DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am in my 50s, have never been married and I have no children, sisters, nieces or nephews. Being the only granddaughter, I inherited two diamond engagement rings from my grandmothers. They both have great sentimental value to me.
Would it be improper to wear them on my right-hand fingers? It's a waste to let nice rings just sit in a box. The only other (expensive) solution would be to take the stones out and reset them in a pendent necklace or something like that. I would rather just wear them as rings, as long as it doesn't cause people to ask questions like: "Why are you wearing an engagement ring on your right hand?"
GENTLE READER: Although she is not responsible for the foolish remarks people make, Miss Manners must point out that these are not engagement rings when you are wearing them, as indeed you should do. Not every diamond solitaire is an engagement ring (nor are all engagement rings diamonds).
An engagement ring is one that is given to a lady by her future husband. What you have were your grandmothers' engagement rings, but now they are family rings, which is all you need say when asked, although you may want to tell friends their charming history.
But wearing two such rings might also prompt you to say, "Well, as you probably guessed, I'm trying them out, to see which gentleman I should marry."
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I left my former husband 20 years ago, as he was emotionally abusive and I could no longer abide his bad temper. He was outraged at my "desertion" to the point that five years later, when my stepdaughter was married, he told her that if I came to the wedding, he would not attend.
We have both remarried, but my stepdaughter and I have kept in touch. She has kept this a secret from her father, and, when she and her family come to see us, it, too, is a secret from the children's grandfather.
He has recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness. When and if he should succumb to his disease, I would like to be of support to my stepdaughter, as she has spent her life trying to live up to his expectations, and I know that she will take his death very hard.
Is it bad form for my husband and I to go to the viewing and or funeral? I want to be there for my stepdaughter but do not want to cause any distress for my ex-husband's current wife.
GENTLE READER: Unless your stepdaughter begs you to attend, and perhaps even then, this is a case where respect for the deceased (who, after all, is not yet deceased) suggests absenting yourself from the funeral, as you have reason to know would be his wish.
Yes, yes, Miss Manners knows you only want to go to support the daughter. But you could be causing her additional stress, knowing that her father and possibly also his wife would not want you there. The inevitable lull after the initial mourning rites have finished is the proper time for you to show your support for your stepdaughter.