DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I recently went to a play with some other couples from our church. Afterwards, one couple invited everyone else over to their house for refreshments. We were served some delicious cake and iced tea, and had a nice time.
Later, someone from the church told me that this couple was vegan. I didn't know what vegan was, and she explained that they don't eat any animal products. So I guess the cake didn't have milk or eggs, but I don't care. My husband, however, says they shouldn't force their dietary preferences on other people. He says there might have been soy milk in it, and he hates soy milk.
I think he's making a big deal out of nothing. Do you think it was rude of them to serve us vegan food when they know we're probably not vegan?
GENTLE READER: These people offered you some delicious cake that may or may not have contained an ingredient to which your husband would have objected if only he had detected it at the time? The nerve!
The charge of force in connection with this gentle little visit would amuse Miss Manners if it were not so outrageous. Was your husband taken to this couple's house by force? Was he force-fed the cake? Was he even lured in by the thought of an after-theater barbeque?
Apparently, the gentleman does not understand the concept of hospitality. Miss Manners advises keeping out of social circulation until he does.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a veteran and have been retired for some time. To the best of my knowledge, no one ever tried to kill me, and I never killed any one. I'm proud of having served my country. I wear service-related items from time to time, such as a ball cap or a jacket, and have service-oriented decals, including a base sticker, on my car.
In the past few years, complete strangers have come up to me and said, "Thank you for your service." I have just returned from a service unit reunion, where 150 of us gathered in a hotel for several days, exchanged sea stories, took tours around the host city, etc. Most of us wore our reunion badges, with name, rank and years of service. We were constantly approached by folks who thanked us individually, or as a group, for our services.
I don't know what to say in response to those kind words. I cannot say "It was a pleasure" or "At your pleasure" because it wasn't.
One woman approached me, thanked me, and then shared that she had three relatives presently in service in Afghanistan and Iraq.
I managed to tell her "It was an honor," which it was, and thanked her for the service of her family.
Can you suggest some better generic response, hopefully short and succinct?
GENTLE READER: You have put it beautifully, and Miss Manners knows better than to tamper with natural graciousness.