DEAR MISS MANNERS: I received an invitation to a “black tie gala event” to be held by a federal government agency.
I had previously received a “save the date” notice, which I shared with my wife. We both thought she would be invited, but unfortunately, I just found out from the event coordinator that she is not invited because of “limited seating” and the apparent need to invite interested members of Congress.
Indeed, the invitation simply says “you.” I know that proper etiquette would be to include the spouse in a wedding invitation. Does that also apply to a “black tie gala event”? Or is our hurt at this perceived slight unjustified?
GENTLE READER: It is a shock to Miss Manners’ patriotic heart to hear that the federal government is categorizing people as first- and second-class citizens. You may well believe that members of Congress were not asked to attend a “gala” without spouses, partners or acquaintances.
But perhaps this was a lesser transgression. You neglected to tell Miss Manners whether you work for that agency.
In that case, you should not have been sent an invitation, as if you were to be there as a guest. Rather, you should have been asked if you were willing to work that evening, answering questions, touting the agency’s mission, explaining where the bathrooms were. You would be dressed as a guest, but under no illusion that you were being offered hospitality, and your wife would not be included unless she, too, worked for the agency.
Guests beyond rude
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My Thanksgiving was ruined by people that my brother allowed in his house.
I told his girlfriend not to bring or cook a turkey, as I had one already there.
I was cooking said bird when she and two others arrived, already stewed to the gills. They took out my bird and threw it over the backyard fence.
I knew their bird was rancid, as I have been trained as a chef. I told my bro not to eat it. He ate it and was very sick for four days.
I ate one bite and wrapped what was left in my napkin. I proceeded to the nearest hospital, where I work, and had it tested. Salmonella, big time.
Do you think it was rude of me to do so? I warned her about her bird. She nearly killed my bro. What can I do?
GENTLE READER: (1) Check on the neighbors. Even on Thanksgiving, they cannot have expected delivery of an airborne fowl.
(2) Make other plans for Christmas.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: How long should one wait in anticipation of a wedding and/or baby shower gift? Should you mention in passing that you have not received one yet?
GENTLE READER: Before you put a collection agency to work on them?
It does not seem to have occurred to you that giving presents is a voluntary act. Miss Manners recommends concentrating your attention on enjoying your marriage or baby, rather than on using them for material advantage.
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.
© Universal Uclick 12/9