeply troubled and should be packed off to a therapist and leave her alone.
This leaves her trying to imagine a hair or nail emergency of such magnitude that no one suffering it could be expected to have time to consider anyone else. She is afraid that she cannot do it.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: When my sister was recently engaged, I asked what she and her fiance would like me to send for a wedding gift. She responded that since they have everything they need, they are asking everyone to donate to an account that would be used in one of two ways: to save injured animals that would otherwise have to be euthanized, and for an environmental charity that her fiance would choose.
Imagine my surprise when she thanked everyone at the reception for the donations they had made, and said the money would be split three ways: for their honeymoon, for an environmental charity, and for saving animals. I think she was deceptive and should not use any of the money for personal enjoyment after specifically stating that it would be used for charitable causes.
GENTLE READER: You young ladies weren't paying attention when your parents tried to teach you the spirit of giving, were you? Miss Manners notices that you each missed an essential point.
Your sister should have remembered that time she scooped up Daddy's spare change and then argued that he shouldn't be mad because she spent it on candy for a poor little girl who didn't have any. The lesson was that there is nothing generous about spending other people's money.
You should remember the times you went to a birthday party clutching a present and kept clutching it after the birthday child had hold of the other end. That lesson was that when making a present, the donor has to relinquish control over it.
Thus, the whole charade -- your sister's claiming to be giving to charity when she is only coercing others to do so, and your claiming that she has thwarted you from giving to charity, when you were making her a present -- is ridiculous. If you and your sister and her fiance want to support good works, why don't you just go ahead and do it, rather than trying to launder money through their wedding?