DEAR MISS MANNERS: When my husband and I were visiting his childhood home, we had dinner with a couple he has known most of his life. The wife was a bridesmaid in his first wedding, when my husband was in college and met and married his first wife. It did not last long. He and I have been married 30 years.
The wife of this couple proceeded to tell us that my husband was not the first choice for a husband in his first marriage. Apparently, the woman was dating two men at the same time. She wanted to marry the other guy, but he married someone else instead. She ended up marrying my husband and of course divorcing after two years or so.
I was appalled at the story. Not that it happened but that this so called "friend" would tell it to us over dinner with other people at the table. I was shocked and still am.
I wanted to say something to her at the time but could think of nothing to properly tell her how rude she was in telling that story. We are supposed to see them again next month and I am dreading it. Please tell me what I should have said and what I can say to her next month. My husband thinks I am making too much of this but it makes me mad every time I think of it.
GENTLE READER: When this happened, you could have said, beaming at your husband, "I'm enormously grateful to her. She made it possible for me to have my first choice."
Miss Manners is only sorry that while that would have smoothed over the embarrassment, it would not have sufficiently taught discretion to your rude hostess. But anyway, that moment is past. If you must see them again, you could open the conversation by announcing cheerfully, "Mary Sue, this time we want to hear an embarrassing story about your past."
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My niece has begun a new career as a financial adviser with a well-known investment/brokerage house. She has been given extensive training and informed that she must produce a certain volume of business in a specified time to make the cut.
She emailed a copy of her "complimentary consultation/introductory bio" letter to her personal mailing list.
Alarms went off and I replied: "Most of us who have lived past our teen years have had the uncomfortable experience that a friend in a new sales career is looking at us as a possible client rather than as a friend. Try to avoid creating that feeling in your friends (they tend to last longer as friends that way)."
She is, I'm sure, offended. Just how far over the line have I gone?
GENTLE READER: All the way across contemporary thinking, to what Miss Manners hopes will eventually be out the other side.
You, Miss Manners, and civilized people believe that the best use of money is to support personal life. Others believe that the best use of personal life is to make more money.