DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a 24-year-old man, married two years to a wonderful, sweet, caring, compassionate, funny and all-around awesome lady. These are the reasons why I married her.
She is also drop-dead gorgeous. I'm not.
I can take some lighthearted kidding about that; I even kid about it myself. However, there are always some guys at work, parties, etc., who ask me about our sex life and why she married me over a nicer-looking guy.
I would never discuss this with anyone but my wife or perhaps a doctor, and find these questions appalling. I usually just mutter "Umm, that's a bit private," but all I get are more questions, laughter, etc. I know these guys think they are just being my "buddy," but I think they are acting disgusting. What should I say?
GENTLE READER: "What are you talking about? She tells me all the time how good-looking I am."
Miss Manners suggests pausing for a minute to let them think about that, because your buddies don't sound too swift. If no light goes on, you will have to add, "You mean it's not true? Then why would she say that? Do you think it's possible that maybe she just thinks so because she loves me? That ever happen to any of you?"
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My friend's daughter is getting married a year from now. When I mentioned what the groom's family is responsible for, such as flowers for the attendants and the rehearsal dinner, she said, "Oh no, they are also responsible traditionally for all the alcohol served at the reception."
I realize that nowadays a lot of mothers of the bride expect and ask the groom's family for help, but to me that is not as it should be. So, can you settle the argument regarding the alcohol?
GENTLE READER: Miss Manners fears that this situation is not going to get any better. You are all guessing wrong about something that is in a state of flux, and which requires goodwill and cooperation.
Your friend is in error about the alcohol -- does "his folks buy the booze" sound like a rule of etiquette to you? But you are wrong both about what the tradition was and about condemning it for having changed.
Traditionally, the bridegroom's parents paid for nothing. The bridegroom himself paid for the bride's bouquet and ring, boutonnieres for his groomsmen and the officiant's fee. All the entertaining expenses, including the rehearsal dinner, were borne by the bride's parents.
This may always have been unfair, but there was some thought of it as a last gesture before turning over all the bride's expenses forever to the bridegroom. At any rate, we now have been sensibly moving toward equalizing the situation, and it has become customary for the bridegroom's parents to give the rehearsal dinner.
Above all, it should be remembered that we are not talking here about a business deal, where certain parties receive certain assessments, but about families.