Miss Manners by Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin

Mother's Day Greeting Should Be Used Judiciously

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have always said "Happy Mother's Day" to everyone I see, male or female. My wife disagrees. She believes that I should say "Happy Mother's Day" to women -- but ONLY to someone I know is a mother.

I believe that Mother's Day is a celebration of motherhood. We all have mothers, so we all should celebrate. I think it's a pleasant gesture to wish everyone Happy Mother's Day.

She says it's rude and disrespectful to say it to everyone. My intent is just to be polite and cheerful, but my wife says I'm actually offensive.

GENTLE READER: Do you suppose that your greeting charms ladies who were unable to have children, or who lost children? And Miss Manners hates to think how it is interpreted by the male strangers, fathers or not.

It seems to her that you are more interested in appearing to spread good will than in how your doing this will affect the recipients of your supposed good wishes. A more effective way to celebrate and to give pleasure to someone you do know would be to respect the good sense shown by your wife.