DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a 13-year-old girl in a small ethnic community, and am part of the community’s children’s choir. Our choir instructor, who is in her mid-20s, is getting married in a few months.
I bumped into her and her fiance at a religious event, and after saying hello and asking how they were, I also asked them, “How is wedding planning going?”
Instantly they both got angry and said my question was very rude.
My intention was to be polite and make small talk. I promise I wasn’t fishing for an invite or anything like that. The only reason I even asked is because she has spoken about her wedding in front of our choir before.
Was my generic question truly rude? I really don’t think it was, but I am no longer sure. After they criticized me, I apologized and walked away stunned. I’m not sure what to think now.
GENTLE READER: Although Miss Manners is hesitant to tell a young adult that her elders will not always be right, she does so now in recognition that you would have discovered this yourself soon enough.
Next time, you will also realize that their united vehemence did not demonstrate that they were correct, but rather that the wedding planning was not going well.