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

Revealing Baby's Gender Is Not a Party-Worthy Event

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am pregnant and would like to throw a gender-reveal party. (It's a party for the identification of the sex of the baby.) I worry that this party might be construed as a rude attempt for gifts.

I don't want any gifts, and this isn't a baby shower, nor am I expecting one. I just want to share the joy with family and friends and provide food and games. But would the whole idea still be considered tacky?

GENTLE READER: Yes. Miss Manners believes that your intentions are good and that you simply want to share joyous news. So she hates to be a wet blanket (in a gender-neutral color, of course), but feels compelled to tell you something that will save you time and friendships in the future as a mother.

Not everyone is as excited as you are about every detail of your child's life. It's best to know this now, before you start going on Facebook announcing baby's first spit-up, or throwing parties for when he or she sleeps through the night.

The particular new ritual you mention -- and there really isn't a correct term for this made-up event -- is farcical. Cakes are cut to reveal pink or blue insides, bets are taken and teams are formed. (One acquaintance of Miss Manners attended such an event and said that the mother-to-be was so distraught when she didn't get the gender she wanted that she started blaming the guests for jinxing it.) It is no wonder that guests assume a gift is required as the price of admission to these absurd theatrics.

The fact is that you will actually get more profound and prolonged joy if you reveal (or "identify") the gender one by one to individuals who you think might genuinely be excited by the news. Gathering around at a party waiting to hear and celebrate the announcement of one of only two possible choices is not a party-worthy event -- and it is not dignified. There will be plenty of parties in your future filled with games and silly cakes. Save the fun for then.

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics | Holidays & Celebrations | Sex & Gender