DEAR MISS MANNERS: Sometimes when ordering at a restaurant, my wife will say, “I guess, maybe, I’ll just have the crab cakes.” It is like she is apologizing for ordering!
I have also advised her not to bring in homemade baked goods to the office, but rather only obviously store-bought cookies and such. I am of the opinion people will think of her less professionally (which is a shame, but also a reality) if she brings in baked goods.
Besides, I am the full-time dishwasher in our house and I don’t like washing dishes for baked goods somebody else gets to eat. My wife tells me that she is just being polite, but I don’t think it is appropriate. What do you think?
GENTLE READER: That you are attaching an awful lot of meaning to a cookie.
If your wife has become known primarily for providing treats around the office, it is possible that it is not doing her career any favors. But Miss Manners fails to see a significant difference in homemade goods versus store-bought ones in this scenario -- except in your rather odd resentment in cleaning up after them. (Do you never do the dishes after receiving guests? Can you not procure a doughnut at home before your wife takes them away?)
As long as it has not become a chore or expected, and your wife enjoys doing it, why should she not continue?
As for her apologizing for her food order, Miss Manners sees nothing wrong with how she phrases her request. If anything, it is the crab cakes that are being maligned here, hardly your wife for asking for them.
While Miss Manners is in agreement that women should not have to succumb to so-called “traditional” roles or engage in unnecessarily apologetic behavior, she fears that your efforts to support your wife by fixating on her every move might be becoming part of the problem, no matter how well-intended. If you would truly like to help her out, Miss Manners suggests that you learn how to bake.