DEAR MISS MANNERS: We received the following request from a young, college-educated couple (one is an attorney): "... would you prayerfully consider giving a one-time financial gift to help with the arrival of our new baby?"
We do not want to help them raise their new baby. Do we respond in any way, or do we ignore the request? I am excited only because I am certain this is the biggest faux pas of this century.
GENTLE READER: Possibly, but there is a lot of competition, now that self-supporting people have entered the pitiful world of begging.
As with all charitable solicitations, you may ignore this. However, since this comes from acquaintances, Miss Manners would also permit you to express compassion that this young couple is destitute at such an important time in their lives, and to suggest social services that may be prepared to help.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: So my girlfriends and I are in debate as to the order we should wear our left-hand rings. The engagement, wedding and anniversary/eternity rings -- which comes first, and in which order should they be?
Some swear the wedding band goes first. Others say the engagement ring is first to be close to their hearts. Some think the anniversary ring comes last because that's the order it was received. Others say the eternity ring should be on a different finger altogether.
Please help! While having three nice rings from one's husband is hardly a hardship, the debate is starting to put a strain on our friendships.
GENTLE READER: Much as she hates to derail such an emotional melee, Miss Manners has to admit that tradition forgot to care about the order in which the rings were received. It puts the wedding ring closest to the palm (which she supposes eventually leads to the heart) and the engagement ring next, with that delightful but recent innovation, the anniversary ring, wherever it looks best.
Anyway, shouldn't the sentiment attached to each increase with the length of the bond it symbolizes?
Oops, now you've drawn Miss Manners into this. If you want your engagement ring to be closer to your heart, you need only go around pointing to your chest.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My sister and her daughter (26 and 6) were in a tight situation with her boyfriend and had to leave the area running. They moved in with the thought that it will only be a couple weeks. Four months later, she still has not paid any rent, does minimal if any chores around the house and has me babysit so she can work. The line between being nice and being used has been crossed, but I do not know how to confront her. What is the etiquette to kicking family out?
GENTLE READER: One does not kick out family members. Miss Manners prefers showing sympathy with their position, saying, for example, "It has been wonderful having you here, and we were glad to be of help to you when you needed it. But I'm sure you want your own place now so that both you and we can regain our privacy."