DEAR MISS MANNERS: When my great nephew married a precious little blonde, they had several showers plus wedding presents from many people. The bride asked (or told) the groom to send thank you notes to his side and she would send them to her side. (Frankly, I have never heard of the bride not sending all of the thank you notes.)
The groom never sent a thank you note to anyone. There are many hurt feelings, and even after all this time, it is still being talked about. I am sure neither the bride nor her mother is aware of this.
Who do you think is at fault in this -- the groom who never was good at thank you notes, the bride for not following up to make sure it was taken care of, or the mother of the bride for not overseeing this as she did everything else? The mother of the groom cannot be faulted because she tried many times to get him to write the notes.
GENTLE READER: At first, Miss Manners thought that only extreme family loyalty could leave a question in your mind about whose fault this shocking omission was.
After all, your nephew not only failed to write the notes that were expected of him, but led his wife to believe that he had. Apparently, he still hasn't confessed.
Do you not wonder why, when the matter was first mentioned, the gentleman did not say, "I'm no good at writing letters" and offer instead to perform some task that his bride preferred to avoid?
But when Miss Manners looked at your suspects, her own suspicions arose. Is there a bit of a sniff in your declaration that you never heard of a bridegroom's writing letters?
It is, in fact, not uncommon. About two generations ago, many couples abandoned the strict allocation by gender of household tasks and started sorting them by turns or by individual preferences.
That you ignored the obvious and went so far as to suggest not just the bride but also her mother as candidates for blame is what made Miss Manners think there might be more here than the natural inclination to believe that there is no place for one's own family to marry except down.
She suspects a case of Female Fault -- the sort of reasoning that has a wife forgiving her adulterous husband and casting all blame on the nearest (to the husband) female. Indeed, generations of ladies used to be admonished that they were responsible for making the other gender behave.
If you think you might harbor such notions, Miss Manners begs you to banish them. They are neither fair nor seemly.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was a guest at a small dinner party where the host offered continuous commentary about the cost of the meal. Each time someone took a handful of unusual imported almonds, he said, "You wouldn't believe what we paid for those!"
When we expressed enjoyment of the organic chicken dish, he said, "It ought to be good -- it certainly wasn't cheap!"
A close friend of the host ventured to say, "How much do you suppose you paid per nut?" Lacking that familiarity, I was at a loss as to how to respond.
GENTLE READER: Miss Manners suggests putting down your fork or your handful of nuts and saying, "I feel unworthy."