DEAR MISS MANNERS: Several old friends and I have planned a girls’ weekend at a world-famous music festival in a beautiful city this summer.
But one of the four recently insisted, in a group text, that she did not want to spend her valuable dollars on things she doesn’t care for — namely, classical music, opera or chamber music. These are the focus of this festival and the reason we chose that particular weekend.
Miss Manners: My rule is no gift for a second wedding, no attendance for a third
Miss Manners: She became irate when I corrected her statement about the moon
Miss Manners: I complimented this celebrity, and his reply was insulting
Miss Manners: My summer dresses make my boyfriend uncomfortable
Miss Manners: My fiancee says she must have a diamond, despite my objection
I mentioned that the festival includes jazz and blues, and she responded that she had recently attended the best jazz festival in the nation.
No one else responded to what seemed, to me, like a line drawn in the sand. What am I to do?
I am a one-glass-of-wine person, and thus don’t favor what I think this friend has in mind: a bender or “party hard”-type of weekend, with evenings spent ordering a lot of expensive food, cocktails and wine at restaurants, followed by more drinking at the city’s bars.
I would like to attend one of the festival’s events each night, preceded or followed by dinner (with a normal amount of drinking). I actually don’t know what the others want. Should I just make up an excuse not to attend?
GENTLE READER: Not before trying to salvage it for yourself and your other friends: “I am so sorry that you are having second thoughts about the weekend’s activities, but we specifically chose this time and location so that we could attend the concerts. If you still want to attend, we are happy to meet you before or afterward for meals or a drink. That is my proposal, but I’ll let the others weigh in.”
At which point, Miss Manners has little doubt that the rest will follow suit. Or you will be divided and can split off. Or at least you will have your definitive answer and a reasonable excuse not to attend.
But you should not feel coerced into doing something you do not wish to do when you all had decided that this is what you wanted to do. Surely your friend can enjoy her bender elsewhere.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: When showing people around your house, and you come to a staircase, who goes first? The guest or the shower?
GENTLE READER: By “the shower,” Miss Manners assumes you mean “the one who is showing the house” and not “the plumbing stall that is curiously being pushed up the stairs.”
The old-fashioned rule was that a lady would precede the gentleman up the stairs in case she were to fall — ensuring that he could then assist her.
In this case, however, and no matter the gender, Miss Manners picks the shower to go first. This has the benefit of reducing the number of times one must say, “No, you want to go to your left at the top of the stairs. No, left!”
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Over the years, I have participated in all my family’s and friends’ weddings, showers and birthdays. My husband and I don’t have children.
My cousins are now starting to invite us to their children’s baby and wedding showers. I will never be able to retire if I start another generation of gift-giving. What do you suggest?
GENTLE READER: That you tell your family to cease procreating immediately.
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Ask Amy: My silverware went missing after a guest joked about stealing it
Harriette Cole: I’ve worked hard, and my poor siblings resent my success
Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.