DEAR MISS MANNERS: When my wife and I visited our son and his girlfriend for a weekend, we stayed with them in their two-bedroom apartment and had a good time. During the weekend, we enjoyed two dinners and one nice breakfast at smart, trendy restaurants, paid for by myself.
After the last dinner was over, my son’s girlfriend said, “Let’s get ice cream. It’s on me.” We all said “Sure,” and headed off.
After standing in line and deciding what to get, I was last to order. As I looked around, my son’s girlfriend was busy in conversation several feet away with the rest of our party. I did not want to get out of line and cause a disturbance, so I paid.
I did not express my displeasure to anyone till after the weekend was over. My wife says to let it go, but it leaves a bad feeling toward a very nice girl who may be my future daughter-in-law. I was wondering how I could clear up these negative feelings without tainting relationships with all involved.
GENTLE READER: If your son’s girlfriend pulls this trick repeatedly, then Miss Manners will condone your harboring negative feelings and expressing them discreetly and tactfully to your son. But in this case, it seems as if it was a genuine error in timing.
Your anger would be better stored up for any future transgressions when -- if she becomes your daughter-in-law and is safely within the confines of the family -- you can practice suppressing it.