DEAR MISS MANNERS: I get bent out of shape when my dinner guests cross their legs at the dinner table. Both men and women do this. It is rude, unsightly to me, and a breach of etiquette, right? Should I say something to the offenders?
GENTLE READER: Such as "Dinner will be here as soon as I get up from under the table"?
If you cannot bend yourself back into shape, Miss Manners recommends refraining from doing an under-the-table leg check. A long tablecloth might help restore your equanimity.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My parents received an invitation to a niece's wedding that stated "Adults Only" and "Black Tie" in fine print. Black Tie means men in tuxedo and women in formal wear, correct?
They are miffed by this turn of events, as they have already bought nice casual wear (South Beach Miami) and this is the first they have heard that the affair is to be formal.
GENTLE READER: What basis did your parents have for assuming that this wedding would be not be formal? They may never have seen the couple dressed in anything but cutoff jeans or bathing suits, but that does not preclude their going all out on this occasion.
All weddings are formal by definition, although they are not all black tie, which means what you think it does. Some are even more formal -- morning dress or white tie -- and some less, but truly casual weddings are rare.
However, Miss Manners does have good news for your parents: Nowadays, weddings are often two or three day festivals, at least one of which their new clothes may conform to the style.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have attended two wakes in the last few months at which the ex-spouses have been present in the condolence lines, often found at the end of the line. This has raised an eyebrow or two.
As the ex-spouse is an EX and the current spouse is grieving, should both be present?
GENTLE READER: Whose were those wandering eyebrows?
If they belonged to the immediately surviving spouse or children, the presence of a former spouse might be seen as an attempt to barge back into a family at the wrong time. If they belonged to outsiders, Miss Manners hopes they will settle back down where they belong. Bereaved families have enough sorrow without having to endure the criticism of others.