DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband was recently found in a compromising situation with a male co-worker at an office party.
I'm well aware that my husband is bisexual, and I don't mind that he occasionally sleeps with men. The problem is, we live in a small town, and people keep telling me I must feel terrible, how could he do something so disgusting, etc.
I know they mean well, but my husband and I are very happy together, and I don't appreciate these comments. How can I get them to mind their own business without being rude?
GENTLE READER: By saying quietly, "He is my husband, and I will not listen to a word against him."
With any luck, you will shock your sympathizers into silence -- at least in your presence. They will continue to gossip about your husband, as Miss Manners is sure that you must be aware. Nothing that you can say will prevent that.
But they will add to their unwanted expressions of sympathy for you that you are acting nobly -- too nobly for some of them, no doubt, but nobly all the same. And the best part is that you will not have to listen to any of it.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: We invited friends over to dinner, a couple and their several children. We, too, have a large family.
Since we abstain from eating animal and animal by-products due to health and ethical reasons, I made a Mexican dinner that all my children love, quadrupling the recipe to be sure there was plenty for all.
When I was almost finished preparing the meal, in the presence of this family, one of the parents grabbed our phone and made a cheese pizza delivery order for their children. When the doorbell rang, that parent answered the door and paid for the order.
I am wondering if it was rude of us not to jump up and pay for the pizza, since they were our guests and it was our job to make them comfortable. I know we would not eat animal products offered to us as food if we had been invited to dinner.
The adult guests repeatedly raved about how much they enjoyed the dinner I made. Thoughts?
GENTLE READER: Only that it is good that the grown-ups liked the meal you prepared. If not, they might have ordered a catered meal from their favorite restaurant, and the cost of making them comfortable, if you got to the door first, would have been considerable.
At a time when many people expect their guests to provide refreshments, Miss Manners is grateful that you worry about providing for yours. But you did. You prepared them a meal you thought would please them all.
But guests also have obligations, and they did not meet theirs. That they were rude enough to show you that the meal did not please them all is not surprising in people who did not teach manners to their children. You are not responsible for their rudeness or their debts.
(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)