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Miss Manners: I’m stunned by my father’s request for the wedding dinner

Miss Manners: I’m stunned by my father’s request for the wedding dinner

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Our daughter and our future son-in-law selected three meal options for their wedding: one beef, one chicken and one vegetarian pasta.

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Miss Manners: I confronted the bride about the exclusion, and she got defensive

They would certainly ask the caterer to make special accommodations if someone alerted them to a food allergy, but it seems rude for guests to make special requests for other reasons. I have made many meal selections for events that I might not choose at a restaurant, but I don’t go to special events to eat my favorite food. I go for the people (or causes) I care about.

My dad (the bride’s grandfather) learned of the meal options through a conversation this week. He texted me the next day, saying that he and his girlfriend “would like to enjoy the meal at the wedding” and therefore want me to request fish for them — either salmon or whitefish.

While I know that they eat a lot of fish, I am not aware of this being anything more than a preference — and a recent one in my dad’s case, since I’ve seen him eat just about everything my whole life. I am stunned and unsure how to respond.

GENTLE READER: Being stunned is a strong reaction to your father’s relatively minor, albeit misguided, request. Tell Pa that fish isn’t one of the options.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have been watching programs that chronicle the real lives of people working and receiving care in the ER. The staff often use vulgar language with one another, sometimes in front of patients who may or may not be conscious enough to hear them.

I am not a fan of such raw language. I do not try to control the speech of others, but if I were the patient, I would feel jarred by hearing these unpleasantries from those caring for me at my bedside.

What does etiquette say about governing your speech around visitors to your workplace, where using vulgarities is acceptable? Does it matter if the visitor may or may not be able understand what’s being said?

GENTLE READER: Morality may find such behavior equally reprehensible in private, but Etiquette only objects to comments made in the presence of the patient.

However, Common Sense, seconded by Miss Manners, counsels against putting too much faith in the power of anesthesia. Or in believing that things are as bad as they are reported on television.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I had given a co-worker some wrong information — nothing life-threatening, just the wrong date for something. Instead of just correcting me calmly, she got mad and barked the correct date at me with this mean expression on her face and a very rude tone.

I guess I’m just more sensitive than most, because I felt guilty the rest of the day. I couldn’t figure out why I got such a response. I avoided her the rest of that day, and the next.

How can I handle that situation better or differently if it happens again?

GENTLE READER: Did we forget to apologize for supplying incorrect information?

That would explain your co-worker’s behavior, though Miss Manners does not believe it would excuse it — any more than your mistake’s not being fatal would excuse your omitting the apology.

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, dearmissmanners@gmail.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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