DEAR MISS MANNERS: Our niece takes offense when she gets wedding invitations that state “No children.”
She has four who cause havoc and always have: fingers in wedding cakes, poor manners (e.g., “I’m not eating that gross food! It looks like vomit”) — you get the message.
They are ages 9 to 15. Their parents ignore them at these events except to take hundreds of photos to post. They keep dragging those kids to adult-only functions, where they commandeer a table by removing place cards. What can we do?
GENTLE READER: If you are the host, Miss Manners suggests some advance tactical planning, such as hiring a babysitter and designating a room for the kids. If you are a guest, she suggests avoiding eating the cake.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a manager at my office, and two of my employees are about to leave the company.
One is doing so for circumstances involving family and location, but the other is leaving because of their widely expressed dissatisfaction with the company.
I am at a loss as to whether, or how, to mark the departures and celebrate the employees who are leaving, and I want to do the right thing.
It seems easy to have a small party for the one leaving on better terms, but for the other employee, given the circumstances, it seems false. To do nothing feels wrong, but so does celebrating one but not the other.
How can I manage this and set a positive tone without hard feelings for our division?
GENTLE READER: If you think having to be polite at the going-away party for a voluntarily departing employee puts you in a false position, Miss Manners worries what will happen when you have to tell your valued assistant that the company cannot afford to give him a raise.
Congratulate yourself that the timing makes it possible to throw one party for both employees. And smile, remembering that one burden, at least, is leaving at the end of the day.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: At a nice club restaurant, another couple invited my husband and me to sit with them for lunch. We had not dined with these people before.
The three of them ordered the special, which was easily eaten with a fork. I ordered the barbecue ribs, which are usually messy finger food.
Later, my husband said I embarrassed him because of the mess. Was ordering such food inappropriate, or was my husband overly sensitive?
GENTLE READER: At the risk of offending the Just Let Me Be Me crowd, Miss Manners has to agree that some foods are better saved for family and friends than worn — er, eaten — in more formal settings.
As defining that category will depend on the dexterity of the user — and as she did not see this meal’s mess — you and your husband will have to come to some agreement in your particular case.
(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.)