DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was invited to an out-of-town wedding for a close friend’s daughter. I texted my friend to let her know that my husband and I would fly out and stay at a hotel for the weekend so that we could share in the celebration. She expressed surprise, but happiness that we were coming.
However, the next day, when I spoke to her on the phone, she mentioned that she had asked her daughter to send me a “token” invitation so I would feel included. She had reassured her daughter that we would not come to the wedding.
I felt put-off by this exchange, and wondered if my husband and I should change our RSVP. I don’t want to add two guests to the affair if it was only meant to be a token invite. Your thoughts?
GENTLE READER: That these are token friends.
Miss Manners is aware that people often inflate their invitation lists while calculating that a smaller number will accept. But this is a gamble, for which they must accept the consequences.
What you have been told instead, and in insultingly plain terms, is not only that they didn’t want you at the wedding, but that they thought you would be grateful just to be invited. Of course you should not attend.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I work from home, at an online job that is writing- and photography-based. While I make a full income, many of my friends and family don’t consider it a real job.
I am never asked about it while at functions, but family and friends on both sides ask my husband about his job. (He works in corporate real estate, and has sold a number of sizable buildings.)
When someone does mention my work, it is sarcastically (“Well, at least he gets up and goes to work every day”) or as an offhand question that the asker doesn’t really want the answer to (“Are you telling me you really make money doing that?”).
How am I to respond? I’m very supportive of my husband’s job, and he is of mine. It’s making me not want to go to functions anymore.
GENTLE READER: Understandably. Parties at which people talk only about jobs and rate one another accordingly cannot be much fun -- even for those who pass the test, such as your husband.
In your case, they have gone beyond the pretense of conversation to insult you. So Miss Manners will permit you to make a stiff reply: “You are not familiar with the world of online careers, are you?” and, if necessary, the protestation that “it would be too much of a bore to explain the basics.”
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Please define the attire for a formal wedding vs. a black-tie wedding.
GENTLE READER: Dress code definitions are in a state of chaos (“Festive”? “Optional”? “Dressy casual”?), but Miss Manners will try.
Nowadays, formal, for an evening event, generally means the same as black tie. Formerly, formal (please excuse the double F) meant white tie and tails, but now those are worn mostly by orchestra conductors, and not all of them.
(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.)