DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am in need of advice on birth announcements. My husband died a year ago October. Using embryos we previously had frozen, I became pregnant and am due with our daughter at the end of May.
Throughout my pregnancy it has been very important to me that when people learn I am pregnant that they know that my late husband is the father -- a sometimes difficult thing to explain for people unfamiliar with current infertility procedures.
I've seen wedding announcements where a deceased parent is recognized. I would like to recognize my late husband on my daughter's birth announcement. Can you recommend a way that I might do this that considers my unusual situation?
GENTLE READER: Devoted as she is to tradition, Miss Manners is reluctant to admit that there can be situations so new that precedent is useless. There have been posthumous children born throughout history, especially during wartime. (True, the time gap is new -- although she seems to recall queen consorts who claimed succession for children born rather long after the monarchs who fathered them were deceased.)
However, the more recent and relevant example you mention is a tricky one. Wedding announcements should indeed include deceased parents, but sentiment has also misled people into putting their names on wedding invitations. The effect of being invited by someone characterized as "the late" is unfortunately confusing and creepy.
A third-person announcement is difficult, but if you styled yourself "Mrs. Kevin Demott" and announced the birth of your and your late husband's daughter, it would get across the essential idea. A first-person note is a better way to announce a birth anyway, and makes it easy to mention that the baby is yours and your late husband's. In no type of birth announcement is it proper to deal with the conception, so please omit the part about the frozen embryo.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is it just me, or is there a trend out there wherein young (age 20 to 40), single, professional women host their own birthday parties at fashionable restaurants and then expect the invitees to pay for her (the birthday girl's) meal?
I have two female friends who have done this recently and upon further research and reflection I realize that they have both done this in recent years past. I thought -- silly me -- that you were supposed to wait for someone to ask you out to lunch or dinner on your birthday, not the other way around.
I have never known a man to do this.
This practice of a woman asking out her friends (both male and female) with the tacit or not-so-tacit assumption that she deserves to be treated at the end of the meal strikes me and a few of my friends as a bit tacky. I am tempted to politely decline the next time I am invited to a similar birthday dinner.
GENTLE READER: There certainly has been a trend toward blatant greed, with an emphasis on planning treats for oneself and demanding that others pay for them. If you have particularly noticed it among unmarried ladies, perhaps it is because they feel cheated of the opportunity to follow this unattractive practice by demanding wedding and baby showers.
By all means decline such non-invitations. Barring a revival of modesty and reticence, which Miss Manners believes to be unfortunately unlikely, the only thing that will stop this is a polite refusal to submit.