DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am single, in my mid-30s and have a large social circle of friends, many also single or without children. Two of them have discovered they were unexpectedly going to have a baby, and I just received an e-mail invite to a football/diaper party from the father to be.
This was sent to almost 100 people, men and women, some from out of town and many that I would, at best, describe as acquaintances. In the invite, he acknowledges that some people may not even know they are having a baby (or know the girlfriend, for that matter).
The father-to-be states that he will provide beer and food and that the only thing guests need to bring are some diapers and/or wipes to help out with the baby. He then goes so far as to include a checklist of diaper sizes and closes by telling guests to forward the invite to anyone they may have missed.
Have I just entered the twilight zone? You do not invite people to a football party and then require them to supply diapers for your impending child -- I'll bring my own beer instead. He makes twice as much money as me (and I do quite well) and is in no way needy.
I also assume that an official baby shower will be forthcoming, something else requiring a gift and something generally thrown by someone other than the parent and reserved for female guests who are relatives or close personal friends of the mother-to-be.
Am I mistaken here? Have things really changed so much that this kind of invite is acceptable? I am embarrassed for them and question whether I even want to attend because I am so put off by this request. If I so choose to offer a baby gift at any time, it will be at my discretion and not as an entrance fee to watch a football game with my friends. I am at a loss.
GENTLE READER: Yes, things have changed; no, it is not acceptable; and yes, you are mistaken, because things are even worse than you think.
Nowadays it is only too likely that a mother-to-be will demand a shower or be given one by her relatives, that the invitations will go to everyone she and they have ever met, whether in town or not, and that guests will be told exactly what she wants them to buy to furnish the nursery and layette. By comparison, diapers are a bargain.
And thus what was once a sweet and playful little gathering of close friends has grown into a monstrous imposition. Why so-called guests go along with any of this, Miss Manners cannot imagine.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: A friend I see a few times a month insists on telling me that I look "tired" whenever she sees me.
It may be that I am tired on occasion, but even so, the comment irritates me. I'm in good health, and she has no reason to be concerned for my well-being. I realize this isn't a big deal in the scheme of things, but can you suggest a response for me the next time she tells me how tired I look?
GENTLE READER: "How strange -- I was fine until you said that."