DEAR MISS MANNERS: A woman I thought was my friend lost her husband about two months ago. They had tickets to an event I was dying to see, but we just didn't have the connections she did, I guess.
Then after Tony died I figured she wouldn't ?be going. I called her and told her I knew it wouldn't be the same going by herself so, rather than waste the tickets, my George has a tuxedo. She seemed ?to appreciate my offer and said, "And you are volunteering George?"
I went to a lot of trouble to get ready. I had my hair, nails and everything ?done. George rented a tux. When we went by her place to pick up the tickets, there she was in an evening dress. She thought I was going to let her date my husband!
Instead of saying she was sorry for the mix-up, she said that ?since she was going to be putting the extra ticket at the box office in case ?somebody needed it, she'd better leave. Then she put us out the door.
George ?says the polite thing would have been to let him just escort her. HA! I know ?how widows are. Inasmuch as she didn't have the good grace to let us use the tickets after we went to so much trouble, don't you think she owes us for all the ?preparations we made? I was so disappointed that I didn't get to attend this event.
GENTLE READER: Somebody here should be saying, "And I thought she was my friend!" Miss Manners is only surprised to hear that it is you.
Ah, but you say that you know how widows are. They are reclusive, so that you can safely assume that they want to be left out of things, and so befuddled that it should be easy to pluck what you want from them. At the same time, they are so predatory that husbands cannot be trusted in their company.
Even words do not deter you. Any sensible person would interpret what you said as a kind offer to have your husband escort your friend to the event and your answer to her question as a confirmation. But then you also stated that your husband owns evening clothes when he does not.
Now your idea is to dun the lady for money to assuage your suffering. Miss Manners would not advise this. Not all widows are helpless.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My daughter will soon be meeting the secretary of defense and possibly the president of the United States in September. She will be with her fiance, who is receiving an ROTC Air Force honor. How should she address each if introduced to them?
GENTLE READER: "Mr. Secretary" and "Mr. President" respectively. Aren't you proud to live in a country where even the highest officials receive the same courtesy titles as ordinary citizens?
DEAR MISS MANNERS: ?I recently suffered a miscarriage and, because I was 20 weeks along, it was beyond devastating. My ?wonderful neighbors sent cards, flowers and stopped by ?with wine. In a situation like this, is it appropriate ?to send out thank you cards?
GENTLE READER: Miss Manners is puzzled at your hesitation, unless you think, as she does, that letters would be better than cards. What would be the argument against thanking such kind people?