Miss Manners

DEAR MISS MANNERS: At my husband’s request, I agreed to ask friends to make a contribution, in his name, to a drama scholarship fund. Due to the amount raised in his name, he was given the opportunity to act in a short one-act play, written by a well-known playwright and starring a well-known actor, in our city.

I’ve told him he should send thank-you notes (or emails) to each of the friends who contributed. He answered that saying “thank you” to them personally was enough. I know a note would be appreciated, so I ended up writing emails myself. Do you think he should send thank-you notes?

GENTLE READER: He’ll get back to these people, you may be sure. Just wait until the show he is in is scheduled, and he goes after his benefactors to buy tickets.

Some may feel that he treated their contributions in an offhand manner. But even if not, Miss Manners would think that your husband would relish the opportunity to stoke their enthusiasm with a letter of gratitude for what he may describe as an exciting play.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: When we invited our neighbors over for a cookout, one neighbor took an ear of corn and spun it around on top of a stick of butter that was in the butter dish on the table. I have never seen anything like this in my life.

Even my kids were shocked. Although it looks to be very efficient, this cannot be acceptable etiquette, can it?

GENTLE READER: To mess around in communal dishes? No. Your children are right to be shocked. Miss Manners joins their “Ewwww!”

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Has the wedding invitation to a single person with the heading “and guest” completely gone by the wayside? This used to be included on the wedding invitations I received; I notice in the recent past it has not.

I understand bridal couples are trying to save, but this seems to be at the expense of the guest’s comfort. As a widow, of course I go to social occasions alone when I have to, but it’s much more fun if I can bring someone.

I feel like it’s just another punishment for not being part of a (married) couple. I’m alone, but not dead.

GENTLE READER: And just a wee bit defensive?

It was never an etiquette-sanctioned custom to deputize wedding guests to invite their own guests. “And guest” is an inherently rude phrase, as it means that no attempt has been made to find out the person’s name.

Married and engaged partners were always included, but perhaps, as society began to recognize stable couples who were neither, hosts gave up trying to figure out who qualified. Or perhaps they yielded to pressure from people like you, who viewed weddings as opportunities for fun that would not be provided by socializing with the couple’s friends and relatives.

It is not about punishing you. Nor is it necessarily about money. It may be about not wanting strangers at such a personal occasion.

Miss Manners urges you to regard your friends’ weddings as opportunities to meet the people they care about. Before “and guest” existed, weddings were famous for putting eligible people together and thus promoting more weddings.

(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, dearmissmanners@gmail.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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