DEAR MISS MANNERS: Who pays for our son’s birthday dinner?
My husband and I went out of town to celebrate our older son’s birthday. It was originally going to be us, plus him and his girlfriend. Through our son, we invited the girlfriend’s dad and his girlfriend (who we hadn’t met yet) to join us.
At the dinner, our son’s girlfriend’s dad insisted on paying. My husband wanted to be the host, and explained this. When we took the waiter aside to insist upon paying, we found out that the other dad had already given his credit card to the waiter. Without knowing this, my husband told the girlfriend’s dad that this was a 26-year tradition, but to no avail. My husband is offended now.
GENTLE READER: Well, tell him to stop it. In all probability, the girlfriend’s father’s motive came from concern that his party outnumbered yours -- and likely some embarrassment for the addition of a lady whom you had not met and who was not directly invited.
Miss Manners entreats you to persuade your husband that the intentions here were good -- and that the charm of this birthday tradition comes from those celebrating it, not the person financing it.
Should the relationship with this family continue, you may tell your husband to have a frank, but kind, conversation with the other father about who is hosting whom and when. Your husband will likely be very grateful for this man’s generous instincts when it comes to bankrolling a wedding.