DEAR MISS MANNERS: Some feel that if a doctor calls the patient by his first name, it is appropriate to call the doctor by his first name; others have said that if you address the doctor using his title, the doctor should reciprocate; and still others believe that a doctor should always be addressed by his title, regardless of how he addresses you. What is the proper etiquette in this situation?
GENTLE READER: Doctors who address their patients by their first names will tell you that they do so because it is "friendly" and makes the patient relax. Miss Manners considers it a professional relationship requiring formality on both sides. Personally, she does not allow her friends to require her to take off her clothes so they can get a good look at her.
Some doctors, chiefly young ones, do not object being addressed similarly in return. Others do but should not be indulged in the rude wish of demanding a dignity from those to whom they deny it.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: What is the proper etiquette on baby showers for single moms and couples who are not married?
I received an invitation to a baby shower for a young lady I had never met, my cousin's son's girlfriend who is expecting. The couple, who are in their mid-20s, are not married, they do not live together, and from what I have learned from relatives, they have no intention of getting married or setting up house together anytime in the near future. (The young man lives with his parents and the young lady lives with her parents.)
Over the past few years, I have received several baby shower invitations and/or invitations to baptisms for babies of young men and women who are not married, not living together and in some instances no longer dating.
It used to be the wedding shower came first, then the wedding, then the baby shower, then the baptism, so you got a chance to meet and get to know the young couple a little bit.
Nowadays it seems as if people want the perks (gifts?) that come with celebrating events that were traditionally associated with young married couples, without being married.
I declined the shower invitation and I did not send a gift. My friend thinks that I am being snooty and old-fashioned. I think these people are being greedy, begging gifts from strangers. It is not about the lady being a single mom. I have no problem supporting a single mom I know and have a relationship with, but I believe that I have no obligation to purchase a gift and give up a Sunday afternoon for a woman I have never met.
GENTLE READER-- Right -- If you know and like the guest of honor, go, and if you don't, don't.
So if you would happily honor a single mother you knew, why did you throw in all that bit about modern mating customs? You only sidetracked Miss Manners and prickled your friend, although Miss Manners does not consider being called old-fashioned an insult.
But there is nothing snooty about declining the invitations of strangers, and one does not owe a present for a shower one did not attend.