DEAR MISS MANNERS: When a friend invites you and your significant other to dinner at a very expensive restaurant for your birthday, is it proper manners to order what you want regardless of the cost? After all, my friend said, “Order what you want.”
Or should you try to be cognizant of the cost and order one of the less expensive items, because it’s about the celebration, not the food?
What are the “rules” for your significant other? Could they also order what they want, or do they need to be MORE cognizant of the cost because it is not their birthday? We also do the same thing for my friend when it is his birthday.
GENTLE READER: When a host says, “Make yourself at home,” do you loll around in your pajamas, go through the drawers and help yourself to the contents of the liquor cabinet?
Miss Manners apologizes if this seems an indictment of how you behave at home. No doubt you are fastidious, and anyway, she isn’t watching.
She only means to point out that such hospitable phrases are not to be taken literally. You both should order something you want that is within a reasonable range. No $1,000 bottles of wine, even if it is your birthday. That holiday does not come with the license to suspend the rules of considerate behavior.