Thursday, September 8, 2011

Advice Illustrated: Miss Manners edition

Letter 1 is from Christopher Plummer in Beginners. Keep your piehole shut. You can be out and proud when and if the wife croaks.

Video letter was submitted to Miss Manners quite a while ago.

Dear Miss Manners,
My brand-new husband and I eloped late last year due to the financial cost of having a wedding. We sent out announcements to both of our extended families to notify them of our happy news, and received a most horrid gift in return: my husband's aunt and uncle had co-written a book on marital infidelity and sent it along with a card inviting us to attend (and pay for) one of their weekend seminars. They even went so far as to autograph the inside cover.

My husband and I have never had so much as a heated argument, much less an affair on either side. We're both offended and positive this was an act of self-promotion. Our question is, do we write a thank-you note for an offensive gift? Thank you for your insight.

Gentle Reader,
It doesn't take much insight to know that these people were more interested in advertising their wares than in celebrating your marriage. Still, Miss Manners is afraid that you do have to thank them. She suggests something along the lines of "We were both shocked and saddened to read of these troubled marriages, but all the more grateful -- as we are sure you intended -- for our own happiness."

Prudie's advice was similar.

Letter 2 is from a woman whose new guy wants to adopt her child. Child is creeped out by adoption and by his desire to change her name. Prudie says to drop the power struggle with a 4-year-old, and to chill. I say: if new daddy wants everyone to have the same name, why isn't he taking his new wife's name? Or hyphenate? Compromise, people!

Letter 3 is from a physician who knows another doctor arrested for child porn on his home PC. He now wants a recommendation for a child-safe job. LW thinks the guy would do a good job and wants to help him get his life back. Should he tell employers about the arrest? And he says: "I don't want to risk being tainted by having any association with this guy."
Prudie wisely points out the extremes to which "child pornography" has been taken (like "she looks young"). She also says to tell doctor that he will give the recommendation, but will mention the arrest.
I guess I'm OK with Prudie's advice. Except of course that we only know that he was arrested. Not charged, not convicted.

Letter 4 is from a guy whose wife insisted on stopping to get a hostess gift on the way to a dinner party, making them late. Prudie says it's better to be on time and empty-handed. I say that based on my Miss Manners catch-up, the custom of bringing food and drink is not the best idea. You imply that the host has not planned properly, and the implied requirement to consume the gift can upset their plans. You can send flowers in advance, and you must write a thank you note, and most important: reciprocate! As for Prudie's personal solution, not everyone is a lush like you.

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