DEAR MISS MANNERS: My mother’s 90th birthday is falling near her granddaughter’s wedding. She insists that she does not want a party, but rather would like “someone” to acknowledge her 90th birthday at the wedding instead.
My siblings and I are baffled on how to handle this request. Personally, I think it is rather tacky for her to take anything away from my niece’s wedding day, but she is insisting.
The wedding will be held at a country club with about 125 people. There will be a DJ, so would it be appropriate to have him make the announcement and play a short “Happy Birthday” song?
GENTLE READER: How exactly does this take anything away from your niece? Is it that for three minutes she will not be the center of attention?
Miss Manners does not generally condone making suggestions of how others can honor oneself. But in this case, the lady seems to be asking to forgo a milestone party in favor of a short recognition when the family is gathered anyway.
If the bride cannot tolerate yielding the spotlight, even for a few minutes, to her own 90-year-old grandmother, perhaps someone should warn the bridegroom.
Rather than shoving it off on the hired DJ, it would be graceful for a member of the family to do this when toasts are made at the reception.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: We were out to dinner with my husband’s college roommate and others. At the table, he loudly remarked to my husband, “Looks like you’re really losing your hair!”
Everyone at the table was shocked by his insensitive and inappropriate comment. No one knew how to respond. He can be obnoxious and self-centered, and puts others down to elevate himself.
Please advise: What should have been the comeback reply, even if it’s not funny?
GENTLE READER: “Yes — and you, your manners.”
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I would love to host gatherings in my home a lot more than I do — if only I could guarantee that guests would leave by a certain time. I have had guests very much overstay their welcome, even if I’ve communicated an end time beforehand.
Besides subtly asking guests to leave (“So, what are you up to the rest of the day?”) and setting overt deadlines (“Dinner at our place from 18:00 to 22:00”), what are the tips and tricks you have to accomplish this?
GENTLE READER: The trick is to pretend that such guests have performed their part of the ceremony of leaving, and go right into your response as a host.
Had they said, “Thank you so much for a delightful evening,” and stood up, you would know what to say and do.
Well, say and do it anyway. Stand up, say, “It was delightful to have you,” fetch their wraps, and move toward the door.
Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, [email protected]; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.
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