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.
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.
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.