DEAR MISS MANNERS: My granddaughter, who has never been married, had a child. She put the last name of the father on the birth certificate as the child's last name.
I contend that this appears as if she had been married and is not correct. Would you please inform me as to what is the proper last name in this instance?
GENTLE READER: Van Rensselaer. Or whatever name your granddaughter chooses. Miss Manners is not sure whom you think your granddaughter is fooling into thinking she is married, but assures you that the government cares only for tax purposes, not moral ones.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I work with a girl who thinks we are the closest of friends, but we aren't. In fact, I find her irritating at best. We've worked together about two years now, and four months into her starting work with me, she was proclaiming I was her best friend.
I've never considered her much more than a work acquaintance. We've hung out socially once or twice, mostly because I feel bad because she doesn't have that many friends outside of work, but now it's gotten to the point where if I don't sit with her at a meeting or eat lunch with her, she gets mad at me. She wants to be around me all the time.
I've also just recently become engaged, and now she very presumptuously says she wants to be included in the wedding planning. I don't really even want to invite her to the wedding, but I know she is going to expect an invitation, as our other colleagues (who actually ARE my friends and have been for over a decade) will be invited to the event. I don't want it to be awkward at work if I don't invite her, but I don't want to see her on the big day. What do I do?
GENTLE READER: Give her a job -- an appointment of honor that will keep her busy and far away from you throughout the wedding and reception. Minding the guest book or looking after wayward children are good examples. Miss Manners realizes that this may not solve the more long-term problem of disengaging with her as friends, but with any luck she will complain to others that she was being used -- and want to discontinue the friendship herself.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: In our office, we frequently have a catered lunch that is served buffet-style. The meal is set up by a team of employees. This group announces that the meal is being served, and all the managers rush to the head of the line to serve themselves ahead of the rest of the employees.
I was taught that management, or those hosting the party, serve themselves last. I am about to be promoted to the management team. What is one to do? I hate feeling incorrect.
GENTLE READER: Then set a good example. Having been promoted, you have a unique opportunity to do this. Miss Manners recommends that you take full advantage, telling your new cohorts, "Let's let the other employees eat first as a show of appreciation for how hard they work." She further permits you to do it in a loud voice, if you must, in order to get full credit.
(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)