DEAR MISS MANNERS: Could you kindly advise on how to graciously, efficiently and politely cancel a party (dinner, cocktails) on the day of the party when treacherous driving conditions make it a hazard to venture out on the roads? Should the hostess or the guest call to cancel?
GENTLE READER: "Graciously, efficiently and politely" is not enough in this case. Miss Manners is afraid that it is also necessary to sound panicky. Either guest or host may accomplish this with the proper tone of hysteria.
"I don't know what to do," the guest wails. "I was so looking forward to this evening, and now we're afraid to risk it because the streets are all ice and they're issuing warnings."
The host's version is, "I've been agonizing, because I'm dying to see you, but I simply can't let you endanger yourself by coming out in this weather. We'll do it another time."
Then they can both settle down for a cozy hot toddy in their respective homes.