DEAR MISS MANNERS: The wedding invitations of a relative of mine who has requested my assistance are in the process of being created but are being held up because of the desire to accommodate all parties concerned.
The bride's mother is divorced and remarried. Both the mother and father of the bride, whose relationship is, at best, tense, are participating in the wedding, both financially and physically. Traditional wedding invitation formats recommend that the bride's mother's name appear first and, of course, as spelled out using her new husband's name (Mrs. Timothy Trover), which is not setting well with the ex-husband or the bride, mostly because of the placement of the name but also because it acknowledges the remarriage.
Are there any recommendations that you can give?
GENTLE READER: That no one, but especially not those preparing to enter marriage, should take up the hobby of deciding whether or not to acknowledge other people's legal marriages, however distasteful they may find them. It sets a bad precedent.
Courtesy does require that the lady's name appear first and cannot help what that lady's name happens to be.
No, wait. The bride, or whoever is on best terms with the mother, can attempt to persuade her to use the modern formal construction, "Ms. Tabitha Trover." Miss Manners only suggests that the reason for this proposal not be mentioned.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a successful professional, married, and the mother of two young adults, and I am constantly accosted in public as I go about my business.
As I use a motorized wheelchair, some people seem to feel free to make rather personal comments whenever they wish. I am not sure how to respond to comments ranging from the vacuous ("Bless your heart") to the jocular ("No speeding, now, you'll get a ticket!") to the downright rude, which I do not intend to repeat. On occasion, someone makes so bold as to touch me!
I generally try to ignore these morons, but I find it trying at times. I don't want to descend to their level, but I want to find a way to let them know they have offended me. I will confess reluctantly that when touched by a stranger, I have told them to stop in a loud, clear voice. Was I wrong?
My family is very aware of my feelings on this subject. When an airline employee approached my husband and said, "We want to load her on first," my husband got up and walked away, and I said, "Why don't you try speaking directly to me?"
I got an immediate apology. I may have been rude, but it certainly felt good!
GENTLE READER: You seem to be afflicted with the common delusion that being rude makes people feel good. Miss Manners assures you that being rude makes people feel terrible -- either because their consciences bother them, or, more commonly nowadays, because rude people they provoke retaliate in kind -- or worse.
The reason you felt good is that you made a perfectly reasonable request in an apparently civil fashion. Sounding an alarm to ward off any physical overtures from strangers is also permissible.
Miss Manners regrets that a hearty "mind your own business" is not permissible, because there are so many people who apparently need to be told. Simply continuing to go about your business without acknowledging those who make jokes or confer blessings is the dignified way to deal with impertinent strangers.