DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am very pleased to see that the bouquet toss is omitted at many weddings these days. Although movies and TV shows depict eager young women joyously jostling to catch the bouquet, I've seldom seen that in real life. In fact, unmarried women often must be coaxed to sheepishly participate in the ritual.
I'm a 57-year-old widow of two years. At one wedding, a bridesmaid had the effrontery to try to recruit me to join the bouquet-catching crowd. I said "no" and she said they really needed more people and called another bridesmaid to help physically pull me onto the dance floor.
I told her that she was being very disrespectful and that no one had better grab me, as I was wearing shoes that might be very painful if I should accidentally kick someone while defending myself. She was stunned. The story passed around the wedding reception, with several people saying I was being a bad sport and others saying that trying to push a widow into the activity was in poor taste.
The bride, my lovely and loyal niece, told everyone that both she and I were sad that my late husband wasn't there and that reminding me through highlighting my single state was unkind.
GENTLE READER: Dragging anyone -- widow or not -- into participating in a party activity is an assault on dignity and good manners, and, from your description, a literal one on your person as well. Miss Manners congratulates your niece on finding a diplomatic way to bring the situation under control without publicly taking sides. If necessary, the bridesmaid could have been moved to a private corner where she could be told to cease and desist.