DEAR MISS MANNERS: It seems the latest styles for women's tops and blouses is to have cleavage bulging out. My husband was very uncomfortable with his grown daughter and her nightie during a recent outing.
As soon as she was out the door, he made a comment to me that he was uncomfortable, trying to keep his eyes above board.
Now, with another holiday approaching, the ex-wife will join in with her cleavage-busting attire. Any comments? I find it amusing.
GENTLE READER: Good. Because second wives should never comment on the taste of first wives. It forfeits their chances to appear ladylike when the first wives badmouth them.
But children, even grown-up children, are different. Your husband need not have waited until his daughter was out the door -- not in her nightie, Miss Manners trusts -- to say something. Such as, "Honey, please put on a robe -- you're embarrassing me."
DEAR MISS MANNERS: When my daughter got married eight years ago, my brother, his wife and five children came cross-country to be at the wedding. My daughter had wanted an evening, formal reception with no children invited.
I thought it rude, however, that after the sacrifice of time and much money to be at her wedding, she would not consider having my nieces and nephews there. So, my daughter conceded to my wishes and allowed the five children to attend the reception.
This May, one of those children is getting married. My daughter, her husband and three children were planning to attend the wedding. Then we found out that no children are invited to the reception -- because if all the children of the guests were invited, it would be chaos and expensive.
These are the same reasons my daughter didn't want children at her wedding. She had to explain to wedding guests why there were five children at the reception when all other children were not allowed to attend.
My daughter feels the bride should do the same for her.
She feels that her three children should be allowed to attend the reception simply to reciprocate the good will my daughter showed her family.
After all, how many other guests will be traveling 3,000 miles and purchasing five airline tickets, and a week's hotel stay to attend the wedding? Babysitting will also be a problem since my daughter's policy is not to leave her children with people they don't know. And my son-in-law is not happy about spending this kind of money to sit in a hotel room with his children during the reception!
GENTLE READER: As Miss Manners understands this, your daughter had specific reasons for not wanting children at her wedding reception, and was embarrassed afterwards because some were allowed and others not. So she discounts her cousin's having the same reasons, and feels that she should risk the same embarrassment. (Miss Manners, in turn, discounts your argument that no other children would be eligible, unless you heard this from the hosts.)
Now, there are arguments to be made both for and against the presence of children at weddings. Miss Manners happens to believe that reasonably well-behaved ones add to the occasion, but she has heard that there is such a thing as a badly behaved child.
However, she does not care for that argument that the bride's childhood appearance created a debt that must now be paid. If your daughter is going to plead for an exception, she would be better advised to gush to the bride about how delightful it was to have children at her wedding and reminisce about how beautiful and well mannered her little cousin was.