DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is one obligated to participate in the principal activity at a party to which one is invited?
A couple of friends often host hot-tub parties, where all hot-tub bathing is totally nude. I am open-minded and have no objection to others getting into the hot tub together, but I have no desire to join strangers or even some friends in the hot tub myself.
But quite a bit of socializing goes on at the parties outside of the hot tub, and I enjoy that aspect of the parties very much.
The hosts have indicated that no one is required to doff his clothes and jump in, but I wonder. I would very much like to attend the parties and socialize outside of the hot tub. If one were invited to a dinner party, I suppose one would be expected to eat. But if one is invited to a hot-tub party is it socially acceptable to enjoy the party fully clothed and out of the tub?
GENTLE READER: This is not exactly like tagging along on a ski weekend when the only sports you practice are reading and rum toddies. Or going along on a picnic and saying, "Oh, I'd just like to watch" when the touch football game starts.
Miss Manners can think of no respectable social activity in which some people are clothed and others are not. Unless your friends give two-tiered parties, so to speak, where clothed guests gather elsewhere while naked guests are in the tub, you should decline.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband received an invitation to his ex-wife's wedding. The invitation was addressed only to him. He is considering going, and I am hurt that he would honor and support an event of this nature that excludes me.
My husband says people have the right to invite whomever they want to their wedding, and if his ex-wife or anyone else does not like me they probably have a good reason for it. He says he should maintain a good relationship with these people (the kids are all grown). He does not "hang out" with them socially at all. It isn't that I really want to go to the wedding. I feel that leaving my name off the invitation was very rude, and my husband is supporting his ex-wife's rudeness to me. Feelings aside, what is the proper etiquette for inviting a married person to a wedding? Is it appropriate to invite an ex-spouse who has been remarried for over 13 years and not invite his wife?
GENTLE READER: In your place, Miss Manners would be more concerned about that comment of your husband's that "they probably have a good reason" for not liking you. Unless his explanation is "because the contrast is so unfavorable to her," both of you should stay home, worrying not about other people's marriages, but your own.