Q: A young friend who is getting married this fall made an unusual request of me: to officiate at his wedding. I’m not a minister, but he is probably thinking of more like an MC.
I’m extremely flattered. I believe that besides his uncles and father, I’m his only friend of my age. All his other friends are more his age.
My wife says she doesn’t approve of such things as being married by unofficial people. She says it demeans the ceremony. But these people are not religious.
What does Miss Manners think?
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A: That your wife’s objections are understandable but misplaced.
No doubt your wife’s true argument is over you and your friend thinking of a wedding officiant as an MC, and therefore the ceremony as a sort of roast, rather than a dignified ritual.
Unfortunately, however, a minister is as capable of providing amateurish theatrics as a true amateur. Provided that you keep the ceremony dignified, Miss Manners has no objection to your presiding over it, with whatever authority may be provided to you on the internet.
If you feel that you cannot, then perhaps it is time to call in the professionals, as long as they are likewise vetted.
Q: I am a Southerner who has an accent that goes along with my upbringing. I often come across people who grew up either “up North” or in areas far from the South who often will call attention to my accent.
Sometimes they seem charmed by it, but more often than not, the person in question seems to be making fun of it, and their comments are phrased in a way that is actually more of a put-down.
No one I know from the South would ever think of calling out someone with a Northern accent (considered rude), so I don’t understand this.
Can you please recommend a clever way to respond to these patronizing comments?
A: “Oh, thank you” (regardless of the intended nature of the comment); “I’m rather proud of my accent and heritage. Now tell me about your accent and heritage.”
Q: I was at a live theater performance last night when I heard the voice of a young child asking questions during the show. This seems to be the norm these days, and as it costs a fair bit to attend one of these events, I am at a loss as to what to do.
I decided to turn around to see who was talking (though I said nothing and gave no dirty looks), and then it subsided a bit, but this doesn’t always work.
I always hope to hear the adult tell the child that they’ll answer questions at the intermission, but I never do. What would you do, Miss Manners?
A: The same as you, no doubt. Until intermission.
Then she might say to the child, “I wondered about some of your questions myself. Maybe the second half will provide some answers. Shall we watch and see? I know you’ll have lots to talk about on the way home.” This may be accompanied by a conspiratorial look to the parent that can pleasantly signify the subtext: “So be quiet and see.”
Judith Martin writes the Miss Manners column with help from her son, Nicholas Ivor Martin, and her daughter, Jacobina Martin. Send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, MissManners.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.