DEAR MISS MANNERS: Caught up in the spirit of family and goodwill, I sent my homeless, drug-addict, criminal cousin a "save the date" card for my wedding. I sent it to his mother's address, and she said, "Who knows if he'll get it. I'll try to pass it along."
I was relieved to hear that, because I already regretted sending it. The last time I saw him was at his sister's wedding five years ago, and he hit on me. It was disturbing, and I get upset thinking about it. Now, two weeks before the wedding, my aunt tells me he is in good health and living with his fiancee and her parents. He received the save the date and wants to know why he never got an invitation. My aunt thinks he should come to the wedding.
I'm glad to hear he's doing better, but I don't want to have a reunion with him on my wedding day. I am very shy, and the reception will already be challenging for me, without the added creepiness.
I don't want to offend my aunt, but she keeps changing her mind about whether her son matters to the family. She has not actually seen him since he resurfaced -- only spoken to him by phone.
I am thinking of calling her and saying I know it was bad form to send a save the date and not an invitation, but he made me uncomfortable last time I saw him. I would suggest a family lunch after the honeymoon as a better occasion. He could meet my husband, we could meet his fiancee, etc.
Is this appropriate? And would I write a letter inviting him to lunch instead, and apologize that wedding arrangements were finalized before I was told that he could be contacted?
GENTLE READER: Can you manage to rekindle that spirit of family and goodwill?
"Save the date" being a recent addition to the social conventions, people seem confused about the obligations it entails. It is not binding on the guest, who need only answer the actual invitation when it appears. But it is binding on the host, who cannot ask someone to save a date and then declare, "Oh, never mind. You didn't make the final cut."
Anyway, your fears seem exaggerated. Both his present situation and his mother's word suggest that he is doing well. And the chances of his hitting on a bride in the presence of his fiancee are not great. If he does, you will have your new husband by your side to protect you.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: When one wishes to get up from the table to go to the restroom, I think it rude to just get up and depart. So I announce, "Excuse me, I'm going to the restroom."
My friends seem to vanish from the table with no explanation, and I suppose they think no explanation is necessary. What to do or say or not say?
GENTLE READER: Does it have to be everythng or nothing?
Leaving without a word is rude, but explaining where you are going is unpleasantly vivid for those who are eating. Miss Manners hopes you can content yourself with a mere "excuse me," trusting that your destination is not much of a mystery.