DEAR MISS MANNERS: I received an invitation to a "black tie gala event" to be held by a federal government agency.
I had previously received a "save the date" notice, which I shared with my wife. We both thought she would be invited, but unfortunately, I just found out from the event coordinator that she is not invited because of "limited seating" and the apparent need to invite interested members of Congress.
Indeed, the invitation simply says "you." I know that proper etiquette would be to include the spouse in a wedding invitation. Does that also apply to a "black tie gala event"? Or is our hurt at this perceived slight unjustified?
GENTLE READER: It is a shock to Miss Manners' patriotic heart to hear that the federal government is categorizing people as first- and second-class citizens. You may well believe that members of Congress were not asked to attend a "gala" without spouses, partners or acquaintances.
But perhaps this was a lesser transgression. You neglected to tell Miss Manners whether you work for that agency.
In that case, you should not have been sent an invitation, as if you were to be there as a guest. Rather, you should have been asked if you were willing to work that evening, answering questions, touting the agency's mission, explaining where the bathrooms were. You would be dressed as a guest, but under no illusion that you were being offered hospitality, and you wife would not be included unless she, too, worked for the agency.