WHEN A WEDDING ISN’T A WEDDING
(EDITORS The first question contains a word that might be offensive to some readers. )
DEAR MISS MANNERS: How do you feel about a bride who has a bridal shower and a reception but a week later is not married? She and her groom have said vows and exchanged rings several times in different locations but have failed to get a license. They just haven't had time for that bull
. Her own words.
She uses the term married, and many people at the reception believed them to be married. She keeps saying that they will go and get married in the courthouse, but I'm beginning to doubt that.
I feel as though I have been taken advantage of for gifts. If she had just had a commitment ceremony and called it what it seems to be, I could respect that and not feel like the whole thing is a joke. I feel embarrassed for her. Am I just becoming an old prickly lady?
GENTLE READER: As an old prickly lady herself, Miss Manners is amazed that someone didn't think of this sooner. It picks up on scary trends that have developed over the last decade:
1. Staging "weddings" independently of the actual act of getting married.
Two kinds of legally married couples usually do this: Those who got married when it was convenient for tax or other purposes, but want to replay the ceremony in front of their friends at the delayed wedding reception, and those who were married some years ago but are now feeling cheated because it wasn't the showy wedding of their dreams. More rarely, it is done as a sort of road show in difference venues for different -- as they call them -- audiences.
2. Trolling for presents or, more frankly, donations. Miss Manners carries on endlessly about the vulgarity of what we shall call social begging on the part of people who are not destitute but shameless and it still keeps growing.
She congratulates your friends on reaching a new low.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have been out several times with a charming gentleman acquaintance. I delight in his company, and the preponderance of the evidence indicates that he feels similarly -- he introduces me to his friends, his correspondence is always thoughtful and droll, and he always accepts my invitations for future engagements.
However, I am always the initiator of said engagements. There are several plausible benign interpretations for this -- for instance, I know the city better, and the cup that is my social calendar often runneth over, so he may be politely deferring to my schedule. Or perhaps, because I like to plan ahead, I've just always beaten him to the punch, as it were.
Nevertheless, doubts are beginning to niggle. Should I infer from his lack of initiative that he is not interested? Should I wait for him to contact me? Should I raise the issue in conversation? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill?
GENTLE READER: A gentleman who is not interested in a lady does not generally see her every chance she suggests, write her droll yet thoughtful letters and introduce her to his friends.
So surely your real question is how you can get him to reciprocate your invitations. By asking. Miss Manners does not think it forward for a lady to say, "I'd love it if you would plan something you'd like us to do together."