DEAR MISS MANNERS: Last year, one of my good friends got married, and, although my friends and I were all part of an intimate group, all of the men got invited but none of the women. My friend explained this by telling us that his fiancee did not want us there.
I admit I did not take this well, but I did not know her very well, and I see no reason to hold a grudge. Here is where the question arises: I saw my friend and his wife at my place of employment, and, after a few minutes of talking to him, I mistook her for someone else. How do I apologize for that? She was polite, but I am sure that I offended her.
GENTLE READER: Much as Miss Manners hates to be less angelic than her Gentle Readers, she very definitely does see a reason to hold a grudge against someone who so explicitly and rudely made clear her desire not to know you. That you, in fact, did not know her strikes Miss Manners as a reasonable consequence.
However, if you insist upon out-manners-ing Miss Manners, you could issue this lady an invitation, saying, "I'm sorry I mistook you. I really do want to get to know you better." If this does not gain you a friend, it will at least gain you a reason for holding a grudge.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I entertain a fair amount, particularly during the summer months (we have a pool), and we have hosted several pre-wedding occasions (showers and bachelor parties), which we also enjoy greatly. Our friends are very generous in often bringing food items to share at these occasions.
A minor irritant is that after these types of occasions, I often find several platters, plates or other crockery items which were left behind (usually because there was still food on them) and which are not labeled with the owners' names. As much as I can, I try to remember who brought the particular item and endeavor to return the platter to its rightful owner. However, if a particularly large party was held, it is usually impossible to remember exactly who brought what.
Is it my responsibility to track down the owners, or should I wait until they discover the item is missing and remember that it was brought to my house? I still have several plates on hand from our first barbecue/pool party that was held right after we moved into our house four years ago. I should mention that the matter of space is sometimes an issue, as I do not have unlimited storage space to keep these platters indefinitely.
GENTLE READER: Miss Manners is inspired to invent a new social form: The platter party. This is where you invite all your friends who have kindly contributed food to your parties, insist that this time you will provide all the food, and then make them pick out their platters to take home.