DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have accepted the honor of being a bridesmaid in a same-sex (female) wedding. We need advice on the appropriate dress for everyone involved.
Both women are young professionals who usually dress in what is now called "business casual." Neither of them likes the idea of getting married with both of them in wedding gowns, both in tuxedos or one in each. No one else in the wedding party has come up with a good idea, and, of course, our dress will depend on theirs.
GENTLE READER: You didn't ask Miss Manners to consult tradition here, but that is what she is going to do. And not recent tradition, either.
They should dress up. This is not a casual event. But neither is it a costume party, and much of today's bridal regalia is dangerously close to resembling that. Traditionally, people simply wore their best clothes for the occasion and did not concern themselves with dressing for roles. Suits are always suitable, and Miss Manners leaves it to them whether either or both suits should have trousers or skirts.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My son and daughter-in-law occasionally send me a selection of precooked meals from a famous company that specializes in gourmet foods. I know they mean well, and I am very appreciative of their thoughtfulness and generosity, as I live alone and work at two jobs in order to be independent and meet my living expenses. Also, I am not young, and most nights when I come home from work, I have neither the desire nor the energy to cook a decent meal for myself.
These gifts, which sometimes contain up to 12 dinners, are quite expensive, and although my son can afford such occasional gifts, I feel they are wasting their hard-earned money. The reason is that I do not care for their selection; they choose items that contain too much spice and seasoning (I have ulcers) and sometimes meat (I have high cholesterol).
I would be so grateful if they would send only vegetable dishes (this company's catalog shows nice-looking potatoes, spinach dishes, etc.), but how can I possibly tell them after all this time that I could not eat what they have sent me? Last week, I gave my dog an entire pot roast that was seasoned with garlic (which I do not like). The week before, my dog enjoyed Italian-style chicken breasts for dinner four nights in a row.
I love my son and his wife and do not want to upset them. How can I get them to continue to send me such wonderful gifts but change their selection? I do not want to appear ungrateful or presumptuous.
GENTLE READER: Your son and daughter-in-law do need some feedback, as it were, about the dinners they are sending. They need to know that you are getting proper nutrition. Miss Manners has the feeling that more than one loving motivation went into selecting this present.
What they do not need to know is that you dislike the meals. When a present is unsatisfactory, it is up to the recipient to make whatever adjustments are possible without troubling the giver. It should be a simple matter for you to call the company and change the order to something you would enjoy, and probably better for the dog, too.