DEAR MISS MANNERS: I'm sure you are aware of how many young African-American teens greet each other with a certain racial slur. I am an African-American man whose two fine sons tell me this is OK because they are both of the same race.
I say it is offensive no matter what. When anyone uses this term in my home, they must leave. I will personally escort them out and take them back home if I need to.
This is fine for my son's friends, but recently I had a friend from work come over for dinner and use this term to greet my sons. I calmly told him that was not allowed and he would have to leave. He did, and we haven't spoken since.
Did I do the right thing? My wife is so embarrassed and said I shouldn't have said anything. My sons say I did the right thing, and are happy that I treated my friend the same way I have treated their friends. Was I rude? What should I have done?
GENTLE READER: Miss Manners is with you in considering this slur unacceptable no matter who says it. She is with you in refusing to tolerate its being used in your house. She is with you in your policy of treating your sons' guests and your guests alike.
But she will not accompany you as you approach your door with guests in tow.
Ejecting a guest from your house is the severest permissible punishment you can inflict. As you discovered, it entirely severs the relationship. Your sons may be able to patch up their friendships using the child's privilege of blaming parents, but any cordiality you had with your children's friends is also broken.
Had any of these people meant to be insulting, such action would have been justified and the break-ups welcomed.
But, even in criminal court, motivation is taken into consideration in rendering judgment. As your sons have explained, the word is not uncommonly used by those of the same race, sometimes with the explanation that this takes the sting out of it.
Now, wait. Miss Manners has already said that she agrees that it is nevertheless unacceptable and that you shouldn't have to put up with it in your house. But it would have been sufficient for you to say, "We don't use that word in this house." If a guest then argued, or failed to apologize, that would be the time to expel him.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have never been able to find any information on renewing the wedding vowels.
I am not referring to a 40th or 50th reunion. I just went to a bridal shower and a white-gown affair for a couple married two years ago in a courthouse. I can understand wanting to re-do it in a church, but a bridal shower? Another gift for the wedding and a money-dance at the reception? RSVPs were mailed to the already-a-bride.
Am I old fashioned, or is Miss Manners gasping also? What are the etiquette rules?
GENTLE READER: Forgive Miss Manners for skewering you with a simple typographical error, but "wedding vowels" is right. Ooo! and Aaaa! is what your friends had in mind: sounds they wished you to make in admiration of them and to inspire them to make when they receive your successive presents.
You should have declined the invitations. However, it may help you to know that presents are not traditionally considered obligatory for a second wedding -- even, perhaps especially, if the second wedding is a repeat of the first.