DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is it ever acceptable to ask your host if you may bring additional guests? Though this has happened in a variety of circumstances, the most common occurrence seems to be at children’s birthday parties: Parents I hardly know will ask me outright if they can bring their other children, when only the name of the child in my son’s class was on the invitation.
My husband and I are in disagreement on this topic. He thinks it isn’t a big deal; I feel that the invitee should reply with regrets, be honest about the reason (“I’m afraid I can’t find a sitter for Josh’s little brother,”) and wait for the host to offer. If no offer is forthcoming and it truly is a hardship, simply do not attend. What are your thoughts on this phenomenon?
GENTLE READER: That you are correct. Once that one little brother barges his way in, who knows how many more will follow -- and suddenly there is not enough supervision, and the clown is charging twice as much.
Miss Manners recommends that you emphasize the former argument, however -- even though the latter may well be your true grievance.