Q: I attend a yearly party where the “bar” is various bottles of alcohol and juices, so guests can make their own drinks. Problem is, I’ve moved past the “vodka cranberry” in plastic cups or beer stage in life, and only enjoy good wine or a specialty cocktail that cannot be made with what is offered at this party. Can’t take bad booze anymore.
Is it appropriate to bring my own alcohol to a party and make my own drink with it?
Forgive Miss Manners’ outburst. Can’t take bad manners anymore.
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This party is once a year. Surely you can stomach a subpar libation — or drink a nonalcoholic one — annually, rather than offend your friends. Bringing your own supplies is rude and tells your hosts that their taste is not up to your standards. Never mind that it is true.
Q: At first, when my husband and I hosted his parents from out of town, I was happy to play hostess. But after two visits, I am done. (I am due with their first grandchild in the next few weeks, complicating the issue.)
They have not respected my requests for them to take their shoes off in my home. They start “projects” around the house without asking, and when I tell them no, I’m not comfortable with that, they plow forward anyway!
My dear husband is, of course, loath to tell them how disrespectful they are being. … He’s grown up with their constant need to bulldoze others and has absolutely no boundaries/doesn’t want to hurt their feelings.
I would like it if he could tell them they may no longer stay with us, but realize I’m probably going to have to be the “bad guy.” How do I tell them “no” without hurting feelings and causing issues right before the baby is born?
A: You don’t.
Are you really contemplating barring your prospective child’s grandparents from your home? There are two vastly different issues here — and Miss Manners sympathizes with only one.
Asking guests to take off their shoes is tantamount to saying that you value your flooring more than their comfort. Good luck enforcing that, particularly with older generations.
Try taking up your expensive or light-colored carpets when they visit — and invest in a mop and a vacuum. These are your relatives, and even if you don’t care about their feelings, your husband does.
You have a slightly better case when it comes to the home projects. If your in-laws insist that they want to help — and asking them nicely not to isn’t working — then pick a few menial tasks that you wouldn’t mind delegating.
Once your child is born, Miss Manners has a feeling that you will feel differently about tasks getting done around the house. In any case, learning how to accept help, even though it may not be up to your standards, will be a lesson that will come in handy when your hands are full with a baby.
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.