DEAR MISS MANNERS: I own an artwork purchased from a major New York gallery and I wrote twice, to both the former director and present director of a city-owned art museum to which I financially contribute, that my will says that I leave the piece to the museum.
I never received an acknowledgment.
Recently, a literary magazine had a long essay on the artist on the occasion of a show of his art in a major American museum. I sent the essay to my contacts at the museum mentioning that I had never received an acknowledgment.
At a museum event the other day, the museum director told me he recalled my letter but did not think it warranted a reply! Should I change my will?
GENTLE READER: Yes, if only to spare your survivors from dealing with someone so rude.
Miss Manners gathers that the museum is not that interested in this particular work of art, which is more likely to be appreciated by the major museum that showed the artist's work. She would also surmise that this director is not interested in any donations, if he believes he can afford to snub one of his donors who also collects art.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: When my partner and I are chewing gum, he starts to pop bubbles. I told him that it's annoying, rude and obnoxious. He argues that there are no etiquette rules to chewing gum.
GENTLE READER: Sure there are, lots of them. Did you think Miss Manners missed grade school?
How about the rule against sticking it in the hair of the person who has the ill luck to sit in front of you?
There are countless other specific rules, but in your case, they are not necessary. The relevant rule for him is: Do not annoy others unnecessarily.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I were recently married. He is a Ph.D. student, and I am finishing my master's degree and looking for work. Due to our families' financial situations, we decided to elope to spare them the costs of a formal wedding.
We are on an extremely tight budget and only have two dining chairs, and no money for more. I have always loved entertaining, but now I am hesitant to do so because of our lack of dining chairs.
Can you please tell me if it is acceptable to invite another couple over for dinner if they will be seated in our dining chairs, while my husband and I sit on ottomans? I don't want to offend, but I would also love to entertain company.
GENTLE READER: Whew. Miss Manners thought she knew where you were heading and is thrilled to find out that she was mistaken.
Every other letter she has received in which newlyweds (or oldyweds) beg off from entertaining because they are lacking some equipment asks for a free pass not to reciprocate hospitality or suggests a scheme for getting donations from prospective guests.
Yes, of course you should go ahead and entertain. No guest worth having would be the least put off by your furniture arrangements.