DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I have already decided upon the name of our soon-to-be-born second child; however, we plan to call her by a shortened version of her first name.
Is it appropriate to put the nickname on the birth announcement cards in quotation marks, or should we just wait to tell people personally? Neither name is particularly common, so the shortened name would not be immediately obvious, as it is with names like Kate/Katherine.
I know that you would most prefer that I handwrite the announcements on my stationary, but with an older child who will be just 17 months when blessing number two arrives, this is a task not likely to be completed before the new baby enters nursery school. I do promise to write my thank you notes on time and without the use of preprinted thank you cards, though.
GENTLE READER: A moderately grateful Miss Manners believes that this will be time enough to mention the nickname. They are unlikely to hold extensive correspondence with your child before that.
But she would like to remind you, in your dealings with others, that nicknames are never obvious, and it is always rude to assume them without specific knowledge. Katherine could just as easily be known as Kathy, Kay or Mildred (her middle name). Or Speedy (never mind).
DEAR MISS MANNERS: At my place of employment, where we have all women, it is common practice to pool money to buy gifts for each other's special events, such as weddings, baby showers, etc.
It is not mandatory or pressured, and it is made clear that you may or may not contribute without anyone being ostracized. You may give as little or as much as you want, or you may choose not to give at all, and you still are included in signing a card for the recipient.
This works well in general, but we have one person who feels the need to give an "extra something" gift if the occasion is to benefit management. No one ever gets an "extra" gift from her unless they are someone in a position of authority.
We all feel that this is obvious brown-nosing, including the management. The offense is particularly annoying because it is done at the presenting of the pool gift giving and not done discreetly and privately. No one can decide why it is bothersome, but it tends to ruffle feathers each time.
This has gone on for eight years, with various people in managerial positions. The last time, I wanted to tell the offender in private that this is improper and hurtful to the others, but knew there would be repercussions, as she would go to management and complain that I was causing upset. The bigger offense would then be mine, I'm sure. No one seems to know what to do, if anything, but we feel this is improper nonetheless. What is your opinion?
GENTLE READER: That the problem is not yours, nor is it your other colleagues'. This has been going on for eight years, and everyone is on to the motive. You have not told Miss Manners that it has resulted in this person's raking in the raises and promotions, in which case you would have a formal complaint. She suspects that rather it has resulted in the recipients' characterizing their employee in the same unfortunate term that you use.