cereta: Paper Bage Princess, heading off into the sunset alone (Paper Bag Princess)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Almost all of the examples I now see on how to address invitations are totally different from what I was taught in school many years ago. Have the rules changed, or are young people these days making up their own etiquette rules?

I was taught that for a married couple, the correct address would be " Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Jones" and "Mr. and Mrs. Patrick White," not "Mr. Ben and Mrs. Elizabeth Jones" and "Mr. Patrick and Mrs. Taylor White." I was also taught that the male's name came first on the envelope.

Please set the record straight before too many young brides commit a faux pas and look uneducated.

GENTLE READER: Yes, some rules have legitimately changed, and yes, unauthorized people who make up their own rules are often unintentionally offensive. But come to think of it, the old standard that you cite also sends some people into a tizzy.

Miss Manners wishes everyone would just calm down.

There are couples who use the Mr. and Mrs. form you learned (the only one in which the gentleman's title comes first) and they should be so addressed. But there are others who prefer to be addressed more as individuals for various reasons, some of which are eminently sensible, although society used not to recognize them.

All that takes now is one extra line on the envelope:

Dr. Angelina Breakfront

Mr. Rock Moonley

or:

Mr. Oliver Trenchant

Mr. Liam Lotherington

or:

Ms. Norina Hartfort

Mr. Rufus Hartfort

Is that too much effort to ask?
cereta: (foodporn)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My girlfriend is very particular about table manners. She makes a point of leaving a scattering of food on her plate at the end of a meal rather than finishing every crumb as I do.

I know it only amounts to one or two forkfuls, but having traveled extensively in very poor countries, I think this is wasteful and absurd. The plates are also harder to wash. What are your thoughts?

GENTLE READER: That she would like to be excused before someone discovers her responsibility in this matter. But that would be cowardly.

The sad truth is that a century ago, it was indeed the case that children in families that could afford it were taught not to finish everything on their plates. The embarrassing part is that the rule was phrased as "Leave something for Miss Manners" (and in England, "Leave something for Lady Manners").

So yes, while some people were starving, others were wasting food. Miss Manners was not starving, because she got all the rich folks' leftovers.

It was Eleanor Roosevelt's grandmother who repealed this rule. As recounted in Mrs. Roosevelt's "Book of Common Sense Etiquette": "My grandmother came to believe that food was needed in the world and we who had an abundance should not waste it."

Miss Manners agrees -- thoroughly and, as you might notice, selflessly.
cereta: Lacey and Wendy (Lacey and Wendy)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My niece has asked me for ideas for a baby shower she wants to give for her expecting daughter. I don't know how to respond without hurting her feelings. How can I gently tell her it's not proper for a mother to give a shower for her own daughter?

GENTLE READER: When you find out, please tell Miss Manners. She has been pointing this out for years, and it doesn't seem to help.

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