DEAR MISS MANNERS: When I invited some friends and their significant others to celebrate my birthday, I asked people what date and time would be best, and reserved a nice restaurant based on their availability.
A week before the event, a friend who lives the farthest away called and suggested a different place. She said the original place was "pricey," and that it would be far for her to travel (over an hour). She encouraged me to pick somewhere 30 to 40 minutes from her.
In the end, I did cave and pick a different restaurant, because it was important to me that my lifelong friend be present to celebrate. However, I can't help but be annoyed with her. I have gladly traveled over an hour in the past to locales of her choosing, including to her birthday. If it's truly too expensive for her to have dinner with friends, she could order appetizers only, split the bill with her boyfriend or simply not come.
So what should have been done here? Was it wrong of her to wrangle the host into accommodating her personal concerns? Or was it wrong of me to choose somewhere out of a guest's price range?
GENTLE READER: They were not your guests. Were you the host of this party, as well as the guest of honor, Miss Manners would have supported your indignation that a guest tried to renegotiate the terms.
But you were only asking your friend to buy herself dinner while paying tribute to you. That she wanted to go someplace she could afford seems eminently reasonable. Of the three cost-saving suggestions you mention, Miss Manners would have chosen the third.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a 73-year-old man. Looking at me, I am obviously somewhere in the 70s age range. I often encounter much younger people who address me as "young man."
I do not understand why they do it. We both know I am not young. Do they think I feel better to be so addressed?
For example, when I had hip replacement surgery recently, I was attended to very professionally afterward by a physical therapist, of apparent age mid-30s or so, who deserves great credit for everything she did in helping me to recover and return to what I consider to be a very vigorous 73-year-old lifestyle.
But she keeps calling me "young man." Maybe it shouldn't bother me, but it does. How should I handle this situation?
GENTLE READER: By asking the therapist politely to stop, because yes, she does think that this makes you feel better.
Our society has the appalling concept that it is embarrassing to age, and that we therefore have to keep up the elaborate pretense that everyone seems young. You are not the only adult who finds this disrespectful. If you explain this gently, you will be doing a favor not only for other clients, but also for her, as she ages.
(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.)