DEAR MISS MANNERS: My partner and I have attended several weddings of heterosexuals in Wisconsin, which, ironically, passed the first statewide Gay Rights Bill in the 1980s and now bans so-called gay marriages. My partner doesn't like the fact that I now boycott straight marriages instead of attending them. His mother thinks it's selfish.
I have said that until I see straight folks actively support our right to marry, I'm certainly not going to add my support (and gifts, etc.) to their marriages.
It's not about spite -- it's about fairness, equality and wanting the same opportunity, and too many of them don't get it. Until they do and start contacting their government officials, nothing will change.
Why shouldn't I boycott straight marriages?
GENTLE READER: Because you are insulting people who presumably care about you (or they wouldn't be inviting you to their weddings) by declaring that you grudge them the same sort of happiness that you want for yourself. And because snubbing people is not the way to get them out working for the cause.
If you take both seriously -- the friendship and the cause -- Miss Manners recommends being a gracious guest, and then adding, when you praise the wedding on a later occasion, "My dream is to be able some day to invite you to my wedding here."
DEAR MISS MANNERS: How does one respond to an open-ended "Please let us know when you are free" dinner invitation?
The requester is a younger chap, who I have helped/advised in our large agency, but I was startled to receive an e-mail inviting my wife and me to dinner "anytime next month."
May I properly fudge the truth and say " next month is hopelessly busy" (which is true), "and I will get back to you later when we might see some daylight," which is not? I know it's another example of folks mixing business and pleasure, but I certainly don't want to be incorrect in reply.
GENTLE READER: Not everyone approves of fudge. The strict and literal minded would consider it a lie to say one was busy when one was not; indeed, a passive lie not to volunteer that one never expected to be reduced to accepting such an invitation.
But Miss Manners loves fudge. Not elaborate, made-up stories, mind you. Those are unnecessary, and it is bound to be discovered that you are not really trying out for the Olympics and/or having your knee replaced on the day you claimed.
But such vague statements as you propose, along with your thanks for the thought, put the virtue of sparing others' feelings above the virtue of blabbing everything you think.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I received a text message from an ex-girlfriend who volunteered me to cook for a benefit for one of her friends whom I do not even know.
We talk on a very limited basis and we are dating other people. When I received the text message, I was very surprised and did not know how to respond. At the very least a phone call would have been appropriate. Your thoughts?
GENTLE READER: Chiefly that it is easy to see why this relationship is defunct. The only obligation Miss Manners considers that you have here is to inform those in charge of the benefit that the lady was not authorized to speak for you.