DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a recent law school graduate who just attended a dinner honoring a federal judge on a very special occasion. I was seated at a table filled with very important people, including one very, very important person who was also the keynote speaker.
This gentleman noticed my intimidation and responded by seating me next to him and frequently making efforts to include me in the conversation. I held up my end of the bargain as best I could by being as sparkling a conversationalist as I am able, but I recognize that I got the better end of the bargain.
I would like to thank this gracious man for helping me through an awkward social situation. I have never written such a thank you letter, however, and do not know the proper tone and content for the letter -- or whether a letter of this type is even appropriate. I would hate for him to think me a sycophant or, worse yet, secretly in search of employment.
GENTLE READER: Then don't enclose your resume. If he wants to hire you, he'll request it.
Miss Manners has no idea who your VVIP is, but she can tell you several things about him:
-- He believes in manners.
-- He comes across a great many people who do not have any.
-- He assumes that every young lawyer has an eye out for a better job.
-- He has his eye out for better young employees.
-- He would appreciate a letter expressing nothing more than your gratitude for his graciousness.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My friend of many years' daughter is getting married this summer, a "second time around" wedding for both parties, and the same persons who were invited to her first wedding will most likely be invited to this one. My husband has already balked and said there is no way he is going to the wedding and give her another gift.
I have not said anything, as my friend has asked me to help her out with the rehearsal dinner, which will be at the couple's house, and from what I hear it is going to be an all-out wedding. Please clarify for me the proper etiquette for this situation, as I believe I will find myself in a similar situation with one of my daughters very soon.
GENTLE READER: Why do you think that etiquette has traditionally discouraged repeat, all-out weddings?
Just to be mean, Miss Manners supposes. Well, no. It is to avoid exactly the reaction this provoked in your husband.
It is not just the matter of giving a present. People who have already witnessed someone taking eternal vows she didn't keep may feel like suckers being asked to do so again.
Or they may not. Miss Manners believes that all divorces are the result of unforeseeable tragedy and subsequent weddings are final ones. It is therefore not she but the prospective wedding guests on whose tolerance a lavish event depends.
But since your husband feels that way, Miss Manners would think it a kindness for you to make a graceful excuse for him and to keep his feelings in mind when planning your daughter's wedding. A simple wedding can be just as festive and even more elegant.