DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was engaged within the past couple of months, and unfortunately I'm already dealing with a minor issue. I had already picked out my matron of honor, but I didn't want to ask her until the engagement was officially announced and the planning stage was well underway.
Little did I know that my friend and her husband were looking at the possibility of moving to a location that's a 17-hour drive away from where I live. When I found out, I mentioned to my friend that I wanted her to be my matron of honor, but that I had doubts that she would be able to help out or be able to participate in some of the preparation (such as looking for a wedding dress).
She stated that being chosen to be the matron of honor was an honor, and that if need be she would drive here to help out. I still had my concerns, but decided since the move wasn't definite that I would go ahead with my choice.
Now the move is more definite and my doubts about her availability to help out and participate have become more pronounced. I find myself wondering if I shouldn't choose another to be the matron of honor.
I don't really want to choose someone else, since I already have asked her, and I feel that would be an insult. At the same time, I would hate to put such a strain on her and her family by making her drive all the way to where I live to help out with wedding plans. Unfortunately, my financial status and hers won't allow for the purchase of plane tickets, so I'm kind of at a loss as to what to do.
I guess with all that said, I would like to know if it would be wrong of me to choose another person to be my matron of honor after already asking someone else.
GENTLE READER: Apparently, you are not the only bride who looks at the term "maid of honor" (or, in this case, matron) and decides that "maid," rather than "honor," is the defining term.
Miss Manners' mail is filled with pleas for help from poor young ladies who find themselves in indentured servitude after being so chosen. And some of them weren't poor before the brides ordered them to spend lavishly on wedding-related clothes, travel and entertainment -- in addition to waiting upon their best friends, who have suddenly become their non-paying employers.
This is a perversion of the position. The only lady's maid tasks are at the wedding itself, and consist of such fussing as straightening the bride's train at the altar, holding her bouquet during the ceremony, and handing her a tissue during the reception when her cheeks are streaked with guests' lipstick.
Whatever else she may choose to do -- not, please note, what the bride tells her to do -- should come from her being the bride's closest friend, allowing for her own particular circumstances.
So it would indeed be an insult to tell her that she can no longer be your best friend if she is not available for errands. What you should be telling her is that you would love to have her along for the preliminaries, but all that really matters to you is that she stand with you at the altar.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is it rude to wear headphones and listen to a baseball game while attending the game with others?
Often it is helpful and informative to hear the radio announcers describe what I am watching. But my husband feels it is rude to listen and not engage in conversation with him during the game.
GENTLE READER: Spectatorship can properly be an individual or a team sport, but not both at the same time. If your husband's sociability interferes with your enjoyment of the game, Miss Manners suggests that you attend alone and that he find more compatible companions with whom to attend.